Gender Bender Ruler

Defiant in the Age of Trump, Ricky Rebel plays the gender bender rules his way. The Los Angeles based performer, singer challenges the notions of fashion, style and masculinity drawing inspiration from trailblazing icons.

Black and Paper exclusive interview with singer Ricky Rebel.

Graphics Metropolis Styling: Elena Nazaroff Hair/Makeup: Reba Vera Makeup provided by MAC Cosmetics / MAC Artist Relation

Were there personal conflicts concerning your sexuality while being a boy band?

I was told by management and the record label not to look and act “effeminate.” We had to do media training to teach us how to appear more “straight.” It had a big effect on me, especially receiving the news that my flamboyant costumes and stage antics could potentially get the boy band cut from the label. 

 

What period of Madonna’s career influenced you the most?

I loved the Blond Ambition Era. She was powerful and vulnerable at the same time. A lot of what I am going through right now is a reflection of that duality. That was Madonna at her best. 

Has it been difficult being a “gender bender” in the Age of Trump?

No, I do what I do regardless of who our President is. At the end of the day, sometimes we need a good kick in the ass to get things into high gear. I feel strengthened these days, not weakened. I can understand how/why LGBT could be nervous at this time but I believe that we will always win at the end of the day because we are strong and resilient and more people these days are realizing that Gay Rights are Human Rights. 

Graphics Metropolis Styling: Elena Nazaroff Hair/Makeup: Reba Vera Makeup provided by MAC Cosmetics / MAC Artist Relation

How has the concept of masculinity changed?

  I produced “The New Alpha” because I started seeing the trend in victim identity and the PC culture. Everyone being offended by everything and using that to manipulate and control their environment. I wanted to strengthen the world. Being gay does not mean that we are weak. Some of the most powerful people in the world are gay. We need to stop playing the victim role and start acting like men. Strong, sensitive, compassionate, responsible, vulnerable, and balanced men.  

 The New Alpha is a highly dominant successful character who happens to use makeup and wear women’s clothing occasionally because he’s smart enough to realize that these things possess no gender. Masculinity and femininity do not belong to one sex or the other. We need to balance the scales. It’s not healthy to be overly aggressive (a “masculine” trait) and it’s just as toxic to be overly passive (commonly seen as a “feminine” trait). 

I see Grace Jones elements in your looks, true or false?

Absolutely. I have love for Grace. She pushed many boundaries. I appreciate artists that do not quite fit the mold.  

Is the music business become more accepting of LGBT Artists?

Not exactly. It’s ok to be gay if you hide it. I do not see many mainstream LGBT male artists who are celebrating their sexuality openly. I can count on one hand. If they are openly gay then they play the corporate label game where it’s ok to be gay just as long as you can pass as straight. Labels claim to be progressive and pro-gay but the artists they sign must look/act straight. I intend to challenge all of that. 

Graphics Metropolis Styling: Elena Nazaroff Hair/Makeup: Reba Vera Makeup provided by MAC Cosmetics / MAC Artist Relation

Do you prefer Blondes or Brunettes?

Blondes. 

What are your upcoming plans?

Now, I’m preparing for a tour. You can find all upcoming tour information on my official website: www.RickyRebelRocks.com. My record “The New Alpha” is available on iTunes, Amazon MP3, and Spotify.

Thank you for the interview.