Billy Porter doesn’t clean. Correction: He doesn’t clean anymore. As an Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner (he only needs an Oscar to complete his EGOT), Porter doesn’t have the time he used to have to deep clean his house, so he asks for help. “I pay people to clean,” he says.
But just because Porter doesn’t clean on his own doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate a tidy home. As the spokesperson for Clorox Scentiva’s new Spring Queening Sweepstakes (which offers more than 100 prizes, including $10,000 and Swarovski crystal-encrusted products), Porter understands what a germ-free environment can do for one’s mental health.
“What I loved about this campaign was the focus on how having a clean space helps you declutter your mind,” he says. “It’s more about self-care. I just loved that perspective.”
With a busy year ahead, that clean space to come home to will be especially useful for Porter to destress. Two days before he started filming Pose season 3 (Ryan Murphy’s FX series for which won Porter his first Emmy in 2019), Porter sat down with StyleCaster to talk about the upcoming season, his role as the Fairy Godmother in Camila Cabello’s live-action Cinderella and why he had to respond to parents who criticized him for wearing a dress on Sesame Street.
On how the new live-action Cinderella reflects the “current world”
“The whole perspective of Cinderella is shaped by our current world where women have their own agency and women are powerful in their own right and they don’t need to be associated with a man to have that happen. It’s a Cinderella for that era.”
On playing a male Fairy Godmother
“The Fairy Godmother is a man. I don’t think there is anything else that needs to be different. It’s a man. That’s it! And it’s the Fairy Godmother. The Fab G. The Fairy Godmother. They don’t change it. It speaks to the gender conversation, moving away from masculine and feminine constructs and embracing this idea that we’re all somewhere on the spectrum.”
On the first time he met Camila Cabello on the set of Cinderella
“I’ve only had four days [working] on it, but she’s amazing. She’s a sweet girl. She’s smart and talented. This is her first film, and she’s bright-eyed and like a sponge, taking it all in. I met her last Sunday. We had choreography rehearsal. She’s a regular normal person, there with her mom and her assistant.”
On why he doesn’t worry about his character’s direction in Pose season 3
“It’s actually been nice to not worry about that and let the people who are in charge of that, do that and tell that story. I really trust them implicitly. The people who have lived it. The people whose story it is are the helm telling it. I feel safe and comfortable. I just got the first two scripts and they’re amazing. We have a lot to look forward to in season 3.”
On why he chose to wear his Christian Siriano dress from the Oscars on Sesame Street
“Sesame Street has always been there to teach children the ways of the world. They asked for the Oscars dress. I’m singing a song with the puppets, talking about friendship. It really pushes the conversation that there are different people on this planet. That’s what it’s about. How people respond to me is none of my business. God bless them. This is a free country. You can respond however you want. But my message is about love. My message is about peace. My message is about respecting everyone’s humanity.”
On why he responded to One Million Moms’ criticism of his Sesame Street outfit and claims he tried to “indoctrinate children to the LGBTQ lifestyle”
“They’re conflating me wearing a dress with me molesting their children. There needs to be a response to that. I don’t respond online very often. But there needs to be a response to that because that’s the conversation we actually need to have in public. This idea that the trigger points that allow for people to not actually understand what’s going on. Me wearing a dress does not have anything to do with your children.”
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One of the highlights of my life has been the opportunity to sing on the set of @sesamestreet with my new pal, Penelope the penguin. Together, we sang about the possibilities of new friendships with those who may not be exactly like us. I know people are all up in arms about me wearing the gorgeous custom @csiriano tuxedo dress that I wore at @theacademy awards in 2019 for the upcoming season. If you follow me, however, you know the impact it had. The emails, DMs, and messages of good will I received that day (and continue to receive) from parents and their children who have been bullied all over the world and desperately need to see someone like me, being their authentic selves on mainstream media, is far more important than anything #onemillionmoms could ever say. Friendship, kindness and inclusivity shall triumph. And often, it simply starts by saying hi. #sesamestreet #season51 🐧 🤵🏿@pbs . . Wearing custom @csiriano Styling by @sammyratelle
On how he was almost the host of HBO Max’s upcoming voguing competition series, Legendary
“I was supposed to be the host. We couldn’t get our schedules together. It’s something I’m looking forward to. It looks like fun. It’s sort of the real version.”
On the criticism Jameela Jamil faced after she was announced as a judge on series despite not having a background in ballroom
“Who? I don’t know who that is. Who’s Jameela Jamil? I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know who she is. I’m not sure who she is.”