Wilson Cruz & Twitter @wcruz73
Photography by Xavier Albert @_xavieralbert
Grooming by Keon Cruz @keeocruz using MAC Cosmetics @maccosmetics
Styled by Andrew Pedro @andrewpedrostyles
Assistant Stylist by Iris Cartagena @naomycstyling
Creative Director x Editor Anessa London @stylezbylondonartistry
Interview by Ashira Provost @_ashiraprovost
1. Avante Magazine's foundation is based on being innovative- and pushing forward with everything you do; in what ways have you been innovative as a public figure and Actor this year?
Well, as a public figure and advocate, I believe it’s important, especially at this moment in our history, to continue to raise our voices and speak truth to power and not just for ourselves and for the communities we are a part of, but we must stand in solidarity with ALL marginalized communities. Nothing changes if I, as a gay man, do not recognize myself in the struggles of, say, women or undocumented people. So, while I continue to fight for my own marginalized communities, I am committed to being a passionate and vocal ally, knowing that those communities have and will stand up for me.
As an actor, I think working on two very high profile and respected series simultaneously was new for me and was an innovation for me personally! I learned a lot about myself and my capacity to live up to a challenge. But in terms of the work itself, both Thirteen Reasons Why and Star Trek Discovery were innovative projects to be a part of. In Thirteen Reasons Why, we really took the lives and struggles of young people seriously and helped begin a dialogue about those issues, including suicide and sexual assault. It has truly served as a catalyst for difficult conversations between young people and the adults that care for them at home and at school. On Discovery, we wanted to bring Star Trek to a new generation while honoring its groundbreaking past. That meant updating the look of it, serializing the storytelling and creating a cast of characters that actually reflect the culture we live in - including Star Trek’s first gay couple, played by Anthony Rapp and myself. Finally, after 52 years, there were gay main characters on the show and the fact that we are gay wasn’t the most important thing about us. And believe it or not, it was pretty innovative to have those character played by two openly gay actors!
2. Your acting spans plays, film, and TV ; if you had to choose one sector that you had to work in for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
Honestly, if you asked me, I couldn’t choose. I love them all and I long to continue to work in all of them until I’m done here. Whether it's theater, film, or television I’m looking for the truth in the moment and the story we’re trying to tell. Each of them presents their own specific advantage. In the theatre, I have the chance to have a communal experience LIVE and in the moment with an audience. It’s the immediacy of the magic that is so exhilarating. In film, it’s the ability to linger on a moment as it happens. I relish the dissection of a scene and the search for the truth in it. The gift of filmmaking is the time it affords you to create. In television, you move faster, but what you lose in time you gain in character development. The chance to create the life of this person under different circumstances, from episode to episode and if you’re lucky, from season to season. How does he change and grow? Does he? I count myself fortunate to be able to move from medium to medium. I feel each of them has strengthened me as an actor in so many ways.
3.You have also broken in as one of the first actors that played as an openly gay character, and wrapped up a season as a gay character on Star Trek! How do you feel about the state of LBGT within the film industry now versus the 90s? How do you feel about representation of the LBGT community in cartoons and animation?
There is no denying that in terms of LGBTQ people on television we’ve made great strides in the depiction of our lives. While the number of LGBTQ characters has risen significantly, television and the entertainment industry as a whole has work to do in terms of the diversity of those characters. I would love to see more LGBTQ people of color and Trans people on screen. In terms of studio films there is a lot further to go. Recently, GLAAD, released its annual Studio Responsibility Index and the results of the index are abysmal. Out of 109 studio films 14 of them had LGBQ characters and NONE of them included a Trans character. Clearly we have work to do.
4. Do you have anything in the works as an advocate for the LBGT community?
I continue to work closely with GLAAD when I can and when it’s appropriate and I’m planning to work more directly on LGBTQ youth issues. I have no children of my own, but I feel a great responsibility to this generation of young people. They are the children being raised by members of my own generation and I want to be sure I am working to leave them a far better world than the one I came into and, if I dare say, than the one we live in now.
5. What is one of the staple items in your closet that you wear on a daily?
I swear by my ALL SAINTS Matchstick denim. I have them in every color they make them. When I find a pair of jeans that are perfect for me I am loyal! HA!
6. What are your favorite clothing brands at the moment?
I know I mentioned it already, but I’m living for ALL SAINTS. Their jeans are amazing but their knitwear is everything. I love Rag & Bone, as well. I love a good suit from Theory and Ted Baker’s classic tailoring is always perfect when I need to take it up a notch. Recently, I’ve been introduced to Richard James, another British designer, and I’ve been enjoying wearing his suits on the red carpet. I enjoy dressing up!
7. What is one of the things you'd like to accomplish by 2020?
I think by 2020, it’ll be time to make myself a home. I’m looking forward to that. Who knows… maybe by then there will be someone to help me with it and share it. I can still dream