I read most of the Boys By Girls interview today, and I say most because the right half of the last page was almost entirely cut off. I will be analyzing that, but not until I can actually read the whole thing.
The main thing, it’s almost exclusively about gender, and probably the closest we are going to get to CS coming out as genderfluid and sexually fluid for the foreseeable future.
Much of the article delves into how being in the industry and playing Cody really fucked with CS’ views on himself and where he falls into masculinity. And it reminded me of an interview he and Dylan did on Live with Regis and Kelly back in 2005, right before Suite Life aired.
2:53 - CS looks like he wants to say something. Dylan kind of took point, but CS really wants to say something, and he seems super nervous about it. He’s rubbing his hands together, biting his lip and looking down a lot.
3:05 - After he let Dylan talk for a few seconds, he just couldn’t hold it in anymore “I dress in drag” he practically explodes. And he looks so proud of himself once he says it. It’s clearly something REALLY important to him.
3:10 - Kelly looks shocked and slightly horrified and CS responds loudly with “Yeah!” which is the kid equivalent to “shut the hell up with your views on who I should be”
CS keeps talking “it was quite…” and Dylan cuts him off by saying “it was quite funny” CS clearly did not find humor in it at all, but Dylan seems pretty protective and knows whatever CS is going to say will get him in a lot of trouble. He says it anyway.
3:11 - Over Dylan trying to make it a joke you can hear CS say “It was quite _____ wearing high heels”
3:16 - Then Kelly decides that now is a great time to teach a boy who is questioning his gender and sexuality that it’s wrong to dress in drag as you get older. CS responds with “well, at least it’s in Hollywood.” This kid is 11 and not only already understands that breaking gender norms is a problem, but also doesn’t seem to care.
3:17 - Dylan glares at him. I think at the time, since CS was much more in tune with who he was, Dylan played the big brother role, making sure CS didn’t say anything that would get him in trouble. And it’s sad, over the next few years, CS completely lost himself and started playing into the masculine identity that was being pushed on him. Including the power play part, which is why, when I went to their signing for R.O.N.I.N 47, CS did a douche nod and said “whatever” when I complimented him on Suite Life.
3:22 - Kelly says drag almost ruined someone’s career she knows (I couldn’t hear the name) and CS just looks down dejected and sighs
3:23 - Dylan got the memo, joking about this isn’t working, so he says “well, we work in Hollywood, so I guess we can pull that off, can’t we?” And CS just beams at him.
CS knew who he was AT ELEVEN. And then Disney, being what is was back then, shoved him so far into the closet that he forgot he was there in the first place.
I’d really love to hear him talk about Andi Mack. How he feels watching Joshua Rush get to do what he never could.
Since he got into photography, CS has also found different ways to involve himself in the queer community without screaming his own identities from the rooftop, I mean, as Kelly said, those who do drag lose their jobs.
Most of his models are queer.
We have Dagsen
- Interview with verygoodlight.com
- Interview with afterellen.com
Just to name a few.
He also has many gender neutral/ feminine articles of clothing. Some he’s used only in shoots while others he wears in his daily life. I am absolute crap at finding clothing matches, but these are the three I did find.
In his Last Magazine shoot last year, he wore sailor pants, which he has worn on many other occasions both as a model and just on set. I couldn’t find the exact match, but
His, at least from this shoot, seem to have a bit harder fabric, but this very well may be the brand he owns himself as seen in the frozen gif on the right
We also have the Beer sweater from the same shoot. Here, just in general, he looks really feminine.
And then we have the Dutch army jacket, which, while unisex, the merchant specifically says can be worn as a dress if you are short enough.
Finally, since Suite Life, he recently brought up doing drag again at the Paleyfest Panel back in April
10:45 - The question, which is pretty fantastic, I might add, is “Is there a character besides Jughead that you identify more personally than your own”
10:51 - You hear Madchen “whisper” Alice Cooper, which, isn’t the BIGGEST compliment on the planet, though she does care, no matter how poorly she shows it.
(There is so much more here than I am going to talk about, like that Mads says “I thought you were going to say, Mrs. Grundy,” solidifying yet again that he’s with KJ, but we’ll get to this video in another analysis)
12:04 - I don’t know WHY Madchen decided this is the moment to talk about CS doing drag, but she literally has been thinking about it for at least a minute. “What he’s not admitting is, I find CS dressing in Alice Cooper clothes all the time, it’s okay”
12:13 - And yes, CS’ response of “what I’m not admitting is that I know that you’re there” is obviously a joke, but given how everyone, including Madchen, loses it with that one, it doesn’t seem like the first part was, not to mention everything I’ve talked about in this post up to this point
At the Comic-Con 2017 Entertainment Bash red carpet, CS says at 0:47 “I’m trying to watch my girlish figure.” As these add up, and certainly after reading the Boys by Girls interview, this isn’t something he says as a joke.
At a party at Dillon Moore, his best friend since childhood’s house, he is seen wearing stripper/ drag heels.
These videos were on accounts of people who aren’t famous, so it’s not like they were meant for fans to laugh at. He tried on heels, he couldn’t walk in them, they were too tall, that was the funny part. Not that he was wearing them at all.
Femininity is a big part of who he is. And the more people seem to act like it’s a joke, the more he seems brazen enough to tackle the subject head-on.
I can’t wait to share my analysis of the Boys By Girls interview with you.
The moment you’ve all been waiting for is finally here.
I present to you, the analysis of CS’ Boys By Girls interview:
I said in my analysis of the Vanity Fair photography video that CS BARELY talks about his family and childhood. Here is another glimpse into that.
I will not go into detail, partially cause I don’t know the details and partially cause he doesn’t talk about it for a reason, but “we were living with our single mother at the time, who didn’t have a great personal source of income” doesn’t lead me to believe their birth mom is a fantastic person. If you are struggling and your children are 16, get a job at Target, for example, that’s very different story than making your 8-month-old twins make enough money to put food on the table.
I know CS will NEVER talk about it, but to me it sounds as if he and Dylan were almost sold into the industry.
I want to talk about two word choices specifically, “scheme,” and “pleasing”
For years we operated on this scheme
In the dictionary, the definition of “scheme” reads “a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect.” a scheme, in the sense that, he’s talking about is a strategy. As a young child, the idea of needing a strategy to get through your own life is heartbreaking.
As he says, it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t a passion, and I think it’s really important to remember how close to now this goes. Friends, Big Daddy, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, every commercial AND both Suite Life shows operated under this scheme. After a while putting food on the table wasn’t the issue, but by the time Zack and Cody ended, it was just ingrained in them, so On Deck was a brainwashed decision of sorts.
The second word is pleasing, and that’s mostly because of the last place I read it.
Here, it reads
Now, with the success of the show - it’s pleasing, because it’s very much my own agency now, and I’ve had the opportunity to feel accomplished on my own accord
In EW it reads
But, truthfully, it’s very pleasing that people talk about [LR] and I in that way because it means that we’re resonating so strongly from our character perspective that people really want that to be true.
I’m starting to get the feeling that pleasing doesn’t have an entirely positive connotation.
We’ve heard from CS in his Glamour interview that the fan’s obsession with Lice makes them think like they write the show, and that creates a tension he doesn’t appreciate. In both these quotes, he’s talking about a double-edged sword. On one hand, people are resonating with his acting and his take on Jughead and fueling his passion. But on the other hand, these fans are taking it way too far and making doing his job and undue challenge. I’m going to keep a close eye on the way CS uses “pleasing” from now on.
Okay, I take that back, “sold into the public eye,” CS does outrightly say it was slavery. And, good for him. People have this false perception that child actors make a choice, and, for the most part, they don’t have a voice in the discussion at all. There are very few child actors that are in it for the passion, which is why, for most, they do something drastically different and oftentimes dangerous to voice who they are, even to find out who they are in the first place.
All child actors play immature characters, that’s what being a child is, but no matter how mature CS started to become, his roles were typecast because of his age.
Demi Lovato talked about this in her documentary. Just to be a normal teenager, she felt she had to party that much harder to offset the good naive girl she played on TV.
As CS mentions, I think a big part of why he and Dylan stayed so much more stable than their generation of peers is exclusively because they had each other.
Since the parents are the ones that put their children in this kind of slavery, they are also the ones brainwashing these children. They have to be better than each other, no one is their friend, and their parents are playing manager, but since Dylan and CS are family, they could lean on each other. They both knew what the other’s contract looks like. There were no secrets, so they didn’t have to bottle it up and find an outlet in a substance. There isn’t much to that but luck. Things would have probably been a lot worse had they not had each other.
You lack the wisdom that comes with age, and because you’re given this position of power whilst being so much younger, there lies the ability to slip into an arrogance and hubris that, made me, when I was younger, become quite a little dickhead.
CS and Dylan both cite Asia Argento as making them the men they are today, so I’m going out on a limb and saying that this started AFTER “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.”
About a week ago, I analyzed their interview on Live with Regis and Kelly. I talked about how completely self-aware CS was at the time and how throughout the course of that one interview, Kelly Ripa managed to alienate CS and acted as if something was wrong with him. And it was all because of drag. In one of the first few episodes of Suite Life of Zack and Cody, CS does drag, and he was so excited to talk about it, and Ripa expertly shut him down making it crystal clear that someone who does drag, not as a joke, doesn’t get jobs.
And though this is the only interview I’ve watched from that period, I’m sure Ripa wasn’t the only host to say this, and slowly, this super self-aware 11-year-old boy wasn’t so self-aware anymore. He lacked “the understanding that comes with age” to know that being yourself is okay and to know that when something doesn’t sit right, you get out. The money spoke, the power spoke, and, because no one taught him otherwise, he chose celebrity over self-identity. Once you lose your identity, you follow the pack, the pack of asshole, whiney, bitchy child stars who think they can get everything they think they want.
Actually, there is an episode of Zack and Cody where Zack gets a new friend who is really rich and Zack chooses the money over his own brother. The difference between that and real life? His mom was on Cody’s side and Cody was self-aware enough to know that connection speaks louder than money. Without that role model, of course, CS and Dylan became jackasses.
The most incredible thing though, even after that loss of self-identity, they still chose college. There was some piece left that kept them grounded enough to know they had to get out. Maybe it was that they had each other, maybe it was moving in with their dad, who knows. I’m just really glad it was still there. We need these boys to have voices, cause they are loud and powerful ones.
So they aren’t acting for money, which, says a lot about how they function within the adult world. They are living fully within the means, and probably on the lower end of that. This also means that when CS brings up the budget in Riverdale interviews, he’s not worried about his own.
Second thing is that this is now a passion. He’s not in it for the money, he’s in it for the love, which makes fans’ terrifying obsession all that more painful. And it also brings up the topic of PR stunts, cause, guess what, “to be a working actor often means not being in full control of the narratives you fit into” isn’t just him talking about the character in the script, but also the character he has to play in public. This is a direct statement that he is involved in some sort of PR something.
People often ask me why CS would do this if it meant being part of a PR stunt, and I usually roll my eyes, cause trying to explain how and why the industry works the way it does is futile, but I’m going to address it here because CS does.
As an actor you are always given two roles: the role you play on screen and the role you play in public life, and both of these are roles. One is scripted, the other is like a reality television series. To accept a job as a working actor, you are accepting both roles. This does not make him a bad person. This does not mean he had a choice in the matter. It’s like to be a neurosurgeon, let’s say, you have to move to Nebraska. Does that mean you love Nebraska (sorry for anyone living in Nebraska, it’s just the first state that came to mind), no, you might hate it, but your love of being a neurosurgeon wins out over your hatred of Nebraska?
It’s the same thing here. CS has accepted the cost of being in a PR relationship with LR so that he can pursue one of his passions. That, by no means, means he respects or appreciates the PR aspect, but he couldn’t pursue this passion any other way, so it’s a sacrifice he’s forced to make.
The interesting thing is what he says next:
Although, it’s different for me now because I’ve gone through college and backed up my understanding of acting and entertainment with a wide dialogue of other disciplines, I can approach this form now, through a much different lens.
I touched on this in my Roundtable analysis of last year’s ComicCon, but I’ll touch on it again, here.
The PR stunts and all that entails aren’t as much of a challenge because he can look at it differently. It’s not a PR stunt, it’s an anthropological experiment. It’s not just a photo LR posts, but an experiment into how a group of people with a similar interest react to an increased release of endorphins.
Most simply, it’s another social experiment. By using the tools he learned at school, from photography classes to anthropology classes, he’s able to shift the focus from pain and dread to a sort of fascination. This is not a skill KJ possesses, so while CS has come to terms with his own fate, as it were, he’s also carrying the burden of how KJ views this, through the same lens CS grew up with.
The next paragraph is really interesting. CS states “the industry has changed dramatically during the five years that I was away, so to think that I can bring any realm of experience to this brand new game…” So, what’s changed? It’s not casting, acting, directing, those are all timeless. It’s social media. And as CS says, “it’s a brand new game.” One that, he seems to be admitting, he doesn’t quite understand the rules to yet. That’s right. CS doesn’t think he understands, fundamentally, how social media works. Reading this puts his posts in a bit of a perspective. I’m honestly really excited to see what he continues to discover about this “new game,” I think a lot of us can learn from whatever it is.
The list wasn’t supposed to be this long but halfway through I kept finding lost interviews that I hadn’t seen in years and interviews/documentaries I’d never seen before? So why not make a “complete” list to share with you all.
@taylorswift TAYYYY do you remember Lauren Alaina??? You met her backstage when you were on Live with Regis & Kelly together a long time ago and you sent her flowers after she came in 2nd place on American Idol!!!❤️
Eeek love you so much for uploading so many Blake's performances and vids😍. Can you upload recent and Grammy ones too? Thank you!
Pleasure! As I’ve said, me only becoming a fan last year has totally limited the amount of videos I have access to, so… Having said that, there’s PLENTY on my site to download currently. Search away, check tags, or literally just through the lists per era. https://shefani-archive.info/performances
If you can’t be bothered, here’s a list of all Blake performances I’ve uploaded thus far. And all that I have, frankly… I need to still upload Every Time I Hear Tha Song from The Voice, and upgrade his SNL performances but then I’m all out, and it’s time to go over into cataloguing and uploading interviews, lol.