If you started streaming Netflix‘s super-gay new dramedy Glamorous this weekend, chances are you’re already crushing on actor Graham Parkhurst.
In the series—set in the offices of a successful makeup empire—Parkhurst plays Parker, the fit and flirty gym crush of protagonist Marco Mejia (Miss Benny), whose affection offers the wannabe mogul a nice break from the stresses of work life.
After a chance encounter, Marco mistakenly labels Parker a “straight boy,” but is quickly proven wrong when he comes on strong (and even flashes some cheek in the locker room). We won’t give too much else away, but Glamorous does a great job unpacking how Parker’s version of “gay male perfection” rubs up against Marco’s journey with gender non-conformity.
The Netflix series represents a major breakthrough for the Toronto-based actor, whose previous credits include guest roles on The Umbrella Academy, Supergirl, Sex/Life, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, as well the Hallmark holiday film Boyfriends Of Christmas Past.
With Glamorous out now and big things surely ahead, we jumped at the chance to welcome Parkhurst as the latest guest of our rapid-fire Q&A series, Dishin’ It. In our conversation, the actor opens up about the indie artist—and his sexy movie—that helped him come out of the closet, the Toronto gay scene, and the steamy Glamorous kiss that accidentally left him a bloody mess.
Is there a piece of media—whether a movie, TV series, book, album, games, etc…—that you consider a big part of your own coming-out journey or that has played an important part in exploring your own queerness? Why does it stand out to you?
The goddamned album by Jay Brannan! When I was in my first year of college, my roommate (who later became my first partner) listened to it all the time. I remember being a scared, closeted teenager at that point and the only queer people I was aware of in the media were over the top caricatures that I wasn’t open enough to relate to. When I did finally come to terms with my sexuality, I found Jay’s lyrics to be comforting and more representative of my personal experiences up until that point. Then I watched him in the film Shortbus… if you know, you know.
The Glamorous cast is full of so much exciting, up-and-coming queer talent. Do you have a favorite memory from set—or are there any fun moments you can share from when the cameras weren’t rolling?
My favorite story from set was when I was filming a kiss scene with Miss Benny. I had very little clothing on and Miss Benny had on a spiky pair of Alexander McQueen stilettos. There’s a moment when we passionately spun around and fall onto a couch mid kiss. During one of the final takes, I stepped onto the spikey stilettos and bled all over the set. Miss Benny felt so bad, but I couldn’t stop laughing—I barely felt any pain. Now I have three tiny scars on the bridge of my foot to commemorate that day.
Your character, Parker, is described as someone who “symbolizes gay male perfection.” Did that make the role feel intimidating to step into? What do you think the show—and Parker in particular—has to say about the beauty standards for gay men?
I remember reading the character description for Parker and just laughing, thinking “Ha! Godspeed to whoever books this.” Then I booked it. I was half thrilled and fully terrified. A character description like that can be seen as a set up for ridicule. I think the show does a great job at focusing on the depth of the connections between characters and not just the superficial elements. It also shows what challenges can arise when surface level attraction is the focus.
On that note, fitness and general wellness can sometimes feel like a chore for people. Do you have any tips for getting motivated to work out, or ways you personally have found to make it feel fun and exciting?
I think the most important thing is to continuously change things up. A monotonous routine is the easiest way to lose motivation. I like to have different outlets for exercise throughout the year, on top of going to the gym, to make things interesting. In summer or fall, it’s all about outdoor activities like biking, roller blading, hiking etc. In winter or spring, when motivation is lower, I highly recommend an indoor sport of some kind. I play in a gay dodgeball league because it’s ridiculously fun, physically demanding, and I have a responsibility to show up for my team every week.
Your credits include roles in a number of superhero shows—The Umbrella Academy, Titans, Supergirl—so we have to ask: If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Easy! As a Pisces, my superpower would be the ability to make a decision without overthinking it. Why? Because it would make my life A LOT easier.
Who’s a fictional character you had a crush on at a younger age (or maybe still do!)? What do you remember loving about them?
It sounds a little weird now as he’s a cartoon character, but when I was younger, I had a big crush on Aladdin! A toned twunk with dark hair, big eyes, and a delusional ambition? Yes please.
You hail from Toronto, which boasts a pretty bustling gay scene—what’s your favorite thing about it and why?
My favorite part about the Toronto gay scene is the number of events and parties that are happening on any given week. Every neighborhood has unique gay bars and patrons, so there’s never a lack of things to do or people to meet. I also find the queer community in Toronto to be welcoming and supportive — but that’s just my personal experience.
Who is a queer or trans artist/performer/creator that you think is doing really cool work right now? Why are they someone we should all be paying attention to?
Vita Love! They’re a local drag performer who has made a huge impact in the Toronto scene in a short period of time. I have a feeling they’ll be a common name in the queer world soon.
Glamorous is streaming now, exclusively on Netflix.