Harold is afraid to out himself....as a sraight man. The impossibily
gorgeous 31-year old plays Brian Kinney, a smokin'- hot sex
fiend who beds five men a week on Shotime's analpositive, gay
sitcom Queer as Folk. Since the show began, Harold has given
millions of hungry gay men (and women)a delicious taste of his
naked body-we've seen scrotum and cotton-candy lips. He's gotten
head in a nightclub, devirginized a sweet 17-year-old boy, and
shoved his tongue down dozens of men's throats--some of the
most graphic guy-on-guy action ever seen on TV (Shaving Ryan's
Privates not included).
So the first real question I ask
the rising star, when we met on a brisk afternoon at a quaint
wine bar in the West Village, was, appropriately, "Gay
or straight?" He takes a bite of his goat cheese panini
and points to my tape recorder, motioning for me to shut it
off. We sit in silence. He turns his head away, rests his square-toed
brown boots on the window ledge, and contemplates.
can't figure out what to do with this question. Most gay men
I work with assume i'm straight, so...." More silence.
He sips his merlot and eventually continues. "It's funny.
No, it's just...trying to answer this question is hilarious."
"But you didn't answer," I probe. More silence. "I'm
straight. I'm begrudgingly revealing it. I guess it's just that
I was thinking which publication should I reveal this to,"
he finally admits, as if being straight is a crime. He's also
Harold's a total guy's guy. He's wearing black Levi's,
a knit-wool hat with a cobra snake patch, a black V-neck sweater,
a leather cuff bracelet, and a fierce tattoo on the inside of
his middle right finger that reads "Resist." He won't
discuss the marking. "Don't talk about that."
does, however, talk lovingly about his pickup truck ("I
can finally afford to pay for it," he says). Before his
big break on cable, he spent three years doing odd jobs, construction
work and carpentry in Los Angeles. He went to American University
for a year-and-a-half on a soccer scholarship. He's obsessed
with Italian motorcycles. And maybe it's the bong hit he confessed
to doing before out interview or his Southern upbringing--he's
a good ol' Atlanta boy--but he has a mellow, refreshingly laid-back
quality that reminds me of Matthew McConaughey.
puffs on an American Spirit as he speculates, upon my urging,
the difference between kissing men and kissing women: "Kissing
a man...it's more animalistic. There's a primal drive with men
and you can feel that the second you start kissing. It's much
more visceral than kissing a woman. Women take thier time. There's
more play. It's not a mad dash to get your rocks off. And kissing
men has made me appreciate kissing women more. I have kissed
men who, even after they just shaved, have the roughest skin.
I've gotten the worst fuckin' burns on my face."
most straight men would probably go on about how it's difficult
to make out with guy after guy after guy, even for the sake
of thier art, Harold is very "whatever" about the
whole thing. "For a while, the gay thing seemed like such
a big deal. But now, I don't think it is. It's just a comedy-drama
about people who live in the United States. It's a slice-of-life.
I play a character--thats it. But I was well aware of gay lifestyle
before the show. I've been hit on in a really strong way by
gay men who've tried to convert me, and a lot of my heroes are
gay. William Burroughs. Lou Reed. Well, I guess Lou Reed is
bi. The point is, it's 2002, gay life is no longer that shocking."
some of the things television's new boy toy witnesses on the
set are rather--um--shocking. "The shit that goes on! I
could be walking by the set, eating a doughnut, and there's
30 gay men rolling around. It's actually hysterical," he
says, adding that he doesn't mind being objectified for the
camera. (In one scene, Harold slowly strips off his clothes,
pours water on his head, and asks a strapping young lad if he's
coming or going...or coming and then going....or coming and
"I think it's good that men are being objectified
because since forever women have been objectified. We're flipping
the coin because things have been lopsided on TV and film for
so long. Another good point to the show is that it portrays
men's sensuality. They're not just all about sex and only sex,"
He's right. The show isn't only about sex.
It's also about--well--oral sex, which makes us happy as folk.
Photography: Tony Duran for Art Mix The Agency,
Styling: Randy Smith for Art Mix The Agency, LA
Steve Daviault for Link, NY
Picture on stairs:
Shirt and tie by D&G Dolce & Gabbana
TV: Jeans by Helmut Lang, Belt by Leather Rose, NY
on matress: Vest and jeans by Helmut Lang