Q&A Quickie: Reichen Lehmkuhl, On to the Next Adventure
Model, author, actor, activist, jewelry designer, and former Air Force pilot Reichen Lehmkuhl — whew! — has somehow found the time to make a special appearance Friday, Sept. 14, at Six Flags Great Adventure’s ninth annual Fairgrounds LGBT Day, billed as "the largest private LGBT event in the United States." In addition to DJs and nightlife personalities, the Amazing Race winner will share the spotlight at the New Jersey event with cast members of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Speaking of Housewives, after two seasons on Logo's now-cancelled "gay Housewives" series The A-list: New York, Lehmkuhl reveals the next big step in his career — and details the many perils of being a reality TV gaylebrity.
Gay.net: I hear that this will your first trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. What are you most looking forward to about the event?
Reichen Lehmkuhl: I'm interested in seeing Mark Nelson, our producer, fit into the tea cups. Oh wait, those are at another place. OK, so I'll be looking for some other comparable ride to fit him into. But really, now that I'm living in L.A., I'm excited about a trip back to the East Coast to hang with friends at the best place to hang with friends — Six Flags! I look forward to wholesome fun like this. I'm a pilot and a rollercoaster nut, so I'm about to have crazy fun. I like anything that can pick me up and move me as fast as possible.
Have you prepared any responses for all the pick-up line variations on "Hey, wanna ride?"
If we're at an amusement park, I'm going to say "yes!" before I know what I'm being asked to ride, but now that you mention it, you're right... I better calm down and be aware of what I'm being offered from strangers to avoid any misunderstandings.
Melissa Gorga, Joe Gorga, and Greg Bennett from The Real Housewives of New Jersey are also appearing at the event. Are you a big RHoNJ fan?
I don't really get a chance to watch TV, but I've been lucky enough to meet everyone from the cast, and they have all been really nice people and really nice to me. As for Greg, he's as sweet and cool as can be. Someday I'd like to get on one of those shows. Everyone keeps telling me it'll be great exposure, which can only be a positive experience, right? Anyone?
To start making nice with the natives, tell me some of your favorite things about New Jersey.
1. I spent some time in New Jersey for training when I was in the Air Force, and I loved it. 2. I know an amazing couple, who happen to be lesbians and who happen to live in Morristown, NJ. They invite me for weekend visits and I never want to leave their home. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. 3. I also discovered the fact that the majority of the cast of Jersey Shore is actually from Staten Island, NY. I wonder if New Jersey wants that fact to be known or not.
In recent years you've branched out into music and theatre. Now that The A-list: New York is over, what's next?
As much as I will miss the illustrious and fabulous life of an "A-list reality star," being public, being subject to the small but progressive, loud and proud, "gay-hate and take-down-other gays" judgment machine, and being the target of gossip from the flawless corps of amazingly accomplished, secure, sassy, role model bloggers — and don't forget the very brave commenters on those blog stories; all winners — of the gay media hate-o-sphere... the dignity department of my soul tells me that it's time for a new direction. I will, of course, also miss having the few worst moments of my life put on screen each week, with all 900 recorded hours of my best, positive, happy, benevolent, successful, charitable, fun, and loving moments vanishing, hidden as if they didn't exist, and swiftly deleted from any sort of public view whatsoever. I'll also miss having people who have never been on a reality show tell me that they think reality TV depicts people just as they are. But believe it or not, I don't actually crave all that glitz and glamour, and I am heading to law school for a few years. I have some dreams I need to fulfill, and it's time. I'll leave the former — for now — to someone else who might be hungry for all those experiences that go along with the intoxicating fame of a gaylebrity. I'm always here to give advice to hopefuls. See you at the park!
Reichen Lehmkuhl appears Sept. 14 at Fairgrounds: Out at Night 2012 at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. A portion of the net proceeds will benefit the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund. For more info, visit gaysixflags.com.