A nice suit feels like a “second skin” for Cheyenne Jackson, but he won’t be wearing much of anything to play an adult film actor in The Performers, which opens November 14 at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. Also readying to release his debut pop album, the 37-year-old star explains his style evolution and shopping aversion.
By Brandon Voss
Essential Homme: You were raised in the tiny, rural community of Newport-Oldtown on the Washington-Idaho border. How did that influence your style?
Cheyenne Jackson: There were a lot of loggers, fishermen, and mill workers in flannel shirts and boots, so it’s very outdoorsy, which I am too. That’s why I like Michael Bastian, who incorporates that rough and ready feel, and labels like Rag & Bone that look a little distressed. Living in New York City, my wardrobe has definitely gotten darker and more tailored.
Has fame made you more conscious of what you wear in public?
Unfortunately. When I take my dog out at night I have to remember not to wear my old-man cut-off shorts or the shirt with nine holes that my husband begs me to throw away.
Do you not like buying new clothes?
I hate shopping. Nothing fits me off the runway and I can’t do sample sizes, so it’s a challenge. Luckily, I’m married to someone with a great eye for fashion. I don’t know where he got it, because he’s from Brainerd, Minnesota. We’re the same size, so when he buys something for himself, I’ll co-opt it. I love new clothes when they’re waiting at home, but who really wants to stand under horrible lights and try stuff on?
Of the roles that you’ve played, which character’s wardrobe did you covet most?
I love period clothes much more than modern-day. I played a scout leader in the NBC pilot Mockingbird Lane, a Munsters reboot, and the costume designer was the legendary Robert Blackman, who worked on Star Trek for years. His attention to detail was really cool. There were also some seriously cool ’70s and early ’80s costumes on Behind the Candelabra, the Liberace movie I just shot. We had a contest on set to see whose pants were tightest.
Do you ever take your costumes home?
Yes, but I always ask first. The Liberace movie had a lot of bling, so I asked for one of the rings.
I can’t wait to hear what you’ll swipe from The Performers, in which you play a porn star.
[Laughs] Yeah, you can only imagine what we’re wearing and not wearing. The play takes place the weekend of the Adult Film Awards, so everyone busts out their teeniest, glitziest, gaudiest outfit that they think they look great in.
Which celebrity’s style do you most admire?
David Beckham is always impeccably pulled together with an athletic, rock and roll vibe, but he always looks like himself. Tom Ford is another obvious choice, but the last time I got close to him in person he looked stunning from head to toe, and I even examined his cufflinks and fingernails.
You also look stunning in a suit. Is that comfortable, or does a suit just feel like another costume?
I attend so many events as an ambassador for amfAR, so I own a lot of suits and tuxes. Chris Martinelli at Calvin Klein helps me out with really fancy stuff, and Roberto Cavalli hooks me up if I need something snazzy with interesting detail, but for the most part I do a good job of putting together a look myself. A tux feels like a second skin at this point. I’m much more comfortable in a suit than a Speedo.
Essential Homme, November/December 2012 issue.