Since his groundbreaking portrayal of the gay character Rickie Vasquez in the 1980s television series My So-Called Life, Wilson Cruz has been winning kudos for his acting chops while also setting many a heart a-flutter with his stunning good looks. And just to prove he’s aging like a fine wine, Cruz was recently decked out in leather for the cover of Photobook magazine.
The performer told Photobook the “biggest challenge” of his career has been finding roles for LGBTQ+ actors of color.
“So much of my experience has been finding the good roles that were open to me or, in my case, finding the roles that, with some collaboration, I could make better or more accurate,” Wilson said. “It’s also been a challenge to convince content creators that the characters they envisioned don’t necessarily have to be a white straight CIS gendered [man] and giving them a good enough reason, in my audition, to change their minds.”
Cruz said he has seen some movement and growth in the industry when it comes to visibility and representation in the industry, especially in television.
“I think the biggest changes I’ve seen in terms of LGBTQ visibility have been on television,” Cruz continued. “I took a couple of years off to work at GLAAD, specifically to work on this issue, and I really believe the conversations we had with networks and content creators, at that time, allowed them to see, not only how important inclusivity and visibility are for the community and the powerful storytelling opportunities for them, but also alerting them to the money they were leaving on the table by NOT being more inclusive."
When asked to pick out his fave or proudest moment in his career, Cruz made the obvious but difficult choice.
"That’s so hard to answer because I am so very proud of the work I’m currently doing,” Cruz told Photobook. “However, I think it’s undeniable to me that Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life saved, and continues to save, lives in just 19 episodes. The fact that that show has endured and continues to find an audience almost 30 years later and has the effect it has on queer young people, like it does, will stay with me for my entire life.”.