“Call Me Maybe” Video Actor Holden Nowell Says He Wasn’t Comfortable With His Character’s Gay Storyline
Ever since the debut of her smash-hit single “Call Me Maybe” back in 2012, Carly Rae Jepsen has become one of the LGBTQ community’s heroes. The success of the song has much to do with its now-viral video (with over 1 billion views on YouTube), which features actor Holden Nowell as Jepsen’s crush, who ultimately turns out to be gay.
But in a new interview with iHeartRadio Canada, Nowell said that he still gets recognized as the guy from the “Call Me Maybe” video, and he’s tired of it. “I was always the ‘Call Me Maybe’ guy, everywhere I went, and after awhile I got really sick of hearing that,” he said. “It was really difficult for me and really frustrating.”
One particular aspect of the music video that frustrated Nowell was the fact that he was apparently asked to kiss another man at the end of the music video (a moment that didn’t appear in the final cut). “The fact that they had to make me gay at the end of the video…it was all very…I didn’t like being known as the gay guy in the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video. It was just something I wasn’t used to,” the actor said. “I’m not going to kiss a guy, especially for $500.”
Nowell went on to say that he believes that LGBTQ people should be allowed to love freely, but he wasn’t, and still isn’t, comfortable being asked to play a gay character. “I think people should be allowed to love who they want to love, but I love women,” he said. “There’s no amount of money, no amount of fame that could ever make me…I couldn’t do something that didn’t feel right in my soul.”
Before getting cast in Jepsen’s video, Nowell worked as a model in New York. But the actor said that he felt even more uneasy with the “predatory” behavior of individuals within the industry. “They pimp you out. You’re basically a Geisha girl,” he said. “‘Gay for pay’ is literally what runs the male modeling industry and I don’t get down like that.”
Since shooting “Call Me Maybe,” Nowell has started his career as a rap, under the stage name SixXx’Tre. His new album Fade II Black dropped earlier this week, an album that he says “is going to be the most groundbreaking iconic hip hop album since probably The Marshall Mathers LP.”
This article originally appeared on Billboard.