Ten years after the debut of the life-altering movie that is Mean Girls, actor Daniel Franzese, who played openly gay high schooler Damian, has come out as gay.
Franzese, now 36, wrote a letter to his character that was published in IndieWire. He asks himself why it had taken him so long to come out as gay, saying that his portrayal of Damian actually set him back in Hollywood and in his own personal coming to terms with himself.
The whole thing is damn insightful and meaningful, but here’s a particularly telling excerpt about how Daniel’s career took an unexpected turn after he played Damian:
One time I wanted to audition for a supporting character in a low-budget indie movie described as a “doughy, blue-collar lug of a guy.” The role was to play the husband of an actress friend of mine who I had been in two movies and an Off-Broadway play with. She and I had even moved to L.A. together. I figured I was perfect for it.
They said they were looking for a real “man’s man.” The casting director wouldn’t even let me audition. This wasn’t the last time this happened. There were industry people who had seen me play you in Mean Girls but never seen me read in an audition but still denied me to be seen for “masculine” roles.
However, I did turn down many offers to play flamboyant, feather-boa-slinging stereotypes that always seemed to be laughed at BECAUSE they were gay. How could I go from playing an inspirational, progressive gay youth to the embarrassing, cliched butt-of-a-joke?
So, there it was. Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you. I became celibate for a year and a half. I didn’t go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay. I even brought a girl to the ‘Mean Girls’ premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard.
Why come out now, then?
It wasn’t until years later that grown men started to coming up to me on the street - some of them in tears - and thanking me for being a role model to them. Telling me I gave them comfort not only being young and gay but also being a big dude. It was then that I realized how much of an impact YOU had made on them.
Before you make the “too gay to function” joke, which I totally did before I finished reading the article, listen to what he has to say about it:
I hate it when people say I’m ‘too gay to function.’ I know you do, too. Those people are part of the problem. They should refrain from using that phrase. It really is only OK when Janis says it.
It takes some serious guts to be this open about the intermingling of your career and your personal life, especially when admitting that playing a beloved character in a classic movie has impacted you in a negative way. I have loads of respect for this man. Congrats, Daniel.
“Tina is a very hard worker. She set a goal and then she reached it.” - Jimmy Fallon
"Herman The German…" -Colin Quinn
"She’s a sprite with a Rommel battle plan.[…] Her true vice is cupcakes.”(Vanity Fair, 2009)
“Tina is not clay. When she got [at SNL she was kind of goofy-looking, but everyone had a crush on her because she was so funny and bitingly mean. How did she go from ugly duckling into swan? It’s the Leni Riefenstahl in her. She has such a German work ethic even though she’s half Greek. It’s superhuman, the German thing of ‘This will happen and I am going to make this happen.’ It’s just sheer force of will.” - Lorne Michaels
"[She is self-depreciating.] She’ll always see herself as that other, the thing she came from.” - Kay Cannon
“Rules are Tina’s Achilles’ heel in some ways. She’s half German, half Greek. That is just like loosey-goosey-crazy, and then you get, ‘Do the trains run on time?’ And she has her principles and she sticks to her principles more than anybody I’ve ever met in my life. Like that whole idea of, if you are in a relationship, there are deal breakers. There’s not a lot of gray area in being flirty with somebody. She’s very black-and-white: ‘We’re married—you can’t.’” - Jeff Richmond
“Deep talent, deep humor. She just floors me. Funny stuff comes out of her mouth so effortlessly in response to some mundane remark someone makes. Nothing changes on her face when she lets loose with these one-liners.[…] And with all that gift, Tina, off camera, is quite shy and I get shy around her.” - Jane Fonda
"She is just totally her own person and self-possessed, and just kind of straight-on. I just liked her because she has an intelligent sensibility, and she doesn’t compromise it. She’s exceptional. " - Lily Tomlin
"Tina Fey smells like Apples and Brilliance." - Bobby Moynihan.
"I’m still the kind of person, if I see someone cutting in line, it’s like, excuse me, what are you doing? I’ll get in a fight in, like, the Easy Spirit on the Upper West Side, on someone’s behalf. "
“I want to keep creating comedy that is, as my old improv teacher would say, at the top of our intelligence or higher. It’s easy to fall into the trap of just cranking out things that are good enough to sell.”
I love how almost all of these comments were about how funny Tina is and only one is about her appearance.
THANK! i’ve been waiting for this <3
Oh hey guess what HERO
TWENTY EIGHT THOUSAND NOTES.
Proud. So proud.
This is something a lot of people need to hear or see or read. Cause it’s truuuuuuuue
Asked by Anonymous
Andrew Russell at APA