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Billy Porter is Allure's first male cover star

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Billy Porter is Allure's first male cover star
Billy Porter appears on the February cover of Allure and discusses fashion and masculinity in the interview. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Actor and singer Billy Porter has made history as Allure magazine's first male cover star.

Porter, 50, appears on the February cover of Allure, which shows him wearing a magenta jacket, jeweled brooch and colorful geometric cutouts surrounding his eyes.

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In the interview, Porter discussed fashion and masculinity. Porter, who wore an all-white outfit with a long, feathered train to the Golden Globes this week, said he's always found fashion a form of self-expression.

"I always wanted to do something different. I always wanted to express myself in clothes differently. And I always had great taste. And expensive taste," Porter recalled.

"When I was 10, I could walk into a store for my Easter suit and scan the suits, and it would inevitably be the most expensive suit in the store," he said.

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Porter's other memorable looks include the tuxedo gown he wore to the 2019 Oscars and the gold catsuit and wings he sported at the 2019 Met Gala. Although many celebrate his gender-bending style now, Porter said he was "silenced" by societal constructs of masculinity for years.

"The hetero normative construct that masculinity is better silenced me for many years. It was like my masculinity was in question before I could even comprehend the thought," the actor said.

"I was sent to a psychologist at five years old because I was a sissy and my family was afraid," he added. "I love them. They didn't know. It was a different time."

Expectations of masculinity extended to Porter's larger-than-life personality, and the actor said criticism of "flamboyance" was long a "silencing mechanism" for him.

"Flamboyant was a word that was used to marginalize me and pigeonhole me and keep me in a box. You get in the room, you give them flamboyant, and then they come back to you with, 'He's too flamboyant,'" he said.

Porter told WWD in December that he doesn't consider himself a fashion icon. He said he's "a very story-oriented person" who wants to be "a walking piece of art" on the red carpet.

"We as artists have the power to change the molecular structure inside of people and change their hearts and minds," the star said. "Fashion is art and fashion can make that change, and I always knew it. I always felt it, but this year has really solidified that for me."

Porter plays Pray Tell on the FX series Pose, which is nominated at the GLAAD Media Awards. The series co-stars Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson and Indya Moore, and was renewed for a third season in June.

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