Not the Next Kurt but the First Alex
BY Jeffrey Hartinger
July 08 2011 9:30 AM ET
Alex Newell, a gay contestant of the popular Oxygen show The Glee Project, has relocated from a small suburb of Boston to Los Angeles in order to follow his dreams. If he wins the competition, Alex, 18, will join the cast of Glee for a seven-episode arc in the upcoming season. The Advocate talks with Newell about being openly gay in the entertainment business, his inspirations for auditioning for The Glee Project, and how singing in his church choir was a strong foundation of his youth.
The Advocate: The theme on a recent episode of The Glee Project was “vulnerability.” You wore a sign that said “Gay” in the middle of a very busy area of Los Angeles. What was that experience like?
Alex Newell: The situation definitely made me vulnerable and uncomfortable. We all put ourselves out there on that day. It represented who I was and, to some extent, what I am uncomfortable talking about. It was a bit tiresome, but at the same time, it was very good. It is said that things done in the dark always come to light, so it is better to embrace who you are and accept yourself.
Other than your sexual orientation, is there anything else that makes you feel vulnerable?
Other than my sexuality, I am vulnerable regarding my physical appearance, as I am not what people considered ideal by most standards. For the entertainment business, I am not the body type of what is typically cast for television or movies. I tend to hide behind my status of being a diva; it’s easy for me to embrace that part of me and seek confidence by being a bit outrageous at times. It’s all in good fun.
Many people have picked you to be the next Kurt on Glee. As he is such a popular character on the show, how does this make you feel?
I think it is great that people are saying that about me. I really hope I am able to live up to people’s expectations, but at the same time, I don’t really like comparisons between entertainers, as each person is an individual. I look to Chris Colfer and the other members of the cast as inspiration for what I can achieve. They lay down a foundation for the path I can follow.