Johnny Weir Tweaks Rivals, Talks Next Olympics and Being Called Ma'am
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jan 11th 2011 02:47PM
Johnny Weir, the bad boy of ice skating whose outrageous costumes and androgynous vibe has gotten him lots of ink, has spilled some ink of his own. He's out with a memoir entitled 'Welcome to My World.' In it he discusses the catty world of ice skating, his deep love of fashion and, surprise, finally reveals that he's gay. The lively and loquacious star chatted up PopEater about a range of topics, including his chief rival, Evan Lysacek ("I find nothing really appealing about him"), why he's seriously considering the 2014 Olympics (its location, which Sarah Palin can see it from her house) and facing prejudice for how he looks ("I've had five days of stubble and still get called ma'am").
Wow, the ice-skating world is really bitchy and petty.
Yeah, it's very intense, and when you're constantly going up against an army that's basically a brick wall, you have to find some resolve and find a way around the wall, so that's sort of been my whole career. Trying to find a way to outsmart people and while there is a huge army, they aren't always the cleverest, so you can definitely outsmart them and outwit them. But ultimately they have the control over who's going to win. You have to give up a lot of your dreams and wishes in figure skating if you want to be an individual and be different because you will not always be judged fairly because you are a little different.
Must be pretty devastating.
For me it's upsetting, of course, that I wasn't able to be an Olympic champion, and I've made a lot of mistakes myself, so I can't blame all of my failures on somebody else. But it would have been easier to constantly have support and love from the people who were in charge of my sport, but I never got tired of fighting. I had to come to terms with the fact that it's much better to do things your own way and be happy with what you were actually able to do. In a subjective sport you can't always win first, and I'm not a person who likes to play games, who wants to be a cookie-cutter image of an American athlete. I have my idea of what art is and what strength is and what athleticism is, and my greatest achievement is I was able to show that to the world no matter who said no.
Your rival was Evan Lysacek. Do you two give each other stink eye when you see each other?
I actually haven't seen Evan since the spring. I was in LA at the Soho House, and he was also there, so we had a minor run in. We've been catty over the years with each other. There's been this rivalry that originally was fabricated by the U.S. Figure Skating Federation trying to sell tickets to events, and then it became a full-fledged thing. I said some s**t about him; he said some s**t about me. In real life I know very little about him, and he knows very little about me. We've never really made an effort to get to know each other because we were competitors. I've got no bad feelings toward him. Of course, I'm jealous that he's an Olympic and world champion and I'm not. But it ends there. I find nothing really appealing about him to get to know him outside the world of figure skating.
PopEater's Rob Shuter chats with Johnny on his HDNet show, 'Naughty But Nice With Rob' >>
You came out in this book.
I was never in.
Yes, it's not really a big shock. Why did you wait until now to state the obvious?
I didn't want people to think I was playing any type of card. I hate it when people go on TV and they play a card like, 'Oh I'm Jewish,' or 'I'm black,' or, 'I'm a woman, and I can't get the same fair advantages in business as a man.' While some of those things may be true, I hate it when people rest on that. Being gay was about as much a choice as being born male or being born white. I don't have a parade for being white or having a penis, so I never understood why I should have a big coming out situation. While being gay is a part of my life and who I am, it's definitely not as important as other people think it should be or people tend to think that it is.
Are you dating anyone now?
The closest thing I have to dating right now is my relationship with my manager Tara and my relationship with Boeing airplanes. Of course, I wish I had somebody to call my own. I wish I had somebody to come home to, but I'd be a horrible boyfriend and an even more horrible lover because I'd fall asleep.
Are you going to compete in the next Olympics?
I'm thinking about it. It's a huge commitment. I've done it twice; I know what it takes. I'd have to completely cut out all of my side projects: the song, the book, the TV show, the stage spectacular I'm working on. I'd have to live figure skating. Also the next Olympics will be in Russia, which is an extremely important place to me. I know I'd be welcomed to Russia in a hero's fashion, and that's all very, very appealing. It'll be a difficult road if that's what I choose.
Any celeb you haven't met that you'd like to meet?
I'd like to meet Hugh Jackman. I want to dance with him on a stage.
Hate to tell you this, but all the gays say that.
OK, there's a singer named Jonathan Groff from 'Glee.' We're two kids from Amish country, Pennsylvania, who somehow made it in the grand scheme of things. I'd love to meet him.
Did you get picked on when you were younger?
Absolutely. I got called faggot and homo and all the kinds of dirty names you can imagine in school. I'm stronger than that. I always feel sad when there are people out there not strong enough to deal with small-minded idiots who probably won't go anywhere. But the world is a very ugly place, and you've got to keep your chin up and move forward.
Do you still encounter prejudice?
I get called ma'am, but that's because I look like a woman! (Laughs) I've had five days of stubble and still called ma'am in Barney's. That's just my life, and I accept it and love it. I love the way I look. I love my body.
Would you faint if Karl Lagerfeld designed a skating costume for you?
If Karl Lagerfeld designed anything for me I would definitely have a warming sensation in my home entertainment system, and it would be piddle trickling down my leg. But something very cool actually happened. Christian Louboutin has designed me a pair of ice skates.
Stop! Will they have a shiny red bottom?
Of course they will have a shiny red bottom.
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