Posts tagged here tv
We first met Reichen Lehmkuhl in Los Angeles at the wrap party for one of Bravo’s very first reality programs, ‘Boy Meets Boy’ in 2003. We ran into ‘The Amazing Race‘ winner again in 2007 at a house party in Atlanta, where he partied at Jungle and brunched at Sun in My Belly (and kept texting a boy he wouldn’t tell us the name of who turned out to be Lance Bass).
Since then, Reichen has appeared on Here! TV’s ‘Dante’s Cove,’ written a book ‘Here’s What We’ll Say‘ about his time in the military, created a jewelry line, starred in an off-Broadway play, and landed himself yet another reality show on Logo’s ‘The A-List: New York‘ premiering Monday, October 4th at 10 pm.
We spoke with Reichen about his A-list life on stage and screen, serving in the military, and what he really thinks of Perez Hilton…
You recently starred in the off-Broadway play, ‘My Big Gay Italian Wedding.’ How was that live experience compared to doing reality TV?
Off-Broadway shows and reality TV productions are very different, and you get to see that really clearly when you’re attempting to be part of BOTH at the same time (laughs). The play requires a lot of skill in the arts… dancing, singing, and acting. All skills that you either have perfected, like many of my cast-mates, or ones you really need to work really hard at nailing down.
The reality TV show requires a different set of skills. The most important one is keeping a thick skin, and reminding yourself that, although you’re opening your real life up to the viewing public and you think you’re doing and saying everything as you want to, and thinking you’re making the best decisions you can at any moment, there are always going to be people who put you down, hate on you, and tell you that they would have done it differently. But they won’t ever really know me as well as I do. So I press on.
‘My Big Gay Italian Wedding’ was produced by Dina Manzo from the ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey.’ Some are comparing ‘The A-List: New York’ to a gay version of ‘The Real Housewives.’
‘The A-List New York’ is shot in a similar fashion to the ‘Real Housewives’ series, and even by the same producers as the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’ so the docu-drama genre that is so highly in demand right now is definitely part of the show. The difference on ‘The A-List’ is that most of the people on this show are not housewives at all… but more or less on their own. Sure, there are relationships featured on the show, but most of the guys have worked kind of solo to be where they are, and live that way now, rather than being featured as part of a team or couple. Oh and an obvious difference is that they’re gay men instead of women.
Which did you enjoy more, ‘Amazing Race’ or ‘Fear Factor‘?
‘Amazing Race,’ for sure. It was harder than basic training in the military! Although ‘Fear Factor’ was fun, too.
Where are some of your favorite places to go in New York City?
Favorite Restaurant (today): Room Service
Favorite Clubs: Hudson Terrace and Rockit
Favorite Gym: Club H, in Hell’s Kitchen
You’ve spent time in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami and now New York. In your opinion, what are the main differences in their gay communities?
In New York there is a bit less facade than in L.A. I’ve found people in L.A. to be very protective of opening up about downfalls or problems, probably out of necessity, because you have to always look like everything’s going “GREAT!” to get hired in so many entertainment jobs. In New York, I’ve found people to be more open about the everyday shit that goes on in life. I’ve always found people in Atlanta to be super friendly and genuine, overall.
Where do you like to go when you come to Atlanta?
I don’t know Atlanta very well so I just let my friends take me around. All I know is that I love going out there and I love the people I’ve met in Atlanta. They are the kind of new friends who really make an effort to keep in touch.
You have a jewelry line called the Fly Naked Collection. Which do you enjoy more? Being an entrepreneur or a reality TV star?
I enjoy making a difference in the things I care about within our community. I also enjoy making good decisions that secure my future. If that makes me successful or a celebrity, then I can embrace those titles as positive parts of my life, but they aren’t my ultimate goal… nor words I would use to describe myself.
Do you think of yourself as a gay role model?
I view role models as perfect and, well, I’m not perfect. So it’s tough for me to call myself a role model. If others emulate me and the way I speak out loud for equal-rights makes me a role model, then I’ll accept that title.
How do you feel about some of the negative coverage of you?
Mario Lavendeira (AKA Perez Hilton) has been a nuisance to many people and I am only one person who finds him a bit annoying. He has been worse to many than he has been to me. I understand the fascination we all have with gossip, including myself, but we must realize this person is an accused thief on several accounts and has a fascination with drugs, as we have seen on his blog. If this is indeed true, then even more so, this is not someone we should or who I can take seriously.
The lies on his blog go right along with the rest of his shady life. What bothers me is that he lies about things or exaggerates to make people, who have done little or nothing wrong look bad while they continue to work in a tough industry. He also fabricates stories from scratch just to create gossip when things aren’t interesting enough as they really are to get readers to his blog.
He has lied about my friends, as well as about me and my life several times, and he needs to be brought to court for his continued actions. Also, because he claims he is gay, let me point out that I do not consider Mr. Lavendeira to be gay, at all. He is merely a pervert who has a fascination with drug use, other people’s sex-lives, body fluids, and what we all do in our bedrooms and private lives. He doesn’t behave like any actual gay person I know. We must not confuse ‘gay’ with what I consider ‘perverted.’
I believe that Mr. Lavendeira has come to hurt us as gay people and to devalue our whole community to the public. I know I’ve shown my body to the public by modeling and some may feel this is objectionable, but I simply disagree. Modeling and doing charity work is a far cry from attacking people. So I feel justified in saying that considering him part of our gay community would be ridiculous.
So other than his accused past illegal actions, including theft, lying, defamation, libel, and slander, being answered for in a court of law, I don’t really care about Mr. Lavendeira or what he does or says. I don’t let it affect my life. I actually feel sorry for him. Our individual outlook on the world is a direct reflection of what we are made up of inside. His view of others’ character and their motivations for working and committing to relationships are a direct reflection of what his character is and what his motivations are or would be. Its sad.
OK, so then I also ask you about Lance Bass, who many feel Perez Hilton outed. What do you say to those people, including Perez Hilton, who accused you of using him for publicity?
Wow, that’s a loaded question. I’ll settle this now. It comes up often and predisposes me as a ‘user.’ How can I say this really clearly? If I were actually that type of person, I wouldn’t even want to be alive… it would have to be a miserable existence.
I think people who think this about me are the ones who, themselves, would ‘use’ someone for publicity… so I wish those people, who actually think this way, would stop putting their shit on me. They need to get their own minds out of the gutter.
I pride myself in doing my own thing, having my own businesses and successes separate from those of my partner. This makes us whole people, individually. I’m happy when I do it on my own. It’s no fun for a Type-A personality guy like me to accept help or for others to think I didn’t get something on my own. I have a tremendous amount of personal pride in what I make happen.
Take my book for instance, which probably causes speculation. The book was done and set for publishing and distribution before I ever met Lance. And that’s how I prefer it to be. That’s doesn’t exclude that his support of its mission warms my heart beyond description. Dating someone who is also in the public eye can appear a million ways to a million different people. I understand that, and I know rumors will always fly. Everyone loves a little gossip. There is plenty on me and I laugh it off. It’s the only way to stay happy.
But answering these unprovoked, unfounded questions, that initially attack my character, with “how much I actually loved my boyfriend to show I’m not using him” puts me in a position where I have to disclose the details of my personal relationship to prove something to people who don’t deserve to know the first thing about it. So I keep quiet and hope for the best. Nice try, I’ll say to them, but I remain private about my relationship and I don’t owe proof of my character to anyone. I know who I am, and I know where my heart is and — well, that’s all I need to know.
What do you consider your most successful accomplishment?
Graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Why did you write your book ‘Here’s What We’ll Say’ about your time in the military?
I have wanted to write the book since I graduated from the Air Force Academy, but I started writing it almost three years ago, just after I signed with an agent and a publisher took the project. It was time for me to tell my story so that the people of this country could see what kinds of abuse their tax dollars were going toward.
I also had been heavily enrolled in acting classes and was, at the time, being asked to draw on tragedies in my life to spark up emotions for scenes. Remembering all that had happened to me motivated me to finally start writing. I let so much off my chest by writing that book.
Were your parents supportive of the book?
Yes, they found parts of it tough to read (because I’m still their ‘baby’) but they stand behind my work 100%. I’m very lucky to have such loving and well-minded parents.
Was the military as supportive?
It’s tough to say who “the military” really is. If it’s the actual people fighting who don’t care about serving next to gay people, then yes, they’re supportive.
If it’s the group of human rights criminals who are making policies that punish people for homosexuality that you’re talking about, then, no, they have not been supportive.
Do you think there are a lot more gay people in the military than people realize?
No question in my mind… yes. And they have all written me letters… thousands of them.
What are you working on now?
Look out for my new song, ‘Up to the Sky’ that I wrote, composed the music for, play the guitar in, and sing, in dedication to a couple who wrote me a letter thanking me for my work with LGBT military people. These two are being torn apart because they can’t communicate between the U.S. and Afghanistan, because of the ridiculous Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy and their fear of their communications being monitored.
- To learn more about Reichen Lehmkuhl, visit TheReichen.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Comment on this Atlanta story...
Powered by Facebook Comments