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  WINDY CITY TIMES

TELEVISION Chicago man competes on groundbreaking 'Prince Charming'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-09-07

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Starting Thursday, Sept. 8, Logo will break new ground with its brand-new reality dating competition series, Finding Prince Charming—which, in essence, is a gay twist on The Bachelor.

Thirteen men will vie for the affections of interior designer Robert Sepulveda Jr. in a journey that promises many twists.

Sam Provenzano—an affable, candid man who resides in Chicago and heads the LGBT-friendly personal-trainer network Right Fit For You—is one of said competitors. Windy City Times talked with him about several aspects of the show.

Windy City Times: I have to start at the beginning, of course. How did you end up on the show?

Sam Provenzano: I was with a group of friends, and we saw something on Instagram. They thought I should go for it and I thought, "Why not?" So my friends applied for me online. I was contacted about a month later, and it was a pretty long process. But it was cool.

WCT: So were not leery of being on a reality show? I'm sure you've seen a few.

SP: Oh, no: I'm a big fan of reality TV and television, in general. I don't mind the camera—I'm not going to lie—but putting myself out there was a little nerve-wracking. I talked it over with my parents, my job—and everyone was saying, "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So just go for it." So, I did.

WCT: Were you concerned about how you might come off?

SP: Oh, yes! I'm Italian, I'm from the Midwest. I don't have the L.A. lifestyle or the New York lifestyle; Midwesterners are a different breed. I'm very forward; it's nothing bad—it's helped and hurt me in my life. I will say what I have to say; that's who I am. As long as I can get that portrayed on television, I'm totally fine with that. But you do get a little nervous, for sure.

WCT: Because I saw the trailer, and you come off a little...

SP: Yeah, I come off a little ... mmm-hmmm. [Interviewer laughs.] And that's fine—you have to give the people what they want. Not to give too much away, but when you're living with 13 other gay men—it's not about finding your best friend; it's about finding Prince Charming. If someone comes at me I will attack back, even though I'm normally a very sweet, loyal, down-to-earth, real person.

WCT: That's what threw me a little bit.

SP: As long as they show the good, the bad and the ugly, I'm fine with it—and there's a lot of good that happens in that house. I learned about myself in there, and made some great friends as well as met some enemies. It was an all-around positive experience.

People do have to remember, though, that any drama you have with an individual on a show [is different in that] you can't go anywhere. Normally, if anyone is disrespecting me constantly, I wouldn't associate with that person—but, here, you're constantly seeing them. So it's reality, but it's not reality.

It'll be a bumpy ride, but fun.

WCT: What was the biggest surprise for you about the filming process?

SP: The biggest surprise was that the people there really do look after you. They were really cool and took care of us. It was really interesting.

Also, it's interesting that there are cameras everywhere. When I wake up and I'm in my underwear, there they are. Hello! It actually ended up being cool, though, seeing the behind-the-scenes of a reality show. The crew works really hard.

With the camera, you don't want to look like an idiot, of course. After a while, I forgot they were there. However, I have to say that you really appreciate your family and friends after an experience like this [being sequestered]; at the end of the day, you just have your family.

WCT: By the way, what was [host] Lance Bass like?

SP: Lance was very nice. He has a good personality for the show, and he's done a lot for the LGBT community. But he was away from the house, but we really only saw him during elimination ceremonies or at challenges.

WCT: Prince Charming looks like a prince to me.

SP: He kind of looks like a wolf to me. [Interviewer laughs.] He was interesting. [Editor's note: After Provenzano's interview with WCT, it was revealed that the show was blindsided by the revelation that Sepulveda once worked as a male escort. ( Logo has issued a statement saying the escorting did not come up during a background check of Sepulveda. ) A debate has emerged on social media, with some saying it is wrong to pass judgment on one's sexual behavior.]

WCT: Now, I'm sure you heard about the news that TMZ broke about there being an HIV-positive competitor on the show. To be honest, one part was thinking, "Is this really news?" However, another part of me thought it could be a great vehicle to educate people.

SP: I think that's the angle they're going for. Maybe I'm too trustworthy, but I do believe that'll be a positive influence. I don't know who the individual is, but this person is obviously is successful. I think it'll show that you can be diagnosed with HIV and still have a great life and look for love.

WCT: Now, with a show like this, contestants could fall in love with each other.

SP: Yeah—that's what makes this show a little different from The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. It's very different, and there's definitely that possibility. You'll have to stay turned to see if that happens, but that was also on my mind coming into this show. Fair game, baby—fair game. [Interviewer laughs.]

WCT: How would you describe your Finding Prince Charming experience in three words?

SP: Emotional, self-discovery—and wild.

Finding Prince Charming will begin airing Thursday, Sept. 8, on Logo at 8 p.m. CT. For more information, visit LOGOtv.com .


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