Prizm News / August 1, 2018 / By Staley Munroe

Gigi Gorgeous photos by Benjo Arwas

The secret to success for the social media star and model? ‘It’s about finding somebody who inspires you and keeping the ball rolling.’

 

By Staley Munroe

“I finally feel at home and at peace with the person that I am now,” Gigi Gorgeous told her YouTube audience in December 2013.

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Five years earlier, a four-minute, 26-second video titled, “Gregory Gorgeous Makeup Routine” launched the Quebec native to social media stardom. Now Gigi was making official what she acknowledged many fans already realized.

In the five years since coming out as transgender, her star has only grown brighter. She’s been in People magazine and on “Entertainment Tonight.” She’s made videos with Kylie Jenner and been named as one of Time’s 25 Most Influential People on the Internet.

Gigi Gorgeous—Giselle Loren Lazzarato—came to Ohio in late June to meet Sinclair Community College students in Dayton during a screening of her 2017 documentary, “This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous.”

Prizm got a chance to speak with her as well.

What has been the most meaningful experience of your career so far? 

It’s hard to say because there are a lot, but I think a huge moment was when they premiered my movie at Sundance. It was a “Who am I?” moment.

It was a defining moment of my career. I had always shied away from sharing everything with the public or even some of my friends. So when we did the movie it was everything, really raw and vulnerable for me.

It was crazy to have it broadcast on the level of the Sundance Film Festival. Now I was really out of the closet. I thought I was out before, but now I’m f****** out.

A lot of passable trans women who are maybe able to do it early on, they choose to blend into cis-normative society. Do you see that as weakness on their part? Do you see that as abandoning community?

No, not at all. I went through a phase like that. I didn’t want to go to gay clubs; I didn’t want to have that many gay friends. I feel like it’s just a phase. I respect myself enough now to say it was a phase.

I’m at such a point now where passing and all that stuff just seems so silly to me because of what being out there brings.

You just gotta be you and scream it from the rooftops. It doesn’t make you any less of a human being or a member of the community if you want to blend in and not let anybody know that you’re trans and run away from your old life. That’s fine as long as you’re happy. Kill it, girl.

Now that you identify as a lesbian, how has your perspective of the world changed?

I don’t know if being a lesbian has changed my perspective. I think it’s just my maturity in general.

We were talking about passability and blending into society. I was one of those girls before, and I felt like less of a woman if I wasn’t in that situation. I think literally just being open and talking about it a lot has made me a lot stronger.

Even in the current climate, with everyone worried about the president and a lot of people scared, it gives me even more of a reason to shout it from the rooftops. I think that’s just a part of growing up.

Even if it isn’t about politics or whatever, I feel like it’s just a part of growing up and not hiding who you are.

Was there a singular moment where you chose to become an activist?

No. I feel like it was really organic. I can only really speak from what I know. I know I’m ignorant on some things and I need to be educated. But I love learning. I’m an open book. Whenever someone is there to teach me, I’m down.

I love learning new things about my community. I love becoming a stronger person.

Who are some of the activists you most look up to? Who are your role models?

I love Amanda Lepore. She’s taught me a lot about the beauty aspect of transitioning because she’s extremely into skin care, her outfits and her costume. She’s major.

Activist-wise, Laverne Cox is a huge, constant inspiration to me. Janet Mock as well. The work that she’s done on “Pose” recently is so inspiring. It’s legendary. It’s the first show for so many reasons. I couldn’t be more proud. She’s an intelligent girl.

What is the next phase and focus of your activism?

I have a lot of projects in the works, but I’ve been recently really into going to events and holding it down on social media and giving representation and visibility wherever I can, because I think that’s half the battle.

But I’ve been really into a new charity, and it’s partnered with a makeup line that’s coming up this summer, and it’s for breast cancer. I really want to get back into my breast cancer charity work because it’s how my mom was taken from me.

What are some organizations that are near and dear to your heart that you feel are making the most difference in improving the lives of trans folk, and how can we support those organizations?

So easy. GLAAD. GLAAD is No. 1 to me. I go to a lot of other events and support a lot of other charities, but I feel like GLAAD, whenever I go on their website or whenever I sit down at a dinner, I am so educated. Like, beyond. It is crazy to me how much information they pour out to you.

They give you the stats that you want to know. They inform you like you have a Rolodex of information to have in the back of your head. Especially for allies of the community, it’s so easy for them to go on and just pick up a few facts and learn something new.

They are making a lot of change, and they’re always at work. Sarah Kate Ellis (the GLAAD president and CEO) is always working, every single day. She never stops.

What advice would you give to young queer people who want to experience their own financial breakthrough in terms of strategy?

When I started working with my manager, I was working at McDonald’s. He was working at Starbucks. We met in Canada and worked our way up.

It’s not about really finding a niche that’s not popular. It’s not about finding a manager. It’s about finding somebody who inspires you and keeping the ball rolling in your brain.

I guess you could attack it from the way of, “What’s not popular? What could I corner the market on?” But I never did it like that. My manager was always my friend. We were just having fun.

And sometimes now, when I get booked on gigs, I’m like, “Oh my God. I’m totally scamming the system.” I’m getting flown out, and I’m like, “I’m so lucky,” and we’re still laughing about it.

What brings you peace in the day-to-day madness of celebrity? How do you keep yourself grounded?

It sounds super vain and silly, but I feel like getting “glam.”

Whether I’m getting my makeup done or doing it myself, it is that hour and a half of calmness, a reset. You can just get into it, play some music. It’s not chaotic. It’s the calm before the storm almost.

I feel like that’s what brings me peace. Glamming. It always has. It’s how I get started.

What specific things would you say are most important to combat loneliness?

I just got chills. I have my chosen family; I have my fiancée; we have two of our best friends who live with us. That’s my chosen family for the most part.

Everyone has a friend that they can count on and not feel lonely. Just connecting with the people that are close to you, even if it’s a text message from someone. Maybe keep a text relationship going.

What do you want most of all now?

I would love to win an Oscar, go to the moon…

Honestly, it’s a constant thing in my brain just to be happy and have fun. My mom had this quote from Dr. Seuss that she had on her desktop computer for eight years, and I always thought it was the lamest thing until recently.

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

I have quotes on my body. I have a couple of lyrics from Lady Gaga. But that would be a quote that I would put on my body forever, because it changes my mind a lot and I’m like, “Wait. Why am I worried about those who don’t care about me?”

Because they don’t matter. I’m just trying to have fun and live my life in constant happiness, and I just want to give a lot to the community.

I want to wear all the hats. Give me a hard hat, everything.

Staley Munroe is Prizm’s creative director. You can reach her at staleymunroe@prizmnews.com or follow her on Instagram @silverwindrider.

FIND OUT MORE

• You can follow Gigi Gorgeous just about everywhere. She’s @gigigorgeous on Instagram and @The GigiGorgeous on Twitter. Find her also on YouTube, where she got her start.

• Gigi Gorgeous’ 2017 documentary, “This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous,” is available online.

• GLAAD, originally the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, was formed in 1985 in response to sensationalized and defamatory coverage of HIV and AIDS. It works to monitor and reshape the portrayal of LGBTQ people in news media and popular media. Visit glaad.org.

Staley Jophiel Munroe
Staley Munroe is the creative director of Prizm. A Columbus native, Staley's career spans from NY to LA, working as a photographer, art director, and coordinator within the creative/fashion industries. Limited Brands, Hollywood film sets, New York Fashion Week, and several magazines have trusted her instincts for impactful visualization. As a proud, resilient transgender woman, Staley vigorously fights for equality and is a frequent speaker with the intent to increase awareness and understanding of transgender life. Contact: StaleyMunroe@equitashealth.com