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From mid-aughts classics like I Love New York to more modern fare like RuPaul's Drag Race, Mike Mulderrig has long been "obsessed" with reality TV. Recently, he took that obsession to dangerous new heights by getting cast on a reality show himself.
Mulderrig, a 26-year-old bartender slash YouTuber from New Jersey who has been living in Los Angeles for the past two years, is one of nine young VIP hosts featured on Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club: a Vanderpumpian new reality show on MTV that, as its title suggests, is about Lindsay Lohan running a beach club in Mykonos.
Despite all his, uh, research in the field, Mulderrig -- who isn't a big fan of labels but if he has to will go with "bisexual" -- tells Out that no amount of binge-watching could have prepared him for being on the other side of the reality TV screen.
"I went into filming with a RuPaul's Drag Race mindset, like, 'I'm not here to make friends!'" he says. "I thought I had everything figured out. Coming back home, I realized I nothing figured out."
Out had the chance to speak with Mulderrig in the hours before the third episode of Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club premieres (tonight @ 8 p.m. EST on MTV). We talked about reality TV, blaming the edit, working for Lindsay, and Tila Tequila.
Hi, Mike. How are you?
I'm good I'm good. I'm back in L.A., just trying to get some things done so I'll be free to engage with people tonight on social media when the show airs, interact with them, see how they like the show.
How's your reception been so far?
It's been OK. I spent the beginning of my time there focused on doing a good job and getting along with everybody, so there doesn't seem to be too much controversy. I'm not standing out in a crazy way -- at least not yet. We'll see how long that lasts.
It sounds like you're hinting at something...
I mean, I'm always hinting at something.
Are you nervous about how you'll be received by viewers?
No. If I was worried about what people think of me, I wouldn't do reality TV. Going on reality TV is the worst thing you if you're that kind of person. All of us [on Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club] are secure in who we are and don't care what people think.
Still, you don't control how you're going to be edited. That's got to be a little nerve-wracking, right? Giving up control like that?
It was, a little bit, but you, in the end, control what you give the editors in the first place. Anyone who blames how they look on editing isn't being honest with themselves. You did what you did, you said what you said, and if you have a problem with that, don't do it. I think my main concern about editing was that I didn't want my entire storyline to be centered on my sexuality. My goal in going on the show wasn't to be "the gay ambassador," as if that's all I bring to the table. Being a part of the [LGBTQ+] community is amazing, but we're just like everybody else. I got this job because of my marketing background and my ability to work hard, so any time someone says I only got on the show because of my sexuality I get up in arms.
I liked how casually the show introduced that part of you. In one of your first confessionals, you mention something about people in gay nightlife not believing that you also like women, but you're just like whatever about it and the show moves on, no tragedy or trauma.
I mean, it's a very mundane thing. I feel like we're all over it. Going on TV to cry about growing up gay -- we all grew up gay! We all know it's hard! Honestly, the people who've been hardest on my sexuality have been people in the [LGBTQ+] community. Being bisexual, I've had to fight with everybody who is heterosexual while also not fitting in with people who identify as strictly gay, with both sides telling me I'm going through a phase. That definitely hurt. It's mostly cis, white, attractive, gay men who have this issue with me also liking women. Why is that intimidating? It's funny when someone from the [LGBTQ+] community tells you that you're not who you say you are. It's like, isn't that what people have said to you your entire life? It's so hypocritical to me.
I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a bisexual man on TV. Can you? [Yes, dear reader, I now remember that there's a bisexual guy on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but a.) I haven't memorized GLAAD's latest report on representation and b.) my general point about the dearth of bi male representation stands!!]
The last bisexual representation I saw, period, was Tila Tequila back in the day [on MTV's A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila], and I don't think she's fit to represent anything. Isn't she alien-hunting now?
And something about Hitler.
That's just great. [laughs] That's our representation! You know, I don't actually identify as bisexual. I only started saying I was bisexual to help everyone else understand who I am better. I'd rather not identify with anything, to be honest. People put you in a box when they find out that you're bi -- straight people and gay people. I strive for an environment where we can just be who we are and not have to say we're anything.
Like, you're more about what you're doing vs. the words you use to label what you're doing?
Yeah. If I'm dating a woman, it's a normal hetero relationship, and if I'm dating a man, it's a normal homo relationship -- but a lot of people don't feel the same way.
Changing subjects, what's Lindsay like as a boss?
She's very unpredictable, very mysterious.
Were you a fan of hers before going on the show?
My older sister was definitely a much bigger Lindsay Lohan fan than me, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't obsessed with some of her movies like Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. The most frustrating thing on the show is that I was the only one quoting Mean Girls. I feel like I'd wouldn't be doing right by the [LGBTQ+] community if I didn't try to get at least one Mean Girls quote into every episode.
Mike ... Thank you for your service ...
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.