Ross Mathews came out in a big way on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Known as "Ross the Intern," he became a household name virtually overnight. He went on to be a regular correspondent for the show then tackled Celebrity Fit Club, as well as becoming a regular on Chelsea Lately. He landed his own show Hello Ross on E! and wrote a book called Man Up!: Tales of my Delusional Self-Confidence.
For a busy week in Chicago, he made an appearance at Macy's for a big gay celebration and, during the Pride Parade, Mathews married a lesbian couple on top of a float on behalf of Marriott International.
WCT spoke to the man with the outgoing personality before his hosting gig at Macy's department store.
Ross Mathews: Heyyy. I'm so happy to be here.
Windy City Times: You came from out of town to celebrate Pride.
RM: I did and just landed right now.
WCT: Thank you for taking time out to talk to me.
RM: Duhwe haven't talked in a while.
WCT: We talked when your book came out.
RM: Yes, I was last here in Chicago when I did a signing at Macy's. That was so fun and this is my first time back since then. I love Chicago.
WCT: Do you want to write another book?
RM: Yes. I loved writing the book. It is the most personal thing. You are in a room typing then people read it one day. It is just these thoughts inside of you and your own stories. I loved it. I loved the response when I meet someone who read the book because it is like you read my journal.
I have been trying to crack the code on what the next book will be and I finally cracked it so I started it.
WCT: Can you talk about it yet?
RM: It is not unlike what I am doing on my podcast, which is called Straight Talk with Ross Mathews. I call it, "Advice and LOLs from the gay best friend you wish you had and know you need." I'm like Dr. Laura, but higher-pitched. People call in and I give advice so it is not unlike that but of course there will be hilarious stories of my misadventures.
WCT: Congrats on the new RuPaul judging gig.
RM: How cool was that? Listen, I would watch RuPaul's Drag Race and talk at the television because I have an opinion and I love it. Twice they asked me on as a guest judge. Not to toot my tooter but I was good at it. I had always been flirting with the idea of making something more official but contractually I couldn't because daddy's gotta work. The first chance that I could I did it.
WCT: Are you permanently on there now?
RM: We are hoping to make it work. Luckily other jobs have come up but I would move mountains to be there.
WCT: Did you have a drag cast member that you particularly loved?
RM: Yeahall of them. I know that sounds so wishy-washy but the truth is, and I didn't expect it, but when you are sitting there it becomes much more than a hilarious show about a bunch of very talented drag queens. It is about people living their dream from all over the world suddenly on a sound stage in Hollywood they try to seize an opportunity. Sure it is funny and tongue in cheek but people are trying to realize a dream. I got invested.
WCT: How do you celebrate Pride?
RM: I'm lucky enough that I get to travel around and go to a bunch of Prides. I was just at Capitol Pride in Washington, D.C. I am in Tampa this week and here for Chicago's Pride.
For me, how I celebrate Pride is just being unapologetic 365 days of the year. I don't think it is enough to settle for tolerance. We should strive for a celebration and equality. I finally see it happening now. It is pretty cool.
WCT: What advice do you give for people coming out of the closet?
RM: The best advice I can give is there has never been a better time than 2015 to be LGBTQ, so congratulations! The other thing is I know from growing up in a town where they don't see people around who are like they are. I lived it. At the time I couldn't watch television and see someone living a happy gay or trans life it just wasn't represented. So now they can know that even if they don't see it right outside their window that there is a community out there. Not far from where someone is there is someone that will celebrate them with open arms they just have to find it.
WCT: Have you had fans reach out to you for being opening gay in the media?
RM: Yes, and it is nice to hear. I am happy to serve as that but it is not like I had a choice to not be openly gay. There was never a big closet door!
WCT: What celebrity are you obsessed with these days?
RM: I'm still trying to finish Orange Is the New Black right now. Everyone is obsessed with Ruby Rose. She's the new Justin Bieber. She looks just like him.
WCT: They met recently.
RM: I just saw that picture. I'm intrigued with her. I love Ariana Grande. When she was a judge on Drag Race, we spent all day together. In between takes, there is down time. She would sit there and sing little runs. I was getting a free Ariana Grande concert!
WCT: What other projects are you working on?
RM: The podcast is the most fun. I started it when Hello Ross and Chelsea Lately went away. I was so fortunate to put a pause on things and figure out what I wanted to do next. We have Drag Race and the second book plus another show we haven't told anyone about yet but it's very exciting.
The podcast is just about me keeping that connection. It is an unfiltered talking to the people kind of thing, which is what I want to do anyway. I did it just for me. I didn't promote it. I mentioned it on my social media. What started as a couple of thousand turned into 20,000, then 100,000. We just went to 300,000 and are now going to two days a week. It is free on iTunes or StraightTalkWithRoss.com .