What’s the idea behind the title of your first book, Man Up!? What does the term “man up” mean to you?
Man Up! is about celebrating who you are and embracing what makes you different. So many people hate what makes them different. If you use what makes you stand out from a crowd, amazing things can happen. Not to be a total cheese ball, but I could’ve really hated myself, being this big gay cartoon, or a high-pitched person. I just said, you know what, I like me. I love it! I’m embracing it fully. Because I did that, people noticed me.
How was your coming out experience?
I write about it in the last chapter in the book. I had a positive experience. My parents were super kind and loving. I write about how it happened and I called my mom and said if anyone else is going through this, I want them to hear your advice. So I put her advice in the book, and I think it’s one of the best chapters in the book. It’s a must-read for any parent whose children are coming out or they know that their children are gay and want to help them come out.
The inspiration for the cover of your book came from elementary school memories, when your class released balloons into the universe with all your hopes and dreams. What would you send off to the universe today?
When I was writing this book, it occurred to me that this book is the biggest message I could send off into the universe. When I got a book deal, I could’ve written a bitchy, trashy, celebrity-tell-all, red-carpet-secrets-revealed kind of thing. But that’s not what I do. I wanted to tell a sweet story about someone coming to terms with themselves and also funny stories about this oddity in this very mainstream pop culture world, a sort of fish out of water, swimming upstream but surviving. So that would be the message that I would send out on a big balloon if I could. This book is like a big balloon.
Your debut talk show, Hello Ross, premieres this fall. What can audiences expect from it?
My perspective is that I love pop culture, but there are so many shows that chew out pop culture. I wanted to create a show that says you love it, I love it, let’s talk about it. So we’ll be a highly interactive talk show. When I have a guest, I’ll interview them and then I’ll be in the audience and they can ask the celebrity questions. We’ll Skype people in from all over the country. They can ask the celebrity questions.
Is your partner, Salvador, usually your stylist?
Yes! Salvador is always my stylist. He dresses celebrities and a bunch of people, but he always styles me for all the red carpets and events. He’s going to be my stylist for the talk show.
Have you ever disagreed on a style or fashion choice?
You know, sometimes I veto some things. But usually he tells me to shut up and wear it. He always knows better. He’s never wrong. It’s annoying.
If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
I would want to be one of my dogs. I have one malti-poo mix and one Chihuahua. They have THE life. THE life. They eat better than I do. They go to the doctor more than I do, they go to the dentist more than I do. They have more time off than I do. They have more clothes than I do.