Perez Hilton: Pink on the Inside
BY Brandon Voss
September 01 2011 3:00 AM ET
“He was born that way,” begins The Boy With Pink Hair, Perez Hilton’s debut children’s book — available now on Penguin’s Celebra imprint — about a kid who loves the candy-colored locks that make him unique. Almost a year since the polarizing blogger and media mogul appeared on Ellen to publicly announce that he was becoming a kinder, more positive person, Mario Lavandeira, the real man beneath Perez’s mask, maintains that he was born to make the world a better place. He also wants gay men to know that he’s slim, single, and emotionally ready for “super-kids” of his own.
The Advocate: Even from the so-called Queen of All Media, I never expected a children’s book.
Mario Lavandeira: I didn’t either, to be honest. It was nothing I ever wanted to do. In fact, in the past I’ve made fun of celebrities for writing children’s books. But I was at a book event, talking about my celebrity-related second book, and Mario Lopez was there promoting his children’s book. Teasing him, I flippantly said, “Well, I should write a children’s book too — and it should be about a boy with pink hair!” After that, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The story formed so quickly in my brain, and I was so in love with it that I felt compelled to make it happen. Then there was the whole rash of gay teenagers committing suicide, so I thought it had a great message to get out there for young people. It’s also a great message and a great read for people of all ages.
Now that you have your own version of The English Roses, do you feel differently toward celebrity authors of children’s books?
Everybody approaches it with a different intention. My intention was to create something very positive for the universe, as cheesy as that may sound. I had a really beautiful story that I wanted to share, and I had the ability to do it, so why not? The great thing about my career trajectory is that I’ve been able to do a bunch of different things, and this is something I haven’t done before. It may not make sense, but if people read the book or give it to a kid, hopefully they’ll love it. I love it. Out of everything I’ve ever done, it’s one of the things I’m proudest of.
How did your own childhood inspire The Boy With Pink Hair?
A lot of me is in the book, but I think it’s relatable to everybody. It’s about being born different. It’s about friendship, acceptance, finding what makes you special and sharing it with the world. I’ve always considered myself a freak, an outsider, and a bit of an interloper. I never really fit in with any groups, so I just did my own thing. After I became an adult, I still felt like an outsider. Then I became Perez, and I felt like even more of an outsider. I literally had my hair pink for a while. Figuratively, I’m still pink on the inside.