Sense8 Star Brian J. Smith Comes Out as Gay
'Sense8' Star Brian J. Smith Comes Out as Gay
"I was terrified. At school, I really couldn’t fit in anywhere."
Brian J. Smith, star of the beloved Netflix series Sense8, has come out as gay in a brand new interview.
Smith opened up about his sexuality in Attitude Magazine, where he revealed that he was bullied as a kid and found sanctuary in acting.
"I was terrified. At school, I really couldn’t fit in anywhere. I wasn’t a jock or a nerd," he explains. “Forget about any LGBTQ union or groups. There was absolutely nothing. I was completely alone. I heard all the names: pussy, faggot.”
He says that hiding his sexuality influenced his love of acting.
“I could never be who I was. I was constantly having to check myself and make sure I wasn’t looking at someone too long or making someone feel uncomfortable. I had to be very, very careful about telling people the truth about myself. It still reverberates. A lot of my work is about that. The things that move me as an actor are those echoes that come up.”
“In front of an audience, I disappeared and became someone else. I had 600 students at school, all of whom probably thought I was an absolute idiot, a nerd. On stage, they paid attention to me, and they saw that I had something. And that’s when I didn’t feel alone.”
Smith says he didn't come out to his parents until age 30. He's now 38.
“I was surprised. When I came out to my parents they were wonderful. They said they were just waiting for me to say something. They were a lot more advanced than I gave them credit for," says Smith. “I think that’s when I became OK with it, too. Just in terms of being, ‘Oh that’s the world, it’s not as dangerous as I thought it was.’”
Smith rose into the national spotlight on the LGBTQ-inclusive sci-fi series Sense8, where all of the main eight characters were fluid with their sexualities and participated in orgies on more than one occasion.
He was not publically out then, but on set he says, “I remember being so relaxed. I thought, ‘Finally, I can just be myself, I don’t have to put on airs for any of these people.’"
Attitude concludes the interview by asking Smith "what would he tell that 10-year-old kid in Texas who once felt lost and isolated?"
“I just would hug him and say ‘It’s OK’,” he contemplates. “There weren’t enough people there to say to me: ‘You don’t need to be someone different, you don’t need to change who you are’. What that kid needed was somebody to pick him up and say, ‘You’re perfect as you are, it’s OK.’”
Welcome to the family Brian!