Love Sick with Matt Riley
Posted on June 17 2019
Name: Matt Riley
Star Sign: Pisces
IG alias: @glamdadd
Laurel aka Kee Kee: Hello gorgeous! I love starting off these interviews with how we meet, and ours started over a whiskey shot and a ganset (Narragansett, it’s an American beer). You said my pants were cute and I think I served you some sass? Very unlike me. Over time we just kinda became friends and now are so silly together, also very unlike me.
Matt Riley: Lol, YES. You were wearing Wacky-Wacko pants and I had to compliment them, so I confirmed with you and you said you had a booth next to them at DragCon which got us fagging out about all things flashy and faye. We’ve been grabbing like gals ever since 💖.
KK: When did you move to NYC and where did you grow up?
MR: September 2019 will be my year anniversary! It simultaneously feels like I’ve been here for three days and also decades. I moved from Richmond, Virginia where I attended school, and before that was in my home area of the Shenandoah Valley (also Virginia). VA truly is for lovers, honey.
KK: What was it like growing up in rural Virginia?
MR: Quiet. Conservative. Everything that makes a little queer rambunctious kid wanna break out. I grew up less than half of a mile from my childhood church, which was the basis of many family friendships and community at large.
KK: You have a lively, creative personality, did acting become a natural progression as a career with a fab personality like yours?
MR: It was definitely something I gravitated towards. I grew up doing a lot of sports (badly), but when I saw a production of The Wizard of Oz that my cousins were in I knew I wanted to do what they were doing. In a career sense, by the time I reached college performing was the only thing I felt any good at and could do confidently, so I went with it... for better or worse!
KK: I know you don’t like calling yourself an actor but rather as a performer. Why does the word ‘actor’ make you uncomfortable?
MR: A tough one, Keeks. I have acted plenty, I enjoy acting, I think I’m a decent actor. HOWEVER, my aversion comes from a fear of limitation. I want to do so much more, and performing is so much more than acting! Also, I played a lot of roles I did not identify with (e.g. Straight Men) that I wasn’t willing to do in the name of acting for much longer. I find comedy performance, cabaret, drag, etc. to be so much more expansive, not so binding, and adaptable to who I am and what I’m about.
KK: What does acting/performing mean to you?
MR: It’s playtime for me. I mean, it’s work, a lot of discipline (not great at that bit), but if you show up on time, prepared for the task at hand it’s so freeing; like playing tag with your friends as a kid till you’re out of breath. I love being silly and I love to make the people I’m with a laugh and relax. Performing became another way to do that.
KK: Lot’s of the friends you’ve introduced to me are also creative, what kind of projects have you worked on with them?
MR: Well so many of my friends, my Good Judy’s, that live in Brooklyn went to school with me. We performed together in productions, University or self-produced, and via that craziness, we bonded. I work the best when I’m in a group of funny, smart, creative people and my friends have facilitated that many times over. I owe some of my favorite creative endeavors to them.
KK: What inspires you to write and perform?
MR: Writing is a beast I have yet to tackle solo, but I love writing with a group, bouncing around ideas (which sometimes culminates in chaos) and it’s something I want much more of. As for inspiration, I guess it comes from the need to express myself? That’s cliche I know, but I find when I’m not creating and performing, the energy to do so is still in me and I’m almost manic. I have to find an outlet!
KK: You explained your sexuality as gender queer or neutral presenting masculine. Can you expand on this for someone who isn’t of our world?
MR: Sexually, I’ve always identified as “gay”, but with my gender-queer revelation (for lack of a better term) that’s become a more fluid identity than I originally thought. I had this earth-shattering revelation two years ago that I was not living the extent of my femininity and that I didn’t identify as a man, but not as a woman either. Since I have worked on exploring the natural femininity and masculinity I embody without subscribing to either. Something that came very naturally to me as a kid.
KK: Coming from my own experience, although I’m a cis female who’s married to a cis man, I feel most at home in the queer community and feel that calling myself straight doesn’t fly with how I would identify myself and the community I am immersed in. It took me a while to claim that space, what was your spiritual journey to understand how you identify?
MR: Something in me, like a higher knowledge, has always called me to authenticity. My queer identity is tethered to that authenticity. The embrace of that has been a life-long task and at many times one I wasn’t sure I was up for. At this moment in my life, it has become less of a task and more pleasure, and for that I’m grateful.
KK: Having a queer sibling while growing up in rural Virginia must have been a godsend, did this help shape you and how you identify?
MR: My sweet brother (we use sister to refer to each other most of the time) is a true beam of light. While I was struggling to accept and love the queer I am, Michael was this beacon of genuineness. He has always been this beautiful ball of flamboyant energy, so true to himself, so funny, so seemingly unphased by outside eyes. I have always admired my baby brother (sister). In a community that I felt was against me, I had a built-in best friend that understood my love of the campy and crazy. He’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever gotten.
KK: Who are you pop culture diva’s that helped shape you? *cough* Dolly Parton *cough*
MR: WWDD (What Would Dolly Do), that’s my motto! Dolly is an icon to so many queers I think because she embodies this high-femme energy with a sense of humor, gratitude, humility, and bless-your-heart-but-fuck-you attitude all at once. Whip-smart and so about who she is. She’s who I wanna be! I’d name more, but this interview has to end at some point... basically, I’m fascinated by women and/or queers that deliver the fantasy while maintaining their humanness. The list is too long and ever-growing to name them all.
KK: You are a pop culture diva yourself, and as you know how my brain works (the wires don’t cross baby, she’s fried) I love listening to you rattle off reference after reference. As a kid in Virginia, how did you get access to pop culture?
MR: Movies, T.V., the Internet (I’m truly a child of the digital age), my mind is a trap for anything generally useless and invaluable at parties and bars. Nothing gives me more pleasure than talking (screaming) about seemingly innocuous topics with someone equally as interested (see: Kee Kee James)
KK: I always love hanging out with you and talking shit. Where can others find you?
MR: I can be found on insta @glamdadd!
KK: Love you lots Matt!! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and shoot. Love your energy and positivity, you’re a ball of light that’s been added to my life.
MR: It’s my absolute honor and pleasure. Thanks for returning that light right back, babe 💖.