Happy Friday y'all! We got back late last night from our beach vacation and we feel rested and rejuvenated to tackle this weekend. We have an exciting opportunity that we will be traveling to Nashville for and we can't wait to tell y'all about it! Should be able to share it next week.
Today's Feature Friday is so much fun because his story is one that we think a lot of people can relate to. Justin has a way with words and we found ourselves nodding our heads a lot in agreement with what he had to say. Also, Meryl Streep. And wait until you read who is inspiration is- you might just find that it's you! Take a look below to see what we mean...
Where are you from? Pittsburgh, PA
Where do you live? Los Angeles, CA
What’s your Instagram handle? @justinmcarlo
Relationship Status: Single
What is your favorite place you have ever travelled to and why? Melbourne, Australia - I ended up living there for six months with a couple friends. It’s just such an amazing city to be in. The food is incredible, it’s extremely bike friendly, there are parks everywhere, I was able to try something or go somewhere new every day.
Choose a song for the story of your life: I really want to make the joke of saying that “Boys” song by Charli XCX, but I’ve been on a Disney music kick lately, and I have to go with “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I’d say my proudest accomplishment is each time I’ve moved to a new city. Growing up in a small town I didn’t think I’d ever be able to go anywhere else. I’ve now moved to, and lived on my own in half a dozen major cities. It’s always made me very proud to stand on my own two feet, and to pay my own rent!
How would you describe your home décor style? Minimalist. I’m a big fan of clean spaces with no clutter or knick knacks, unless it has sentimental family value, or something from my travels. I’ve moved around a lot in the last few years, so I haven’t really accumulated many possessions. I’m just now starting to have my own things and to be able to decorate. Probably shouldn’t admit this, but I actually have yet to even get a real bed, air mattress living isn’t so bad though!
What movie can you watch over and over again and not get tired of? This is an odd one, but I have to say, August: Osage County. It’s a pretty dark movie, but I love the writing and performances. It’s gritty, but there is some comedy thrown in there too. It’s the kind of writing I hope to do one day. Also, Meryl Streep.
What is something you wish you would’ve known when you were younger? That being gay is okay! It wasn’t something that was ever talked about when I was younger, and you didn’t see it in mainstream television, film, or music. I was terrified that my friends would hate me, and my family would disown me, but the exact opposite happened. I thought I wouldn’t be able to have the career I wanted if I were gay, but now that’s why I want the career that I do. I want to write movies with queer characters, that tell queer stories. I want stories like that to have more exposure, so more people see them, and less people have the fears that I did when I was younger.
What is one thing still left on your bucket list? My ultimate bucket list goal is to run a marathon on all seven continents. Yes, even Antartica. Right now I’ve got two down (North America, Australia), and five to go.
How old were you when you came out and what was your experience like? 25. I don’t just mean I was 25 when I told everyone, I was 25 when I was finally able to tell myself. I struggled with it for as long as I can remember up until then. I was even dating a guy for about a year before coming out. We called it “secret boyfriends”. It sounds immature, but in the back of my head, I thought I’d keep doing that until the right girl came along to change things. Right after that relationship ended, I met another guy that completely caught me off guard with how much I liked him, unfortunately that didn’t work out either and I was devastated. That’s when I realized I wasn’t just going through some phase, and the right girl wasn’t coming. I was finally able to accept that was who I am, and that was what I wanted. Then over the next year or so, I came out to all of my close friends and family. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience; I couldn’t have asked for better reactions from my friends. It’s taken my parents some time to accept, but I’m trying to give them the space to do so on their own terms, just as I had to do myself. Now I’m proud to be a gay man, and I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to accept myself, but I’m glad to have had the initial coming out experience that I did.
What have you learned about yourself in your coming out process? That I’m much stronger of a person than I ever thought I was. I was always so shy and scared of everything growing up and throughout high school. Coming out has made me more confident, more independent, and more sure of who I am, and who I want to be.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why? Right now, it’s anyone in the LGBTQ community who is outspoken about themselves. Whether it’s someone attending a march or protest for equality, or someone like Lena Waithe giving an awesome acceptance speech at the Emmys, or a gay couple posting a YouTube video or Instagram post about their lives together, or just simply someone showing up for a pride event, covered in rainbow or not. I’m inspired by anyone who is proud to be unapologetically themselves.