Billy Porter sure can turn a look—and it has not gone unnoticed.
The Emmy-nominated Pose star and an outspoken LGBTQ activist has also been busy making headlines for his political fashion statements that defy traditional gender constraints.
The custom Christian Siriano tuxedo gown he wore to the Academy Awards. The Met Gala “Sun God” lewk by The Blonds. That Tonys ensemble crafted from a Kinky Boots curtain and shaped like a uterus. Honey, the list goes on as long as the red carpets he’s snatched.
Happy Pride Sweeties! Thank you @CSiriano for this fabulous custom gown! Taste the rainbow!!! #pride Jewels by @OscarHeymanBros Style by @sammyratelle Glam by @LaSonyaGunter pic.twitter.com/jrn5HuXWj2
— Billy Porter (@theebillyporter) July 1, 2019
Pumpin’ out of the @TheLowellHotel on my to the @TheTonyAwards in my custom #orelbrodtdesigns encrusted @swarovski pumps!
: @Santiagofelipe⠀ pic.twitter.com/laKSh2b8ci
— Billy Porter (@theebillyporter) June 10, 2019
When you come to the Oscars, you must dress up. Thanks @CSiriano for creating this custom couture masterpiece. @OscarHeymanBros you have outdone yourselves with your iconic jewels. Style by @sammyratelle Grooming by Anna Bernabe. @TheAcademy #AcademyAwards2019 #oscars #oscars2019 pic.twitter.com/IpTG2OK20x
— Billy Porter (@theebillyporter) February 24, 2019
Thanks to these showstoppers and stylist Sam Ratelle, Porter just made Vanity Fair’s 2019 Best Dressed List. He’s sitting pretty under the category “The Originals,” along with Harry Styles, Lena Waithe, B. Akerlund, Kehinde Wiley, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, and Tyler, the Creator. Other queer honorees include Marc Jacobs, Jeremy O. Harris, and Frank Ocean.
In an accompanying Vanity Fair questionnaire, Porter lists his occupation as “I’m a Renaissance bitch!” Where’s the lie? He also names Diana Ross and André Leon Talley as his style icons, adding that a person’s best style quality is “Proper fit and giving zero F’s.” He gives “High heels!” as the answer to two other questions.
Earlier this week the Tony- and Grammy-winning performer also landed on People’s 2019 Best Dressed List, along with fellow divas like Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, and Lady Gaga.
Thanks again, @people! https://t.co/ppxMLjZROK
— Billy Porter (@theebillyporter) September 6, 2019
“As a man, I really want to make a different kind of statement and show up in a way that could also be transformative, that could also be political,” Porter told People. “My goal was to be a walking piece of political art. When I show up that’s what my goal is. Put a man in a dress and it’s controversial, doesn’t make any sense, but okay. Let’s keep having this conversation until we can change something.”
“I’m black, I’m turning 50, and I’m fierce!” Porter told The New York Times earlier this year. “I’m grown, and I’m going to wear my dresses.”
“One of the things I’ve realized is that I’ve always had a genderfluid sensibility with clothes, and it was so squashed by homophobia,” explained the actor, who reclaimed his femininity through Kinky Boots and Pose. “I hope that through what I’m doing, it can reach a younger generation, especially the little black boys. It’s different for us.”
Focusing on gay and trans performers in New York City’s 1980s and 1990s ballroom scene, Pose has made history with the most trans series regulars ever in an American scripted TV series. Created by Ryan Murphy in collaboration with producers Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, the show has also employed more than 100 trans actors, crew members, and consultants. Porter, who plays HIV-positive ball emcee Pray Tell, has made Emmy history as the first openly gay black man to be nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama.
Pose was renewed for a third season earlier this summer, with FX Networks and FX Productions chairman John Landgraf saying it has “elevated our culture and the TV landscape like few shows before it.”
Pose is expected to return next summer.