EXCLUSIVE: EJ Johnson Opens Up About Exploring Gender Identity and Making Reality TV That Matters
By Brice Sander
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EXCLUSIVE: EJ Johnson Opens Up About Gender Identity
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EJ Johnson is exploring New York -- and himself -- on his new docuseries, EJNYC.
“I have my own platform to talk about things that matter,” EJ tells ET, “and really let people get, you know, a deeper sense of who I am as a person. It’s really exciting … and I’m excited to let fans see a different side of EJ.”
The topic of gender identity comes up on the next, all-new episode of the E! show when EJ visits a gender therapist.
“I think that a lot of people have always had a lot of questions about that,” EJ says. “I play in men’s and women’s wear, and I kinda mix and things like that. I think it was an important conversation to have.”
In the therapy session, EJ confesses that Caitlyn Jenner’s transition did make him question his own identity, to an extent.
“Sometimes it’s hard being the middle, like the gray area,” EJ shares. “I thought about it, for sure. Like, do I want to transition? Is this something that I would do? But I don’t feel incomplete in that way, you know what I’m saying? I don’t feel the need to do that.”
Even though he’s not transitioning, EJ wanted to bring the discussion to his show.
“It’s just been so much of a journey and a conversation piece in recent times,” he says. “I can remember, even four years ago when I was at NYU and no one was even talking about, you know, pronouns and how people wanted to be addressed. And now, hearing my friend say, ‘Oh, every time we start class, every single kid has to be like, ‘Well, I identify as this. Please call me he, or she,’ … it’s just amazing that that’s where we are.”
“I think with reality shows, it’s really, really, really important that you’re taking away something from every single episode,” EJ adds. “Why else would you be watching something on television if you’re not learning something? And I really wanted to do that with this show, for people to learn.”
Gender identity is just one issue the series will touch on.
“Our cast is very diverse, whether it comes to race, or sexuality or gender, and you know, socioeconomic status,” EJ explains. “We’re doing it all, and we’re living our lives no matter what the color of our skin is, or who we choose to love, and I think that’s the beautiful part of our show. I really want people to see that.”
The show won’t be all heavy topics, though. Expect some fun, too.
“There’s a lot of fashion,” EJ promises. “There’s a lot of drama. You know, we talk about relationships and all kinds of stuff. We have a trip coming up … [it’s] very dramatic, so look out for St. Maarten. There’s just a lot to be excited about, and a lot of conversations that I’m excited for everyone to see and to be had.”
EJNYC airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on E! Get another dose of EJ -- and his parents, Magic and Cookie -- in the video below.