Star Trek Discovery's Wilson Cruz

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Actor & activist Wilson Cruz started acting as a youngin’ and toured the US as part of the Young Americans. He has made television history as the first openly gay actor to play an openly gay character in a leading role in a major TV series in, of course, My So Called Life...AND as part of the first featured gay couple in the Star Trek franchise in Star Trek Discovery as Dr. Hugh Culbert with co-star Anthony Rapp. 

Wilson appeared in the Broadway production of RENT and his list of TV/film credits goes on and on with roles in Oliver Stone’s Nixon, Johns, He’s Just Not That Into You (story of my life), Party of Five, 13 Reasons Why and my personal favorite, Party Monster. Compelling guest spots include roles in ER, Ally McBeal, The West Wing, Noah's Arc, Pushing Daisies, Shameless, and Grey's Anatomy. He has been a tireless activist for LGBTQ equality especially for at-risk youth, Wilson himself being displaced by his family for coming out. We featured Wilson on the cover of Metrsource’s October/November issue.

We chatted with Wilson on his day off from filming Season 4 of Discovery and had a very intimate chat about LGBTQ representation in the media, love and dating, ageism in entertainment, how awesome Michelle Yoeh is, Wilson's first steps on the Star Trek set, how tight his uniform is, and overcoming loneliness during COVID. We also found out what his worst date was - hint, it was at a drive-thru.  

Wilson is donating his proceeds from Cameo (personalized video shoutouts) until the end of the year to GLSEN, the non-profit working to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression and to prompt LGBT cultural inclusion and awareness in K-12 schools. 

This is metro source minis, theofficial podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favoritepersonalities from the lgbtq world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It'smetro source on the go, out in proud since one thousand nine hundred andninety. Hello, hello, hello, this is metro source minis. I'myour host, Alexander Rodriguez, lead writer from Metro Source Magazine and Sancy podcaster. During covid LGBT Q prep representation and actors coming out as Lgbtq have beenout of this world. Wink, wink. We are talking to actor and activistWilson crews, who started acting as a young and and toured the USa part of the young Americans and he has made television history as a firstopenly gay actor to play an openly gay character in a leading role in amajor TV series, of course, in my so called life, and madehistory again as part of the first featured gay couple in the Star Trek Franchise, Star Trek Discovery, with Co Star Anthony Rap he has appeared in Broadwayproduction of rent and his list of TV film credits goes on and on withroles and Oliver Stones, Nixon John's. He's just not that into the storyof my life, party of five, thirteen reasons why and my personal favoriteparty monster, along with compelling guest spots, including roles in ear ally mcbeil,the west wing, Noah's are pushing daisy shameless in gray's anatomy and hehas been a tireless activist for the Lgbtq community, especially for at risk youth, himself having been displaced by his family for coming out. We featured Wilsonand talked about the history on the cover of Metro sources October November issue.Please welcome Mr Wilson Crus WC. My God that introduction. I'm like,do we have any time left for the interview? Well, I mean thisis this is such a long spanning career with so many pinpoints in in ourin our television and LGBT history, and you are sharing your time with us. You're actually filming season for of Discovery. So your Inner Hotel Room in Canada. So thank you for beaming in. Thank you. Am I supposed tobe able to see you? Not yet, because this is just youare fraid, because you're the star what's to see me? Yet this isnot my this is my actual Toronto home, you know. So it's not myhotel. So you're Oh, come to my Mike Toronto abook. Ohmy God, that is like self fancy. That's like model home quality. That'swhy I thought it was o Houttel Room, because if it was myhouse it would be a little please don't, don't get it twisted. This isn'tmy furniture, it's someone it's A. It's a it's a furnished department.That I yeah, okay, it's it's because you fancy. Now.Is it me, or is your starfleet uniform getting tighter and tighter every season? I have to say I didn't realize...

...actually how tight it was for seasonthree until it's start has streaming. I was like there was a mom whar. I came up on the bridge and I was like, Oh, prettysure I know his religion. Yeah, that's like Dr here is clearly notJewish. Who Needs Grace wet pants when we have White Star Fleet uniforms?I was like, Whoa, that's coming at you warp speed a little.Well, this is a family show. Well, we love it. Wehave seen this huge explosion of lgbtq characters on screen. Hallmark came out withtheir first gay couple featured in a holiday film, and now there's like one. Thus five hundred Gay Romance Christmas films. Ye Star Trek and star trek featuredyou and Anthony as the first gay couple in space, and now discoveryis feature trans non binary characters. Major brands this holiday season are featuring alot of gay couples in their commercials. Is this too much, too fast? Is it sincere's it over exposure? Do you think it's just the hottopic Gimmick of this year? I don't think it's a hot topic gimmick.I do think that, you know, when people experience in existential crisis,which our culture has, people make decisions about their lives and how they leadthem, and I think that people are looking at is, at their livesduring this time and going hey, wait a minute, I actually am gratefulfor this life and perhaps I should show up in show up in it moreauthentically, and I think we're seeing people do that. Well. I definitelythink that's right, and covid is making us kind of self reflective. We'respending more time with ourselves without outside noise, and so we don't have to well, I mean you're filming, but you know, the rest of usdon't have to wear certain outfits if we don't want to, because we're notout doing our thing. You know, we don't have to shave or youknow, we're kind of rediscovering what we want to do for ourselves without anyoutside pressure. I've had two friends come out as trans in the last twoweeks and they said it's because of Covid yes, I think there's you know, when we allow ourselves to get quiet and listen to our vote, toour inner voice, without the noise from the outside world. And there hasbeen so much of it and I think because there's been so much of it, we have been more willing to turn it off. Yeah, when itgets quiet, you're left with you and you alone and your truth. Andwhen you figure that out, you want to yell at from the rooftops.Well, you know, listening to myself, I wish my voice was not soannoying girl. So I want I want to hear your story this everytime you interview me. I am not going to allow you to make toto to beat yourself up. I'm not...

...going to do it. You're fantastic. I love you. Oh, thank you. You know, I couldcall in sick for me at school as my mom, and nobody even wasthe wiser. I listen. I talked to the bank today and I wasMa'am all the way through and I was like yeah, yeah, they're sayingwe're seeing a lot of charges from Victoria's secret. Yeah, don't judgment.No, God, no, Um. Now I tell me the story aboutgetting cast on Star Trek because you thought you were a part of it andthen not, but then you were. Tell me because I love the story. Oh, I mean so, so. Yeah, so I wanted to beon Star Trek Discovery, like I knew that a revamped star trek forthis new age, and so I reached out to Brian Fuller, who Ihad worked within the past, who is developing the new version, and Iwas like, Hey, if you know, I'd like to do this, ifyou think it's a good idea. I don't need like make it happen. He was like sure, sure. So anyway, they they six monthspast. I heard they were looking for this this gay, you know,officer on the ship, and that's all I knew. And the next thingI heard it was anthony rap and I was like, amazing, because Ilove Anthony. Honestly, right after I wanted to kill myself. My nextthought was, at least it's Anthony Rapp. Yeah, and so I called Anthonyand realized he had never met Aaron and Gretchen who had hired him,and so I kind of connected them just so they can say hi and allthat, and then like and so I let it go. You know,it is like another one of those heartbreak stories that actors have about the partthat they you know, wanted and you know didn't get. And three monthslater I get a phone call from my manager like you're going to be onstar trek discovery. They're not going to have one gay. They're going tothe gazer coming to star trek discovery in a pair. But then as isas as his, you know, a theme in my career. It gotsnatched back because the network, CBS, was like, Um, we're notsure, we don't we don't think he's formidable enough. Clearly they had metme. Wow, they didn't think I vooted formidability. Oh my God,they wanted to see me on camera. And so aarony Gretchen just brought meinto the office and put me on camera and I read a scene with Aaron. They sent the tape over and then, you know, I got the offer. So it was just, you know, they wanted to make sure. Well, and thank God, you know I have to tell you,you don't, as you know, then I got the job and you know, nine episode, ten episodes later, well, as we know, it'sStar Trek. No one's really gone. And you know, as we've saying, you've come back with a vengeance, with an expanded role, and weget to see more of your relations ship, which I really love, because wehad that sci fi drama going on...

...between you and stamts, but nowwe get to see you living the life of a couple, going to bedat night in the same bed and kind of sharing relationship struggles. You know, how do you work with somebody that you're in a relationship? And we'regetting to that part of the relationship, which I enjoy so much. We'reseeing stammets and Dr Hugh as a family in space and it's so important,especially as we had new characters. Now this season we're in season three ofdiscovery. The crew is displaced almost nine hundred years are over, nine hundredyears into the future. Yeah, yeah, leaving everything that they have known behind. It is such weird timing because we're all kind of in this weirddisplacement right now with covid and we know depression is running rampant in the nationand especially within our LGBTQ community. What advice do you have for somebody fromour community that's feeling alone, that's kind of feeling isolated, because you've hadsome lonely points in your in your life behind behind the scenes as well?I you know, if you want me to be, well, I'm goingto be who I am. Y'All. Sorry. Yes, I have hada very hard time with isolation and I am I am up here in Torontoand working, but the way that the schedule has worked out, I spenda lot of time alone here in this apartment and I struggled with it alot. And the only thing that, because you know, I'm a tactileperson, I am a I am a social creature. Yes, I Igrow from it, I need it, it's it's fuel for me, peopleand and I love my alone time as much as anybody else. To refuelfor that, but this has been a lot. And so for me it'sbeen about reaching out, making myself vulnerable enough to say I need to talkto somebody. I you know, will you get on facetime with me?Will you go for a walk with me, or just saying, you know,just picking up the phone and saying I'm having a rough time today.So there's that. And then, for me it's been about staying physically activein some way, and so I've created a little bit of a routine becauseall the gym's here are closed and I'm as much as I am a socialcreature, I am also a physical one. I need that. I it's theit's the gift I try to give myself every day before I give toany so that I can give to anybody else. And so, you know, making a commitment to that and creating a schedule. You know that thatI can a structure that I can exist...

...within. That doesn't that doesn't thatthat's challenging, but doesn't feel overwhelming, because I have a lot else,a lot of other things going on, you know. Yeah, we haveto senterate races in Georgia. There's a whole series, their whole season ofstar trek discovery. You know there's there. You know I'm on the Board ofG listen. So you know, being of service right now also keepsme less in my own head, you know what I mean. Like soI'm not picking myself apart. I'm concentrating on someone else's needs and how Ican be of service to them, which is sometimes it's it's kind of athin line. You know, we've talked to a lot of activists this lastseason over through the election, through pride season, a lot of actors havegiven so much of their time towards activism and a lot of the headlines arebased on that. And you know the interviews are going to focus on whatwhat's happening with lgbt community, which sometimes can even be more isolating, becausewe're focusing on that and we're talking about the good that the community is doingand, like you said, it's it's it's we're not talking about what youare going through or you as a person. It's I have to say these thingsfor the community and I'm sticking up for the community and I'm donating mytime and I have to say all the right politically correct things, especially rightnow, which sometimes can be exhausting. I call it activist fatigue, andthen also that attention is not put on who you are as a person,like, if you want to crack a hilly joke or, you know,be in a bad mood or talk about you know, somebody's bulged, it'slike it doesn't fit like this. You know, it's not dealing with yourpersonality. Yes, but I will say this that in these moments of,you know, isolation, of insecurity, of the unknown, this this thisera in which, you know, politically and culturally, we are adrift,that in these moments, there's nothing more revolutionary than joy, then the willingnessto act out and appreciate and create joy for yourself and the people around youthat in you do that, in spite of what we're experiencing, that theact of joy, of being joyful, is the most hopeful thing that wecan do. And when we do that, we say where, we are expressingthe fact that we believe that we're...

...going to be okay eventually and thatthis moment, like every moment, good or bad, is a temporary oneand we have to endure it and work through it and be responsible to eachother through it, but also hang onto the hope that one day we willsee our way out and we'll have each other to hold onto again. II, I love that message and it's so great going into the holidays witha message like that and heading into the new year, because it doesn't looklike we're going to be heading into the new year much changed. I'm goingto come Covid wise heart hold the holidays by myself, because we're on abreak that starts and I will be here that point city of plant that Iusually kill. At some point. I'll be refreshing it, you know,and New Year's and my birthday. So all of you out there who arewho are feeling the holiday blues and afraid of doing it alone, please knowthat you're not. You're doing it with me. I love that, youknow, and he sang also slipping his DM's on New Year's e really isI want to talk about before. I've been single for ten years and that'sso and, let's be real, I haven't seen a person naked in atleast a year. I find that so hard to believe. But we knowthat. You're good boy. You're a good boy, you're a responsible boy. I'm going to talk about that. You gave up alcohol by working onStar Trek discovery and thirteen reasons. Why? What? What brought you to thepoint of that decision? And we know lgbt social life is full ofalcohol. How do you handle your sober journey as part of the community?So, you know, for me it's not so much that I'm sober,it's that I have realized that alcohol is not the drug for me. Andyou know, I think we think many people need something to alleviate the stressesof the day. Yes, some people, you know, have a have adependency on alcohol. That that wasn't my issue. My issue was thatI had a very problematic chemical reaction to it. And and so you know, once I owned that and my friends were honest with me, they werelike, you know, you are not your best self. Yeah, Iwas like, okay, well, that's something to consider and I never lovedit that much anyway. So now I I smoke my vape when I needa minute and or I'll have a gummy and everybody's happier. I also wantto talk about ages and in entertainment.

What I love about Star Trek discoveriesthat we see such a wide variety of characters and actors. We see strongfemale characters like Michelle Yeo's Georgio. Jane Brooks Has Vice Admiral Katrina and takingMataro, of course, alongside the young unds like Michael Burnham and Tillie evenSaru, you know, played by Doug Jones, who just celebrated his sixtyfive birthday. Age is not even talked about. These are just strong charactersall working together and I love that there's not this kind of focus of whatwe have the older characters and the younger characters, especially for the female characters, because you know, after a certain points female characters kind of become theolder figure. Yet Sean Connery was playing a love interest to he was likeeighty two. Did you ever feel the pressure because you came into your careersuccess so young and you know you've come to the set of Star Trek discoverywith decades of work and experience behind you, but did you ever feel the pressurefrom the industry to kind of stay young, stay that that young figurein in my socalled life? No, I didn't feel that pressure. Iyou know, I went through a period where, for whatever reason you like, in my late s early s, where nobody knew what we're to putme like I was too I was too old for this and way too youngfor that. So it was this no man's land for me, and Iwas okay with it. I mean I was broke, but what I did, what I was what I was excited about. The was that, youknow, you know this as we're part of the same generation. We wedidn't get to see gay men age, yes, and I always felt avoid of that and I I looked to and I have mentors like Daryl Cummings, who's the cheapest staff at the center in La who's, like I lovedare older brother to me, and but he know, he was one ofthe few that I could look to you to see how how do we,how do gay men age gracefully, because there was a whole generation of uswho would have been that model for me who were taken from us because ofAIDS. And so when I started to noticeably age, you know, II have been approached about, like, you know, doing something about thethe crows feed around my my eyes and you know I have a very expressiveforehead and and and you know it has...

...creases and all of that. Andso you know, a friend who's like a cosmologist or whatever who does thethe we call that the Botox Botox, and I yes, and I madea conscious decision at it when we were talking about it, to say,you know, no, I'm going to do this, I'm gonna see whathappens, because this is my like, this is what I this is mywhole job, right, and I use this to express everything and and Idon't want to mess with that. I think that my I think I wantto age as gracefully as possible and to show that, like a Lenny Kravitz, you know, there's no one way to aid up. Yeah, I'mgoing to do everything I can to be your Lenny Kravitz. Well, Ilove it and hey, I mean you look amazing, so wolf. Youknow, I think it's important for us to allow ourselves to age gracefully andto end, those of us who are who have the privilege now to tobe able to age, to model that for this new generation, that there'sa certain way that you know, you have choices, you don't have toalways look twenty five. We're not all. You know, I was a twin, believe it or not, back in the day. I know Ihad your poster on my wall hundred downs, you know, and we can allowourselves to evolve and change and, you know, give yourself that thatfreedom. You know, I love that. I think it's so important, especiallywhen we were talking with covid you know, there's a kind of smokeand mirrors with social media and you can't keep putting all of these, youknow, well posed pics have traveling and all that, because we're all stuckat home, and so filters look kind of ridiculous now, and so Ithink it's really important to have honest representation of what it's like to age gracefully. And you're one of the healthiest friends and actors I know, and sothat's such a great way to express that. It's yeah, you can age,but you can get healthier and, yes, look amazing and I haveto, you know, be honest, like I'm aging. My Body's changing, this experience of not having access to a gym, you know, everyit's changing and I have to I'm I'll be forty seven in less than amonth and I damn girl, you look good. Point is that? Thankyou, but my point is is that I'm not always going to look likethis, right and I and I think being gentle with ourselves dirt while weage. You know, yes, I feel good about how I how it'shappening, but I have to be okay with the with the fact that thingsare going to change and and and be grateful for what I had, thatyouthful you know, torso, but that, you know, part of life isbecoming and aging and changing and letting that happen. How is that changekind of your attraction and what you're looking...

...for in dating? I know overthe last like three years, who I'm attracted to is so different because there'sall these different factors now that I'm older. Has that change for you, orare you still looking for that ensign on? You know, no,I would that I've never been. I mean, even when I was atwink, I wasn't dating people in their twenties. I just was. Thatwas never my thing. Well, you kind of had a mature faster too. I did, and you know, I might my partners, I don't, which I don't really speak about publicly. A lot have been at least slightlyolder than me. That true, except for one. Spill the teagirl, I see your teapot, but you know, yeah, I meanthese days, these days I'm not we're going to be friends, unless you'rethirty five or over like that. That's just where that's just where I'm at. I don't need you to call me Daddy. I really don't. Ihate what you'll say it daddy or poppy. Of I just can't. I can't. I'm not so, oh so Wilson. I just have to sayas as a Trecky, you know, I was a chucky from the wombbecause being part of the Star Trek family was such an out for me.My family was just my mom and me. I was Latino in a all whiteschool. I was Chubby, talking or dealing with my sexuality, andStar Trek taught me that you can find a family in any group of peopleand that, no matter what you look like or what species you are,so to speak, you have a place in this universe. And that's whatStar Trek taught me. And knowing you and the legacy that you started withbeing an out actor and taking that that leap of faith in your community,when I saw you take the screen and Star Trek Discovery, which was soanticipated, I couldn't help it burst into tears for so many different reasons,as a treky, as a Latino as as a gay man. With allof that, I want to know what it was like setting foot in costumeready to film on the sound stage. What was that moment like for youas an actor as well as you had, did have, an appreciation for theStar Trek Universe? You know, it was overwhelming. It was.It was a big day, like a here's what I know that I wasgrateful for. I was grateful to have anthony wrap by my side because heenjoyed watching my my my being overwhelmed. You know, and I've talked aboutthis publicly, but what's overwhelming for me and what's really Cathartic and altering forme about playing this role is I get...

...to imagine what our lives are goingto be when we don't have to deal with homophobia and racism, that Iget to imagine and create a Puerto Rican gay man who was allowed to liveup to his ultimate potential, not held back by anything or anyone who thoughtless of him based on his sexuality or his race. That he all hehad to to do with just be as perfect and genius as he was made. And so for me, it was in it was incredibly free because andend up in a full circle moment. Can I just I've never actually madethis connection, but you know, when I played when I did, whenI played ricky of my so called life, I was imagining, reimagining my past, reliving it, and in Star Trek discovery I get to imagine andcreate a future, that that I imagine for a generation of people that I'llnever know and meat, but that I get to imagine and step in theirshoes for a minute, and both of those things are incredibly healing. Yeah, on a personal I just got the chills. If I was ever castin anything star Trek, I would steal every uniform, every prop, becauseI have them anyway. I've just paid out the nose for them. Okay, to tell you good luck finding a prop now, because everything in thefuture. Yeah, it's you know, we're all working with hollows now andyou know this stuff. Yeah, my last scene, and in season two, was me saving my husband's life with every you know, medical star trektool ever invented. I'm not kidding, like I had to choreograph it,and it's going into season three and four where I'm like, I all Ihave to I don't even have pockets for my hands. It's crazy. Well, girl, those pants are so tight they could make couldn't add pockets.Okay, Hey, is it truly you play the saxophone? Yeah, itwas. It was the first instrument I played. Oh, did you bringa saxophone to Canada? I did not. I actually had to option off mylast saxophone. Oh, well, paying them one year in nineteen ninetynine or something. Well, okay, maybe in the future you can getget a little saxy. That so stupid.

Okay, are you ready to playa little rapid fire? Yes, okay. What would the name ofyour own starship be? The USS? What? BOOTY QUA? Oh Oh, that's good, that is good. Hey, you should just text oneof the writers and be like, Hey, this is what's happening. WHAT ISTHE STRANGEST DM? You received bill. That's a I'm always shocks that peoplejust send it picks. I'm always like, like, with no context. I mean it's small talk. I mean, I don't know, Idon't know how I'm supposed to respond. Let's very clean, sir. Haveyou ever responded? Have you ever been like wow, I need oh,oh, okay, I don't know. We know you're okay now. Weknow you're very into fitness. You can't really go crazy in between seasons.But what is your bench food on cheap day? Oh, you know,I have a cheap day at least once a week. You know, mymy Kryptonite is Mac and cheese. Oh, I did not know that. Yeah, I can't. I can't be in a restaurant, I can't knowthat it's being served. I can't, and I'm not sharing it with youeither. By what would your American idol auditions home be one moment in time? Okay, yeah, well, that's so many meanings. Now, areyou guys just singing rent songs, you know, on set all the time? No, it's COVID. We don't sing. Oh, that's right.HMM HMM. Yeah, it's like working at a hospital now. Everybody's working, you know, but it works fine for me. Worst date you've everhad, the way worst date you ever had, worst date I ever had. I mean, Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. Well,there was sky high school. He was older, I know. I waslike, oh, he's an older man. He was I think he was twenty, and he came and picked me up and we have went for likea ride, he and we had it was it was. You know whatI'm going to say. I'm not going to tell a start. Oh No, you can't do that. You literally can't do that. Now, didhe take you to chucky cheese or what? No, no, he took meto like, I'm not kidding, like like a drive through, andthen it like I wanted to like make...

...out in the car and I waslike, I'm making out with you in this car. First of all,we're gonna get killed. Same Gonny, no, California, I don't know. Somebody took me to the drive through and got me McDonald's fries. Imight do more than just kiss. You know. What would you do forher? I like that was the highlight. God, I've had a lot ofbad dates, so I mean, I'm sure, if I thought longand hard enough, you know, because like you know, like like musicalnumbers from shows, that I'm no longer in bad dates. I think mybrain just like the hard drives, like we don't need any of that.We need room for other stuff, Wilson. and where do you want everybody tofind you and follow you? Come here to my apartment, outside,right just at your window, with plates of Mac and cheese? Yes,MEB in central park. I'm on twitter and INSTAGRAM AT W cruise seventy three, and I'm on Facebook, you know, like everybody's. I don't. I'mnot doing tick Tock. I think I'm too old. I just can't. I tried and I just literally I'm like that. I'm like back,I don't need all that guns. Yeah, I don't. You know, I'mthrilled. I'm not looking down on it. I'm just saying I don'tneed another thing. I don't yet too much. There's too much to do. Well said, you know. You know that I could literally talk toyou for hours and hours and hours. Thank you so much for joining usand to our our audience. Season Three of discovery is now streaming on CBus all access and you can read my in depth interview with Wilson crews andour last issue of Metro source. Get it on newstands or going to Metrosortscom. And that's our episode. I'm your host. Yeah, I justI just want to do say, you know, thank you to you forall of the ways that you have supported and shown up for me, andwhat you wrote at the end of that article and Metro Source I will holddear to my heart. For the rest of my life, because it isliterally the reason why I do what I do, so it means everything tome. Well, I appreciate you, I appreciate what you do for thecommunity and I appreciate our friendship. When covid is over, we're going togo shopping for old men together. Yeah, all right, that has been anotherepisode of mental source minis. On that note, stay healthy, staysexy and do you brew rush? That has been another metal source mini like, share, subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latest issueof Metro Sports magazine on newstands or online at Metro sportscom. Follow us onFacebook, instagram at metal source and on twitter at Metro course, mad untilnext time, they fast.

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