JOHNNY SIBILLY STAR OF THE HBO MAX SERIES ‘HACKS’

Tank – COMME DES GARÇONS SHIRT, Shorts – BCALLA / Tank – COURRÈGES, Boxers – ERL

Photos and Grooming by Michael J. Fernandez using Glossier and Oribe

Styled by Dustin Ellis

Interview by Adnan Qiblawi

Between his near omnipresence on social media platforms and his full-throttle work ethic, Johnny Sibilly has formulated his own secret recipe for stardom, and he cooks it all up with a limp wrist. Sibilly first gained attention by doing hilarious character impressions on Instagram with his iconic persona Julissa, a loud, opinionated Latina who could have grown up down the block from Cardi B. He soon played the somber, important role of Billy Porter’s boyfriend and AIDS patient, Costas, on the iconic, queer-101 show, “Pose.” Last month, he landed at the Emmys thanks to his role alongside Jean Smart in HBO’s “Hacks,” where he plays Wilson, local water inspector and neighborhood babe. The show won three Emmys for best lead actress, outstanding writing and outstanding directing in a comedy series, three wins of its fifteen Emmy nominations in its first season. Earlier this month, it was announced that Sibilly would be joining the cast for Peacock TV’s reimagining of “Queer As Folk.” Adnan Qiblawi sat down with Sibilly to talk about Hollywood, his future, and staying true to himself. 

 

 Suit – Acne Studios, Tank – Comme des Garcons, Ring by Spinelli Kilcollin

From Instagram to Tiktok to Twitter, you’re pretty much everywhere on social media, sharing a quip, a sultry selfie, or a clip of you voguing. How do you keep up with it all?

Yeah, I love it! From a very early age being online was my safe haven. I wasn’t a fan of going outside and playing with the neighborhood kids because I’d get made fun of or feel inadequate. Whereas online, I could create my own experience of who I wanted to be in the world and how I wanted to navigate that, which I feel is a very queer thing to do. You can’t be yourself in the real world so you escape to the Internet.

I was a scared, shy kid, and it wasn’t until I joined drama that I opened up. When I do videos as myself these days, I’m cringing. But when I get to do it as a character, I’m more confident. Doing characters really opens things up. So many of the things I say as Julissa I’m celebrated for, but if I said them as myself, people would be like, “Oh shut up.” 

This reminds me of a RuPaulism: “The power you can access in drag is also available to you out of drag.”

 I’ve grown to feel powerful in who I am without any bells and whistles. But for me, as a gay man, feminine energy is strong energy. When I have the hair or the nails or the lash or even the lipstick, I feel empowered. When I first started doing Julissa, I got a lot of flak like, “Why are you making fun of women?”. I’m not making fun of women, this is actually just a part of who I am, and Julissa is a vessel for that. Also, there’s nothing wrong with how Julissa is. Sure, she’s hyper and loud and in your face, but there are a lot of women who are like that and they deserve to be represented too. The haters are revealing their own judgement.

Shirt – Collina Strada

Growing up, and even today, we always hear about actors having to stay in the closet for fear of being blocked out of straight roles. Is this ever a concern for you?

So many queer people try to fit in boxes to book a job, but one thing I’m not willing to compromise is my queerness. It took me so long to love it and feel comfortable with it. And you know when we talk about white supremacy and the patriarchy, there’s this expectation that we want to play what other people consider valuable. People say things like, “But what if you only get gay parts?” And honestly, I’m only really interested in playing gay people. No shade, I would play straight parts, I did it for a very long time. Straight roles don’t interest me as much because they’ve been told, whereas our stories haven’t been told.

I worked on “Pose” two years ago and now I’m in “Hacks.” Those roles are so impactful and important to me, and they’re stories I want to see put out in the world. I’d rather play parts that speak to me whenever I can. It’s important for me to not compromise on who I am essentially, because the more I am myself, the more I give others the courage to be themselves. While I was growing up, there were a handful of actors who didn’t hide that they were gay, but lots of others did and still do. I’ve been out since I was 14, I wasn’t going to go back into the closet for this career. I had to decide on the cost I was willing to pay for it.

And would you say your decision has held you back at all?

Frankly, I feel my queerness has helped me in my journey. It sets me apart. The world is moving away from trying to fit a mold. All the greats from the showbiz industry have something undeniable about them. I’m not saying that’s what I am, but that’s how people should look at it. Why try and be Beyonce? Or J-Lo? I look at J-Lo and I admire and model myself after her work ethic, but I don’t try to be her. I can’t be anyone but me. I didn’t have a choice.

Tank and shorts – Acne Studios, Shoes – Celine

So it’s not just that Hollywood is changing, it’s the world that’s changing.

It still happens in Hollywood here and there. I auditioned recently for a role to play a straight part and I turned it down because I wasn’t interested in it. If I had a choice, I’d play interesting queer characters until the end of time.

So in that sense your own personality comes through in your role as Wilson on Hacks? Just like him, you have your values and you’re not willing to compromise them.

Wilson doesn’t really care about work, he found his job online, but he’s got strong interpersonal boundaries. When he’s on a date with Marcus, who plays Jean Smart’s character’s manager, he realizes how Marcus’ dedication to his job means he has no room for a romantic relationship and so he walks out. While doing read throughs I was like, “Werk, I need to channel this more.” When it comes to career, in many respects Johnny the person is more like Marcus than Wilson. I have Marcus’ drive to keep going and make things happen. I don’t want to be the biggest star in the world, but I want to be able to look back at my life and say wow I gave that my all. I already feel that way in some respects, even when I look back at my career from five years ago starting on social media, my journey’s been different from everyone else’s. All the advice I’ve been given, it hasn’t really worked for me the way they said it would.

Top – Xander Zhou, Pants – Prada, Boots – Gucci, Ring by Spinelli Kilcollin

Everyone’s got their own journey, and some people’s journey has them making a sound-bite on TikTok that goes viral. Your “Hit It” sound on there is universally loved.

Ha! Honestly, that was just me being a gay boy gassing up another gay boy! And it really is universal. Straight guys come up to me telling me their girlfriends play it while they’re getting ready for dinner. These DJs, Moodshift, picked up the sound and turned it into a song. The day after it was released, it made it to number 12 on the iTunes dance chart. At first I was like, “Oh yeah, this will be cute,” but then when it was actually making the charts I was like, “What?” It was channeling that ballroom energy from “Pose” or “Legendary,” so it had all the elements people love but it literally was just me vibing in bed.

So what’s the next stop on the ride? What can we expect?

Well, “Hacks” is coming back for Season 2. I don’t know what’s happening with my character so I can’t really say much about that. I also just wrapped season 2 of my show for Logo. I’d never hosted anything before. There are so many industry rules if you’re an actor. They say you can’t be on reality tv, you can’t be a host, and whatever. Whereas now in the social media world I feel like you can do anything and have a successful career.

Sweater – Acne Studios, Shirt – Troy Dylan Allen, Shorts – JW Anderson

I feel like this question is the modern-day equivalent of asking a woman her age but, what is your screen time like?

 My screen time is wild. I’m always on my phone. The other day I was wishing I could get off social media for two months. Even when I take a break for a week, I come back to it so differently. I approach it differently and enjoy it until I slip back into my old habits. I do take breaks every now and then until a friend texts me worried about me and then I’m back. Take breaks, you should! I promise you won’t miss too much. My best friend and I are always joking about going the way of the old Hollywood ladies and becoming recluses but I don’t see that happening.

THE WEBSTER OPENS ITS NEWEST LOCATION IN NYC

With the store originating from the tropics of South Beach and having expanded to Houston, Costa Mesa, and Bal Harbour—it was only natural for The Webster to house their new location in the heart of New York City’s, Soho. Laure Heriard Dubreuil, founder of the luxury retailer, has mirrored the same opulent brand formula with a new ingredient—Webster Home. The six story building will handle pieces by Italian artist Gaetano Pesce, Pierre Frey fabrics that are exclusive to The Webster, and Nada Debs brass candy colored pebble table. Throughout the renovation of their new location The Webster befriended Maxi Cohen, photographer, video artist, and neighbor whose piece is now featured on the third floor.

The store is thoughtfully filled with French 50’s sconce lights and wall papers from the 20’s and 30’s and does the historical 1878, 12,000-square-foot building proud. Turn of the century light wells guide you onto a vintage loading dock entrance, and step out into a room that’s a fusion of new and retrograded pieces mirroring the original Webster store, which was redeveloped with the help and design of Christopher Osvai.

Filling the six floored location are thirty male designers and 68 women designers, including but not limited to Isa Arfen, Julien David, and jewelry by Anita Ko, The Webster combines high end clothing interwoven amongst art deco and one of a kind installations. Sculptures such as Aaron Young’s “Below the Underdog, 2010” is set amongst thoughtfully chosen menswear on the fourth floor.

For more information about the founder, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, check out her Iris Woman feature!

All photos by Andrew Rowat courtesy of Karla Otto Public Relations

The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.

 

The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.

 

The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.

 

The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.

 

The Webster flagship retail store located at 29 Greene Street in New York, NY opening in Nov 2017.

 

The Webster, located at 29 Greene Street, opened to the public Monday, November 6, 2017

Shop online here

EVE HEWSON

Dress by Calvin Klein Collection

Interview by Dustin Mansyur | Photography by Kerry Hallihan @ Angela de Bona | Styling by Marc Sifuentes | Art Direction by Louis Liu

With her alabaster skin, raven hair, soulful eyes, and a face which is reminiscent of old Hollywood royalty, Eve Hewson, is every bit the part of a blossoming actress. Born from fashion and music stardom, Hewson was destined to become a talented woman to watch.

Eve is in LA when I phone in with her for the interview. I can hear the soft overlays of her Irish accent, though it’s almost a whisper since she transplanted to Brooklyn, after studying acting at NYU—advice she did not take from her parents (U2 front-man, Bono & fashion designer, Ali Hewson). Eve’s drive was stronger, and she pushed forward in pursuit of her dream. Poised to play Maid Marian in the upcoming 2017 Otto Bathurst-directed production of Robin Hood: Origins, Eve currently co- stars alongside Clive Owen in the Steven Soderbergh-directed drama series, The Knick and her last film project, Bridge of Spies was directed by Steven Speilberg. Prior to
that she co-starred with Sean Penn in Paolo Sorrentino’s film, This Must Be the Place. Skepticism aside, Eve Hewson, has inarguably amassed an impressively selective resume of evocative, blue chip film projects and directors with whom she’s already worked.

She reminisces some advice she’s followed to land these roles and work with some of Hollywood’s greatest, “You have to find a way of making this a career, not just a moment.” In an exclusive interview, I caught up with the ingénue actress to discuss her creative process and the trajectory she has set for herself.

Dress by Céline, Earrings by Proenza Schouler

When did you know you first wanted to become an actor?

The first time I realized I wanted to be an actor was when I went away to shoot my first film when I was fifteen years old. It was my tutor who had wrote this part for me, and I knew that I liked acting a lot but I didn’t know if I was going to do that or if I was going to do music instead. So I went away and shot the film and kind of fell in love with the whole idea of making movies and the process of it. That was when I got hooked.

So is music something you still dabble in as a hobby?

When I was younger I played the piano, drums, bass, guitar etc, but I don’t play like I used to anymore. When I moved to New York it was harder to get access to a piano or a drum set and I kind of replaced that hobby with acting.

You’re currently starring in The Knick, as Nurse Lucy Elkins. In comparison to working in film, what is the process like when you’re doing a series? Do you find that you get closer to your character?

I really think it forces you to sort of think of your character with the understanding that you never really know what your character is going to do on TV. You have to just go with it. You learn more about that character as you go on. Whereas in film, you have your script. You have a set out storyline of where your character is going and what they would or wouldn’t do, but in TV you have to say okay, this is who she is. No matter what scene comes up or gets written into the storyline, I have to incorporate and work that into my idea of her. You can never say, “my character would never do that.”

When you’re filming The Knick, has there ever been a scene that you found challenging due to the gory nature of the content?

Sometimes things are pretty gross. I’m terrified of needles and I hate getting blood drawn and I usually end up fainting! On set, we did it for 20 episodes – you get really used to it, it’s quite like the way nurses and doctors treat actual bodies. You get really comfortable with looking at blood and intestines. We’re all pretty used to it now, but it took us a moment. I love the way movies are made, to see everything that goes on behind the scenes and to see how the makeup department, the special effects team and Steven (Soderbergh) all work together to make it look real. Then when my friends or my family see me on the screen, they say, “I can’t watch. I can’t watch it, I’m so sorry, it’s just too gory!” Well then great, we did our job. It’s not real. That’s what I say to everyone, “It’s not real!” How amazing is that?

In regards to your character on The Knick, what has been the biggest surprise or challenge in playing nurse Lucy Elkins? Was it difficult to relate to her?

The biggest challenge playing Lucy was probably the corset. Doing any accent is challenging, but not being able to breathe at the same time made it harder. I’m really nothing like Lucy at all, but that’s what I enjoyed the most about playing her. Learning about someone that you wouldn’t normally relate to in real life is what acting is all about. I’m not interested in playing someone like me, I know who I am. Acting is like being someone’s therapist. And Lucy is full of surprises. She is so quiet in what she says, but incredibly bold in what she does, and that interested me.

Though in the early stages of your career, you’ve already worked with some amazing directors. Are there any directors you would like to work with in the future?

Yeah there’s like a lot actually. I have a hit list of my favorite directors that I would jump at the chance to work with. I love Joe Swanberg, he did Drinking Buddies. Have you seen that movie?

It’s on my list of movies to watch!

You gotta see that movie! It’s amazing! His whole process and how there is this element of improv – it’s a really cool way of making films. Who else do I love? I love, Khalif Brown, he’s a fairly new director. He did parts of Beyonce’s Lemonade. He’s pretty sick. The part where she’s drowning and her bed is underwater, I love how he did that. Of course, I am obsessed with Tim Burton. I really want to play a ghost and haunt someone in a movie and I feel like Tim Burton could help me do that. Another director would be Ang Lee. Oh, and I love Katherine Bigelow.

Are there any genres that you would like to explore on future projects?

All of them! I don’t really limit myself in terms of characters and genres. I would love to do a creepy scary movie, like Orphan. I love that movie. I also would love to do a romantic comedy, you know. Being a voice actor in an animated children’s film would be so fun because I really love to do accents.

Do you work with a vocal coach on accents?

Yeah I have an amazing vocal coach, her name is Coley Calhoun, she actually lives in Brooklyn as well. She lives in Park Slope. She’s kinda THE woman and she helps me with everything that I do.

Jacket by Giorgio Armani

You are also an experienced traveler, do you have any place in the world you like to retreat to when you need to recharge?

If I’m going to somewhere to recharge, I’m going to go home to Dublin. It’s lovely to escape New York and just be at home in Dublin with my family and read a book or watch movies. It is always green so there are a lot of scenic walks and beautiful trails and sites around the city.

When you’re away from Brooklyn is there any place that you miss now that it’s also home?

Definitely my home! I live in Williamsburg, and I walk along the water every day and I have my little coffee shop that I love, Toby’s Estate.

Have your parents ever given you advice that you didn’t follow and were you glad you listened to your own intuition?

Sometimes, but occasionally parents know best. They’ve always been really encouraging of anything that I wanted to do, they were skeptical of me going into the film industry just because it is so difficult. Now they’re very supportive and have always encouraged me to not just be an actor, but to write, direct, and produce. You really have to find a way of making this a career, not just a moment.

And you’re really embracing the process?

Yes! I had to fight to get my parents to let me go to NYU and study acting. Going to New York to learn more about acting and film was not something they thought was a good idea, which I felt was strange. I really just wanted to learn my craft and hone my skills.

Have you experienced any personal challenges that you’ve had to overcome and that have made you stronger in your career and craft?

I think experiencing rejection has changed me as an actor, because every time you get rejected you have to fight harder and you have to work harder. Any challenge I have come up against has only helped me to be a better actor. Whenever I go in for an audition, I think “Oh my God, this is so hard, I don’t think I can do this.” I work really hard to believe that I can do it. However, I think being in a career that pushes you to continuously be better is amazing. I love that Hollywood is so cutthroat and when you get that job, you have really earned it because you’re competing with the best! It’s so difficult but also very rewarding.

Are you working with any charities or involved in community activism? Your father (U2 front-man, Bono) is known for his work with the underprivileged, did you get that gene from him?

I’m a member of the ONE campaign (Bono’s campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising awareness), and I support the RED products (a licensed brand that seeks to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa). I definitely want to get more involved with women’s issues in particular. For example, abortion is illegal in Ireland, and a lot of people are not aware of that. It has to change. I want to help. I grew up in a house where we were told, “If you have a voice, you better use it.” So I’ve never been embarrassed to say what’s on my mind. I think I could use that trait for something bigger than my own ego.

How do you feel about your new role as Maid Marian? What are you most eager about for this new project?

All I can say about the Robin Hood part is that we are going to shoot next year. I’m excited because I’m so obsessed with the director Otto Bathurst. He’s one of the most interesting directors out there right now. I’ve been told I have to learn how to ride a horse which might be worse than my bike riding on The Knick, but I’m staying optimistic. I read with Taron (Egerton) for my screen test and it was just synchronistic. I’ve ALWAYS said I wanted to work with Jamie Foxx. It is such a good crew of talent, and I’m so fortunate to be a part of it.

Jacket by Giorgio Armani

Hair by Rolando Beauchamp @ The Wall Group | Makeup by Junko @ Joe Management | Manicure by Yukie Miyakawa @ Kate Ryan | Custom Headpiece by Elizabeth Ryan Floral | Production by Sacha di Bona @ Angela de Bona | Photographer’s 1st Assistant James Clark |  2nd Assistant Krystallynne | Digital Tech Andrea Bartley | Stylist Assistant Yu Tsao | Production Assistant Kirk Corbin

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