Johnny Weir: The Outsports Interview, Part 2

In Part 2, Johnny talks about people asking if he's gay, sequins, crazy fans and his documentary film

By Cyd Zeigler jr.

In the first part of our interview with Johnny Weir, the Olympic figure skater talked at length about his sport and his upcoming Stars, Stripes and Skates event. But you can’t escape an interview with Outsports without answering some questions about sexual orientation, and Johnny did just that.

johnny_and_patti_weir
Johnny Weir and his mom, Patti, in Times Square.

Outsports: Why did you decide to do Pop Star on Ice, which was fantastic, by the way?
Johnny Weir: Thank you very much. I did Pop Star on Ice because it seemed like a fun thing to do. I’ve always watched reality television and I’ve always watched documentaries, and I’m a huge documentary film fan. And why not show people what my life is really like? I’m not just the kid who people make presumptions about standing in rhinestones in the middle of an ice surface. They’re going to know, know what I go through to get to that point. I didn’t just do it for myself, but I wanted to show people what my sport really was.

OS: What do you think when people ask, “Are you gay?”
Johnny: I think everyone has the right to ask people anything. But the way I see things like coming out parties and being very theatrical and making such a big spectacle of things, I just don’t agree with making it a big spectacle. I was born Johnny Weir, whatever that entails. People can make their own assumptions and people can talk and people can chat, but it doesn’t change who I am and all of these things that contribute to my life. Being gay? I’m all for it. I love gay people, I love African-American people, I love lesbians, I love Asians. To me, there’s no importance to making a show out of something that’s just you. I promote Johnny Weir and I’m as ridiculous as they come, but that’s what I want people to see is that I’m Johnny Weir. You can label me however you want to, but there’s not one thing in my life that defines me except myself. Everyone has a right to question things.

OS: If you’re an athlete, you don’t have to call a press conference and say, “Yep, I’m gay,” to let the world know who you are, because actions can speak louder than words?
Johnny: Exactly. I don’t want the people watching figure skating and people in the world who know who I am, I don’t want them to relate to what I am, I want them to relate to who I am. It’s not like anyone goes up to Michael Jordan asking, “Hey, are you black?” For me, those kinds of things make a person up. I’ve never once asked a person if they are gay or black. I just ask what their name is, and that to me is something that’s very important. I have no shame in who I am, and who I go to sleep with is a very small part of who I am.

OS: You once wrote on your Web site that, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I don’t know you, but I’ve followed your career for several years. I saw Pop Star on Ice. I know lots of straight guys, and I’ve never seen any of them do the things I’ve seen you do . And it seems to me that you haven’t just shown us the cover of the Johnny Weir book, you’ve shown us several chapters. You’ve shown us the 10-page glossy photo insert. From everything you’ve shown us over, can’t we at least discern whether Barnes & Noble would put the book in the gay & lesbian section?

Johnny: My hope is that Barnes & Noble will put it in the best-seller section.

OS: How many sequins are too many?
Johnny: What kind of question is that? There are never too many.

OS: Athletes are known to have women throw themselves at the big-name stars. I know Johnny’s Angels are mostly middle-age housewives, but do you have women, and men, throw themselves at you?
Johnny: There have been a few occasions. There’s one Japanese lady who doesn’t throw herself at me, but she comes to my ice rink, she’ll live in the hotel near my ice rink for weeks at a time. There’s a Russian girl who does the same thing. I love my fans, but after the last Olympics I got pretty burned with people who sent death threats, and PETA was after my ass, and there were people who would show up and videotape me, there was a lady from Brazil who found out where I lived and sat at the end of my driveway. It’s scary, and I feel bad that that changed how I can be so open with my fans. Those people ruin it for everyone.

OS: What’s your favorite cocktail?
Johnny: A bellini.

OS: Favorite music artist?
Johnny: I have like three. I love Christina Aguilera, because she’s very talented and she’s never afraid to use that talent, never balks when people tell her to not try something, whether it’s dirty or whether it’s ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s-style music in her last album. I love Lady Gaga because she’s an original and she has some fun stuff to sing about. And there’s a Russian artist named Sergey Lazarev, and I find his voice very appealing. He has a range, he sings very well. I love music. I never go a second without listening to music.

OS: What has been the happiest moment of your life?
Johnny: It has to be one of those moments when you cry. There have been many, because I’m so emotional and such a diva at the same time. There was one moment, many years ago, when skating was going so well, and I was at a party, and lots of people were coming up to me, and we were having fun. I was pretty young, maybe 19. I was so happy because everything was going right. It wasn’t an event, I just felt so happy. And I cried. That was one moment I’ll never forget. And of course, walking into the Opening Ceremonies of the last Olympic Games. They announced the United States of America, and a very international crowd was cheering. The United States gets a lot of bad press, and I cried because I was so happy with what I had achieved in such a short time. When I started skating, I said I was going to make the Olympic Games. And to look back at when I was 12 and starting out, and to know that I had the drive and ability to finish something I set out to do, it made me so happy.

You can read Part 1 of our Johnny Weir interview here.

Be sure to check out Johnny at the Stars, Stripes and Skates event in Danbury, Conn., Sept. 26, 7:30pm.

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