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Interviews

The Real Friends Of WeHo's Todrick Hall & Joey Zauzig On Drama, Friendship & Receipts

The Real Friends Of WeHo's Todrick & Joey On Drama, Friendship & Receipts

Todrick Hall and Joey Zauzig
Courtesy of MTV

PRIDE sits down with the stars of MTV’s new reality series about telling their side of the story and telling it how it is.

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When the trailer for The Real Friends of WeHo dropped, the fan reaction was immediate. While many of its likely core viewers were excited for a show focusing on a friend group made up of successful gay men living in L.A. including Brad Goreski,Todrick Hall, Jaymes Vaughan, Curtis Hamilton, Dorión Renaud, and Joey Zauzig, there was also a contingent who were in their feelings about it.

This reaction didn’t come as a shock to Hall, who has weathered criticism from social media before. His response to the controversy: Unbothered.

“A wise drag queen I once met said that there are three sides to every story, your side, my side, and the receipts,” he explains to PRIDE. “I have learned in my years of being on social media, that if people are invested in disliking you, they will find a way to justify that. So I’m not going into it with any hopes of doing anything, I’ve had to really get a great relationship with my truth and understand the reality and nuance of being who I am.”

Watch PRIDE’s Full Interview with Todrick Hall & Joey Zauzig below.

While this show is far from Hall’s first foray into reality TV, it proved to be a very different experience for the Celebrity Big Brother and RuPaul’s Drag Race alum. “I’ve done so many things that have been curated. And a lot of my reality TV experience has been competition based. And I’m a very competitive person. So it was really, really relaxing in this chapter of my life after getting off of such a huge tour to be able to just like, chill and have the cameras come over and document things,” he shares. “They were so quiet, nothing was planned, which has not been my experience in reality TV before. So I feel like it’s more real and raw than I’ve ever been in a reality show. Which should always be the goal.”

While he’s confident in who he is and the authenticity he brings to this new project, Hall is still frustrated and confused by contradictions that can crop up in the queer audience. “We are a very peculiar culture, us LGBTQ+ people. If you see if there has been any hate about the show, a lot of it is predominantly from people who are within our own community,” he says. “I feel like oftentimes, we scream and scream for representation and diversity. And then when it comes, if it’s not the exact box that we want it in, we shit on it... and that’s a very disappointing truth about our community. So I don’t have any hopes for it. I just know that I spoke my truth. And that is all I can really control.”

Social media entrepreneur Zauzig, on the other hand, is very excited for a larger audience to get to know him in a deeper, more nuanced way — but he’s perhaps even more eager to debunk the ideas people have about what it means and what it takes to be a social media influencer. “I think you see different layers of Joey that people haven’t seen before,” he tells PRIDE.

The cast of The Real Friends of WeHo

Courtesy of MTV

This show marks Zauzig’s first time on reality TV, so before he signed on he got some expert advice from some friends who are veterans of the genre. “I definitely reached out to some of my friends who are housewives like Meredith Marks, Ramona... and Lisa Rinna. I think the biggest piece of advice was just like, be yourself. And don’t go on trying to be good for TV, don’t go on trying to create stuff, be yourself. And, you know, the worst part was just like, you know, bringing up everything because I feel like I am... very honest. And I’m very protective over my friendships,” he recalls.

Zauzig clearly took their advice to heart, fearlessly engaging and calling things out as he sees them right from the first episode. The likes of Rinna, Singer, and Marks would be proud.

While Zauzig isn’t afraid to mix it up and get a little messy, he says he came away from filming the show with a new group of tight-knit friends — mostly. “Me and Todrick talk on the phone all the time like we called each other last night. Todrick especially is someone that I just have really become super in love with. I see him and he’s family. I think most of us truly are a little dysfunctional family and the best way,” he gushes. “Most of the cast are real, true, really close friends now. I talk with everyone pretty much every day.”

Hall addresses what Zauzig appears to be dancing around a little more directly. “I’m on pretty decent terms as far as I know, with every single person... I don’t know that Dorión is somebody who is going to be like, super invested in the show for the remainder of the season. And I have to just respect where he’s come from and his experience,” he says.

Neither Hall nor Zauzig elaborates further, but it certainly feels like a hint at some of the drama, twists, turns, chaos, and heart that await in the rest of the season.

I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

The Real Friends of WeHo premieres tonight on MTV. Watch the trailer below.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.