We are hopelessly addicted to Manhunt. Color us shallow, but we love watching a cavalcade of catty cads (frequently in very little clothing) battling it out for a modeling contract on a weekly basis. And not only does the show have a load of hotties, it also has more openly gay people than any other show in television! We spoke with the three out contestants, Ron Brown, Rob Williams, and the recently-booted John Stallings, to get the lowdown on the show and their lives.
Ron, you made it very clear in the first episode that you're out and proud. Did you ever question being out on the show?
Ron Brown: You know, I actually didn't question being openly gay on the show. Being out was a given for me. I am very proud of who I am as a person and who I am as a gay man.
John and Rob, in the first episode, you weren't out. Was that a choice'or did they just edit it that way?
John Stallings: The producers had plenty of chances to show clips of me speaking of my sexuality, but didn't choose to do so for the first episode. Either way, I think that it was great not to bombard our viewers with all the 'out' guys on the show, but just wait, there are still more to come.
Rob Williams: I was very open about my sexuality with the producers from the beginning of the interview process. I think I was a bit more hesitant in regard to the other contestants. I did not hide it from them, but I didn't wear a T-shirt. I wanted them to find out organically.
Living in such close quarters with some guys who obviously seem full of testosterone, was that ever a problem?
John: I'm a guy. I'm full of testosterone myself. It was never a problem per se, but you can imagine how I felt when I was in close quarters with such hot guys'shout out to Paulo!
Ron: I wouldn't say that it was a problem'more of a headache most of the time'and very hot at the same time. Talk about a kid in a candy store!
Did the gay guys bond together?
Ron: Yes, of course the gay guys bonded. We found each other very quickly, and while some of us were open, there were some that chose not to be.
John: Funny you should say that, because I would say 'no.' I immediately found myself retreating out of my room to go hang out with Seth, Jon J., and Ron. Ron happens to be openly gay on the show, but it wasn't the sexual preference that pulled us together.
Rob: I think there was a commonality between the gay contestants, but the guys I became the closest to were not gay.
What made you want to do the show?
John: I was having an iced, regular, breve, mocha latte at the Coffee Bean on Sunset [Boulevard in Los Angeles] where [executive producer] Stuart Krasnow discovered me. He was sitting there with a friend and his little, yappy dog. They kept staring at me. Anyway, he approached me, and introduced himself with the famous peacock logo on a business card [and he told me about the show]. On the inside I was ready to run over to some guy with a laptop and begin e-mailing him immediately, but I kept my composure and waited until 10 minutes later to e-mail him from my apartment. To have such an opportunity to be on a television show that pertains to something that is a dream to do, why wouldn't you do the show?
Rob: This is the era of reality television just like the early '80s were the era of Studio 54. I think it is not going to last long and I wanted to be a part of it just for the experience. I am young and have the opportunity to stop my life for a month, so I thought what the hell.
Are you glad you did it?
Ron: Glad is not even the word I would use to express how I feel about this experience. Highly overjoyed, extremely excited are more like it.
Are you single? Dating? Partnered? Looking?
Ron: I am seeing someone.
John: I'm single and have been for quite some time, which I am completely fine with. I feel, to truly have a strong, healthy relationship with someone, you first need to become confident in yourself and be comfortable being who you are.
Rob: I am single and in the market. Guys that I can trust and make me laugh, step to the front of the line!
What do you think is your best attribute?
John: Honestly, my best attributes are my eyes. They are amazing in pictures and never have to be touched up.
Ron: I think my best attribute is my smile and my defined facial bone structure'or so I've been told.
Ron, there's really a lack of African-American models presented in advertising and on the runway. Did that add a layer of pressure to being on the show?
Ron: Yeah, it actually did, and because of that I wanted to win that much more. My look, of course, is very different. Not only because I am a black male but because I brought something far more different to the table.
Any funny moments during filming?
John: I would say the funniest moment on the show was at the party with the girls [shown in the first episode]. I was talking to a group of them all night. This one girl was smoking a cigarette next to the window'obviously drunk'and held the cigarette a little close to her hair. I turned away and her hair had fallen into the lit part of the cigarette and began to smoke up. I shoved her head outside the window and slapped her hair around so it would stop. It wasn't caught on tape and she was so drunk she just went along with it while I rolled around on the floor [laughing].
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Rob: There was a runway show where I had to wear tight elastic biker-type shorts with nothing else and dance around. I looked like an idiot. I was an embarrassment to the gay community because I am such a horrible dancer. I felt like I should have been on a float on Santa Monica Boulevard during the gay pride parade.
Ron: The most embarrassing moment was when I jumped out of the plane when we skydived and I was supposed to pull the cord to release the shoot. But I pulled the guy on my back instead.
What's next for you?
John: To receive a call from Prada or John Varvatos because they want to use me in their next campaign or runway show'ha.
Rob: I want to continue modeling and pursue a career in television broadcast. I have a journalism degree and would love to get into entertainment or lifestyle broadcasting.
Ron: My twin brother, Shawn, said this to me before I moved to New York City: 'Sometimes trying isn't good enough. So stop trying and start doing. Prove to the world that African-American male models can make it in this industry and do well. You've already made it in my eyes. Now make it in everyone else's eyes as well.' I think that people are truly beginning to see how much I do want this and understand that I will stop at nothing until I am on the runways and in the magazines.