Arts & Entertainment
5 min

Brendan Jordan in the spotlight

The YouTube star on their Toronto Pride appearance, Lady Gaga and gender freedom

Brendan Jordan is the 15-year-old YouTube sensation who became famous overnight after being filmed by local newscasts voguing at the grand opening of a shopping centre in Las Vegas. In under a year, Jordan’s YouTube channel has amassed more than six million views.

Jordan, who now uses the pronoun they, has gone on to score an ad campaign with American Apparel, attended RuPaul’s first ever drag convention — DragCon — and is slated to deliver a top-secret performance at Pride Toronto as the festival’s first ever youth ambassador.

Daily Xtra chatted with the budding starlet about their newfound fame, Lady Gaga and transforming identity.

Daily Xtra: You’ve been very vocal on Twitter about Caitlyn Jenner and trans rights. Can you talk about the importance of trans rights for you?

Brendan Jordan: Transgender, it’s something that I’ve been really questioning about myself. I’ve watched so many stories on YouTube of transgendered people saying that they were so confused, and when they learned what that word meant, they finally learned an area they could identify themselves with. In my past, I’ve felt that sort of confusion even though the world sees me as this confident kid. I still feel confused today as to who I am and where I’m going. But I’m still a teenager, so I guess you could say that’s pretty normal. I think one of the reasons I’ve been talking about this so much is I think I’m starting to identify as one, or as part of the trans community. I can’t really label it because some days I could go completely into my feminine mode, my more woman side comes out of me. But then other days, I don’t really want to feel my more feminine side. Some days I’ll want to just tuck it away and not be as glamorous and I’m totally fine with that. I don’t know what or who I am exactly, I just like the limitless feeling of it. I think that’s just what I’m going with as of right now. I identify with both genders, I think is what I’m happy with at the moment.

You attended RuPaul’s DragCon in Los Angeles in full drag. Can you talk about that experience?

I said to my mom that I really wanted to be in drag for at least one of the days at DragCon. I’ve never really been in drag. I knew how to do the makeup, I just didn’t really have the right products. I wanted to look good, you know and it was incredible to be at the first one in herstory. My mom and I worked together making it all happen. It was an amazing experience. Drag is something I have been really getting into lately because I am experimenting with myself and what I might fit in with. I have been experimenting with a lot of makeup lately. I don’t know what I might do, but I definitely want to do drag just because of this rush that drag gives you.

You became famous overnight. Can you talk about how that felt? How did you react when Lady Gaga tweeted that she is a big fan?

I didn’t really expect anything of the video, if that makes sense. I thought, well, this is something we can all laugh about later, I didn’t expect it to get this big. It literally changed my life over the course of those couple of short days. It was very overwhelming.

I’m still a student in school, so there’s many things I need to take care of with being a sophomore in high school. It’s weird, when she [Lady Gaga] tweeted me, I did freak out. Because of everything that was happening, that was another major factor. It really just felt surreal.

You’re very brave and not at all camera shy. Did you have support when you came out?

Coming out was actually a very easygoing experience. Coming out isn’t something that’s easy for everyone because the first step is accepting yourself; because you have to accept yourself before anyone can really accept you. I actually have members of the LGBT community in my family, so it was nothing that was really new or different to my parents. My parents are very open-minded, and they’ve always known with my character, I guess you could say. Coming out was amazing because it literally feels like chains have been taken off of you.

Brendan Jordan at Pride Toronto (details tbd)
Sunday, June 28, 2015
pridetoronto.com