The A-List Interview: Nick Jonas

In his first gay press interview, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying's Nick Jonas shares his blessings with stylish LGBT fans.

BY Brandon Voss

January 18 2012 1:30 AM ET

Les Misérables JOANS BROTHERS HOT TO SUCCEED X560 | ADVOCATE.COM
A wholesome, conservative image has somewhat defined the Jonas Brothers; at the height of the group’s popularity, the media focused a lot on your purity rings, for example. As the three of you get older and branch out into other individual interests, would you like to distance yourself from that image?
I don’t thinkwe separate ourselves from that, but my brothers and I have come into our own as men in the past few years, and that’s played a major part in who we are and how we’ve carried ourselves. It’s important for us to remember that we have values and morals, but each of us have taken the responsibility that we have as a man to be exactly who we’re supposed to be, whatever that means for us as individuals. We still have a good image; however, we’ve each made choices that have defined who we are as people. I’m comfortable with who I am as a man now, and I’m blessed to be in the position I am in life.

Gay boybanders and pop idols rarely come out at the height of their popularity. If a Jonas Brother came out, what impact might it have on your career?
The amazing thing about our fans is that they’re incredibly supportive about everything that we do, but I have to separate us from the equation because the three of us aren’t gay. If someone in our position came out, I’d hope that support would carry over and that their fans would love them just the same.

How to Succeed’s Radcliffe and Criss have both supported the Trevor Project and the It Gets Better campaign. Would you like to get involved with the cause?
Absolutely. Once I join the show, I plan to do all I can on a few different efforts, including Trevor Project and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. I want to inspire all young people, whether they’re diabetic, being bullied, or just having a hard time at home. Dealing with diabetes has been tough, but I’ve also been so blessed, and I feel I can give real encouragement and inspiration to young people dealing with similar issues.

What words of encouragement do you have for the young victims of antigay bullying?
Know that there are people out there who can comfort you and give you the support that you need, so tell an authority at school or wherever it is you’re being bullied. It really breaks my heart to see that. Bullying is unacceptable, and specifically with gay teens, it’s just wrong. Everyone needs to realize that this is a major issue, and we need to do anything we can to help. I’ve heard so many of our gay fans speak about how one of my songs, “Who I Am,” has inspired them. It’s a song that I wrote in a moment of coming into my own as a man, discovering how my whole world was setting up as an adult. It was great to see people connect to that song in their own way, specifically bullied gay teens who were encouraged to be exactly who they are.

As someone who was homeschooled, can you relate to feeling bullied or feeling different as a kid?
Well, I was in regular school until I was about 10 or 11, and I can specifically remember moments where my classmates didn’t quite understand what I was doing every day when I would go into the city and perform on Broadway. Feeling like an outsider in that sense was so frustrating for me, because they had no way of connecting, and I couldn’t connect with them either. People who are feeling bullied and people who feel like outsiders should talk to their parents and guardians about finding a place with likeminded people where they can feel accepted. That’s what I needed and that’s what I found with musical theater.

There are also a lot of JoBros haters out there, and it’s not uncommon to see you and your brothers called “fags” all over the Internet. How do you handle that negativity?
First of all, that word is not one that I use, and it upsets me when people use it, but that negativity doesn’t really get to me. Having haters is just a part of the business, and the more haters you have, the more people like you — that’s how I view it, because I try to see the positive in things. Sometimes it’s so ridiculous that you just have to laugh. You just have to keep your head up and keep going.

Even a big action star like Hugh Jackman gets teased on Saturday Night Live for doing Broadway musicals.
Exactly. Yeah, Hugh Jackman is the man, and I know that guy just lifts his head up and keeps rolling. Some people can be dense and don’t have the capacity to understand having culture be a part of your world. That just comes with the territory.

What can you tell me about your upcoming guest appearance on NBC’s Smash?
I’m very excited about it. I play a character named Lyle West, a former Broadway kid who grows up and comes into mainstream success and a lot of money.

So it’s a stretch.
[Laughs] Right. One of his old friends is the director of the show Marilyn, and he has a party for Lyle, and Angelica Huston’s character tries to get him to invest in the show. Angelica Huston is obviously a legend, so the scenes I got to do with her were really fun. The whole cast is incredible, and it was an amazing time. I also get to do a cover of a Michael Bublé song that I’m excited for people to hear.

Radcliffe was last seen on Broadway in Equus, which required him to be naked. If asked, would you have replaced him in that show too?
[Laughs] I love theater and I understand the difference between acting and who you are as a person. I don’t know that it’s something I would’ve done in the end, but I definitely would’ve considered it. You have to be open to everything.

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