Actor Brian J. Smith has come out as gay. In a heartfelt interview for the cover of this month's Attitude Magazine (via PEOPLE), the former Sense8 star spoke frankly about the challenges he faced growing up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, knowing he was gay. For Smith, it wasn't just about knowing who he was, but the anxiety of hiding it from everyone around him
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Star of #Sense8, #WorldOnFire and #Treadstone @smithespis opens up about sexuality, self-acceptance and finding personal freedom on stage as he leads Attitude’s brand new December issue, out now 🌈✨ . Photography: @harolbaezstudio Interview: @cliffjoannou Fashion: @josephkocharian Grooming: @melissa.dezarate Brian wears top by @dsquared2 Location: @thepierreny #brianjsmith #attitude #lgbt #sense8 #worldonfire #treadstone #gay #queer #bbc #netflix #december
"I was terrified. At school I really couldn't fit in anywhere," Smith confessed. "I wasn't a jock or a nerd. Forget about any [LGBTQ+] union or groups. There was absolutely nothing. I was completely alone. I heard all the names: p----, f-----. I could never be who I was. I was constantly having to check myself and make sure I wasn't looking at someone too long or making someone feel uncomfortable."
It wasn't until Smith discovered acting that he found an outlet for his frustration. While he wasn't able to be himself, pretending to be another person entirely provided some solace.
"In front of an audience, I disappeared and became someone else. I had 600 students at school, all of whom probably thought I was an absolute idiot, a nerd. [But] on stage, they paid attention to me, and they saw that I had something. And that's when I didn't feel alone."
Attitude Magazine also took to Instagram to reveal the cover of the December issue, as well as an excerpt from Smith's interview where he reveals, "The things that move me as an actor are those echoes that come up."
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“I had to be very, very careful about telling people the truth about myself. It still reverberates. A lot of my work is about that. The things that move me as an actor are those echoes that come up.” 🏳️🌈 . @sense8, @worldonfiretv and @treadstone star @smithespis shares his journey from closeted small-town boy to TV action hero exclusively in Attitude’s December issue. Hit the link in bio now. 🔥 . Photography: @harolbaezstudio Interview: @cliffjoannou Fashion: @josephkocharian Grooming: @melissa.dezarate Brian wears top by @dsquared2 Location: @thepierreny #brianjsmith #attitude #lgbt #sense8 #worldonfire #treadstone #gay #queer #bbc #netflix #december
After acting for roughly a decade, Smith landed the breakout role of pansexual Will Gorski on Netflix's Sense8 in 2015. A compelling and original sci-fi mystery, the series was widely praised for its diverse cast of characters and global appeal. It was canceled by Netflix after two seasons back in 2017 but returned for a farewell film the following summer.
Since then, Smith has gone on to co-star Doug McKenna in the Jason Bourne spinoff series Treadstone. The action-heavy espionage thriller was ordered straight to series by USA Network back in 2018 -- before a pilot had even been produced by the network. You can catch new episodes of Treadstone every Tuesday night.
The December issue of Attitude Magazine is available for purchase now.