Even for just a few minutes, speaking with Billy Porter gives you the kind of energy boost typically reserved for a double-shot latte or late-night pep talk with friends. The Emmy Award-winning actor and all-around creative brings his infectious enthusiasm to everything he touches. From his work on Pose to an upcoming directorial debut, What If?, to his role in the highly-anticipated adaptation of Cinderella—in which Porter plays a gender-neutral version of the Fairy Godmother—the actor is pure magic on and off-screen.
This enthusiasm extends to self-care, too. With all of Porter's recent projects, the actor is booked and busy, but he still makes time for some essential self-care in the form of decluttering, journaling, and meditation. In fact, just in time for some spring cleaning, Porter is partnering with Clorox Scentiva wipes for their joint #YASCLEAN campaign to turn clean-up time into an act of joy.
Here, Byrdie catches up with Porter about how he stays grounded, the transformative power of a clean space, and a sneak peek at his upcoming projects.
I know that I definitely feel way less anxious and more relaxed when my spaces in order. I'd love to know how else do you like to practice self-care alongside cleaning?
Well, the cleaning is first, you know. It declutters my mind as well as my space. I meditate, I yoga a bit. And I journal a lot, I gratitude journal. Those things have really sort of helped me ground myself.
A very inside-out approach. Everyone is so excited about the upcoming season of Pose, too. Considering the incredible looks and hair and makeup artists who work on the show, I'm curious if there are any tips you've picked up on-set?
Well, (LAUGHS) the great thing about working in film and television is that people are there to do that stuff for you! (LAUGHS) So, you know, I can't say that I've personally picked up tips, although I have learned how to highlight and shadow my cheekbones. I've learned how to pull those out a little bit more in a subtle way. But I must say, going back to Pose post-pandemic, with all of the COVID protocols in place, Clorox Scentiva disinfecting wipes came in handy. That was a part of the process, making sure that everything was disinfected at all times. And I really use the product a lot in my trailer and in my space. You know, I carry around my little my little Scentiva wipes and made sure my stuff was clean, honey! Every surface!
I know what soon you'll be behind the camera for the first time on your directorial debut, What If? What are you most looking forward to about that?
Being the head bitch in charge! Being able to, as a person of a certain age—I'm 51 years old—a 51-year-old Black queer man. When I got into the business, there was no representation for me. What If? follows a Black trans girl, a high school girl centered at the heart of the story. To be given the gift to usher in these kinds of stories to the market for a new generation is a blessing that I don't even have the words to describe. I feel so lucky and so blessed to be in this position.
That's gonna mean a lot to so many people, like you said, to see themselves on screen and then see themselves in the credits, too.
Yes, yes, absolutely! Centering queer stories with actual queer people. Imagine! (LAUGH)
Speaking of which, I know that the upcoming Cinderella is sort of similar in that way in that your Fairy Godmother depiction is going to be genderless. What can you kind of tell me about what that filming process was like?
Well, that filming process was a joy! Because it was about a month before COVID! So it was like, you know, before we had to run around with our Clorox Scentiva wipes in our bags! (LAUGHS) It was the old world! I had a wonderful time in London shooting it. You know, I'm the Fairy Godmother, AKA the Fab G. It's a Cinderella for the new ages for the new generation. It's very inclusive, it's very diverse. And you know, my own personal tagline is that magic has no gender. So that's how I'm bringing it.
Tell me about this Clorox collaboration, I love thinking of cleaning as a form of self-care.
I'm partnering with Clorox Scentiva to help folks reimagine their clean routine as not a means of doing your chores, but a means of self-care. Right? When you can restructure in your brain what that is, then it becomes about you caring for yourself.