'Mean Girls' Star Daniel Franzese Comes Out as Gay in Open Letter
"Mean Girls" actor Daniel Franzese wrote an open letter to acknowledge his sexual orientation. The 35-year-old played a gay character named Damian in the hit comedy, which is due to celebrate its tenth anniversary in a few weeks, and took him as a role model.
On Indiewire blog Bent, Frazense addressed the letter to Damian. "I was twenty-six; you were sixteen. 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," he wrote. "I might've been easier to be gay growing up. You WERE beautiful in every single way and words couldn't bring you down."
He revealed how he was terrified at playing the character at first but thanked writer Tina Fey and director Mark Waters that they made Damian "a character we laughed with instead of at." Although the role was his claim to fame, it was also a career block. "There were industry people who had seen me play you in Mean Girls but never seen me read in an audition but still denied me to be seen for 'masculine' roles," he said.
Franzese added, "Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you. 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. Meanwhile, I was still in the closet. Deleting tweets that asked if I was gay, scrubbing IMDB Message Boards for any indication."
But he has been inspired to come out of the closet. "My friends and family all knew the truth but now it's time everyone does," he wrote. "Perhaps this will help someone else. I'm not afraid anymore. Of Hollywood, the closet or mean girls. Thank you for that, Damian. (And Tina.)"
He also noted how gays were bullied, writing, "P.S. I hate it when people say I'm 'too gay to function.' I know you do, too. Those people are part of the problem. They should refrain from using that phrase. It really is ONLY okay when Janis says it."
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