Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor



Jai: Queer Eye on the Future

This article shared 4083 times since Fri Oct 1, 2004
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

By Emmanuel Garcia

Right now, Jai Rodriguez is the Culture Vulture on Bravo's hit show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but soon he'll be rock'n your iPod with his new studio album.

Although it might seem clichéd for Hollywood celebrities to head to the recording studio, Jai was already well on his way in developing his music career when he joined the other Queer Eyes, unlike some other Hollywood celebrities.

Long before the show won an Emmy for reality programming, Rodriguez was dreaming of stardom on Long Island.

At an early age, he began doing community theater and church performances. He attended the exclusive Boces Cultural Arts Center, where he studied Musical Theater.

This led to his critically acclaimed performance as Angel in Rent on Broadway, as well as parts in The New Guy for Revolution Studios and All My Children on ABC.

While performing on stage and screen, Jai created his own cabaret show at XL in NYC and began recording his first studio album. Producers for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy took notice at this show, and they signed Rodriguez to bring his cultural know how to the Bravo network. The show quickly became Bravo's highest-rated show, spawned many international imitators, and turned Rodriguez and his Queer Eye colleagues into a cultural phenomenon.

Rodriguez is hoping for similar success with his first album. The first single, titled 'Love Is Good,' has given fans a preview of what to expect from the album. But, Jai promises that the album is full of surprises.

With an Emmy Award-winning hit show on Bravo, Jai Rodriguez—actor, singer, and dancer—is determined to finish what he started. He took a break to converse with me about the definition of culture and his role in ours.

Emmanuel Garcia: The name of this magazine is Identity. How do you identify?

Jai Rodriguez: I identify because I think one's identity is so important. One should never be afraid of their own personal identity; they should always be true to their personal style, personality, and views.

EG: Oct. 11, 2004 is National Coming Out day. Describe your most important coming-out experience.

JR: The fact that I can look at someone in the eye and know who I am and hopefully that can give people the courage to come out or be true to themselves in whatever situation they may be in. My best coming-out experience is every time I hope I can help anyone with my story or how I can live my life if they are contemplating doing the same.

EG: This magazine focuses on minority gays and lesbians. How was your coming-out experience impacted by your culture?

JR: I think the fact that I am on a show that is so popular ... has bridged some outside stereotypes and anger. Also, showing that I can be successful outside of Queer Eye with my theater and recording shows—a value to my community. Contributing to the greatness is what helps with my Latin culture.

EG: What advice do you have for minorities who are struggling with coming out?

JR: Keep true to yourself and always remember to love yourself. Also, remember to remember where you came from. Those roots are important.

EG: How did Queer Eye for The Straight Guy get started? Did you audition?

JR: I was called in for an audition for what I was told was a makeover-type show. Little did I know that it would turn into something bigger than that! So, I got called into a room with a long table, and there were several people at it and they started nailing me with questions and dialogue to see if I could keep up. Sitting at that table was Carson and Ted as well as several writers and producers for the show. It was a crazy experience, and I walked out of it that I didn't get it [he was later added]. Was I surprised!

EG: What role did you have in developing Queer Eye? Did you impact the format of the show?

JR: At first my role was so undefined. How do you define culture? Then, I started taking note to what I was doing and started to study my role to make it more of what it is today. I feel since I became more confident with who I was on the show my role became more defined and later I began to have more face time.

EG: How has filming the second season of Queer Eye been different than the first season?

JR: I think I know what I am doing more with the guys that come on the show. I also feel like I show myself in different lights and people are going to see more of who I am. However, there is so much more to me than the show, as I am a singer and performer, which is hard to translate on a show like Queer Eye.

EG: Do you get along with the other Queer Eyes? Are you friends?

JR: Yes! We are together so much in our jobs that outside of work is a lot like work because we do a lot of appearances ... to promote the show. The guys are all great friends.

EG: What does 'culture' mean to you?

JR: Culture means for me to express and be aware of something that is outside of what a person may be used to. Get out of your comfort zone and discover things outside your own personal world, and then you will know what culture is.

EG: How has Queer Eye for the Straight Guy changed your life?

JR: It has given me the appreciation for being where I am today. It has given me the opportunity to help people and also bridge people's prejudices from gay to straight, color to color, etc.

EG: Has being a celebrity been what you expected it to be?

JR: Am I a celebrity? I sometimes forget that status is where I am. I love my friends, and I spend time with friends and family. And when people treat me as a celebrity, I am blessed. [I'm] not sure what I really expected as it came so fast.

EG: You started out as a singer/ dancer, and you now have the opportunity to showcase that talent. What can we expect from your new album?

JR: I'm writing a lot and getting to know who I am as an artist. A lot of people would think that I would just release a dance record, but my interests are far beyond that. As I love dance, I also love R&B, rock, and fusion. I think when people hear it they will be pleasantly surprised.

EG: Who were your musical influences?

JR: Anastacia, Justin Timberlake, Gavin Degraw, [and] Stevie Wonder.

EG: Will you be touring?

JR: Hopefully in the near future.

EG: Growing up did you imagine you would have such an influence on American culture?

JR: No. I dreamt of Broadway, but my experiences have far exceeded my dreams.

EG: Are there any other projects that you are interested in or currently working on?

JR: Other than my record and theater, I hope to be getting into film.

EG: What is your favorite quote?

JR: 'Remember where you came from and use it in your life, every day.'

EG: Why?

JR: Fame can come and go, but your roots will always be with you.

For more Jai Rodriguez visit

This article shared 4083 times since Fri Oct 1, 2004
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Netflix, Kal Penn, Dennis Rodman, 'The Voice,' 'Euphoria' 2021-11-28
Video below - Terra Field—one of the Netflix employees who organized the walkout around Dave Chappelle's comedy special The Closer—has resigned from the streamer, Deadline reported. Field, along with B. Pagels-Minor, organized an ...

Gay News

TV JoJo Siwa in finale of 'Dancing with the Stars' and the winner is… 2021-11-23
- Queer social-media and reality-show figure JoJo Siwa made history on this season of Dancing with the Stars by being part of the series' first same-sex couple (with partner Jenna Johnson)—and the twosome made it all the ...

Gay News

Activist projects names of trans dead on Netflix HQ 2021-11-21
--From a press release - LOS GATOS — On the Trans Day of Remembrance, the names of trans people who died this year were projected onto Netflix's Silicon Valley headquarters. The words of light were visible from Winchester Boulevard, over the ...

Gay News

TV 'General Hospital' star blasted for anti-trans post [UPDATE] 2021-11-08
- Ingo Rademacher, a star of ABC's General Hospital since joining the show in 1996 as Jasper "Jax" Jacks, has been slammed by castmates for posting a transphobic social-media message, Deadline noted. Rademacher had previously been known ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-11-08
- "Of course I have. I'm an actor, for f**k's sake!"—Tom Hardy, when asked if he's had sex with men. Good to know. Sherri Shepherd is having a busy fall. She kicked off October by returning to ...

Gay News

Trans Netflix employees file labor suit 2021-10-31
- Two transgender Netflix employees have filed labor charges against the streaming giant in the wake of the Dave Chappelle controversy concerning his special The Closer, alleging the company retaliated against them for speaking out against the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Non-binary actor, holiday TV specials, John Waters, Grammys 2021-10-31
Video below - Non-binary actor E.R. Fightmaster (TV's Shrill and Work in Progress) is joining the cast of ABC's long-running medical drama series Grey's Anatomy as a recurring member: Dr. Kai Bartley, the show's first non-binary doctor, ...

Gay News

THEATER Melissa Gilbert joins 'Rehab' cast with Dan Butler 2021-10-25
- Melissa Gilbert—an Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actor, director, producer and New York Times best-selling author known for her role on TV's Little House on the Prairie—will join the cast of the upcoming world premiere of When ...

Gay News

'Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets' LGBTQ+ Representation in the Media' panel Nov. 4 2021-10-21
--From a press release - In recent years LGBTQ+ people have increasingly seen representations of themselves, celebrations of their lives and stories, and coverage of LGBTQ+ issues across media channels. This has led to a worldwide rise in understanding, cultural acceptance, ...

Gay News

Celebrities support trans employees in Netflix walkout with video 2021-10-20
- As the Netflix walkout in response to the company's continued support of Dave Chappelle's special The Closer was underway at the streamer's Los Angeles headquarters Oct. 20, a video that includes activists and Netflix talent alike ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Superman, TheWrap, Oscar Wilde, Billy Porter, Cher, 'Dragula' 2021-10-17
- The ongoing comic Superman: Son of Kal-El, by writer Tom Taylor and artist John Timms, launched in July and saw Jon Kent officially take up the mantle of the Man of Steel now that his father, ...

Gay News

Jury selection in Smollett trial starts Nov. 29 2021-10-15
- The Jussie Smollett saga continues. Almost three years since out actor Jussie Smollett (TV's Empire; the film Alien: Covenant) was allegedly attacked in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, Cook County Judge James ...

Gay News

PBS to air queer documentary 'Things We Dare Not Do' Oct. 25 2021-10-12
- American Documentary | POV announced the national broadcast premiere of Things We Dare Not Do (Cosas que no hacemos), the second feature film from Mexican director and cinematographer Bruno Santamaría, as part of POV's 34th season. ...

Gay News

Netflix suspends trans employee who tweeted about Chapelle special 2021-10-12
- Netflix suspended a transgender employee who criticized the new Dave Chappelle stand-up special The Closer, writing on Twitter that Chappelle's jokes were harmful to transgender people and the LGBTQ community, NBC News noted. The company denied ...

Gay News

MOVIES Colman Domingo to star in Bayard Rustin biopic 2021-10-09
- LGBTQ+ actor Colman Domingo—who has been in movies such as Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Candyman, and TV shows ranging from Fear the Walking Dead to The Big Gay Sketch Show—has landed the lead role the ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.