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10Qs: Pierson Fodé on Playing Gay, Trying Drag, and Streaking

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

In Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, Pierson Fodé stars as Ely, a gay New York kid with a wicked fashion sense and a devoted confidant in Naomi (Victoria Justice). Although their friendship is timeless, the two implement the "No Kiss List" so no boy comes between them. But rules are broken and bonds are tested in this heartwarming feel-good coming-of-age flick from the writer and director of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

Fodé charms as the gay best friend (so much so that he has girls and straight guys fawning for him.) I asked the young actor about playing gay, his first time in New York, and which fictional gay best friend he'd marry, fuck, or kill.

Out: You’re in a really cute film, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, in which you play a gay guy. So assuming you’re straight, what’s your favorite thing about playing gay?

Pierson Fodé: I think my favorite thing was actually really getting to understand it in a whole new light, cause I sat down with two friends specifically and I talked to them about their growing up and their coming of age story. And I got to know it from a new perspective instead of just being like, “Oh yeah, my friends are gay.” I got to step into their shoes and really appreciate it for what happens especially to an older generation versus a younger generation and how people are opening new doors everyday for young kids to come out. So that was something that was really, really cool for me.

What advice would you give to other straight young actors playing gay?

Don’t judge any of the choices you’re about to make, because it’s not necessarily who you are, and that’s the goal. Branch out. The further you branch out from your sexuality, the better off you’ll be.

In the movie, you play a New York kid. Where are some of your favorite New York spots?

This is a toughie. Obviously, Washington Square Park, we filmed a lot there. That was definitely one of my favorite spots. I love the arch and everything about it. There’s Magnolia Bakery and Yaffa Café. I think Yaffa Café was really cool because that’s such an iconic spot to just kind of mess around in New York. I mean obviously Central Park, the whole park is gorgeous and beautiful. That was kind of a surreal experience. I’d never been to New York up until that point.

Oh wow.

Yeah, right? Trying to play a New York kid, having never been. It was a very magical and romantic experience as far as viewing the city goes, just because I got to see it from a filming perspective which is always a little bit more exciting than just walking around and being lonely.

You also channel some Hedwig and the Angry Inch when you’re singing “Wig in a Box.” Have you ever done drag?

I’ve never done drag. Honestly, it’s a deep secret fantasy of mine. I think that would be awesome.

Do you have a favorite drag queen?

I mean, I’ve never watched drag. My old roommate, he watched RuPaul’s show. So I’d have to just go with RuPaul. I mean he’s the icon.

Naomi Ely

So you also wear a Sid Vicious costume in the movie that may or may not have the power to turn straight guys gay. Do you have a costume in mind for this Halloween to top that?

Honestly, I think my birthday suit is my best costume yet. 

I have to admit I’m blushing a little bit right now.

Good, good. I’ll stick with that answer then.

Are there places or parties that you go to that allow you to just show up in the nude?

I wish. It ends up being my own party, a Pierson party, on his own, in his room, stag. But I do have to wear clothes out. Although there are definitely some parties wear I have a couple of friends that would really appreciate it if I did that. The party would be a hit. I should just give it the old run around, just streak through somebody’s party. I think that would be kind of an adventure for everyone.

I would highly encourage that.

Maybe I’ll invite you.

Ely’s style seems to reflect Robert Mapplethorpe among some other icons. Who would you say influences your personal style?

My personal style? That’s a tough one. You know, I feel like my style kind of changes with the wind, whatever’s affecting my mood at the moment. But I love all kinds of things. I love layers upon layers upon layers of jackets and interesting unique things. The more unique you can be as a style, the more I’m gonna like it. So the further it branches out, the more I’m keen to those kinds of styles. Being weird and being unique, I love that.

Do you have a gay best friend?

I do. He’s actually more my mentor to be honest. Well they’re both kind of my mentors in certain ways. But I kinda have two that are just like my guys that I go to like hang out with and have bro time with and talk about life with. They’re actually the two guys that I interviewed for the character of Ely, just because I love them and respect them so much and their views on life.

Who would you say is one of your favorite gay actors, dead or alive?

Well Cary Grant is my hero all time but was he gay?

Not that I know of.

Not that we know of. Isn’t that like the word on the street that everybody was gay at some point? I don’t know. I’m always confused of who was or who wasn’t. Well if Cary Grant’s not gay, I’m gonna have to go with my current favorite actor who’s gay, Neil Patrick Harris. Oh, you have to add Ian McKellen to that! You gotta have a good range.

Let’s play Marry, Fuck, Kill with Eric McCormack, Rupert Everett. and Paul Rudd.

This is a toughie, man. You’re really setting me up to fail here. Ok, give me a second… This isn’t gonna be as popular of a choice. Ok, let’s go with marry Paul Rudd because you’re gonna laugh for the rest of your life no matter what. I’d have to go with fuck Eric McCormack and… Aw, this is a toughie because I love Rupert Everett. Can I say fuck both Rupert Everett and Eric McCormack?

You know what? I’ll accept it. There’s too much murder going on in the world today that maybe sex is the answer.

Let’s have a three-way. Why not?

Good answer. So what is your spirit animal?

That would be a unicorn.

A unicorn? Nice. Really going for the gay audience, I like it.

Listen bro, when it farts rainbows and spits gumdrops, I’m down.

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List is available on iTunes Sept. 18, with 10% of pre-sales go to The Trevor Project. Watch the trailer below:

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