An LGBT icon and a leader in addressing the violent homophobia in Russia, Johny Weir has been interested in equality for some time. Here is an interview with Weir originally published in dot429 on November 3, 2010. In it, you can already see his ability to encourage others to be themselves.
“Be yourself,” Johnny Weir is how succinctly explains up his success to dot429. The public adores Johnny Weir as a figure-skating prodigy and unique fashionista. We caught up with the famed Olympian in New York City and discussed the Johnny Weir approach to business, success, and the current state of LGBT affairs.
“People have respected me for being an individual and thinking outside the box. I dance to the beat of my own DJ,” Johnny tells us. “People will respect me and follow me in any way I want. The public’s respect can’t be bought. I am so respected and loved around the world, Olympic champion or not.”
On homophobia in figure skating, Johnny explains, “It is not just homophobia, but there is a hatred towards anyone or anything that’s different.” Despite the fact that figure skating is a sport with a large LGBT following and influence, Johnny thinks that it “doesn’t lend itself to forward thinking.”
Beginning at age 12, Johnny was directed by people around him on his every move: how to style his hair, how to hold his arms, which costumes to wear, and which coaches to work with. Eventually, Johnny decided to create his own identity. “I realized that these people will mean absolutely nothing to me,” he said. “Screw it. I am doing it myself. I am just going to be so good that there is no feasible way they can leave me off of those teams.”
Wise beyond his years, Johnny has advice for anyone struggling in the workplace or in their personal lives: “Be brave. Stand up and be whoever you are and whatever you want to be. Never be afraid because there is a whole community of people who love you and accept you. Look to Lady Gaga and what she has created for people who are unique.”
As the man behind Johnny Weir Inc., Weir advises, “From a business standpoint, I don’t do anything for the sheer aspect of making money out of it. Everything I do I can be proud of.”
Johnny Weir is comfortable in his own skin and is working hard to help the LGBT community. He is collaborating with Heatherette designer, Traver Rains, to market T-shirts that will help fund the Trevor Project.
In closing, Johnny tells dot429, “I still get called Miss and Ma’am, but I am a strong person with a thick skin.”