Arts & Entertainment
4 min

Gay of thrones

How a 'girly boy' from Toronto almost won Big Brother Canada

I've always been jealous of white gay guys in school because it seems so much easier for them to come out," says Levy.
Behold the power of glitter.

Gary Levy, the flamboyant breakout star of Big Brother Canada, may not have won the hit Splice reality-TV show competition (due to a voting error on the part of his ally, Topaz, the Toronto native was runner-up to winner Jillian MacLaughlin), but he captured the imagination of thousands of viewers on both sides of the border.

So much so that after being evicted from the show several weeks ago, Canada voted him back into the game. Not bad for someone who was bullied as a kid for being an unapologetic “girly boy.”

While many fans are still reeling from one of the more shocking moments in reality-TV history, Levy insists he’s the victor despite not taking home the $100,000 prize. He feels triumphant because he won something more valuable: he’s become an unlikely big sister of sorts to thousands of young boys and girls.

Xtra recently chatted with the fledgling fashionista.

Xtra: I hear you hurt your knee at the Big Brother Canada wrap party.

Gary Levy: I was dancing and dropping it like it’s hot with my heels on, and then I fell! People think this is good that it happened because it’s giving me time to reflect and rest, but it’s the worst because I’ve had to turn down movie premieres and this and that. I’m like, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Have you come to terms with “losing” the game? You were evicted, got back in the house and won but still didn’t get the big prize! You’re the Al Gore to Jillian’s George W Bush.

I was definitely shocked, but I’m the kind of person who sees the positive in everything. After returning to the house after Canada voted me back in, I felt like nothing could faze me anymore. I got a second chance and I gave it my all. I felt like I was going to win. Topaz knows I love her. She’s getting a lot of backlash. We live in the same city, and once this brouhaha all dies down, we’ll have drinks since we live in the same city. Of course, she’ll be paying for the drinks! Yes, Jillian won the title, but I feel like I won so much more than she did.

Reality TV usually casts effeminate contestants. I’d like to see more of a balanced cross-section of gay people on reality TV, but after two shows of seeing you, I was like, “Okay, I get it.”

I went in the house being Glitter Gary. That’s who I am. I’m not a stereotype — I’m just me. This is how my friends and family know me. A lot of gays berate me just for being myself. Obviously, that’s now changing, but it’s been very hard. I feel like being on this show has given me back a lot of love I was missing from the gay community. I feel like I changed something a bit. I feel warm inside when I talk to other gay people, when they say, “Gary, you don’t understand how well you represented us in the house and how many barriers you broke down.”

One of your biggest strengths was being a strong physical competitor.

I can get down with the get-down when the going gets tough. I played hockey and a lot of sports when I was a kid. I like competing.

You’re a reminder of how much has changed, especially for us old folks, but you also reminded us there’s still a lot of work to do, too.

I’ve always been jealous of white gay guys in school because it seems so much easier for them to come out than it did for me. I hate the word “easier,” but that’s how I felt. There were also so many cultural issues, too. As a black gay man, I’m a faggot and a nigger. It was a lot to overcome. It was difficult coming out because of all the barriers. But everyone has embraced me now. And the positive reaction is not just from those communities: straight men and women are like, “You made me feel secure and comfortable to wear a pink boa the other day!”

Do you think Tom was homophobic?

No. Tom just didn’t like me being loud, crazy and in his face. And that’s fine. I didn’t like his muscle-y stench or his comments about me being over the top. He’s not homophobic; he’s just an ass. When Tom and I had our cuff-mance (hard Glitter) he was great. I fell asleep on his lap listening to Shania Twain. No homophobic guy would allow that to happen. I mean, we took a nap together! Tom is definitely not homophobic. I was constantly smacking his butt and he loved every minute of it.

Did you have a strategy going into the house or did it evolve?

It definitely evolved. I wanted to be as social as possible and downplay my physical [prowess]. I didn’t want to show anyone I was a strong physical competitor or threat, but right off the bat, I didn’t have a choice because I was marked for eviction immediately. I knew I had to win competitions to stay in the house. I definitely played my own game. I feel a lot of people were obsessed with people from the American version. I’m proud I made the biggest move in the game by getting out Tom and Emmett. People tell me I got out the ox and the ram.

Are you single?

Yes. I want to be in love. I’m a hopeless romantic. A lot of guys in the past have screwed me. In fact, just before joining the show, I had broken up with a guy. And he actually auditioned for the show, too. Bitch. [Laughs] It’s hard for me to find someone, because once I find someone, I have to explain I’m Gary, but there’s my alter ego, Zoe.

Did you have a crush on Emmett? He has a gay brother, so he was really cool with you. It was a gay bromance.

Yes. He was a cutie-pie, but it’s also like having a crush on your cousin. Emmett felt like family to me. From day one, I knew I wanted to align myself with him. Tom was getting in the way, which is why I had to get him out.

Emmett’s semi-erect peen is out in the Twitterverse.

Shut up! Are you serious? Oh my god.

What’s next for you?

I have so many ambitions and goals. I’m not going back to school. I want to be on TV; I want to be a fashion correspondent; I want my own fashion and makeup line; I want to curate my own art in a museum or gallery; and I want to publish this book I’ve been writing since I was young. And you know what? I’m going to do it because I deserve it.