Riccardo Simonetti achieves his goals. I met him a year ago at a party in Berlin, and he told me how his goal was to be a star. In the year since, he has starred in his own reality show for E!, hosted red carpets, voiced an animated character for a Disney movie, and been photographed probably more than his idol, Britney Spears. When I came to his apartment a month ago for this interview, I understood a lot about how he carries himself, and how he has achieved this level of stardom in Germany.
But first things first: this is a bearded male with long, lustrous hair and sequined jackets. There is definitely some fluidity to his masculinity. That is the topic I first discuss with him.
RS. I want to think that there is more than one option, and you can be a man who feels confident in wearing these clothes. Maybe there is someone watching my TV show or seeing me in magazines who has never had to think about men who look like me, so next time they see someone in the street who looks like me, then they won’t be as shocked because they have someone to relate to.
JPJ. Ok, I understand what you are saying. But then again, if you are talking about masculine and feminine, there are a lot of things that are borrowed from the feminine or from the female gender with the way you look, but then also the way you act is very masculine in a way.
RS. I am aware that I’m a guy, and I like to be a guy. No, I love to be a guy, but I love to be the kind of guy I am. I know that if I cut my hair and wear a suit, I would probably not be that different on the outside from other guys. But the way that I look helps me to show the people how I look inside. Fashion to me is like a chance to show people that I’m maybe a little more that most guys you see on the street.
JPJ. Yes. I just feel there are men who are more feminine than you, who dress gender-normed, you know?
RS. Yeah, of course. I think people see the hair and see the sequins and they get distracted, and they think that I’m probably super feminine. When we start talking, they understand that it is just a style and style has not much to do with gender. I think gender stereotypes, both male and female, help people to grow into a character that society wants them to be. Especially guys feel like, if they have a certain look, they are the biggest guy, the biggest man, the strongest man. If they have big arms and they wear typical clothes, they feel manlier, but if they don’t feel manly inside, that will not make a difference. I feel that you really need to stay in touch with yourself, so that your clothes won’t be just clothing – but that you become them. Like, for example, when you go to a gay club and you see all these super masculine guys with super big arms and chest hair and shaved heads and you feel like, wow this is probably the most masculine person I’ve ever seen, and then a Beyoncé song comes on and you go like, he is totally different that I thought. So maybe it is just an image.
Also, if you don’t want your clothes to look like a carnival costume you need to be in touch with yourself to make them look wearable. I believe that style-wise you wear whatever you want even though it may look ridiculous on others, even though it may look like a costume on others, and you can make it wearable if you really feel it. I think that feelings are way more important than we think when we choose our wardrobe.
JPJ. Yeah I feel the same.