Score One For the Good Gays
Often in gay life we look to the butchest, best-looking people as role models simply because of the way they appear in print or on television. Reality television stars seem to be flooding the market of late, and with more contestants, the more likely it is that more of them will be gay. But usually we’re drawn only to the good-looking ones. When Danny Roberts (top left) was cast on The Real World New Orleans, everyone was excited because he was a hot gay guy on TV. Then when his season aired, everyone realized just how charisma-free a hot gay guy on TV could be. A few years later, Reichenmania began, and the over-botoxed stud (top right) blasted the cover of every gay mag, video, and book jacket he could run to, and people actually began to look to him as a mentor. He’s the hot guy who won The Amazing Race, whoopee.
Remember Ross the Intern from the Tonight show, the pudgy little ubergay guy who did on-the-street interviews and basically became Jay Leno’s lighthearted punching bag? He was the guy you kinda wouldn’t take notice of except to chuckle at with your friends. Well, the 27-year-old overweight intern, joined this season of VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club and after three months of battling with the judges, overcoming his fear of working out, and having to put up with child-star loser-turned-fatso Dustin Diamond, Ross the Intern came out on the other side as Ross Mathews, a stronger, more fit young man, who proved that kindness is the true value that makes a great gay role model.
Celebrity Fit Club follows eight chuncky, plump or downright fat celebrities as they try to lose weight. They are split into two competing teams of four, and each week teams are given different physical challenges, then weighed to see if they’ve reached their target goals. They are monitored and supervised by a team that includes a nutritionist, a psychologist, and a physical trainer, and the series is hosted by none other than the amazingly unfunny gay comedian Ant. This year marked the fifth incarnation of the show, and right from the beginning Ross the Intern stood out as a fan favorite. His jolly, happy attitude and his aversion to everything fitness related seemed to bring the judging panel into his corner and he charmed everyone with his silly antics and gay humor. It was refreshing to see a gay guy like that on television because most of the time gay men are relegated to being either a bitchy queen or a muscle boy who can barely speak.
The panel, led by Marine drill instructor Harvey Walden IV, put Ross and his fellow contestants through rigorous fitness camps that would test their physical ability. Mathews scored some of the lowest physical scores and the 214-pound self-proclaimed “couch junkie” looked as though he wouldn’t make it through the training at all. However, he befriended fellow bubbly personalitied Maureen McCormick, who played Marsha Brady on The Brady Bunch, and the two of them began a quest to lose as much weight as possible and get in better shape then they had ever been in. Walden led bootcamp-type training courses that took the workout out of the gym and created a fun, interesting environmant for the celebrities. Ross learned that physical activity could be fun, and his wholehearted approach was really inspiring to viewers and other contestants.
The most interesting part of the show was the psycological aspect of losing weight. Unlike all of his celebrity counterparts, Ross had never been thin or fit, so overcoming the mindset of a fat person was his toughest challenge. Psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser had the unenviable task of unraveling the pseudo celebs’ tremendously troubled lives in order to get them on the right track to a better body. Dustin Diamond of Saved by the Bell fame (is that considered fame?), and American Idol second runner up, Kimberly Locke, seemed to take most of the good doctor’s time arguing about who was the biggest waste of space. For the record, yuk-mouth Kimberly Locke, who started and finished every other sentence with a cuss word, proved why she didn’t win Idol with her vulgar attitude. But Ross the intern chugged right along and even tried to help motivate Diamond to finish the program.
At the last weigh-in, Ross became the highest-ranked male contestant of any season – 41 pounds lighter and a 19.2% reduction of his body fat. He even bought a new outfit that highlighted his new 173-pound frame and joked with the judges about how much he had learned on the new program.
No, Ross Mathews is not the hottest guy on the planet and, no, he probably won’t get a whole lot of credit in the gay world, but somehow it was refreshing to see someone who wasn’t afraid to just be himself. He wasn’t trying to hide the fact that he fit the stereotypical gay role, and yet was so unstereotypical because of his strength and will to achieve his goals. So the next time you put all of your faith and effort into a new gay icon, try to remember that being yourself, no matter who you are, is what truly makes someone a special person. Blog Hard!
It’s always a business doing pleasure with you.
– Dylan Vox