By Jason Kelly
Originally published on Advocate.com March 15 2013 8:00 AM ET
Remember last season's Amazing Race runner up? Chippendales dancer Jaymes Vaughan nearly won by doing more than just bumping and grinding. After the show ended, he launched a campaign to help fund his father’s fight against cancer, Forget Cancer Now, which had been the reason he went on the show to begin with. Now he's back in the game and ready to, well, maybe do some of that grinding.
Vaughan has been named as the first ever White Party Ambassador for Jeffrey Sanker’s annual desert extravaganza, White Party Palms Springs. Dubbed the high priest of gay parties, the White Party — which happens March 29 through April 1 — has also crowned Real Housewives of Miami star Adriana De Moura as queen and will bestow the title of "Dame" to sexy puppet diva Madame. The trio will host and provide color commentary for the White Carpet VIP arrivals on Saturday night, March 30, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Advocate caught up with Vaughan to talk party virgins, being gay on Amazing Race, and what makes him feel like a Kardashian.
The Advocate: Your moves seem so effortless on stage.
Jaymes Vaughan: Well I'm the host and singer of the show so unfortunately my "moves" aren’t what I’m known for. I’m so not sexy. Yes, there's a singer in Chippendales. I know it takes a second to adjust to the fact that it's not the same show it was back in the '80s with guys in leopard print thongs greased up, workin’ a stripper pole, but it's actually a full-scale multi-million dollar production show with a singer, rapper, musicians, and of course those world famous Chippendales. So don't worry, you still see skin. Just in a different much, much better way.
What’s the most difficult part of being a Chippendales dancer?
Without a doubt that is having to look like a Chippendale. I grew up mad dorky with everything a teenage kid doesn't want against them. Bad teeth, bad hair, bad skin, and was about 140 pounds soaking wet — at 6'4". So having to fight that off, when that's still the kid I see in the mirror every day is definitely the hardest part. Yup, hardest part of being a Chippendale: having to look like the photoshopped version of me. That damn guy.
What advice would you give other LGBT viewers hoping to compete on The Amazing Race?
A race around the world is not about your sexuality. So don’t stress that element. Its 2013, be yourself and go kick ass. I went on the Race with my best friend who has a girlfriend. I, on the other hand, have a boyfriend. And that difference plays zero in your ability to race well. We both were just as good, and unfortunately at times just as bad, at is as one another. The only thing you really need to know is to fully love yourself and who you are, so you can be yourself without any reservation. Because that is when you be able to be your best and compete your best.
What was your reaction when Jeffrey Sanker asked you to be his White Party Ambassador?
Holy crap, Jeffrey Sanker knows who I am? The Jeffrey Sanker? Pretty sure I said "Yes" before he even finished asking the question.
Are you a White Party virgin?
I have never been to White Party before. So I have absolutely no idea what I am getting myself into, but I'm really excited about it.
Are you looking forward to working with your White Carpet co-host, Adriana de Moura and Madame? We hear they are both excited to meet you.
Wait, they know who I am too? That's probably the coolest part. That Adriana who has millions of fans and is on TV every week and Madame who was hugely iconic in her own time knows who I am and wants to meet me? I still am definitely not used to this "10 million people a week watched me on TV" thing, so having anyone at all know who I am is beyond flattering and so damn cool. People come up to me at Burger King and are like, "I’m sorry, can I take a picture with you?" And I’m like "Are you kidding me? Don’t apologize, this is so cool!" I kind of feel like a Kardashian.
How long will you be staying White Party weekend? Will you be enjoying all that Palm Springs has to offer?
I've never been to Palm Springs or White Party so of course I want to check it all out!
Will your White Party white carpet outfit be as revealing as what you wear on stage?
I can't dress myself at all. So I'm open to suggestions. Maybe I'll just find a white bow tie since that's what I'm used to wearing to work at Chippendales.
How is your dad's cancer treatment going?
Thanks for asking. It means so much knowing our community has his back, and I think those positive energy and prayers really do help. Dad's a fighter. That's the best answer I can ever give anyone, because it’s a day-in and day-out fight, but that's what my dad does best, fight. And he has such an amazing attitude about it. He's still fighting, so we are still fighting doing everything we can to help emotionally and financially through ForgetCancerNow.com, because, after all, that's the whole reason James and I even went on The Amazing Race. To help my dad. And that's what we are gonna do.
My new single "Tonight" came out and I'm pretty stoked about that because music is and always will be my number one passion. But amazing, amazing things have come our way since Amazing Race ended and I'm so blessed and grateful to have them. James and I's own show will hopefully be on your TV screens by the fall season as well. It's called What The Hell Do We Do Here? and from the episodes we've already shot I can tell you it's a lot of fun — at least to make it. Hopefully it's just as fun for y'all to watch.
And finally, what all the guys will want to know if they meet you at the White Party. Are you single or taken?
I truly believe there is someone for everyone and I waited a long time to be able to say this, but I'm 100%, without a doubt, head over heels fairy tale kind of love, taken. I'm a very, very lucky guy.
Vaughn will also be live tweeting the White Party's white carpet arrivals at @JaymesV.