Jai Rodriguez's Animal Instincts

By Bryan Buss

Originally published on Advocate.com April 20 2009 12:00 AM ET

Jai Rodriguez came to
fame as the culture vulture on the seminal makeover show
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

. He's an Emmy winner, a
New York Times

best-selling author, and a Broadway performer, including stints
in
Rent

and
The Producers

. He even squeezed in time for a little nipple reduction on
Nip/Tuck

.

These days he's living
in Los Angeles, working on music and hosting Animal
Planet's show
Groomer Has It,

a reality competition between dog groomers. Here the
Jai-of-all-trades tells Advocate.com what tip he'd give
President Obama for grooming his new dog, talks about
his new dance single, and reminisces on those
Queer Eye

days.

Advocate.com:What do you think will be the hardest challenge on this
season of
Groomer Has It

?Jai Rodriguez:

Probably having all the groomers living under one roof.
Grooming is kind of an individual sport. The catfights
in the house were awesome!

It kills me you have a Quick Sniff Challenge! How ripe is
that for a porn film?

I hadn't actually thought about that. Naughty man!

Are there any gay contestants this season?

I believe there are three or four. I'll let you guess who.

Do you think grooming dogs lends itself to a gay
sensibility?

Well, I hear it's mostly a woman's sport….

Which contestant has the boldest personality?

Boldest? Hmmm. I'd say Danielle.

What types of dogs do you have?

Yorkies. They rock!

Which of your two dogs, Nemo --
Groomer Has It

's messenger dog -- or Dory, do you most resemble?

Nemo, for sure. He's rowdy, wild, loud, but a total cuddle
monkey.

Do you think it's harder to groom dogs or teach straight
guys to groom themselves?

Well, I haven't had many straight guys lovingly lick me after a
groom. So I'll go with B… It's harder to groom a
straight guy.

So you're a dog person versus a cat person?

Definitely a dog person. Cats are too finicky on who they like
and what they want.

What grooming advice would you give President Obama with his
new dog, Bo?

Well, we had Portuguese water dogs as a grooming challenge last
year. They are a difficult groom! So I guess, find a good
groomer for Bo?

You have a one-man show,
My Truth.

Tell us your truth.

Well, honestly it was about me standing up for what I need and
want regardless of what people want for me. I have learned to
trust my process and my instincts. I was always a people
pleaser. I put myself last a lot. Never made fuss in shoots
about wardrobe. Ended up looking like Punky Brewster. So owning
my truth and being OK with that has been something I've
mastered recently.

I hear you're a good bowler. You ever get lucky at the Lucky
Strike in Hollywood?

I love, love, love that place! I want to take my boyfriend and
whip his ass publicly! I am actually a whiz on the Wii
bowling.

What show are you shooting now in Miami?

It's a series for SiTV. It's called
Model Latina

. It's basically Latin Top Model. I'm a judge. It airs the
first week of August.

Would you ever do something like
Dancing With the Stars

?

I would love to! Especially since Lance [Bass] did so well. Can
you get me on?

Ha -- I can try. You're a big fan of
The Golden Girls

. Who's your favorite Girl?

Sophia! I love her one-liners!

When's your album coming out? I heard your song "Broken"
on the Internet and it had a great vocal.

Thanks. I'm releasing a single called "Move." Just shot the
video. It's more of a dance song. Love, love, love
it!

Are you writing any of your own songs?

I did just cowrite a song with Maria Christianson, who wrote
J.Lo's "Waiting for Tonight." It's "Move." We hope to
have the video on Logo soon, and the song on iTunes within the
month.

You moved to L.A. a couple of years back. Are you enjoying
it?

I love it. It's the perfect city for being a TV personality.
Lots of downtime between seasons, which is cool in such a
beautiful city.

What grooming tip would you like to apply to the gays of
West Hollywood?

Now you're trying to get me in trouble. I'll say, sometimes
less is more in terms of styling yourself.

You had very small roles on both
One Life to Live

and
All My Children

. Which did you prefer: Llanview or Pine Valley?

Small?! They were guest-starring roles! I played a father on
AMC.

A GREAT role. And on
OLTL

I played an office manager with a bad temper. I'm not sure
which city I liked more because I haven't watched the shows
since.

What's your upcoming film,
Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!

about?

A gay couple who comes out to their parents then tells them
they want to get married and have a family. Lainie Kazan is my
mother in the film, and Vincent Pastore plays my dad. It's a
great cast. Carmen Electra plays my best friend. It's a great
funny film with heart.

Are Rick and Steve really
the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World

? If not, who would you say is?

They definitely are. If not, I'd say me and my BF, Chris.

In this post-Prop. 8 world we live in, do you think Adam
Lambert can become our first gay
American Idol?

I would hope so. He deserves it. I've done a few shows with him
and we share some friends… I love him. He's a great talent.

Anything you miss about your
Queer Eye

days?

I miss the regular schedule and the company and the chemistry
with the other guys.

What kind of blowout are you planning for your 30th birthday
in June?

I am letting Chris handle it this year. I want to be surprised.
He has good taste. I trust him to make it special. I'm not that
hard to please.

And to bring us full circle, Scooby-Doo or Snoopy?

Snoopy! C'mon, man, that's simple.

And who's your favorite movie dog?

Marley. He's naughty yet adorable. Best of both worlds.

If you were a dog, what type would you be?

A wild dog that has yet to be tamed.