Actors and athletes are finding all kinds of interesting ways to come out these days from Twitter to a casual quote in an interview.
Daniel Franzese, who played openly gay Damian in Mean Girls, has found one of the most unique ways yet: he’s written an open letter to his character in the 2004 film which is marking its 10th anniversary this month.
He wrote in a letter published by IndieWire: ‘You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. I might’ve been easier to be gay growing up.’
Franzese, now 35, was 10 years older than the 16-year-old character he played in the hit film which starred Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, Lizzy Caplan and Tina Fey who also wrote the screenplay.
He writes: ‘When I was cast in the role of Damian in Mean Girls, I was TERRIFIED to play this part. But this was a natural and true representation of a gay teenager – a character we laughed with instead of at.’
Since he was not being considered for many straight parts after Mean Girls, the actor began to resent his alter-ego.
‘Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you,’ he writes. ‘I became celibate for a year and a half. I didn’t go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay. I even brought a girl to the Mean Girls premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard.’
Even years later, he remained closeted and would do things like delete tweets from people who had asked if he were gay.
But Franzese has now come to terms with his sexuality and the legacy of his Mean Girls character.
‘People have always asked if I was really gay,’ he writes. ‘While my reps usually lied to protect me. My friends and family all knew the truth but now it’s time everyone does. Perhaps this will help someone else.’
He ends the letter by announcing that he will be grand marshal of the Portland Gay Pride Parade in June.