Billy Porter on the moment that changed the trajectory of his life
Billy Porter is someone who you call “one of a kind” and really mean it. You hear his voice, and you know it’s him. You see a fabulous hat coming down a red carpet, and you assume it’s him who’s wearing it. He’s truly the only Billy Porter out there, and he consciously makes it that way. Porter has been “the first” of several categories, if you will: the first openly gay black man to be nominated for and win an Emmy Award; the first man to play the iconic character of The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella; the first man to steal the spotlight on the Oscars red carpet by wearing a gown.
With all of these firsts, Porter paves the way for the second, third, fourth, and every instance following. He makes things possible for others.
This first Tuesday of December, Porter is paving the way for something else: giving back. The actor has partnered with PayPal for their 8th year of participating in Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving to those in need. This year, PayPal is expanding Giving Tuesday to all of the Tuesdays throughout the giving season, and hoping to ignite a movement throughout the entire year by doing so. Whatever amount you choose to donate, PayPal will match 10% of your donation. Through this partnership with PayPal and participating in Giving Tuesday, Porter is truly making things possible for people, yet again.
The moment that made anything possible for Porter himself? Perhaps one the most groundbreaking moments on in red carpet history: When he stepped onto the 2019 Oscars red carpet wearing a tuxedo gown, beautifully blending both masculinity and femininity. From that night on, Porter’s life would never be the same.
“That was the definitive moment of my life changing,” Porter tells HelloGiggles. “I call it B.O and A.O.—before Oscar, after Oscar. I knew that it was going to make a statement, [but] I didn’t know it was going to be the thing that literally changed the trajectory of my life forever. There will never be a description of me while I’m alive or after I’m gone that doesn’t include that moment. That’s significant, it’s really special, and I’m glad that I’m present enough to know that.”
Porter is no stranger to standing out on the red carpet. Aside from his Oscars gown, his Met Gala look—or shall we say, performance—will go down as one of the most legendary moments to ever grace the Met steps. Although his red carpet looks are always impressive, Porter’s approach to them is simple.
“It’s not brain surgery—we do it pretty quickly,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of pressure surrounding it, it’s supposed to be fun.”
Porter has worked with a stylist, Sam Ratelle, for about a year and a half now, and trusts that Ratelle knows him well.
“He understands what my vision and mission is, which is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up on the red carpet,” Porter tells HelloGiggles.
Well, mission accomplished—each time Porter makes an appearance on the red carpet, we’re wowed. His fashion sense is fun, joyful, and original. When asked to describe his personal style, Porter paused before responding with the perfect one-sentence summation.
“Free of the gender binary shackles that bind us all.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Fashion isn’t the only arena where Porter is free of gender binary shackles. He was recently cast as the Fairy Godmother in Sony’s upcoming live-action Cinderella film, marking the first man to take on this iconically maternal role. Porter calls it “the Whitney Houston part,” referring to the 1997 remake. He describes the upcoming version in which he stars alongside Camila Cabello and Idina Menzel as “a fairy tale for a modern audience.”
“These fairy tales have resonated for years for a reason, [but] the parable of them has to sort of morph in terms of where society is and how we’ve changed as human beings,” he tells HelloGiggles. “It’s a Cinderella for the Me Too movement and Me Too generation—and you can expect some really interesting ideas and takes on these characters that we know so well.”
We can’t wait to get to know Porter’s version of the Fairy Godmother. His plan for the role? “I hope that I can be fabulous and grand and amazing. That’s all I know.”
If we know one thing, it’s that Billy Porter is always fabulous, grand, and amazing. We doubt that will change any time soon.
The post Billy Porter on the moment that changed the trajectory of his life appeared first on HelloGiggles.