Brian Falduto (aka Billy, the gay kid from School of Rock) welcomed Daniel Franzese (Damian in Mean Girls) to episode 24 of The Gay Life Coach Podcast where they discussed Pride and their experiences growing up as queer characters in major motion pictures before they had come to terms with their sexual identities in real life.
Falduto (@brianfalduto) rose to instant stardom as Billy, Jack Black’s sassy stylist in the 2003 cult classic School of Rock, but his memorable performance in the role caused problems among his classmates at the private Catholic school he attended in suburban New Jersey. In fact, it seemed to Falduto that everyone knew he was gay before even he knew it.
"Being in School of Rock exposed me to the world and all my sassy fabulousness, but it also unknowingly exposed a kid who was really vulnerable & really scared," Falduto tells Out. "I love the way Danny talks about the fierce courage with which Damian carried himself on screen. I often thank Billy in a similar light. Because Brian wasn’t nearly as consistently brave as that character that so many people found themselves in."
In more recent years, Falduto has embraced his sexuality and life, and is helping others to do the same. He’s an ICF-certified LGBTQ+ life coach who uses his podcast to touch on issues of importance to the community, but also which reflect his own personal experiences coming to terms with his sexual identity.
"The Gay Life Coach Podcast is one of my many attempts to make the wellness conversation more accessible within the queer community," Falduto continues. "The focus of the conversation is finding people within the community who are boldly and bravely loving their full selves as authentically as they can, and then sharing their stories. Because stories are not only a great way to expand our awareness but they're also a great way to see that no matter who we are or where we are, we don't have to be there alone."
Best known for his role as Damian in Tina Fey’s Mean Girls, Franzese (@whatsupdanny) also stared in Bully and I Spit on Your Grave. He speaks regularly on LGBTQ+ issues and his popular YouTube video series Sh*t Italian Moms Say has reached 8 million views and counting. Falduto says he felt particularly honored to welcome Franzese to The Gay Life Coach.
"Much like Danny, it's been so nice hearing from people over the years what my role in School of Rock has meant to them," Falduto says. "But to hear that it also meant something to Danny — who is such an icon — that was a really surprising & heartwarming moment for me."
You can stream Brian Falduto and Daniel Franzese on The Gay Life Coach Podcast here or across all streaming platforms. For more information on Brian Falduto, visit brianfalduto.com. For more information on Daniel Franzese, visit whatsupdanny.com.