Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage



Jim Verraros: From 'Idol' to now
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 653 times since Sat Nov 14, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

It may seem just like yesterday when Jim Verraros was among the finalists who performed on the very first season of the reality-competition show with the likes of Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson (who won).

However, it was actually 2002—and Verraros (who came out as gay that year) has certainly come a long way. Not only is he away from the Hollywood scene (after releasing albums and being in movies such as Eating Out), but Verraros—who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago—is now a part of the Chicagoland corporate world, and he couldn't be happier.

A recent conversation with Verraros covered everything from the then-unresolved 2020 presidential election to the Nov. 1 passing of fellow first-season Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin.

Windy City Times: As we speak, the presidential election has still not been decided. Are you a political junkie?

Jim Verraros: I think the last two presidential elections have put me in that zone. It's been challenging for me, personally. Of course, I remember 2016, when Hillary [Clinton] lost; I was miserable and defeated, and I just crashed—like many other people. The last four years have been just atrocious. I cannot imagine how millions of people voted for [Trump], but they did—which makes me realize that we have some work to do, as a country.

I don't have the answers, but I just know we have some healing to do. It's heart-wrenching that so many people feel they're not heard. As a white person, I feel it's our responsibility to speak up for the people of color in this country and this world, and I think a lot of people are comfortable in their bubbles while living their unchallenged lives. I know being responsible sounds cheesy, but I think that's what awakened me.

WCT: I've said that people vote their priorities, so people will side with Trump even if they feel that he's said horrible things because they're concerned with their own well-being and economy.

JV: That's a painful thing to hear.

WCT: It's a painful thing to say.

JV: I just hope we can move forward. Joe Biden is on the precipice of being elected, and he's going to have a shit-ton of work to do. Joe Biden wasn't my first choice, but he's the best choice for right now—and I want this country to be run by a good man, and I believe that he is.

WCT: I've been asking a variety of people one thing: If you could ask the current president one question—and be guaranteed to get the truth—what would that question be?

JV: "What are you so afraid of?" He's the most insecure, incompetent, egomaniacal person. Why is he afraid of being weak and vulnerable? Let's be honest: He used to be a Hollywood Democrat, so I don't understand. I don't [get] how evangelicals can embrace him when he's on his third marriage. In my heart of hearts, I don't think [Trump] gives a fuck about gay marriage; he has gay friends and, like I said, he was Hollywood all the way. I think he has played the part of a Republican and I think he milked it for all it's worth. Keep in mind that he didn't expect to win. I'll never forget the look on his face when he came out to greet his supporters; he was, like, "Holy fuck!"

I've never seen a time when people have been so mistrusting of factual information. He spent four years saying the media is fake. When you do that for a long-enough time, you gain control and power.

WCT: So have you totally left the Hollywood scene?

JV: Yeah! I arranged a Zoom call with eight of the 10 of us from Idol a couple of months ago; it was great to see everybody and I pretty much still talk with all of them. Obviously, we just lost Nikki McKibbin.

WCT: What do you remember about Nikki?

JV: I talked with her husband as soon as I found out [about her passing]. Nikki was like a mama bear to me. We were underdogs, and she was a mother figure to us. Even though she was just a few years older than me, I was 19 and she was in her mid-20s. She showed me that there was so much more to life than the bubble we were in and thank God for her. At that time, she was a no-bullshit girl who lived a tough life and did the best with what she had. She was just true to herself, and just so strong and authentic. She will be very, very missed.

WCT: You were always open about your sexuality, but the show did want to hide it back then, right?

JV: It did. This was 2002, so times were different back then. I had an online journal and I met a guy; the people with Idol found it and asked me to take it down. But someone had copied and pasted every single page of my journal and put it on a separate website, so it was out there. I never said I wasn't gay on the show.

WCT: You've spoken with Windy City Times on several occasions, including when I spoke with you in 2004. I remember being so concerned about you: You talked about the focus on body image and you mentioning that you wanted to be the center of attention whenever you walked into a room. How do you feel about yourself now?

JV: I don't feel that way now. I spent a chunk of my life being overweight so I felt I needed to be something different. Now I'm 37 and I've been divorced and now I'm engaged again.

Let's be honest: Sex always sells and being an attractive human being is always appealing. But I also think it's important to feel good about yourself and not giving a fuck about anything. But I've grown a lot since then. In 2004, I was 21; that was a very different time when I was just in L.A. and I was so insecure. Coming home was grounding to me.

WCT: Would you ever return to the Hollywood scene?

JV: Yeah, I would—but it would have to be on my terms. I will always love that world, but I'd have to be authentic. I just want to be me this time around.

WCT: And what would 37-year-old Jim Verraros tell 19-year-old Jim Verraros about life?

JV: Success does not mean fame. Everyone's definition of "success" is different, and you will find yours.

This article shared 653 times since Sat Nov 14, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

MUSIC (Colton) Ford tough: Singer is back and 'Stronger' than ever 2020-11-28
- Colton Ford has been an actor (in mainstream, off-Broadway and adult features) as well as singer, but he had see out of the spotlight for a few years—until now. Ford (who's openly gay) is back with ...

Gay News

'The Prom' out Dec. 11 on Netflix 2020-11-27
- The Prom—a musical-comedy film directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin (from their and Matthew Sklar's 2018 Broadway musical of the same name)—will be out on Netflix on Dec. 11. The ...

Gay News

New narrative podcast offers lesbian rocker slice of life 2020-11-26
- For audiophiles in search of punk rock tongue-in-cheek lesbian dramedy-driven narrative storytelling, look no further: "Tampon Rock" is here. The podcast, from Anthem and iHeart Radio, focuses on lesbian bandmates Deja and Chloe as they navigate ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ: Awards, 'Bebop,' Andy Cohen, Mariah Carey, Revry 2020-11-23
- The American Music Awards aired live Nov. 22 and some of the biggest names in music took home awards; Taraji P. Henson hosted. According to, Doja Cat won new artist of the year and Becky ...

Gay News

MUSICALS 1997 version of Anyone Can Whistle out Dec. 4 2020-11-17
- On Sunday, Dec. 4, Jay Records will release a 1997 recording of the musical Anyone Can Whistle, which originally had music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim as well as a book by Arthur Laurents. The production ...

Gay News

Theater community to offer online plays, musicals, dance, comedy for holidays 2020-11-10
--From a press release - Chicago, IL (November 10, 2020)— The Chicago theater community will produce a wide variety of online festive plays, musicals, dance and comedy offerings this Holiday season. Theatre venues in Chicago and across the world remain closed ...

Gay News

57th Street Art Fair to return next June 2020-11-10
- The 74th annual 57th Street Art Fair is slated to return June 5-6, 2021. The free event is the Midwest's oldest juried art fair, featuring nearly 200 artists, live music, kids' activities and a food court. ...

Gay News

The African American Arts Alliance announces 2020 Black Excellence Awards 2020-11-05
--From a press release - Chicago, IL—The African American Arts Alliance (AAAA) will host the 20th annual Black Excellence Awards, an evening celebrating Black artists, Black voices, and Black stories across artistic disciplines, on November 10, 2020 at 7pm. The 2020 ...

Gay News

American Blues Theater to present 19th production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago 2020-11-01
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — American Blues Theater will produce its 199h Annual Production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! from Frank Capra's film and directed by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside with musical direction by Michael Mahler ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Being Earnest 2020-10-29
- Playwright book and lyrics by Paul Gordon, music by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska At Skylight Music Theatre online at Tickets: $25. Runs through Dec. 31, 2020. Two things to remember when proposing to transform a ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Viola Davis, Tyler Posey, Elton John, Tegan and Sara 2020-10-26
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will premiere on Netflix on Dec. 18, a press release noted. The movie—based on the August Wilson play—will star Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman and Colman Domingo. In the film and ...

Gay News

'V for Vendetta' at Music Box Oct. 30. includes talk with Wachowski 2020-10-22
- The 15th-anniversary theatrical re-release of V for Vendetta, which now includes bonus content—a 13-minute, pre-recorded conversation with director James McTeigue and writer/producer Lana Wachowski—will run at the Music Box Theatre ...

Gay News

Jeannie Tanner releases inspirational song, art-inclusive video 2020-10-17
- Local singer-songwriter Jeannie Tanner has released her new single and video, "I Wanna Be the Change." According to a press release, the song was inspired by many of the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ...

Gay News

'Jagged Little Pill,' 'Moulin Rouge!' lead Tony nods 2020-10-15
- The nominations for the 2020 Tony Awards were revealed Oct. 15. The Alanis Morissette musical Jagged Little Pill led with 15 nominations, earning at least one nomination in every eligible category (including six for the show's ...

Gay News

Queen + Adam Lambert release first live album 2020-10-15
- Queen + Adam Lambert have released their first-ever live album, Queen + Adam Lambert: Live Around the World. The release is in CD, CD+DVD, CD+Blu-ray and vinyl formats. The set presents a compilation of concert highlights ...


Copyright © 2020 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 Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

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.