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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Johnny Weir lets us in his 'World'
BOOKS
by Jerry Nunn
2011-02-23

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Johnny Weir skated his way into being a U.S. national champion three times as well as a bronze medalist. He recently took his flamboyant costumes out of the closet with a new memoir entitled Welcome to My World.

Windy City Times: Hello, Johnny. I just read your book and you dedicated it to your parents. Have they always been supportive of you?

Johnny Weir: Absolutely. They have always been my biggest cheerleaders. When I was young my mom taught me about style, being eclectic, being free and expressing your feelings. My dad taught me discipline, how to be strong and do everything right the first time you do it. In that way my parents were already teaching me to be an Olympic figure skater.

WCT: It was interesting to read the whole journey towards your goals and all the behind-the-scenes [details] to get you there.

Johnny Weir: I wanted to give the full experience and the whole story. Even when you show up to competition then you start to tell a little story of yourself to the press they only use little pieces and they talk about little parts. Your words can get twisted and that was the main reason for my memoirs. There was a lot of stuff out there about me that wasn't true or was written wrongly. This book was the chance to set people straight on many different facets of my personality and different times in my life.

WCT: You mentioned being a private person but then you were out there with all the of the outfits.

Johnny Weir: Fashion is very inspiring to me and I almost go drag queen where I wear the heels, make-up on or a big fur coat. Those things get noticed. But today, for example, I have jeans and cashmere hoodie on. I change it up. Nobody really cared when I looked like a boy. They wanted me to be some Liza Minnelli doppelganger.

WCT: Growing up, were you bullied or picked on?

Johnny Weir: I lived my childhood in rural Pennsylvania so didn't experience it at first because I lived in a satellite sort of town. There was not a lot of outside influence and everyone knew each other. It was a utopian way to grow up. I could run through the forest without a care in the world. That was a beautiful way to grow up.

When I moved to Delaware to pursue figure skating I went to my first real integrated school with African-American kids, Muslim kids, Jewish kids—all those different people who had no idea who I was [started] bullying because I was different. I was tiny. I was pale. I didn't go to school the whole day because I had to go skating and train. Everyone knew what I was doing as a figure skater and, of course, you get bullied for doing those things. I never got sad when I was called the f-word or a name. I am not a person that cries over those things. I get stronger. I always come back fighting and I don't know why that it. It is my defense mechanism. When someone wants to belittle me then I come back 10 times harder so that I can be the one that laughs last. I don't let it effect me in a negative way.

WCT: How has the whole coming-out publicly been for you?

Johnny Weir: I am shocked by the amount of attention that coming out gets. I never lived in the closet. I don't remember sweeping on top of my issues. I was born gay. I was born white and I was born male. I don't celebrate any of those things because they are not important to who Johnny Weir is.

Everything I have done in my life I have worked really hard for and I want people to focus on those things. The whole admission that I was in a long-term gay relationship is dirt for people to run with. Most people are hung up on the gay thing more than [I am]. I don't celebrate it on a regular basis. It is kind of a moot point because now I am so busy. I don't have sex. I don't have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I am married to an airplane. It has probably been made into a big deal by the press because I didn't make a big deal of it in the book.

WCT: You talk about Christina Aguilera in the book and what a fan you are. Have you met her?

Johnny Weir: I got to meet Christina when I went to the MTV Movie Awards this past spring. I started walking the red carpet and there was a big commotion. I sent my manager over to grab her and tell her that I wanted to meet her. That is how things work in Hollywood circles, which I am still not accustomed to.

She came over and she had seen me skate. I have always respected her for never caving in to what the public wanted to see from her. She was always so powerful and used her talent as opposed to other things to become famous. She relied on her voice to sell albums. I always respected that and tried to bring that philosophy to my world. I try to take no prisoners and be who I am. You always have a fear when you meet famous people that they will be a douchebag or your image will crumble. All of my heroes—Lady Gaga, Elton John and Christina Aguilera—have been so beyond amazing.

WCT: Is your reality show Be Good Johnny Weir coming back?

Johnny Weir: We are coming back again. The first season was on the Sundance Channel and now we will be on the Logo network. It will start in the springtime. The first season was my journey to the Olympic games and the competitions. Season two is about me creating my own show. It will involve ice, singers, dancers, prostitutes—whatever you think will be in the show will be there. I want to have a cabaret Berlin-in-the-'30s notion to it. The entire show will be about self-acceptance and loving yourself. It will focus on my life and going to across the country on the bus, all my day-to-day life. The main diamond will be this spectacular that I have put together.

WCT: You even have a song out now.

Johnny Weir: It came out the same time as the book; it's called "Dirty Love." It's already number one in Japan. It is rising up slowly on the United States dance charts. I am very proud of it. I went into it as a side project. I had so much fun doing it and I said let's release it. If one person buys it and enjoys it that's more than enough for me, I wanted people to have fun and try something new. People tend to think that I try to do things for attention and money. In reality, I do things because they are fun and I enjoy it.

WCT: That's a good way to live life.

Johnny Weir: Yesterday I had the coolest moment because I went through a Starbucks drive-thru and heard someone in the car next to me blasting my song.

WCT: Congrats! Will there be more seasons of Skating With the Stars?

Johnny Weir: I hope there will be. There were many mixed feelings from the public. Some people liked it; some people hated it. There was a lot of drama and injury on the show, which is what America loves to watch. I was proud of the show. It came off much better than I thought it would. We had an average of five million viewers per episode. It is not the 20 million of Dancing With the Stars or American Idol but we were beating Modern Family, which is also on ABC and an Emmy-winning show. It all depends on the networks and want they want for their programming. I am very hopeful that we will do another season.

Buy Johnny Weir's book, Welcome to My World, at www.borders.com or skate over to your local bookseller.


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