Billy Porter’s major fashion moment has been a long time coming.
Those were his thoughts as FN interviewed him on the red carpet at the FN Achievement Awards Tuesday night at the iconic IAC Building in Manhattan.
“I have frolicked around in frocks from the time I can remember. People have always talked about my fashion; people have always talked s**t about me because of my fashion. Because I never cared,” Porter explained. “What’s happening right now — it’s not an accident. My friends actually had to remind me of that. They said, ‘This is an extension of what you’ve always done. You now just have a budget and designers who want to do it for you.’ “
The Emmy Award winner famously wore a custom-made Christian Siriano tuxedo gown on the red carpet at the 2019 Academy Awards. He has developed a reputation since then as an androgynous style star.
The “Pose” actor, 50, said the moment arrived because “I know what I want to do.”
“I know it’s never been done before,” he said. “What I’m trying to do reaches and extends beyond what has been done before. And we live in this social media culture where people think their opinion matters.
“For me, it was about ‘How do I be gracious about that … and not cuss bitches out,” he added. “How am I going to remain graceful and classy with what I know is going to come at me. … For me, it was like, I’m going to wear a gown and these bitches are going to come for me. And I’m going to have to come for them.”
Porter also discussed his first time walking in heels, calling the experience “powerful.”
“As a black gay man, my masculinity has been in question from the time that I could walk. And the worse thing you can do as a black gay man in America is appear feminine, aka put on some heels. From the minute I was able to do that freely, I felt the most grounded, the most powerful, the most masculine I have felt in my life,” he said.
Porter will be ushering Sandra Choi, Jimmy Choo creative director, into FN’s illustrious Hall of Fame, alongside retailer Jeffrey Kalinsky and brand titan Steve Madden. Choi has for decades been the talent behind the buzzy Jimmy Choo label, which continues to churn out hit shoe after hit shoe.
“Lately, I’ve said to myself, ‘You are so lucky. You are doing a job you love.’ I get to see a shoe go from an idea to something that is real — and then see people walking around the streets in it,” Choi told FN.
Aside from Choi, winners tonight include Person of the Year Kerby Jean-Raymond, Style Influencer of the Year J. Balvin and Designer of the Year Amina Muaddi. See the full list of winners for the 2019 FNAAs here.
The 33rd annual FNAA ceremony is sponsored by Klarna, Geox, The Style Room Powered by Zappos, FDRA, Micam Milano and Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky.
Billy Porter Wears a Dramatic Thom Browne Look With Two-Tone Wingtips at the AMAs