Charlie Carver has long found inspiration in both honoring tradition and redefining it. This impulse can be seen in the actor's most notable projects, like MTV's Teen Wolf, a series that added queer subtext to the classic '80s film that inspired it, and the recent Broadway revival of The Boys in the Band, a gay touchstone that rather defiantly cast all openly gay actors for the new incarnation. In his life, Carver thrives in balancing that same mix of the time-honored and the slightly radical. Charlie Carver's talent is unmistakable "There are a lot of pressures coming from a background with the expectation of having to uphold this American notion of what it means to be a man," the 30-year-old says. "And through my art, my friends, and listening to myself, I got to a point where I decided I would live on my own terms while still honoring where I came from."
In his youth, Carver split his time between living in the Napa Valley and exploring his birthplace of San Francisco, a city that both fostered his future as a performer and encouraged him to express his personal style. While attending a performing arts high school, he remembers that he and his peers were thought of by the faculty as "wild children trying to go to big cities and make it." There he began to define himself as having a slight "sense of mischief, and just a willingness to upset expectation and have fun." Charlie's sense of style helped him stand out and later led to him being discovered while he was shopping for clothes in Los Angeles. The encounter would lead him to his first TV role as the rebellious Porter Scavo on Desperate Housewives.
Today, for Carver, merging tradition and rebellion involves digging into his all-American heritage and queering it in his own way. For example, he says he sometimes has an urge "to do Hollywood drag, like Steve McQueen, or Marlon Brando, or James Dean, then put a spin on it somehow." Or, to add some flash to a garment, or to spice up a tailored jacket, he might grab some pins that belonged to his grandfather, who was involved with marine-life conservation. "They're a little gaudy, but they were beautifully made," Carver says. "I tack them on, even if they're behind a lapel or something. It's sort of my own little language."
On the set of Out's Master of Style shoot, Carver explains that even winding down, for him, has a "touch of the unconventional--and a sense of adventure", similar to the ethos of 2019 Cadillac XT4 that he was shooting with. He says that his self-care involves taking a pause and sometimes taking himself on solo dates, whether it's to the movies or for a drive, preferably along Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco, where everything started for him. "It's a little scary," Carver says of the route. "There are no guard rails. But it's the most rugged cliff's-edge drive you'll have ever have, and it's pretty great. There's nothing like rolling down the windows and feeling the roar of the engine underneath you.
Carver may be a rebel, but he's a rebel with a cause, and if he has anything to impart to queer youth, it's his own philosophy of how glancing back can help you forge ahead. "Hold part of yourself for yourself," he says, "but at the same time, don't be afraid. Your authenticity is your ticket to being seen as having something special to offer."