Billy Porter detailed his role as a “genderless” fairy godmother in the upcoming remake of Cinderella, arguing that “kids are ready” for his progressive take on the iconic fairy tale.
In an interview with CBS News, Porter explained how the filmmakers sought to remind viewers that “magic has no gender” and said audiences will be treated to “a classic fairytale for a new generation.”
“It hit me when I was on the set last week, how profound it is that I am playing the Fairy Godmother — they call it the Fab G,” the Pose star said. “We are presenting this character as genderless — at least that’s how I’m playing it. And it’s really powerful.”
Porter, who is the first openly-gay black actor to win an Emmy in a drama series, also said that while “kids are ready” to put gender-bending ideas into the mainstream, adults are slowing the process down.
“I think the new generation is really ready. The kids are ready,” he said. “It’s the grownups that are slowing stuff down.”
The 50-year-old also discussed how empowering he finds wearing women’s dresses to awards ceremonies, while also trying to dispel the supposed myth that men who wear dresses are weak.
“Playing that role made me feel grounded and more powerful,” Porter said of his work playing the exuberant fashion designer Pray Tell on Pose.
At last year’s Academy Awards, Porter turned up on the red carpet wearing a custom tuxedo dress as a tribute to the late Hector Valle, owner of the House of Xtravaganza, one of New York City’s most famous underground ballroom houses.
“Putting on those heels, putting on those dresses, putting on those wigs, made me feel more powerful, grounded and — dare I say — masculine, than I’ve ever felt in my whole life,” Porter explained. “This idea that pants are strong and dresses are weak – I’m not interested in that conversation anymore. So, hopefully, I can be at the forefront of having a new conversation.”