Viewers of The Avenue, a Toronto-based reality web series, get a sneak peek into the city’s Midtown dramz via Gregory Gorgeous. It’s about the furthest thing from rocket science, but, love it or loathe it, audiences are tuning in—by the thousands. We met with Gorgeous in Yorkville to talk about Rosedale, LiLo, and what he’d wear to meet the prime minister.
In the first season you were living in a small apartment and now you have a mansion in Rosedale. How did that happen?
When I moved into my apartment at Avenue and St. Clair at the start of last season, I had downsized quite a bit. I didn’t really know if I would like living there so I wanted to test it in someplace smaller. Ultimately, I decided that the city really wasn’t for me, so I moved back to Rosedale, which is where I had lived with my parents before the show started.
I love how you don’t consider Rosedale to be part of Toronto.
Well, I don’t! It’s kind of like a suburb. It’s another world.
It is another world—a pretty conservative one. Do you get a lot of looks?
Toronto is crazy accepting and there are gay people everywhere, but I generally get looks wherever I go. In Rosedale, people pretty much keep to themselves. It’s nice being in an upscale part of town because people in the streets don’t give you a hard time.
They just whisper about you behind your back. So just to be clear—being Gregory Gorgeous has provided you with the means to live in a mansion?
Yes. I’ve been doing [YouTube] for many years and I have a lot of sponsorships and endorsements with various companies. I was just in L.A. a couple of weeks ago and I did three appearances for Make Up Forever, which is a brand I’ve been partnered with for a while.
I just wondered because so much of the reality world is for the cameras. The Avenue [which features some version of the real life of Gorgeous and his girlfriends strutting around Yorkville] is what’s referred to as “scripted reality.” How much of the drama on the show is pre-manufactured?
People think we have these long scripts, which is definitely not the case and none of the major plot points are locked in. Things happen and the show adjusts accordingly. That said, there is a lot of editing. With season one, I would remember a particular get-together as very cheery, but then they add depressing music and suddenly there’s a totally different vibe.
What about when you called your best friend Rachel a “little bitch” on the finale—was that planned?
No, it wasn’t. And that’s another example of how editing can make things look different. Rachel was on speakerphone with Claire and I thought that they were exchanging looks and making faces about me. I felt ganged up on, but you don’t see that, so my calling her a bitch really comes out of nowhere.
The various relationships on The Avenue aren’t all that compelling. Why do you think people are into it?
I think it really shows Toronto in a beautiful light. It makes the city look so glamorous and people recognize the locations, which is fun for them. In terms of the relationships, maybe things can come off as un-genuine because of the cameras. It’s really weird—you’re trying to have a normal dinner and you’ve got these lights in your face and people staring at you, so it can be awkward. I think people kind of like that [awkwardness], though.
There is certainly a guilty-pleasure aspect. One of your producers suggested that people like to watch the show because it makes them feel better about their own lives.
I think it would make people feel worse about themselves because they see us all glam and all crazy. I get messages from people every day saying, “Oh, my gosh, I wish we could be best friends. I wish we could go shopping together.”
Reality-TV backlash seems to be having a moment: Jack White recently called shows like The Avenue the “lowest common denominator,” and Adam Levine said Honey Boo Boo represents the decay of Western civilization.
You have to love Honey Boo Boo, though! If you can’t admit that, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.
Maybe someone like Jack White, who has worked for years to perfect his art form, can’t get his head around the whole famous-for-nothing concept.
I don’t think it’s being famous for nothing—you’re famous for being an entertainer. As for Jack White in particular, he’s kind of this weird hipster dude. I’m sure he hates people like Britney Spears, too. I wouldn’t call his work the “lowest common denominator.” I would call it boring.
Snap! That might be a bigger diss.
Whatever. It’s just different styles.
Have you been following all of this Lindsay Lohan drama?
I have. I actually partied with her in New York City last month. I was at this club called Le Bain, and Lindsay and Paris Hilton were on the dance floor. Honestly, though, I feel really bad for her. She needs to go back to being normal. I watched Liz & Dick and it wasn’t that great.
That’s probably the best review that movie has gotten. Does Lohan make you question the wisdom of life in the spotlight?
I think it’s all about the individual person. And you have to stay away from drugs. Lindsay Lohan’s teeth were fucked up. They were falling out. That’s like crack and meth. When you’re famous you really need to be in a good mental state or else people will screw you over.
What did you think of Justin Bieber’s recent fashion scandal, where he wore…
The overalls. I don’t see what the big deal was. Isn’t he, like, 15? He can wear overalls.
What would you wear to meet the prime minister?
Probably a sequined floor-length gown and a nice clutch.
Favourite polish colour?
Last book you read?
Pizza or burgers?
Cosmo or Caesar?
Person you most admire?
Desert island album?
The new One Direction.
Desert island beauty product?
Tinted moisturizer with SPF.