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66 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
Episode 3.4 - The Biggest Winner (Bob Harper)
Bob Harper is a reality TV legend (trust us, we remember being mesmerized by his hotness in primetime). The globally known fashionista, photographer, author and celebrity trainer starred first as a fitness coach on NBC’s The Biggest Loser and then as a host in the revival of the series. This, in turn, has thrust him to a special kind of stardom. His whole world nearly collapsed four years ago when, while in peak shape, he fell to a gym floor after suffering a heart attack. On this week’s episode of Why Here, Bob shares his near-death experience, explains the evolution of his queer identity and spills the tea on NY vs. LA gays.
68 minutes | Oct 22, 2021
Episode 3.3 - How To Be an Icon (Mx. Justin Vivian Bond)
We don't use the term icon loosely. But if singer, actor, activist and author Mx. Justin Vivian Bond (Viv for short) aren’t deserving, then no one we know is. As an NYC entertainment mainstay, their stage performances, sultry vocals and searing humor have kept a generation of New Yorkers in check. On this episode of Why Here, they explain what it was like trying to make people pay attention to pronouns decades ago, share how they intend to "sleigh" Christmas this year and respond to the trans-phobia that persists in the media around us. At the end, Viv’s co-conspirator Herb joins the chat for a fact check. It's effing good ... and funny. Trust us.
54 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
Episode 3.2 - Queer & Trans in Afghanistan (Qais Munhazim)
As a child in Afghanistan, Qais Munhazim says their queerness was something they were allowed to embrace. For many other queer and trans Afghans, Qais suggests it's a similar story. Still, the Taliban's recent return to power has left the fates of women, trans and queer people in question. On this week's episode, Qais helps us learn what everyday life holds for LGBTQ+ Afghans, how the world's perception of the country is often tainted and what it's like to move from a queer life in Afghanistan to one in America.
52 minutes | Oct 8, 2021
Episode 3.1 - One Brave 10-Year-Old (Dempsey & Jaime Jara)
When Dempsey Jara told her parents she was a girl and not a boy (which she was presumed to be at birth) a light went off in their heads. They could either get behind their young daughter or fight it. They chose the former, and what unfolded is a journey that has literally changed the narrative on how trans kids are perceived in the U.S. and the world (as proved by a lot of media coverage). On the Season 3 opener of Why Here, hosts Benton and Tristan chat with 10-year-old Dempsey and her mother Jaime about National Coming Out Day, transitioning at a young age, the anti-trans legislation sweeping the country, unicorns and — yes Benton — musicals.
54 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
Episode 2.24 - Is Scissoring A Thing? (Daryn Carp & Liz Culley)
There is a question that has baffled scientists and scholars since the dawn of time: Is Scissoring A Thing? Well, finally the world has bonafide experts to answer it. Enter Daryn Carp and Liz Culley, the hosts of Scissoring Isn’t A thing, one of 2020’s breakout podcasts. On the season two finale of Why Here, the two join us to talk about scissoring, help us shed light on the technical term “baby dyke” and answer another huge question: can the gays and the lesbians really be friends? If this episode is any proof, yes!
61 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
Episode 2.23 - Regarding Kindness (Colman Domingo)
Actor, writer and director Colman Domingo has received a GLAAD Award, has starred in some of the most profound films in recent years (If Beale Street Could Talk, Lincoln, Selma, Birth of a Nation) and has played a role alongside Zendaya in HBO’s critically acclaimed Euphoria. On this week’s episode of Why Here, Colman joins us to talk about his passion for telling important stories, his take on kindness, his gardening obsession and he shares what #PRIDE means to him. In short, we’re hooked. You will be too. TRUST.
60 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Episode 2.22 - The Queering of Deep Space (Wilson Cruz)
It easy to have an extreme crush on Wilson Cruz. Not only is he smart, thoughtful and a shining example of queer pride, he is one of the Grand Marshalls of NYC Pride this year. They’re big shoes to fill, but he takes it all in stride, as he does his role as Dr. Hugh Culber on Paramount+’s Star Trek: Discovery. On this week’s episode of Why Here, Wilson shares his take on queer representation in outer space (and on American TV since the 90s) and he explains what it was like being a young Puerto Rican man exploring Latino culture in California. At the end, Star Trek co-star and former RENT co-star Anthony Rapp joins the chat for a “fact check.” It’s all funny and smart, but WARNING, there are tears too!
64 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Episode 2.21 - The Ultimate Judy Show (Rufus Wainwright)
In celebration of Pride month it’d be hard to find a campier, more brilliant light than THE Rufus Wainwright. The legendary queer performer and creator joins Why Here hosts Benton and Tristan to talk Pride, Lil Nas X’, Judy Garland (who he’s once again channeling for an upcoming show ) and he even sings a children’s song for us.
54 minutes | May 28, 2021
Episode 2.20 - The Queen of Queer Media (Diane Anderson-Minshall)
When Diane Anderson-Minshall began her career as a journalist in small-town Idaho she had to plead with someone to hire her. Now she's literally at the top of the LGBTQIA publishing world. The queer, Indigenous journalist, editor, author and activist, who has received numerous awards for her work, now helms Pride Media Inc. and is the editorial director of its titles, which include The Advocate and Out magazines. On this week's episode of Why Here, she shares the stories behind the Pride edition covers of The Advocate and Out, explains the moment she realized her wife was actually her husband and unpacks the devastating trend of many U.S. states squashing the rights of transgender people.
61 minutes | May 21, 2021
Episode 2.19 - More Than Two Silhouettes On a Bathroom Door (Kat Cunning)
Life as a quadruple threat is a challenge, but Kat Cunning takes it all in stride. The actor, dancer, vocalist and musician has already graced TV screens (on HBO's The Deuce), concert halls, Broadway stages and many of our playlists (and you may not even know it!). On this week's episode of Why Here, hosts Benton and Tristan go deep with Kat and learn that a three-year-old can actually know exactly what they want to be, how a father's love can mean letting his child leave home at 14 to follow a dream and why growing up knowing you aren't like everyone else can be a superpower.
66 minutes | May 14, 2021
Episode 2.18 - It's Easy Being Green (Eden Espinosa)
Eden Espinosa may have gotten her start singing nearly every Disney princess ballad for Disneyland park-goers, but that was just the beginning. She's now one of the best-known contemporary stage actresses in the world and has had lead roles in iconic shows including RENT and Wicked. On this week's episode of Why Here, hosts Benton and Tristan chat with Eden about her humble Orange County beginnings, her political and social activism, her Mexican American heritage and the admittedly comical recurring nightmares she has from playing a green witch. At the end, Tony award-winning actress and activist Karen Olivo joins the conversation to make sure Eden shared the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
78 minutes | May 7, 2021
Episode 2.17 - SPECIAL: The Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift (Sian-Pierre Regis & Rebecca Danigelis)
Imagine: You're living your life in New York City, then mom moves in — with you and your partner. Director Sian-Pierre Regis doesn't have to imagine. His film "Duty Free" is a sort of love letter to his mother Rebecca Danigelis, who, at the age of 75, was fired and evicted. With nowhere to go, she was left to rely on Sian-Pierre to help her find more work. What she instead found was a chance to write (and complete) her bucket list and live a life she had always dreamed of, with her son by her side. The journey became a touching film about companionship and aging out, in theatres mother's day weekend. In this re-run of an interview originally conducted in December 2020, the two join hosts Benton and Tristan to talk about their journey, the critically acclaimed film and so much more.
66 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Episode 2.16 - U Can Call Me Sis (Sis)
The past year has introduced the world to many folx who’ve helped us understand what our blind spots might be. One of them is Sis, an actor, activist and sister to many who’ve felt left out of crucial conversations about race, identity and gender. On this week’s episode of Why Here, she talks to hosts Benton and Tristan about growing up in Texas, how she helped call out the entertainment industry and the ultimate way to get back at a misbehaving roommate (don't worry, they've long since made up).
64 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
Episode 2.15 - Goodbye Stranger (Tristan McAllister)
Guests on Why Here often get asked what their secrets are. WELL, the tables have turned. On this week's episode, Tristan McAllister turns the mic on himself and lets co-host Benton Whitley embarrass him on the eve of his birthday. Tristan talks about growing up in Alaska, his big gay wedding (and divorce), a chance run-in with Clay Aiken that changed the course of his life and first kisses. In truth, the only way the two stay honest is the addition of contributor Claudine Ko, who sits to run interference and make fun of them whenever they start acting like two effing annoying, queer white dudes.
61 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
Episode 2.14 - The LITERAL Reason We Laughed In 2020 (Casey Thomas Brown)
Actor and writer Casey Thomas Brown (@shartyparty69) was a big part of our Instagram feeds all through quarantine. From Her Majesty The Queen to Fiona Apple and many more, his comical impressions of well-known people, and those he's conjured up, helped us find humor in a dark time. But he's so much more than an internet meme Queen. He's also a series regular on @Netflix's wildly funny The Kominsky Method and has appeared in various other films and TV shows, including Tell Me a Story, Shameless, Grey’s Anatomy, Law and Order SVU, and Criminal Minds. On this week's episode of Why Here, Casey joins hosts Benton Whitley and Tristan McAllister to talk about finding humor in the middle of a pandemic and if he thinks Queen Elizabeth might have actually watched him play her in that now-famous viral video.
67 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
Episode 2.13 - It's Not A Sin (Luke Ray Kelly)
If you think coming out to your parents is tough, try telling them you have HIV. Even harder, try telling the world. For a decade 31-year-old Luke Ray Kelly kept his HIV diagnosis a secret, only sharing it with loved ones and sexual partners. Then he saw the hit HBOMax show It's A Sin and he realized that by keeping his secret he was complicit in creating the very shame that has stifled a critical and life-saving conversation about HIV and AIDS. On this week’s episode of Why Here, Luke joins hosts Benton Whitley and Tristan McAllister from London to talk about why he decided to go public with his status and #endthestigma.
60 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
Episode 2.12 - Core Kylie (yes, Minogue) & Fax Machine Diplomacy (Jeremy Heimans)
What were you doing at the tender age of eight? While most of us were busying ourselves with My Little Pony and Lego sets, Australian-born Jeremy Heimans was focused on things a bit headier. His childhood obsessions were nuclear non-proliferation and global poverty. He even tried to stop Desert Storm (with a fax machine). Nowadays he's a globally known activist and movement builder, whose work has literally touched all of your lives. On this week's episode of Why Here, Jeremy sits down with hosts Benton Whitley and Tristan McAllister to discuss all of this and how his Lebanese and Jewish heritage has shaped the way he's taken on the biggest racial, social, economic and environmental issues of our time.
68 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
Episode 2.11 - So Much More Than a House (Robert Hartwell)
Robert Hartwell has our hearts. Truly. After conquering Broadway in his twenties, with leading roles in multiple shows, he turned his attention to arts education. Now, as the founder and CEO of The Broadway Collective, he works tirelessly to help aspiring performers find their voice (and their footing) on stage with workshops online and across the U.S. This week he sits down with Why Here hosts Tristan McAllister and Benton Whitley to talk about Black excellence, a home purchase that went viral and a "spam" email that led to him appearing in a music video with Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams.
67 minutes | Feb 12, 2021
Episode 2.10 - Been There, Done That (Sandra Caldwell)
In 2017 Sandra Caldwell had a reckoning with herself — she could keep living as she had or she could make an admission that would shake the entertainment world. She chose the latter, and gave the interview of a generation to The New York Times, revealing that she had been living and successfully working as a cisgender actress for decades, all the while being transgender. The TV, film and stage star, who was featured in the landmark Netflix documentary about trans erasure and invisibility called "Disclosure" and the critically acclaimed "Paris Is Burning," sits down with Why Here hosts Benton Whitley and Tristan McAllister to talk about her transition from Hollywood lady to an LGBTQIA icon.
77 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
Episode 2.9 - Slipping Into Mom’s DMs (Sian-Pierre Regis & Rebecca Danigelis)
Can you imagine jumping out of an airplane with your nearly 80-year-old mother? Sian-Pierre Regis can. It was actually his mother Rebecca Danigelis’ idea. She had a few more too, all of which went on the bucket list that Sian-Pierre asked her to make after she was fired from her job and forced out of the apartment she had lived in for nearly four decades. She was devastated. He saw a chance to give her all the things she always dreamed of. The two set out on a journey to discover the world and rediscover one another. He made it into a critically acclaimed film called Duty Free. The two join Tristan and Benton on this week’s episode of Why Here.
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