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'Pose's Jeremy McClain Says Queer Actors Have a Responsibility

NYX Cosmetics for Pride

The new face of NYX Professional Makeup's Pride campaign talks makeup and acting in an interview with Out.

Just in time for Pride, NYX Professional Makeup has launched a new yearlong campaign initiative, revealed a $50,000 donation, and announced an impending virtual march all in celebration of and in honor to the LGBTQ+ community. Titled "Proud Allies for All," the campaign features queer and trans folks like Pose's Jeremy McClain alongside allies.

In light of stay-at-home orders, the beauty brand is hosting its own virtual Pride march called "I March for." Centralized on Instagram, fans are to post images of themselves using a "Proud Allies" filter, sharing with the world who they are marching for.

NYX Cosmetics for PrideNYX Cosmetics for Pride

In addition a new page on the NYX website is set to provide a digital resource for would-be allies, breaking down simple aspects of the community and providing tips on how to be an active advocate and ally to the community. Employees of the company are being encouraged to take part in the ally education program. Alongside this work, the company has donated more than $50,000 to LGBTQ+ organizations including LA LGBT Center, which received $30,000.

For the campaign, Hennessy Carolina, Kameron Leston, Erika LaPearl, and Jeremy McClain are all featured. Pose star McClain is featured alongside friend and ally Shamari. Here, we talk to McClain about his own relationship with makeup and what's going on with Pose.

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You've known of NYX for a while now, given that you worked on the model agency side of fashion. Was there anything in particular that drew you to the brand for this partnership?

Well I love NYX just because it is a very approachable brand; they are people's brand. You can literally buy it anywhere. So it's just very accessible to people no matter where they come from, what their socioeconomic background or any of that stuff. It is available and accessible to everybody. It's not trying to be this pretentious thing that is blocking people out.

How did your relationship with makeup begin?

Oh god. Well, like every young, I was definitely exposed to it through my grandma and mother using makeup and seeing them in their mirrors getting ready in the morning. Obviously when they would step away I could get into it and they would come back to find me covered in lipstick, or blush, or eyeshadow. I guess it was my first sort of hands-on thing that I could express myself through all these beautiful colors. As a young kid you're just like you just see the colors and you're just drawn to them because they're colorful; they're just like your crayon box.

At the time I was just fascinated by all the ways you could express yourself; I didn't know that I was queer.

Did it take on a different meaning after you realized your sexuality and came out? Also specifically as you've become an increasingly visible queer person?

It definitely is for self-expression, but I think in a way it's also armor. And also I think that it's a way for me to show younger people coming up who maybe don't get the support that I had that they can wear it too and throw on a lip or eye shadow or some blush and express themselves how they want to.

When there are these images of us queer, out people who are in the limelight living our lives on red carpets or TV or just on Instagram, I like to put on a little beat not just because I like it but so others can have something to relate to. I want others to feel empowered and emboldened doing it.

Have you gotten a lot of feedback in terms of representation through your role on Pose?

I have! It's always so humbling, any time that I read a DM from someone that has watched the show saying they look up to me. That's something I didn't have while I was growing up. To have a show like Pose on the air would have made all the difference for me. That's what I'm really in this for with my career. I love creating characters but I feel like queer people who are in this industry, we have a responsibility to show up for our people.

Speaking of Pose, given everything that's gone on, how far did you all get on taping? What's happening?

There is no news yet! I was on set for the last day of production e did and then we shut down for what was supposed to be two weeks but has now obviously turned into ... I'm not too sure. But we will be back, and stronger than ever. Our community has been through a lot of plagues and adversity so we are resilient and will rise again.

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