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Niecy Nash, GLAAD Awards Host, Has Advice for Closeted Fans

Niecy Nash

The Claws star discussed the importance of LGBTQ+ visibility and offered some words of wisdom for those considering marriage.


Niecy Nash is "so happy" to host the GLAAD Media Awards, the nation's most high-profile ceremony honoring LGBTQ+ stories in film, television, and reporting.

"I'm a new member of the community, and I like it here," said the Mrs. America star, whose 2020 wedding to wife Jessica Betts established her as one of Hollywood's most high-profile out actresses.

In preparing for her new high-profile queer gig -- the awards, which are virtual this year due to the pandemic, are Thursday -- Nash resolved to "just be myself, make sure I get all the words right in the teleprompter, and wear something fabulous." And yes, as of her interview with The Advocate last Wednesday, she already had her wardrobe picked out.

Nash cited the Glee reunion honoring late actress Naya Rivera as one of her highlights of this year's ceremony. Additionally, she is excited for the performance of her "hersband," Betts. "That just made me smile so hard my cheeks was hurting all the time just thinking about it," she said.

Over the last year, television has taken up a large part of American life as many other entertainment venues have shuttered due to the pandemic. Nash's situation was no exception. She cited a vast assortment of shows -- to Pose, Showtime's Your Honor,The Masked Singer, and murder dramas -- as programs that have kept herself and Betts sane and entertained during a turbulent time. "We have our pendulum swings," she joked of the variety.

But LGBTQ+ representation is also important for Nash, who is proud of how Claws, the TNT dramedy she starred in, portrayed lives outside of heteronormative expectations.

"What I loved about our show was that everybody had their own proclivities. But none of it was judged," she said. "We have a character, Uncle Daddy, who has a wife and a boyfriend and they're all in a relationship together. ... I love the fact that we never judged you based on where you go down. We judged you based on who your character was when you was standing up. And that's what I liked the most about that particular production and how we handled the sex lives of our characters."

The Reno 911 star also recognized the importance of her own visibility as an out public figure to changing hearts and minds.

"I just think that we have to get to a place where we normalize it," she said. "You can be dead set against something, but it doesn't change what somebody is gonna do. I appreciate the fact that I'm somebody who was familiar to people and that they knew me one way. And I could say, 'Hey, guys, this is where I'm at now.' And because it's somebody you recognize or somebody who you're familiar with or maybe even somebody who you were a fan of. Which is not to say some people might not be like, 'I don't like you anymore.' And that's fine too. But at least you see me. And that's what you got to get used to."

With this in mind, Nash offered advice for her fans on their own coming-out journeys. "Walk in your truth, because you know what it is. You already know. The struggle is that you want it to be something other than what it is. Do you understand what I'm saying?" she said. "So there is a part of accepting and surrendering to your truth and trusting that the universe will bring the support you need. That might not come from where you want it to come from, and you got to be all right with that."

She also gave some wisdom for those considering another milestone: tying the knot. "Listen -- be sure," she cautioned. "You gotta know what you're getting into, you know what I mean? And don't have an expectation that marriage changes you. Marriage is like money -- it makes you more of what you already are. So get a marriage license and then find you a therapist."

The 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards will air on GLAAD's YouTube Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern. The event will be available to stream later that evening, at 10 p.m. Eastern, on Hulu until the end of June.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.