Daniel Franzese Comes Out As Gay In Letter To Mean Girls Character Damian
Daniel Franzese has come out in a moving letter to his former Mean Girls character Damian — 10 years after playing the gay teen.
“You became an iconic character that people looked up to,” Franzese wrote in the letter published by Indiewire. “I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger.” “It might’ve been easier to be gay growing up,” he continued. “You WERE beautiful in every single way and words couldn’t bring you down.”
Franzese admitted that he was terrified to take the part of Damian, but saw the role as a “natural and true representation of a gay teenager – a character we laughed with instead of at.”
The actor continued to stay in the closet after the film was released, and blames the character for reaching the “gay glass ceiling” of casting. “There were industry people who had seen me play you in Mean Girls but never seen me read in an audition but still denied me to be seen for ‘masculine’ roles,” he complains to his Damian character in the letter.
“Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you,” he wrote. “I became celibate for a year and a half. I didn’t go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay. I even brought a girl to the ‘Mean Girls’ premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard.” But it was his character’s positive impact on others that inspired Franzese to come out.
“Perhaps this will help someone else,” he explained. “I had to remind myself that my parents named me Daniel because it means ‘God is my judge.’ So, I’m not afraid anymore of Hollywood, the closet or mean girls. Thank you for that, Damian. (And Tina.)” What do you think of Franzese’s letter?