Do you got a First Aid kit handy? Because even though tabloids and bloggers may try to damage her rep, Aubrey O’Day’s gay fans always have her back. Now making her Broadway debut as Tracy Turnblad’s rival Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray, the 24-year-old Danity Kane diva gives us a Diddylicious preview of what’s to come.
By Brandon Voss
HX: Tell me about your connection with gay men.
Aubrey O’Day: Besides the fact that I was one in my previous life, all my best friends are gay men. Till I was about five years old, my first nanny and housekeeper was a black man with AIDS. I grew up with him, and he actually died in my house. From then on, I was very exposed to the gay community and to HIV and AIDS awareness, which spawned my charity, F.A.N., Fight AIDS Now, which targets youth AIDS internationally. I had a very liberal family; I’d say my parents have more gay friends than straight friends. But I’ve always been very accepting of any type of person. I have friends who are heavily religious and conservative, and I have drag queen sex show friends that go nuts.
Do you and your friend Kim Kardashian fight over who has the bigger gay following?
[Laughs] No, but I’m also very close to Jenna Jameson, who has a huge gay following as well. If it’s a competition, I better have the most gay fans, because those are the men I love the most!
But you won’t find a husband hanging out at Barracuda.
Well, I might find some more gay husbands — g-hubs. If I were looking for a guy, maybe straight clubs would be more interesting, but at this point in my life, guys are not worth dealing with. My g-hub is Jasen Kaplan, but I have tons of gay men in my life who are extremely fabulous. I’m doing Hairspray right now, and obviously there are many in the cast. There’s a guy in the show whose drag name is Milan, and he actually does Danity Kane. I went to see him the other night and he was amazing.
Did you really design your Heart On My Sleeve men’s line for gays?
Yep, it’s specifically for gay boys. I even got this gorgeous gay model to model for it online, because all the straight models were like, “I’m not wearing that.” You should check him out — he’s really hot.
Why do you think Danity Kane’s “Damaged” has blown up so big on the gay scene?
It’s a gay club anthem! Probably because we’ve all have our hearts damaged, but maybe straight guys aren’t willing to put it out there as much as gay boys.
Do you still feel damaged from your last big relationship?
Oh, totally. Everybody says, “Sleep with another person or date someone else and it’ll go away,” but I don’t think if you really loved that person that it goes away. You just get used to having that hiccup in your life.
How are you and Hairspray’s Amber alike?
Well, I’m an only child, so I’m a little bit of a spoiled brat. Amber’s very close-minded and used to what’s she been taught in the world she’s grown up in, so she’s still lovable in the sense that she just doesn’t know any better. I’ve been taught better, so I can’t like I’m like her in that regard. Sometimes it was very hard for me to be mean or to say some the things I had to say, because I would never think like that.
Perez Hilton expects you to hook up with co-star Ashley Parker Angel. What are the chances?
Ashley’s a great guy, and I’ve already hooked up with him — on stage, every night! So we kiss all the time.
What’s the biggest difference between performing on Broadway and as part of DK?
You lose a lot of the bullshit on Broadway. A lot of the entertainment industry is smoke and mirrors, and there’s so much ego and so many people who puppeteer you. Broadway is more free and accepting of who you really are. There are lot more flamboyant people who love life and just want to have a good time. They’re quicker to compliment you than judge you. I got a real sense of my talent and ability when I joined this cast. It was the first time that I wasn’t belittled, underestimated or misjudged. I’ve grown the most being on Broadway than I ever have in my other situation because people were on my team and willing to fight for me to the best I can be.
What can we expect from you in the new season of MTV’s Making the Band?
I’m always the one who’s the most outgoing and entertaining, so I do a lot of silly things — I take out some sailors during Fleet Week — and will probably be a lot of the comedic relief of the show. On the very first episode, Puff kicks me out of the group — or tries to — so that should be fun. We all saw him come after me last season, assuming I was like what the media was representing me as, and he did the same thing again. Someone can criticize you once, and you can have a conversation with them, but twice was enough for me to not to accept his judgments anymore. So I fought back. It becomes annoying when somebody disrespects your character.
On the new VH1 show I Want to Work For Diddy, a gay guy and a trans woman compete to be Puff’s assistant. Do they stand a chance?
I’m sure Diddy’s really cool with the gays. Obviously, if they’re on his show, he must not have a huge problem.
Which tabloid rumor has hurt you the most?
I love when people call me a drag queen, because I love drag queens, so that doesn’t hurt. Just the general misconception that I’m this one-dimensional party girl, but I’m an incredible philanthropist and a very determined woman. I look to Madonna as the closest thing to what I hope to embody in life. It’s unfortunate that you can’t be a sexual woman in society and not be seen as a big slut who’s fucking her boss and a million other people. I’m very comfortable with my sexuality and I love expressing it, but I will also make a great mother, I can cook, and a million other things. People get so caught up in, “Oh, she’s so slutty,” and it’s a constant aggravation because I’m not able to allow people to be affected by my greatest potential.
You cook? What’s your signature dish?
Probably Easy Mac!
Finally, which one item is always in your purse?
Sally Hansen leg bronzer, because you can never be too tan.
HX, August 2008; extended online version.