Johnny Weir Talks to Movieline About Skating Politics, Lady Gaga and Life After the Olympics
As an Olympic athlete, you obviously get certain advantages that other levels of athletes don't get but now that you're becoming a celebrity too, what added perks are you now discovering?
Oh, absolutely. I'm getting so much more support from not just the fans of figure skating but celebrities and people in the celebrity world have been amazing. I mean, I just sat today with Joy Behar and [member of the Real Housewives of New York City cast] Jill Zarin and Kelly Ripa and Regis Philbin. They all know who I am, they all support me. They all say, "Johnny, you were robbed!", and that is an amazing thing. I'm going out to the Independent Spirit Awards this week -- as well as the Oscars -- and Rachel Zoe is going to help dress me. I'm getting all kinds of crazy things and perks.
Most winter Olympic athletes disappear after a few weeks of press following the games. You have your show on the Sundance Channel and I know that you are contemplating fashion design. How else do you plan to build the Johnny Weir empire?
I definitely want to keep skating and performing, and that is something that I'll never want to give up because I love it so much. If I want to compete, and I have the power and the strength, I will keep on competing. I'm definitely not ruling that out. But I want to further my education, and I've love to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and learn the basics of fashion and design. I'd like to really build my business and really conquer the world of fashion.
[Olympic gold-medalist skier] Lindsey Vonn just announced that she will guest-star on an episode of Law & Order. Would you consider acting?
I feel like it is very clichéd for Olympic athletes to go into acting because they think they can, but I legitimately think that I could act if the right part came along. I have had some offers and it's just something that if I feel is right, I will do. But I don't think I have any distinct future in acting. I'd like to try it once or twice but in general, I think fashion is the way for me to go.
From watching your show, I know that you have a tight inner circle -- with your mom, your coach, your publicist, your friends -- and they are all giving you different advice and feedback. How do you deal with all of these different voices around you?
I like to consider myself a somewhat clever person so I definitely know what will work best for me and what is the smartest decision for me. Even if not everyone agrees, I like to have opinions from my team but in the end, everything is decided by me. I am very good at micromanaging and every part of my life is decided by me. I've never wanted to be in a situation where someone else is in control of my destiny.
I read in your Vanity Fair article that you are friends with Lady Gaga. What did she have to say about your performance at the Olympics?
Well, I keep in touch mostly with her mom through my agent because Gaga is so busy and I'm so busy. It's very hard to keep in touch all the time but I was getting messages of good luck and love and support. You know, I respect and am so inspired by what she does. She has, of course, seen me skate and loves what she sees. She loves when I skate to "Poker Face" and things like that. One thing that I was really disappointed with was that I told Gaga that if I did well at the Olympics, I would be able to perform at the exhibition and I would perform to one of her songs.
She said, "Oh my god, I would definitely fly out to the Olympics and I will cry if you skate to my song in the exhibition." So I was really disappointed that I didn't get to do that but again, it's really political. I was in sixth place; you need to be in the top five to skate exhibition. They needed to have a Canadian in the exhibition, so the Canadian was bumped ahead of me. That is stuff that I cannot control. But Lady Gaga is a huge inspiration to me, and her support means so much.
It wasn't ideal or even fair, but you will continue to be a great example of perseverance for your fans.
Well, I'm at the point in my career where I do really take the ice every time I perform for my fans. The support that they have given me over the years has kept me skating, kept me inspired and pushed me to be the best that I can be for them and for everybody that is right there with me when I compete.