NEWS

'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett on Being Gay in Hollywood: 'I Do Not Hide Who I Am'

by Hillary Bautch 6:52 AM PDT, August 13, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

Empire star Jussie Smollett and supermodel Naomi Campbell are a force to be reckoned with!

The 33-year-old actor and supermodel cover of the September issue of Attitude magazine, on newsstands August 17. Smollett, whose career has skyrocketed since being on the hit Fox show, opened up to the glossy magazine about his sexuality, being openly gay in Hollywood and his close relationship with Campbell.

"I get tired of the idea of someone telling me what my truth is," Smollett said in the interview. "I've said from the beginning of my journey: I do not hide who I am. I love who I love. No one is going to tell me that somehow that is going to be my disability."

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The actor first addressed his sexuality in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2015, telling the talk show host that "there's never been a closet that [he's] been in."

Over the past year, Smollet has been keeping busy on several projects beyond the small screen. He recently finished filming his third season of Empire, and just wrapped the film Alien: Covenant while also working on recording his debut album.

"I am told so many times that I should not walk truly in my blackness," Smollett continued. "That I should not walk truly in my sexuality, I should not walk truly in who I am. I say thanks but no thanks, f**k you and goodbye. I honestly think that me being myself has actually helped my career move forward."

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Naomi Campbell and Smollett have been friends since the actor was just eight years old, and have become even closer while working on Empire. Smollett even posted a sweet pic of the pair for Campbell's birthday.

"I've never met someone more loyal, supportive or beautiful," he captioned the snap. "Happy birthday @iamnaomicampbell. I love you. Now I'm going to sleep and will never party again. (See you tomorrow again to do it all over again tho)."

"Jussie is an unbelievably talented, intelligent, kind and a courageous human being and I have enjoyed working alongside him," the 46-year-old model told Attitude. "He has incredible presence and energy. We also share very similar passions such as charity work, especially in raising awareness for HIV/Aids prevention."

"I have been surrounded by gay men my entire life, and because I have grown up working in the creative and fashion industries, many of them have become like family to me. I've always said without gay men, I wouldn’t be where I am today."

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Smollett also revealed that he believes that homosexuality has always been a part of American culture.

"This is American culture," he explained. "The fact of the matter is, there was Little Richard and Sylvester but there was also Rock Hudson. This idea of homophobia, this idea of hiding, of not being able to truly be who you really are, well I hate to tell my nation, but we are American culture."

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