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Nico Tortorella Nico Tortorella on being a ‘proud’ bisexual, embracing polyamory and his ‘sexploration of love’
When it comes to Hollywood interviews, they’re “just so fucking straightforward and boring and everybody asks the same questions and it just gets redundant,” says Nico Tortorella. But our interview is different, he explains. “This is a straight-up ‘Love Bomb’ episode,” acknowledges the 28-year-old actor, likening the conversational tone of our exchange to his love- and sexuality-centric podcast, now in its second season. Though he touches on “Menendez: Blood Brothers,” his Lifetime movie about the infamous, parricidal siblings, and the upcoming season of TV Land’s “Younger,” Tortorella greatly expounds on his ever-evolving sexual identity, which has been an ongoing dialogue – internally and externally – since the actor revealed his label-less fluidity a year ago. Now identifying as a “proud” bisexual, the Chicago-born dreamboat candidly discusses his desire for a polyamorous relationship, struggling with his sexuality as a kid before finding his queer “safe haven” within the theater and his current mission to normalize the abnormal.
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Patti LaBelle Patti LaBelle dishes on ‘still standing’ thanks to the LGBT community, lip-syncing ‘divettes’ and Trump
Is there a singer more real than Patti LaBelle? The 73-year-old legend of song (and shade) is a firehose of strong-minded opinions, and in an age that has some tight-lipped “divettes,” as LaBelle calls them, refraining from saying too much, the ever-honest LaBelle is, refreshingly, that rare freewheeler who revels in being blunt AF. In 2014, she told me she no longer considers herself a diva because “all these little heifers who can’t sing are called divas.” The word, she observed, is not “cute anymore.” Now, after our recent warm phone reunion while doing promo for her new jazz album, “Bel Hommage,” she who has given the gays so much, from music and pies to a bevy of side-eye-serving GIFs, still has more to give – even her own precious pie-making time. “I really like talking to you,” she tells me when I start to wrap the interview. My allotted time has long passed, but she’s not done. And by the end of our 25-minute interview we’ve covered generous ground: why she’s “still standing” thanks to the LGBT community, President “Trumpette” and his Twitter-proposed ban on transgender people in the military, her music-biz foes (and how Aretha Franklin is not one of them) and how you “may see me as a diva and that’s a compliment to those who think it’s a compliment.”
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Todrick Hall How Todrick Hall found his Yellow Brick Road: learning to love himself, shero emulation and inspiring ‘little Todricks’
Todrick Hall grew up in Plainview, Texas, with a dream to be “one of these black women who could sing all these crazy notes.” It is, after all, in his blood – his cousin is none other than “Dreamgirls” song slayer Jennifer Holliday. But first, as a child, the aspiring soul singer found life in “The Little Mermaid,” replicating Ariel’s crimson hair with a red towel on his head and gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. Clasping a fork, he created a makeshift fishtail by binding his feet together with a water hose. Meanwhile, to channel another shero of his, Catwoman, he got his hands on some blue tape, nails and a jump rope, which doubled as his whip and tail. “My backyard was my playground,” the 32-year-old singer says of his childhood, when he discovered another one of his female role models: Mariah Carey. His adoration for the biracial diva ran deep. “I think I just was more inspired to be like Mariah Carey,” he says. In 1993, he made a revelation after seeing the “Dreamlover” music video: “I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ I had never seen anyone who appeared to be Caucasian sound like that. I was just fascinated.” His propensity for female vocalists extended to Lauryn Hill’s singing in “Sister Act 2” and Brandy in the Whitney Houston-as-the-fairy-godmother version of “Cinderella,” along with ’90s R&B girl-group sensation SWV. And, because he felt destined to become all these ladies, “I would practice day in and day out.”
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