The morning after The Luca Luca and Joy Cioci shows, I found myself rushing to a Starbucks in Hell’s Kitchen to meet Jonathan D. Lovitz. After meeting at Providence Style week, I contacted him and he very kindly agreed to meet me for an interview. I am horrendous with technology, so I handwrote the interview; get ready for a magical journey of paraphrased wisdom.
When did you know you were gay, and when did you come out?
- · When Jonathan was around the age of his Bar Mitzvah Jonathan said he felt weird around the comments, “You’re a man now”. Jonathan spent much time in the theater, and at the age of 16 came out of the closet. His parents already knew; Jonathan had his first serious boyfriend when he was a junior in high school. Whilst in College at the University of Florida, he had two serious relationships; Jonathan is a self-proclaimed “Serial Monogamist.” After college, on a three year tour with a Broadway cast, Jonathan had the ability to visit fifty states, Canada and Europe. “Don’t let being gay define you, and don’t let labels hold you back.” This means a lot, coming from a gay man who happens to love football.
So I heard you love the First Wives Club, who would you be?
- Jonathan said he is every woman, every day. OCD like Annie, dramatic like Elie, and the neurotic Jew comes out like Bette Midler.
What is your relationship with your parents like?
- · “Amazing.” After getting through the angst associated with coming out, Jonathan’s growing maturity led to a stronger and more secure relationship with his parents. Showing his valiant confidence in his relationship with boyfriend Zachary, he brought him on a cruise with his family; they hadn’t met yet! Luckily, everyone got along, and Jonathan’s sister’s children call him Uncle Zach. They have a relationship to be envious of.
Last March, you excused yourself from jury duty by saying that you felt that as a gay man you didn’t have the same rights that everyone else had. How has the response been?
- · “The reason why I did it no longer exists”, Jonathan said happily. Jonathan said that he felt uncomfortable with the fact that he was paying 100 percent of taxes, but only getting 60 percent of the rights he was entitles to. “The spread of the story really speaks to social media.” Jonathan’s story spread like fire, and thanks to his chutzpa, he raised awareness, and ultimately helped gays get the right to marry in the state of New York. Jonathan likes to call himself an “Accidental advocate.”
What’s it like being on Setup Squad?
- · Jonathan said that the show is a great mix of Queer eye and Matchmaking. “We owe a lot to Queer Eye, but a fab outfit on a hot mess is still a hot mess.” He stressed the importance of communication skills, and no matter who it is; black, white, gay, or straight, everyone has the same problems.
Any tips for me?
- · “Don’t be in a rush to grow up.” Jonathan stressed the importance of not being “young, dumb and easy. Use everything that happens to know the man you want to be.”
How do you feel about masculine and feminine roles in gay relationships?
- · “(There are) Thousands of shapes and sizes of relationships. Modern family is one type, (but they) never touch; they are safe.
What are your most important causes?
- · Broadway cares, Broadway bares (I NEED to go see this!), Gladd, Trevor project, Gay youth. “Gay kids are their neighbor’s kids.” Jonathan said that it is also important to spread visibility for the Ali Forney center, a safe house for LGBT youth.
What can people do to help?
- · “There are 365 days in the year, do something to help every day.” Jonathan also said that we can send emails to PFLAGG, donate to LGBT fundraisers, and support Kenneth Cole fashion (who often runs positive LGBT ads). “Out is the new in.”
So what makes you a relationship person?
- · Jonathan said that he is an extremely personal person. As a self-proclaimed home-body, Jonathan warned me that NYC is difficult for relationships because everyone is so career driven. “Being a relationship person gives balance; “(It’s nice) to wake up with the same person every morning.
Tell me about Schmackary’s cookies
- · Jonathan’s boyfriend, an actor, started Schmackary’s cookies (his name is Zackary) because he found that he hated show business so much. He decided to quit his job in PR after his friends told him how amazing his cookies were and convinced him to sell them. “We both chose jobs that make us happy.” Visit Schmackarys.com to order cookies.
What is your favorite flavor?
- · Jonathan’s favorites include the peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, and the Schmack Snacks.
* Schmack Snacks are essentially cookie dough in the shape of a muffin, I had a red velvet and moaned the entire time I ate it.
What are your favorite NYC stores and brands?
- · “I love formfitting (clothes) that don’t look like Under Armour." Jonathan loves Uniqlo, Buckler, Topman, and Zara. He likes to splurge on bracelets and cuffs, jackets, and high tops.
Favorite NYC clubs and restaurants?
- · Jonathan like Sushi Samba, Vinyl which he calls his “Neighborhood Cheers”, and Churrascaria, “I am a meataholic.” Jon frequents Industry and the Timeout lounge, but says his favorite nighttime activity is five friends, drinks, and Pandora.
Thank you so much Jonathan! I had a great time and I really appreciated spending time and getting to know you better. I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors!