Wonderland.

TOMMY DORFMAN

The 13 Reasons Why actor on lockdown mental health, how he’s over playing the “gay best friend”, and celebrating self-love in #PROUDINMYCALVINS.

Tommy Dorfman on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS.

Tommy Dorfman/Calvin Klein

Tommy Dorfman on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS.
Tommy Dorfman/Calvin Klein

Pride. We know it well: crowds, laughter, dancing, rainbows, music, and love. Lots of love. With social distancing measures in place, there’s no doubt that celebrations surrounding LGBTQIA+ month might look a little different this year. But even in these uncertain times, the need for a rallying celebration and unification of the queer community hasn’t diminished one bit.

And one brand going in hard on the celebrations with the starry wow-factor is Calvin Klein with their brand new campaign #PROUDINMYCALVINS – featuring a spectrum of big-name faces. Tommy Dorfman, Ama Elsesser, Chella Man, MaryV, Gia Woods, Jari Jones, Mina Gerges, Pabllo Vittar and Reece King are all individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community writing their own story and reshaping the industry in their own right.

Shot by Ryan McGinley, the campaign imagery and videos see the icons showcasing their personalities in the brand’s limited-edition Pride collection – which includes a selection of Calvin Klein underwear, clothing, and accessories reimagined with bold rainbow detailing. This year, Calvin Klein has partnered with OutRight Action International to raise money for COVID-19 relief, offering emergency financial resources to LGTBQ+ organisations around the world who are serving people impacted by COVID-19.

We caught up with 13 Reasons Why actor Tommy Dorfman on lockdown mental health, how he’s over playing the “gay best friend”, and celebrating self-love in Calvin Klein’s #PROUDINMYCALVINS campaign…

Tommy Dorfman on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS torso

Tommy Dorfman/Calvin Klein

Tommy Dorfman on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS torso
Tommy Dorfman/Calvin Klein

Hi Tommy, how are you? How is lockdown treating you?
Hi! Today, I’m doing pretty well – spent the morning writing with my two dogs asleep on the lounge behind me. Isolation and lockdown have challenged my relationship with myself and my mental health. I’m such a fast-paced person that the slowness of isolation has forced me to look at parts of my life, body and work, that I have been able to neglect and distract myself from. It’s also filled me with immense gratitude for my partner, dogs, and home. It’s made me a more compassionate person, a more present person. I’ve kept busy writing and going on insanely long, directionless walks in my neighbourhood with proper facial gear. I’ve been reading a lot and watching old movies. Reaching out to old friends has been another blessing of this time.

This isn’t the first time you’ve worked with Calvin Klein, can you tell us a bit about your relationship with the brand and what you like about it?
Since the beginning of my career, Calvin Klein has had my back. When Raf was there I would attend shows and they’d often dress me for events. Since then, we’ve stayed in touch, and I’m grateful to be a part of such an iconic and necessary campaign. It’s truly an honour to be included in this group of insanely talented, wise, inspiring people and to have been shot by my friend Ryan – someone I’ve known, but hadn’t had the chance to work with, for a while.

#ProudInMyCalvins is such an amazing campaign – how did you first get involved?
I believe Ryan suggested me and it went from there! I’m not entirely sure of the details, I just know that I was in New York working and got a call from my agent that Calvin Klein wanted to include me in their Pride campaign. I obviously jumped at the opportunity.

Why is something like #ProudInMyCalvins so important in today’s climate? And what the brand is doing for COVID-19 relief is incredible especially in regards to LGTBQ+ organisations – why was it important to shine a light on this?
It’s important because so many LGBTQ+ people are still at risk, especially during this time of quarantine and isolation. Some are stuck in homes with family members or people who don’t accept, or wouldn’t accept, how they identify. It’s imperative that we continue to have a spotlight on diverse members of the community to ensure that people feel less alone. Organisations and non-profits need our help now more than ever to continue to do their jobs safely. It’s always important for me to work with brands who are committed to giving back to the community. Luckily, Calvin Klein is going the extra mile in prioritising COVID-19 relief supporting OutRight Action International in keeping LGBTQ+ people safe during these trying times.

Has what you wear and what that stands for always been important to you?
When I get dressed in the morning it’s an opportunity for me to express myself, my gender identity, my emotions. Some days it’s sweatpants, others it’s a glam mini-skirt moment. Or right now, it’s truly Calvin Klein undies and a sweatshirt. Recently, I’ve begun to really consider the brands I wear and what they stand for. Making sure that I’m aligning myself, even if it’s just to walk around my house during the day, with brands that are giving back to the world in some way.

You’ve starred in some amazing screen series institutions such as 13 Reasons Why and Jane The Virgin – what’s the key ingredient that attracts you to a role?
Why, thank you! 13 was my first job, so I would’ve mopped floors in the background if that was the offer on the table. As for Jane, I knew that I could learn a lot from working with Gina and the showrunner, Jennie Snyder Urman. It was also an opportunity to play a villain, which I hadn’t had yet. I think now the roles I’m interested in and pursue have to hit a few different criteria. For starters, something that is different than roles I’ve played before. They must be multidimensional and well-written, I’m no longer interested in playing blanket ‘Gay Best Friend’ roles. I want to play roles that give me insight to other parts of humanity, roles I can learn from. And, more than anything, roles in projects attached to directors and writers I admire/want to work with. Collaboration and a good work environment are key to making a project both fulfilling and successful.

And you’re part of an amazing ensemble cast for The Shuroo Process – can you tell us a bit about your character and what we can expect?
Actually, quite fun! The movie is multifaceted – both heartfelt and farcical. I played a blue-collar guy from Queens. I’ll leave it at that…

Ama Elsesser on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS
Pabllo Vittar on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS
Jari Jones on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS
Reece King on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS
Ama Elsesser on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS
Tommy Dorfman/Calvin Klein
Pabllo Vittar on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS
Jari Jones on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS
Reece King on celebrating self-love and identity for #PROUDINMYCALVINS
TOMMY DORFMAN

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