Beloved actor Leslie Jordan has become an Instagram sensation since adjourning to an Airbnb not far from his mother and sisters in Tennessee last month. The actor who rose to fame playing Karen Walker’s nemesis Beverly Leslie on Will & Grace catapulted from about 80K Instagram followers to 3 million in the span of a month thanks to his homespun videos in which he exercises with a back scratcher, then uses it as a baton, does yoga (as only he could), and engages in “pillow talk” dishing about Hollywood luminaries.
“I’ve gone viral,” Jordan laughs in an interview with Tracy E. Gilchrist, The Advocate's co-editor in chief, for the virtual series Inside With The Advocate.
"I'd do an exercise video because there are so many gay men with these perfect abs and they do exercise videos. So I did an exercise video where my stomach looked like my water's about to break,” Jordan says about his inspiration for one of the videos that kickstarted his Inta-success.
At 64, Jordan has been out his career (his IMDB credits total 126 and date back to the early '80s), if not, really, his entire life. Recently, he's starred in American Horror Story: Coven and The Cool Kids.
“I fell out of the womb and into my mother’s high heels,” he says about his never having that coming-out moment in Hollywood.
Because of Jordan’s storied career and his commitment to lifting spirits with his talent and humor at a time when people need it most, The Advocate has created a digital cover to honor him.
Jordan has made plenty of virtual appearances since he became a social media star, including appearing on The View last week. On Inside With The Advocate he is both uproariously funny and deeply poignant. At one point he discusses how his gay agents back in the day encouraged him to butch it up in daylight even to the point where Jordan grew a thick mustache.
“I looked like Ron Jeremy,” he says (referring to the '80s-era adult film star).
He also shares about how he's proud to have been a part of Will & Grace and that show’s role in shifting perceptions around LGBTQ people, although he adds that no one ever sets out to try to make history.
Next up, Jordan is slated for Fox’s Mayim Bialik and Swoosie Kurtz starrer Call Me Kat in which Bialik is a beleaguered daughter who works in a cat café owned by Jordan's character Phil, a role that was originally written as a woman by the name of Phyllis.
“I wrangle the pussy. I didn’t say that!” he jokes, irreverently.
In a serious moment, he discusses the great losses of the AIDS epidemic and how the community survived.
“We figured out as a community of gay people, we have to take care of our own. I was there when APLA was started in somebody’s living room. Project Angel Food was started at the church at Fairfax and Fountain,” Jordan says.
“What we came out of that as a community was, we were kinder to each other,” he says. “I’m hoping that the whole world, having gone through something like this, is going to come out of all of this kinder.”
“We’ll hunker down, and we’ll figure it out, and we’ll get through it,” he says.
Watch Jordan's interview below, and check back for other episodes of Inside With The Advocate, which features an array of virtual stories with LGBTQ artists, trailblazers, and allies including Rosie O'Donnell, Emily Hampshire, Harvey Guillén, Ross Mathews, Kalen Allen, Sherry Cola, Fortune Feimster, Bruce Richman, Tonatiuh, and Josh Thomas.