Brian J. Smith, star of Netflix’s cult hit show “Sense 8” made a lot of headlines yesterday after announcing that he was gay.
The actor made a splash as the cover star of the December edition of Attitude Magazine, in which he opened up about growing up in a small town in Texas and the effect that had on his sexuality.
“Forget about any LGBTQ union or groups. There was absolutely nothing. I was completely alone. I heard all the names: pussy, faggot,” he said.
Brian details being incredibly self-aware about how he carried himself as he walked through the halls of his school, being extra careful not to do anything that would reveal his sexuality to his classmates. Unfortunately this story is very familiar to a lot, and is an experience that many within the LGBTQ community can relate to.
“I could never be who I was. I was constantly having to check myself and make sure I wasn’t looking at someone too long or making someone feel uncomfortable,” he explained. “I had to be very, very careful about telling people the truth about myself. It still reverberates. A lot of my work is about that. The things that move me as an actor are those echoes that come up.”
Acting provided an escape for Smith, and so he decided to pursue it professionally. At the age of 30, he came out to his parents who were extremely accepting, to his surprise.
“When I came out to my parents they were wonderful,” the actor explained. “They said they were just waiting for me to say something. They were a lot more advanced than I gave them credit for. I think that’s when I became OK with it, too. Just in terms of being, ‘Oh that’s the world, it’s not as dangerous as I thought it was’”
Smith is most popular for his role as Will on “Sense 8,” a show many feel was cancelled before its time. Nevertheless, the show has developed something of a cult following and is extremely popular within many circles online. It was during the filming of “Sense 8” that everything clicked in place for Smith, who said he was “so relaxed” on set.
“I thought, ‘Finally, I can just be myself, I don’t have to put on airs for any of these people’.”
The actor stripped down and posed shirtless for a series of photos showing off his ripped bod, as an added value of sorts.
So, what would current day Brian J. Smith say to that lonely 10 year old growing up in Texas?
“I just would hug him and say ‘It’s OK’,” he said. “There weren’t enough people there to say to me: ‘You don’t need to be someone different, you don’t need to change who you are’. What that kid needed was somebody to pick him up and say, ‘You’re perfect as you are, it’s OK’.”
Watch a featurette featuring Smith getting wet and opening up below.