Johnny Weir Never Leaves the House Without a Balenciaga Bag
By Denise Warner Posted Mar 11th 2010 04:15PM
Weir talked to PopEater about his show, his favorite skating costumes, and what his future holds after he announced he would not compete at the World Championships in Torino this year.
"I'm going to start writing my book, my life memoir, but only part one, obviously. I'm not old enough to do a life memoir. I want to get the story out there about how I grew up and my family and things because there was a lot of, you know, speculation and hate against me about what I represent and who I am. I wanted to tell my story so that everyone can sort of get it and get where I'm coming from, because nobody actually takes the time to learn anything about anyone anymore, they just make assumptions."
He also dished about his personal style when he's off the ice. "I never leave my house without a Balenciaga bag in whatever color," he tells us.
You were just in Los Angeles?
I was in L.A. for the Independent Spirit Awards and Elton John's Oscar party.
How were they?
They were really incredible. I mean, the amount of people that ran up to me and knew about the show and knew about me -- big stars like Elton John telling me he loved the show and watching me skate and perform and Kelly Osborne literally quoting the show to me. It was really funny, because being on a smaller channel, you don't really expect that as many people see it as you would hope, but Sundance Channel has really done a good job pushing the show and getting my name out there and so many people have been watching it. Jayma Mays saw it and Serena Williams says she's seen it and loves my skating and that's very cool. All these people that I admire and look up to and, you know, deserve my respect because they're all famous people. It was very cool.
How has the reaction been to your Olympic performance?
The amount of people - not just the people in L.A., but people everywhere who have supported me after the Olympics and said "You were robbed" and are so pleased with the way I skated. It's completely 360 degrees since the last Olympics, the reaction from people, so I'm really happy.
What has your experience with 'Be Good Johnny Weir' been?
I think the reality series is a great growing experience for me. Since I was young, I worked with my trainer, Priscilla Hill, by re-watching things I had done, by her filming my practice. I would re-watch it after and this show is kind of the same premise, except it's my videos. It's my home movies and I can go back and I can look at things and see what happened and how it could have been avoided and what kind of drama there was surrounding it, and that's a beautiful thing. I'm so excited that there's proof that I was once young and good at figure skating. When I'm 80 and I'm showing my grandkids what their grandfather used to do, I think it will be a very cool thing, and actually, shooting the show has been ... really fantastic and I'm so proud that I can get the kind of voice of a figure skater out there.
Would you consider filming more? I know there are only eight episodes.
We're definitely talking about doing another season, about how I either continue to skate or how I either transition from skating to skating another season, or transition from skating and competing and figure skating being everything in my life to a more normal life. If I decide to go to school, if I decide to do an internship with Rachel Zoe, if I do anything that's not figure skating, it'll be culture shock for me and I wanted to get that message out there too, because there are so many people who can relate to it and people changing from high school to college. You know, figure skating doesn't really get the respect it deserves as far as being a lifestyle and as being a job, and it is my job, it has been for a long, long time now and to change anything would be crazy, but I want to show people what it's actually like.
Are you thinking about changing careers?
It's definitely in my mind right now. I mean, at the Olympics, I gave two performances that I have nothing but pride for. I think I did the best I've ever done in my career. I was able to take the audience on the TV screen and in the building on this journey with me and that's beautiful. That's how you want your Olympics to go, but that's more of my personal feelings about it as an athlete, and my sporting feelings. I was so disappointed that I did the best I could and that I still was sixth place. It was barely sixth place, at that. So, I decided not to compete in the world championships later this month. I decided to stay home and re-work, and think about new music for new programs and think about new costuming and think about the next plan. If I do continue to skate, I want it to be for gold medals, I don't want it to be for sixth place. That's just going to be a decision I have to make when the time comes.
Was it a difficult to decide not to compete?
Oh my God, the decision not to compete in the World Championships was very difficult because after the Olympics, the World Championships is the biggest event for figure skaters. It's so hard to compete for the United States and actually earn a spot, as I know very well - last year I was left off the World Championship team - and I didn't want to give up the chance, but at the same time, I didn't want to go and skate the same that I did at the Olympics, or better, and not win a medal or come in in a low place. I mean, as an athlete, that's not what you expect and that's not what you want. So, more or less, I was going into the competition after the Olympics thinking, "It doesn't really matter how I skate," and that's not the right attitude to have going into a world figure skating championship. And I made a lot of people very angry. I made my coach very upset that I wasn't going to compete, I made my mother very upset that I wasn't going to compete, but it was a very personal decision for me ... I think it was the best decision I could have made for myself mentally.
So what are your immediate plans now?
I have no immediate plans. I'm going to start writing my book, my life memoir, but only part one, obviously. I'm not old enough to do a life memoir. I want to get the story out there about how I grew up and my family and things because there was a lot of, you know, speculation and hate against me about what I represent and who I am and I wanted to tell my story so that everyone can sort of get it and get where I'm coming from, because nobody actually takes the time to learn anything about anyone anymore, they just make assumptions, and that's always sad, so I want to have all the information out there so people can really make a good judgment about me. And I'm going to perform shows in Russia with Evgeni Plushenko at the end of this month and hopefully into April, I'll be performing in Europe, and then going through the spring and summer in Asia a bit, and that's as far as I've gotten, because, I mean, literally, it's a week and two days since the closing ceremonies at the Olympics, so to have a life plan right now is not a reality.
It must be pretty hectic with everything.
It's very hectic and very hard, because you do give up your life to figure skate and you dedicate every moment you're awake to being a good figure skater and being prepared for the Olympics and when that's over, it's kind of this huge let down, because all of your adrenaline dies, all of your feelings, they just die, they fall down, and that's natural. So, I'm trying to deal with that and move on.
Let's talk about your fashion. Do you have a favorite costume?
I actually really liked both of my costumes at the Olympic games. I really liked what they said about me and my personality. That short program with the pink tassel was very cool, I thought. It was ripped apart, pretty much, but it was very cool, and I loved the kind of royal silk corset on there with all the pink ... And for all-time, I think my swan costume from the 2006 Olympics short program was perfect. It was kind of what put me on the map for fashion, and then, of course, my Lady Gaga 'Poker Face' costume.
Since you design all of them, where do you get your inspiration?
I can be inspired by anything, really. If I see just a glimmer of a color on television or there's a wet trash bag laying in a gutter somewhere, really, the sky's the limit. I'm inspired by anything and everything.
Can you describe your off-the-ice style?
When I'm off the ice, I never leave my house without a Balenciaga bag in whatever color. I've gotten so many from my fans because they know I love them and of course I've gotten myself and saved up over the years to get myself a few and I have all the colors of the rainbow in Balenciaga. I can be wearing underwear and slippers to go out and still have a Balenciaga bag. I always wear skinny jeans. In winter, I always have a giant coat on, because I'm getting sick, which I am now. My personal style is that I dress for my mood, so if I'm really upset one day, I'll wear black, or if I'm happy one day, I'll throw on some yellow, and if I feel very good about my body, I'll wear very skintight things. I like to play with fashion. It's a way to play a different part of yourself.
You're a big fan of Lady Gaga. Are you excited for the premiere of her new video with Beyonce, 'Telephone'?
I'm so excited. I mean, I think it's the first time that I've ever understood that there's a countdown to when the video comes out. I think the video will be beautiful. I can't wait for the video for 'Teeth.' I love 'Teeth' from this album.
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