He Had Us Fooled: Travis Winfrey Talks Playing The Gay BFF But Loving Real-Life Single Ladies

July 12, 2012  |  

Travis Winfrey isn’t gay. He just pretends to be on TV.

He’s “Omar” the gay bff and coworker on VH1’s “Single Ladies”. The actor (and his incredible abs) are featured in Kontrol Magazine‘s “Hot Body Issue” this month.

When asked if he prefers a woman with tan lines or no tan lines, the self-professed t-shirt and jeans guy answered, “I love all women”.

So why would a heterosexual male play a homosexual one on TV?

He says he was auditioning for a straight character when he was offered the opportunity to play Omar and saw it as opportunity to prove himself as a diverse, well-rounded talent.

“It was an opportunity for me to play a gay character who is not playing a gay character…I don’t know if people assume I am gay but people know Omar is gay. They assume that I am not… it’s something I would have never done.

The magazine says Travis wanted to do his best at fitting the role of Omar but was reluctant to deliver the neck-rolling, finger-snapping gay male. He wanted to do his best at what he loves and welcomed the challenge to go against the grain. The Georgia native says, “We all come built with our own stereotypes and should take things lightheartedly.”

In the past he has said of Omar, “I wanted to make a very realistic, down-to-earth, wholesome character who just so happens to be gay.”

It’s not exactly rare for a straight man to play a gay one on TV or in movies. Some call it “Gay for Pay” and many actors have even gone on to win awards for their performances. Eric McCormack is probably the most famous straight actor to play a gay character on a TV show. He was “Will” on Will and Grace.

There aren’t too many straight male black actors known to play homosexual characters though. In 1993, Will Smith played a gay con artist in Six Degrees of Separation, but reportedly refused to kiss a man at that point in his career. AfterElton.com says he was advised against it by Denzel Washington and so the directors had to use mirrors and trick camera angles to make it appear as if Smith’s character locks lips with another man. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also played a a gay, country western-singing bodyguard in “Be Cool”

What do you think of Travis? Did you know he was straight?

Follow Alissa Henry on Twitter @AlissaInPink

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