Marc Malkin is a two time Emmy nominee and recipient of the Lisa Ben Award by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. The respected journalist reflects on the new wave of queer artists refusing to be closeted, Adam Rippon for President in 2020 and raising funds for HIV & AIDS services.
YOUTH and ROLEMODELS
How was your youth, did you have a role model growing up?
I was brought up in a working class neighborhood in Queens, New York. I was bullied a lot, called “faggot,” “sissy,” “homo,” etc. But I was also the class clown so that helped hide my fear.
Do you remember your first kiss, how was it?
Honestly, I don’t. Well, maybe I do. It was with Meredith Scott Lynn in around fifth or sixth grade.
What advice would you give your adolescent self?
There’s a whole world outside of your neighborhood, a world where you can be yourself, a world where you don’t have to fear walking down the street. Being gay will be one of the best things that’s ever happened to you.
What was your relationship with queer culture?
I didn’t have much of a relationship with it. I had more than a few gay family members. But they were mostly closeted and certainly no one spoke to me about being gay when I was younger. So, sadly, seeing these family members in the closet reinforced that being gay was still not something to be proud or open about. My mom’s two brothers both died of AIDS. I was coming out and still at college when both of them died. It took many years for my family to start discussing their deaths and what killed them and that was only because I asked. I don’t fault them. They did the best they could. It was a different time.
What quote best describes your outlook on life?
“I will survive” or “Keep on keepin’ on.”
“Adam Rippon – his reach and impact is way beyond the Olympics and figure skating.”
Of recently, cases relating to the abuse of power have been making headlines unceasingly. You’ve dedicated an unparalleled amount of your working life commenting on and interviewing Hollywood’s elite. Do you think the roots of power struggle are finally being amended and what are the cultural changes still faced by celebrities, in particular queer celebrities?
Hollywood has certainly come a long way. But they still have a long way to go. There’s not exactly scientific research to back this up, but most queer celebs are still scared of coming out of the closet. But this is changing with a new generation of queer artists both in front and behind the camera who refuse to be closeted. A new generation of queer youth refusing to hide will impact Hollywood.
What can the LGBTQ community do to help?
The LGBTQ community should do what it can to support LGBTQ artists, whether that’s buying a ticket to a film with queer storylines or downloading queer musicians from iTunes. Hollywood is a business and therefore, it’s about money. Sure, there are independent artists and producers who care more about the art and then making a big profit, but mainstream media won’t change unless they see there’s money to be made.
In 2017 celebrity culture in politics has intensified to an unprecedented status. The dynamism of consumers’ thirst for celebrity content is only accelerated by social media and as the relationship between celebrity and politics deepens, there’s discussion of 2020 being the year of celebrity presidential candidates. Can you comment on this phenomenon and if you were to vote for a celebrity come 2020 who would it be?
Celebrity is nothing new. Society has always idolized the talented, the rich and the famous. But as we have seen, being a celebrity doesn’t necessarily make you a good leader. It doesn’t mean you have empathy.
I’d vote for Adam Rippon. He actually may not be old enough but I’ll write him in anyway.
Can you share one of your favourite moments in queer cinema and the importance of pop culture’s role in activism?
I will never forget first watching Longtime Companion. The last scene in the movie where all the dead men are reuniting on the beach on Fire Island has stayed with me. It reminds me forever of what happened and what could have been. Just thinking about the scene brings me to tears.
What’s your fundamental choice of exercise and do you have a Go-To tracks for working out?
Right now, I’m training for the AIDS/LifeCycle. I will be raising funds for HIV/AIDS services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation by riding a bike 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in June. We’re not allowed to listen to music while riding because of safety issues but if I’m training on a bike at the gym, my music varies. One day, I’ll listen to Dolly Parton, another day it’s Beyoncé and then it could be show tunes. But my real guilty pleasure workout music is the Moulin Rouge soundtrack!
“So, sadly, seeing these family members in the closet reinforced that being gay was still not something to be proud or open about. My mom’s two brothers both died of AIDS.”
What have you learnt about yourself this year?
I’ve learned I’m stronger than I thought. I’ve learned that your path in life is not a one-way street. There are many paths and I’m on one now and I don’t really know where I’m heading. I have some ideas but I’ve learned that ideas are malleable.
Are there any young entrepreneurs or creatives that make you excited for the future?
Adam Rippon – his reach and impact is way beyond the Olympics and figure skating.
And then there’s my husband,Fabian Quezada-Malkin, a hair colorist who treats and respects his work as art. He really is an artist and he’s going to go places I just can’t imagine.
Fitness goals for 2018?
Is cutting back on junk food considered a fitness goal? I just have such a bad sweet tooth and no will power.
Do you have any future projects that you’re currently working on?
I’m currently working on developing my own chat show. I don’t like to say talk show because that sounds so formal. My show is inviting Hollywood’s most fascinating people to my house to sit on the couch and just chat. Chat about the business, pop culture, politics and more. There’s a book sometime in the future. A memoir of sorts. My life, despite what some people may think, has not always been about red carpets, Hollywood and celebrities. I have my story to tell, a story I hope can inspire others to know that “this too shall pass.”
What would you graffiti on the back of a toilet door?
Marc was here.