The cast of the Netflix show, The Circle: Chris Sapphire, Karyn Blanco and Sammie Cimarelli
Chris Sapphire, Karyn Blanco and Sammie Cimarelli Credit: Courtesy Netflix, Sudowoodo/iStock / Getty Images Plus, IIIerlok_Xolms/iStock / Getty Images Plus; Francesca Roh/Xtra
Pop Culture
4 min

‘The Circle’ is queer AF

The queer reality TV takeover continues!

Don’t judge, but we spent a day binging Netflix’s latest reality TV phenomenon, The Circle—and we have strong, mostly v gay, feelings.

As lovers of queer reality competitions—yes, we too have an Are You The One-shaped hole in our hearts—we certify that The Circle has all of the elements of a great binge-worthy show: a lot of strong, queer cast members, petty drama and sext exchanges littered with eggplant emojis. Honestly, we 👏 are 👏 stanning 👏!

So pop the corn, feed your children and hold our hands, Dorothy. Here’s your queer guide to The Circle!

What is The Circle? 👀

The show, which premiered earlier this month on Netflix, is based on a 2017 U.K. show of the same name. It follows a group of people as they rank each other based on their social media profile on, yes, The Circle. Some players go in as their authentic selves, others go as catfish. The goal: to be the most popular “influencer” on The Circle.

Honestly, if you hate leaving your apartment and love judging people on the internet, The Circle is the game for you. The contestants spend about a fraction of the show’s runtime in the same room. Sure, it has a bit of a Truman Show element to it, with cameras following the contestants in their bear slippers and sweatpants around their apartments. But trust us—it’s super compelling.

When you say The Circle is queer, just how queer is it?

'The Circle' contestant Sammie says:

On a scale of 💪 to 💅, it’s about a 💃. The show features multiple out contestants, and most of the cast expresses some kind of same-sex desire throughout the course of the show. It supports our prevailing theory that everyone is a little bit bisexual.

But it’s more than that. It shows a multifaceted version of gay men…

'The Circle' contestant Chris says:

Dallas-native Chris Sapphire sashays with perfect make-up and attitude, and proudly proclaims his love for his family and God. Sapphire shows that there’s a space for LGBTQ folks to still celebrate themselves and have faith—and truly, we rarely see that on TV!

In an interview with Dallas-based publication Central Track, Sapphire said, “God is the rock in my life, and I’m honestly just a puppet. God is using me for something bigger. I really mean it when I say glory to God — because everything that I did accomplish on the show that people are feeling or vibing or seeing in me? That’s all God, honey. I’m just the vessel!” Honestly, Chris, do you! And hallelu!

…The real talks are REAL

'The Circle' contestant Karyn says:

When Karyn Blanco, a Black butch lesbian who catfishes as high-femme Mercedeze, is booted from The Circle, she’s given the opportunity to meet with another contestant before she exits the building. She chooses her pal Chris, revealing her true identity, and encourages him to continue being the dazzling gay man he has been all along in The Circle. It’s something she says she didn’t feel she could do: As a more masculine-presenting queer woman, she felt she couldn’t be open about who she was in order to earn popularity among her competitors. It’s a heart-warming real talk that gets to the core of the show’s commentary on identity and representation—and yes, the tears were flowing on our end 😭.

…It gives bisexuals the representation they deserve

'The Circle' contestant Sammie on the couch, says:

Samantha “Sammie” Cimarelli, our fav thirst-trapping Miami girl, strolls into her apartment in the first episode wearing a rainbow mesh T-shirt not long before she dubs herself a flirty bisexual. Miranda Bissonnette, the first newcomer of the crew, introduces herself as someone looking for love—with a man or a woman. And Mercedeze and Rebecca—albeit two catfish—reveal themselves as bi-curious ladies in a group chat. #BiPower 🙏

…Even the straight contestants are great allies

'The Circle' contestant Joey says:

Truly, no one was nasty or homophobic on The Circleat least on the show. Even resident jock Joey Sasso said he loves queer people. In an interview with Esquire, Sasso said, “I’m a huge advocate for LGBTQ rights because so many of my friends have faced so much discrimination for being who they are, and I just told Chris, ‘Buddy, you’re one of the wittiest kids I’ve ever met, and that’s what threw me because I don’t feel like I know you or your story because it’s never gone past the wit. We’re so deep into this. I want to know you.’ He opened up and revealed he’s been through a lot of stuff in his life that had really hurt him, but helped shape him.” We stan a supportive king! 

…Girl, it brings the drama

'The Circle' contestant Chris says:

That’s it. That’s the subject. Don’t take our word for it. You need to experience all of it and gag firsthand!

…It has a Drag Race connection

'The Circle

What is queer reality TV content without mentioning RuPaul’s Drag Race? And The Circle has a Drag Race connection. Remember Chris Sapphire (yeas, the one we just mentioned up on this list)? Well, he’s friends with dancing queen Alyssa Edwards! In fact, Sapphire appeared on Alyssa’s Netflix show Dancing Queen—where he helped our favourite Drag Race alum move!

Truly, bless the queers and the oh-so-small queer world.

…And it utilizes the magic of the 🍆 and 🍑 emojis

'The Circle' contestant Joey sends a message aloud:

Are you really queer if you don’t know what these emojis mean? No, Joey, they’re not purple peppers.

Circle, type “enjoy this blessing from the queer gods kiss face emoji (😘), sparkles emoji (✨), rainbow emoji (🌈)”… send message!