Photography by JUCO | Retouching by Anna Glen at Wet Noodle
The Moment: October 10, 1997: Wong Kar Wai's film Happy Together is released.
Jose Llana (left) and Conrad Ricamora, the male leads in David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's exuberant pop opera Here Lies Love, began their professional careers in the closet. "I was worried that if a casting director knew I was gay, it would affect my ability to be cast," says Llana, already concerned that his Filipino roots would limit his opportunities.
For Ricamora, who also stars in the new Shonda Rhimes show, How to Get Away With Murder, it was New York's Pride march in 2001 that transformed his philosophy. "It [was] like this huge explosion of gayness and acceptance, and all these things I'd been ashamed of for so long," he recalls. That both men, now firmly out and proud, play rivals in politics and love in the breakout stage show of the year demonstrates how much distance has been traveled in so short a time.
Photographed at ACME Studio, Brooklyn on July 23, 2014
Styling by Michael Cook. Makeup: Angela DiCarlo. Hair: Benjamin Thigpen/Artists by Timothy Priano. Shirt by Marc Jacobs. Jacket by Original Penguin (Llana). Shirt by Original Penguin. Jacket by Bottega veneta (Ricamora)