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Celebrate 12 Months of Freckle This Holiday Season
The 12 Months (and Movies!) of Freckle
Freckle, for the unfortunately uninitiated, is a gender-nonconforming actor taking Hollywood by storm. Their over-the-top persona, reminiscent of the divas of Old Hollywood, made them the breakout star of the cult web series The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo, with lines like, "Sometimes, things that are expensive, are worse." Their other credits including Wine Country, Search Party, and Anything.
For the past few years, Freckle, also known as Jason Greene, has also been making an imprint in another field: pin-up modeling for a calendar. The charitable item, which has raised over $3,000 for the Los Angeles LGBT Center over the past two years, has developed a devout following due to its subject's panache for subverting gender norms in a glamorous way.
Below, Freckle and the calendar's creative producer, Chris Coats, discuss this year's exciting edition, in which Freckle both parodies and improves upon the medium of the movie poster. See a preview of the goods, and pick up your own Freckle calendar at Etsy.com. (A reminder that 10 percent of the proceeds supports the Center!)
What first inspired the calendar?
Freckle: Two bottles of rose! Chris and I were boozin', chatting about doing a photoshoot at the Madonna Inn where I was having my 30th birthday. A bunch of people were coming and I figured since we had so many rooms we would have all these different backgrounds and that's when Chris brilliantly said let's make a calendar.
Why did you want to make it?
Chris: To me, it just sounded fun and absolutely absurd. I love absurdity. So much of life is absurd and I think embracing that helps you enjoy it more. I remember saying "That would be so dumb!" But I meant it in a good way. Like, this is silly and weird and calendars are obsolete but that's why it's great -- it's absurd.
What has the response been?
Freckle: I'm the biggest star in the world so of course, the fans love it! But for real we didn't think we'd make enough to print them the first year and that calendar started in March! It was March to March and people still wanted it! That's the best performance I've seen in a long time! Where's my Oscar?
Why do you think Freckle’s print calendar has caught fire — particularly in a world where Apple and Google have taken the calendar to a digital space?
Freckle: People don't really use calendars anymore and that's kind of the joke. It's a piece of art, a queer keepsake they can pull out and show their grandkids (if we make it that far). Plus I think people like the way paper smells. Steve Jobs never got that.
How do you go about capturing the essence of Freckle in a photoshoot?
Chris: I met Jason (Freckle) eight years ago on a music video shoot. I got to set and they were in a bathtub filled with rose petals reading a Shirley Maclaine book. So yeah -- I pretty much saw the essence then and there. When we shoot, it's just playtime. Freckle knows Freckle best so we just get silly and I snap the photos.
Freckle: I think Freckle is probably the ghost of a budding young starlet from the 1920s that died on her way to a casting call after getting her scarf caught in the wheel of a buggy. So I do a little breathing and she just drops in.
Each month features a fake movie poster. How did you choose the films to reference?
Chris: Some are nods to actual films like Burning the Bridges of Madison County or Cleopatra 2: Back from the Tomb, but others are totally made-up ideas we had. Me, Freckle, and my boyfriend Ves Phillippi, who did all the styling and makeup, just sat around coming up with genres we'd want to see Freckle in. Some had titles/ plots beforehand and others we were like "Make her pregnant!" and we figured it out later.
Which month is your favorite in the calendar, and why?
Chris: This year I think it's June, which is a movie called Nun on the Run. We had the idea to shoot a fake trailer for the movie last year. We never got around to it but it kind of inspired the fake movie poster idea and always makes me chuckle.
Freckle: The dramatic Tin Man movie Tin. It's such a beautiful image and really embodies pathos. That's what I go for in my work always. I'm a clown but clowns are sad.
Freckle, who are your style icons?
Freckle: Bea Arthur in Golden Girls, Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, and The Dude from The Big Lebowski.
The calendar is humorous, but it also feels political in its framing of a trans* person as a star of Hollywood films. What commentary did you hope to make about gender, LGBTQ representation, or any other social issues regarding the entertainment industry?
Freckle: It's not political, it's personal, baby. I'm it. I just want to be the first thing people see in the morning and the last thing they see when they go to bed.
Chris: The idea of the calendar has always been subversive-- taking Freckle, who is gender-nonconforming and who isn't a supermodel, and making them a "calendar girl," a pinup in some guy's workshop. That's always been the idea -- to subvert the idea of who can be glamorous, sexy, and a star.
Ten percent of the calendar’s proceeds benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Why is this the charity you wanted to support?
Chris: It's hard for me to do anything nowadays just for the sake of making money. The world is a mess, mostly because of money, and like a lot of people, I feel pretty powerless most of the time. Supporting the Center with our scrappy little calendar felt like a way we could all use our talents for good.
Freckle: I do it for my fans. So many of them are these queer kids in middle America, wondering where their life is going, asking me, of all people, for advice. The Center does so much for queer youth, kids like my fans. It seemed fitting.
What is next for you both?
Chris: We're working on a short-form series together and I'm also raising funds for a feature I wrote about queer homeless kids (which Freckle also stars in) starring Keiynan Lonsdale from Love, Simon.
What do you want for Christmas?
Chris: Funding for our projects.
Freckle: I don't need anything.
Buy the calendar at Etsy.com.