TJ Kelly: TJ Brings His A Game

TJ Kelly, The A-List: New York’s sassy sidekick, gets real about the controversial show’s scarlet letter, jealous haters, and costar Reichen Lehmkuhl’s package deal.



TJ A LIST NEW YORK X390 (LOGO) | ADVOCATE.COMSo you actually work with Ryan? That’s not just reality TV fabrication?
Well, you will find out more in season 2, but yes, I did work at Ryan’s salon, and that’s very much reality.

Did you have crazies wandering into the salon when the first season began airing?
I wouldn’t call them crazies, but maybe a little stalkerish at times. It was hard for Ryan and for me because the salon was clearly on television, so we were people that you could easily come to New York and find. But everyone who stopped by was so kind, and they just wanted to let us know how much they loved us and our friendship. It was really sweet. It was crazy to see how the show had reached people around the world.

The evolving dynamic between you and Ryan will be explored in depth this season.
Yes. Not only were we working together, but we were also filming the show together, so we were together a lot. We spent so much time together that a little bit of resentment began to build between us. We strayed into that really weird gray area of boss and friend or boss and employee, where lines can get blurred and things can get tense, especially with a friendship like ours. I definitely got a little lax at work. We really wanted to save our friendship, which is the most important thing to us, so we decided that maybe we should focus on that.

Is it also true that we’ll see you and Reichen travel together to Hawaii this season?
Yes, we go have a Hawai-kiki! Reichen was going there for business, to host and be a part of a big pride festival. He wanted someone fun to go with, and when he thought of fun, he thought of me.

Did you see his “uniball” — your word, not mine! — up close and personal?
Oh! [Laughs] That uniball is going to haunt me for the rest of my life. Actually, me and Reichen just had a big discussion about that, because he got a little offended I said that in the first episode. But no, I didn’t get to see the uniball up close and personal — in Hawaii, that is.

What did you really think about Reichen’s nude photo scandal?
It’s so silly. My heart goes out to Reichen, because people judge things differently when you’re in the public eye. I’d like to meet one gay man who doesn’t have naked photos of himself stashed away on his laptop. It got blown out of proportion. Given the fact that supposedly he was still with Rodiney while he was jerking off online with another man, I thought it was more scandalous that they were screen shots taken from Web-camming. The timing of it was more scandalous than the photos.

How would you have handled yourself in that sticky situation?
If it had been me, I would’ve laughed it off and made the best of it. It’s hysterical. He might have overreacted slightly, but his public response was really good.

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