“It’s a beautiful melting pot of humanity,” says Daniel Newman of AMC’s The Walking Dead. This may seem like a rose-colored description for an infamously gory zombie opera. But Newman, who plays Daniel, one of the Kingdom’s top soldiers, has another perspective. “I couldn’t be on a better show, because it’s all about diversity,” he says. “It has every ethnicity, every background.”
And now, its first openly queer actor. In March, Newman posted a seven-minute YouTube video in which he came out (though he eschewed using any labels). The 35-year-old Atlanta native, who has also appeared in Homeland and The Vampire Diaries, says he was motivated to open up after volunteering at a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth. “I got to a point where things were too easy,” he explains. “You know when you just have something in your gut that’s like, What am I living for? If I’m not going to be authentic and make a difference in other people’s lives, I’m not satisfied with my life.”
If putting himself out there to help others is his new raison d’être, Newman is realizing it in more ways than one. He also recently posed for British GQ’s 2017 Red Hot Exposed calendar, which features 12 totally nude redheaded male models (proceeds go to the anti-bullying charity The Diana Award). Newman is June, and his photo, the calendar’s most risqué image, also landed him on its cover.
Meanwhile, he’s already at work on Dead’s upcoming eighth season. Though he can’t reveal any details, he’s effusive when discussing his fan base. He returns to that melting-pot analogy. “People always tell me, ‘I hate my family, but Sunday night we all come together for The Walking Dead,’” Newman says. “It’s amazing to be a part of something that unites people.”
Photograhy: Greg Vaughan
Styling: Michael Cook
Groomer: Scott McMahan (Kate Ryan Inc)
Sweater & Jeans: Tom Ford
Photographed at the NoMo Soho Hotel, New York
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