Paul Iacono, the actor who plays RJ Berger in the MTV comedy series, has come out as gay during an interview with Michael Musto.
Musto was interviewing the 23-year-old star for Village Voice about his new MTV show, Kenzie’s Scale, which tells the story of high-school girlfriend–boyfriend sweethearts Kenzie and Cole who move to a New York College together.
Iacono, who plays Cole, explains, “[Cole] has this gay awakening when they get there. So they continue living together more as friends than lovers.”
Off the back of this, Musto said “you’re openly gay now”, to which Iacono replied, “Yes [. . .] I was asked if I was comfortable doing gay press [and] I said, “Of course.” I didn’t think I’d be coming out. But, why not now? I think it’s the right time to say something.”
Talking more about Kenzie’s Scale, and the need for gay role models for young people, Iacono said, “The whole reason we came up with [the show] is to give young gays characters to look up to. It's great that we have [Glee’s] Chris Colfer, but we need more characters [. . .] I didn’t have much to look up to as a kid. I had to search to find like-minded images. I’m happy to be that person so kids won’t have to grow up and be afraid of their sexuality and this won’t be an issue.”
Iacono went on to describe how difficult it’s been for him to come to terms with his sexuality. When asked if he’d been out from the start, the young man replied, “God, no. [. . .] I tried coming out a couple of times as a kid, from 13–14 on, and was always squashed on. [. . .] It messed with my head. It took me a longer time to be OK with it. It was not until I was 18 that I came out with my mom and 20 with my dad.”
Later, Iacono tweeted, “Yes I'm gay. And yes, it does get better.”
Iacono’s MTV sitcom The Hard Times of RJ Berger was created by David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith and ran for two series from 2010 to 2011. In it, Iacono plays the show’s eponymous character, RJ Berger. He has also appeared in the 2009 movie remake of Fame, and can soon be seen in the upcoming theatre production, Justin Sayre Is Alive and Well … Writing, which also stars Cole Escola, John Hill, Ian Scott McGregor and Rob Maitner.
Described as an “absurdist sketch comedy”, and directed by Ben Rimalower, Justin Sayre Is Alive and Well … Writing will be performed at New York’s Ars Nova theatre, on 20 and 21 April 20.
According to Theatre Mania, “This evening of short plays extends Sayre's distinctively off-kilter perspective and trademark wit across a wide array of contexts from perverse to profound and back again.”