Former College Track Athlete and Model Edward Calloway references Beyonce and the Spice Girls as role models and how being gay and religious aren’t mutually exclusive.
YOUTH and ROLEMODELS
How was your youth, did you have a role model growing up?
My youth growing up was a little dysfunctional. I moved a lot but I traveled a lot also growing up because many of my family members lived in different states. But I believe my childhood made me who I am today. I grew up in the inner-city and my playground was downtown Cleveland hanging with my grandfather going to museums, libraries, restaurants, concerts, etc. I grew up fast but I also grew up cultured in the same sense.
My role model growing up I would have to say were the Spice Girls because they were so bold and unapologetic of who they were which was an inspiration to me. They taught me how to be a bad-ass and be unapologetic of that. Respect women and be myself and embrace diversity. I would say also the Olsen Twins because I admired their sense of style and watched them on television growing up. I admire what they have achieved now. Mariah and Whitney because I loved to sing and dance and they always communicated a grace, strength, beauty, and talent all in one package.
Who was your first crush and who is your pipe dream boyfriend?
My first crush hmmm this is a good one. I would have to say Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I kept it a secret as a kid probably but I always watched Home Improvement every night haha. He was bae for sure! My dream boyfriends are Jussie Smollett from Empire or Nico Tortorella from Younger. They are both so talented, articulate and sexy as hell. They also look amazing in suits.
Do you think it was your religious upbringing that inhibited you from coming out earlier and having such severe internalised homophobia?
I wouldn’t say it was a religious factor growing up because my parents were not really religious. I even define myself as spiritual though I attend church. God is more of a relationship and that should be personal. I think growing up in the inner-city made it difficult and my father was more old-school traditional. It was a generational thing. The environment I grew up in was not inclusive of LGBT issues. Being gay in the 90s was just starting to be talked about more so I knew I was different but I stifled my feelings and became queer in my love of music and theatre. That was how I dealt with things because I could always rely on using creativity to protect me and mask my identity for protection.
What advice would you give to your adolescent self?
The advice I would give my adolescent self would be to stay true to yourself and do not let others hurt your spirit and someday your voice will be heard.
What do you look for in a potential boyfriend?
What do I look for in a potential boyfriend? Personality is the big one for me. Chemistry. Friendship. Intelligence. Individuality. Looks as well though I am not particularly shallow but you have to be attracted to your partner depending on your preference of physicality. Did I name too many haha?
“Go support. Work alongside them to initiate more inclusivity in the sports world. We have to join forces more.”
FITNESS and HEALTH
You attended ‘un gay’ sessions at church but also sought solace at church to deal with your depression and anxiety. What is your relationship with the church now?
The queer community can help future athletes by being more inclusive. The LGBTQ community at times I feel associates sports culture with homophobia and transphobia and that is definitely accurate in its environment but not necessarily with all the people involved in sports. I think we need to support our LGBTQ athletes and be supportive. Go support. Work alongside them to initiate more inclusivity in the sports world. We have to join forces more. Being an athlete that is represented in the LGBTQ world you are combating all stereotypes and it’s a public scrutiny with just that alone so support and movement is crucial.
How did race and sexual orientation impact your experience as an athlete and what can the queer community do to help future athletes?
Your identity is an extension of who you are. It is not the total embodiment of your character. Remember you work your ass off as the rest of your teammates and deserve to be there just as much as anyone else participating. You have earned your spot there. Be the best athlete you can be.
As an athlete where do you draw your motivation before an event from?
I drew motivation honestly from watching Beyoncé. I know what you are thinking but she is Sasha Fierce for a reason haha. Watching her gave me the energy and the gusto to say “Edward’s let’s kick some ass.”
What would you say to closeted athletes struggling to accept themselves?
I would say to them to remember that they are not alone and to reach out to LGBT resources if they have to access to them. If not, seek support through research. That support makes it less hard when you know you are loved and someone has your back. You are loved and beloved. Journaling and practicing mindfulness is also something I would say for our mental health.
What’s your Go-To track for working out?
My go-to tracks are anything by Beyoncé, Britney, or Rihanna. I also enjoy Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter “as a great motivation track.
“…seeing all the LGBT athletes rising makes me excited and proud of what they are doing and paving the way for authenticity for those around the world.”
What have you learnt about yourself this year?
What I have learned about myself is this year is I am much stronger than I thought and my voice is impactful. I learned to love myself more and believe and not be in a rush to define my life. Let it naturally progress.
Are there any young athletes or creatives that make you excited for the future?
I honestly have not followed anyone in particular but seeing all the LGBT athletes rising makes me excited and proud of what they are doing and paving the way for authenticity for those around the world.
Goals for 2018?
Goals for 2018? Be a better version of myself every day and progress and learn.
Do you have any future projects that you can tell us about?
Right now I am pursuing other opportunities within fashion and going to castings and doing as many shows as I can. Working to pursue that. The journey continues…