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Jake Borelli Is Helping Bring Queer Representation to Primetime TV

Jake Borelli Is Helping Bring Queer Representation to Primetime TV

Jake Borelli Is Helping Bring Queer Representation to Primetime TV

The out, Grey's Anatomy actor is part of this year's #PRIDE25!


The way the LGBTQ+ community has been portrayed in popular culture has come a long, long way in recent years. Although there's still a lot of work to be done, so many creative queer folks have been making awesome and inclusive movies, music, TV shows, and more that better represents our lives and our stories, so in honor of Pride Month, we're taking the time to honor 25 of these inspiring people! This is the 2019 #PRIDE25!

28-year-old actor Jake Borelli publicly came out as gay late last year after being inspired by Levi Schmitt, his character on ABC's long-running medical drama Grey's Anatomy, and his relationship with Nico Kim (played by Alex Landi). Since then, Jake has been inspiring LGBTQ fans of the show to live authentically and be visible. 

"The fans have been amazing. Since day one, they've been showing their support and their love. The fans were the ones that inspired me at first to come out," Jake said during the GLAAD Awards earlier this year, talking about how fans reactions to his Grey's character coming out helped him come out IRL.

"'s because of them that I felt the courage to be vulnerable also and say, 'Hey guys, me too. We're all in this together. I see you, I feel seen by you, this is beautiful, let's all talk about it.'"

Why is queer representation, especially in media and in the arts, important to you?

We look toward art to learn more about ourselves and about humanity in general so that we might feel understood and less alone. But when you look at art, and can't seem to find yourself mirrored back at all, it can quickly have the opposite effect. It starts to separate you from society and then validates your shame. That's what it feels like to grow up queer without visible and positive representation.  

In the industry you currently work in, did you have any queer role models you could look up to? If yes, who? If not, did you wish you had one?

To be honest, a lot of the queer entertainers I look up to are actually singers. I always had to do the pronoun olympics in my head when I listened to music growing up, so when I started to hear gay guy artists having the courage to explicitly sing about other guys I immediately became obsessed. Singers like Jay Brannan and Sam Sparro, and of course Troye Sivan and Olly Alexander of Years & Years. 

What’s it like knowing a young LGBTQ person could look at your work and have you be their role model?

It still blows my mind to think that I’ve found myself in this position because I know how life changing it would have been for me to have more out gay working actors to look up to when I was a kid. It also lights a fire under me to do right by these kids, because I know they’re watching and I know how helpful it can be to have someone who understands you.  

What advice do you have for young, queer creatives who want to break into the entertainment industry?

First and foremost, know that there is a place for you here. And then study, study, study your ass off. Gather a technique and then tell your story loudly and as authentically as possible. There are thousands and thousands of people out there who will look at your story and say, “Wow, that’s me too.”

Many, many years from now, what do you want the legacy of your work to be? And what do you hope to be remembered by?

I would love to be seen as someone who told a lot of different stories. Someone who made it a point to stay creative and who always tried to humanize things that people didn’t understand. I want to spark creativity and invite people to look a little deeper.  

Keep on the lookout for Season 16 of Grey's Anatomy coming soon! Catch up on the long-running show on Netflix, and for more on Jake, follow him on Twitter and Instagram

And check out more of the 2019 #PRIDE25 honorees here!

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