When I was looking to see how long you were going to be in town, I Googled your book tour dates and some website had them up with this photo of you where you're pretty much naked and only wearing gloves, and then I'm reading the book and there's all this body image stuff, so I had a bit of a disconnect reading it, because the guy in the photo I saw online doesn't seem to have the same body image problems as the guy in this book, or he's got him really whipped into shape if he does...
No, I have huge body image issues today. You know, when those pictures are taken, it's in a very private setting. I've been modeling for a long time and it's like... how to describe it? It's thinking that other people don't see what you see. Those shots are taken in a room with one photographer, with the photographer talking me into... and yeah, I look at the pictures and think, 'yeah, okay, it looks really good but it's probably because the photographer changed the way I was standing or the lighting. It's not how I really look,' when in reality, I'm sure it is how I really look.
So, on some level, you're still looking in the mirror and seeing the big ears and I'm this kid from a trailer park...
You haven't whipped it; you've just dealt with it.
I'm way way better, but I can't say I've whipped my self-esteem issues. But I'm way better than I used to be.
I'm still working on my own body image issues, so once I type your name into Google and that's what comes up, I wondered if that meant you had hit a certain point by then.
We all do things we're not totally comfortable with. Those calendar pictures for me are part of a business that I continue to have, which is a business of modeling.
It seems the Internet has created a culture where you're just living your life and there are repercussions of everything you do that continue to exist behind you. If I type Reichen book tour dates that's what I get, and if you just go to a party it becomes 'Princess Frostylocks and the Third Reich,' and for you, it was just doing a job and going to a party. How much do you have to learn to give up control over all of that?
I've given up control over that. I think I'm a serious person and if some people don't want to take me seriously because of a couple hours I spent posing for a photographer to produce pictures that, frankly, will live forever. I can't be ashamed of that. It's part of work that I've done. But it's not what I do all day long. I don't stand around posing, believe it or not, in bathing suits squirting hoses. I actually...
I'm sure you take the weekends off.
Yeah, right. No, I get dressed every day and go to meetings all day long and have a serious career in business, but those pictures will live in infamy and there's nothing that I can do about it. But that's OK.
I was curious about the connection you made in the book between the novel Frankenstein and the closeted life you were living. Because I know from Oasis that we have a lot of people who are gay here, and then you go on MySpace and it says they're straight...
The book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is all about what happens when you live a double life. The book is basically telling any reader that if you live a double life, you're going to end up in a tragic situation. You're going to end up in tragedy. It warns people not to do it. Those people who are living a double life right now, they have their MySpace and their gay journals, and they think it's really fun, but it will end up hurting them or other people. We need to be true to ourselves.
And clearly the moment you realize you're gay isn't the right time to just start talking about it, but there should be some sort of a goal or path. You should have something ahead of you that indicates you want to get to that place. I mean, some people still say they never want to come out. Was there ever an option of staying a closeted serviceman?
Once I admitted to myself that I was gay, there was never an option in my head of staying in the closet forever. There was never that option. I would only stay in the closet for my own safety and to preserve my career until I got to a point where my career couldn't control me anymore. The time in the Air Force, when I was actively committed to serve by contract, my career was controlling me. And when that contract ended, I was able to come out.