Rylan Clarke-Neal made history this year when he became one half of the first same-sex couple to present This Morning. What’s more, he has built a career as a highly visible, openly gay man, which is still no easy thing to do.
His success made him a natural choice for our TV Personality of the Year award at last week’s Attitude Awards. However, our favourite Essex boy told us that it hasn’t always been an easy road, and that he still gets his fair share of negativity – much of it from the gay community itself.
“They tweet you and say: ‘You’re an embarrassment to gays,’ he told us. “But my attitude is that I’m successful at my job, I’m good at it, I’m married, I don’t plaster my relationship all over the press and I’ve never had a problem with being openly gay and standing up for gay rights.
“Yet those guys still think I’m an embarrassment. Unless you’re a straight-acting, short-haired, beefcake gay guy in the public eye, you can’t please them.”
Despite the criticism he faces, Rylan has spent the past several years slowly shifting the public’s perception of him; from finding fame on X Factor, to winning Celebrity Big Brother, to becoming a wildly successful TV presenter. Now, Rylan hopes people will take more notice of his achievements.
“I was a character on X Factor and I was playing a character. It was an acting role in a weird way. Now I hope people say: ‘Oh, he’s alright, he’s a decent bloke, he does a good job, works hard and doesn’t take himself too seriously’.”
Read about all the winners from the Attitude Awards 2016, presented in association with Virgin Holidays, in our special November issue, which comes with six different covers featuring some of the night’s biggest winners.
It’s available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude and available in shops from Wednesday (October 12). You can order the cover of your choice from 10am on Tuesday (October 11) at newsstand.co.uk.