Guillermo Diaz: Pinup Boy
BY Ari Karpel
April 24 2012 2:00 AM ET
“I always thought, if you don’t want to work with me because I’m gay, then fuck you,” he says. “I don’t want to work with you either.” But he got some pushback from his management at the time. “They were a little squirrelly about it. There was that, ‘Well, don’t be too gay.’ ”
Díaz was still living with his family when he came out publicly, yet he hadn’t told them. “I mean, they knew I was playing a drag queen, but they didn’t want to know too much about it.” Díaz came out to his Cuban immigrant family when he was 27 and about to move out on his own. Now they’re on board completely, and they know his boyfriend, Mike, whom Díaz has been with for seven years.
Ironically, it was gay audiences that gave him a hard time when he played another gay character, Angel, on Mercy. “I was trying to play him like a regular guy,” by which Díaz means someone who “queens out” once in a while but is otherwise just like everyone else. But the network pushed him to be more flamboyant. “It’s NBC,” he says. “If a producer is telling me to gay it up, I’ve got to gay it up.” Díaz continues, “I didn’t necessarily agree with the way they were going, but at the same time, there are a lot of queeny guys and they’re great. It’s part of who we are, right? So I didn’t get why people were upset, and at the same time, I kind of did.”
It’s at that time that he decided to pose nude for Pinups. He didn’t think to tell his current management — whom Díaz is quick to point out are open-minded women who are very cool with his sexuality. “I don’t know why I didn’t say anything,” he wonders now. “I guess I thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal.” Sure enough, when the photos came out, he got a call. “Guillermo, what the fuck are you doing?” he recalls being asked. “You could be fired for this!”