Some of the most influential people in the LGBTQ community showed up to celebrate this year's OUT100 honoree.
NOVEMBER 16 2018 3:30 PM
The New Power of New York List 2018
MATTEO PRANDONI/BFA/REX/SHUTTERS/AMY SUSSMAN/VARIETY/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
october 29 2018
In New York City, power is not just about corner offices or penthouse views overlooking the Hudson River. Money still talks, but it’s more important to show what you’re doing with your influence — and your Instagram followers. The old boys’ club has expired. New York in the 21st century is increasingly made up of diverse, innovative and creative voices pushing for everything from gender parity to LGBTQ rights. It’s a social revolution that’s often at odds with the current administration in the White House.
That’s where Variety’s annual New Power of New York List comes in. We’ve searched from the Bronx to Brooklyn Heights (with a short stop on Broadway) to find the 50 movers and shakers who are changing the face of the five boroughs and beyond. These activists, artists, storytellers and tastemakers represent who really matters in 2018.
New clothing line for local out entertainer
A.D. Amorosi November 29 2016
Christian de Medici is a funny guy -- not one you'd necessarily connect to Christmas, Hanukkah or the holy holidays, per se, but certainly a sparkly gent always up for a celebration with glitter, tinsel, gold metal and such. So there he was then, in his glory on Nov. 21 – the evening of the Shampoo nightclub reunion in Kensington – as he re-introduced the world/city/block/building to the work of his youthful self, the fashion designer self, with the runway debut of XES (M/W SS 2016) by Xtian de Medici. The launch of his luxury brand by the House of Medici, featuring the XES collection and XESsories by Exotic Hands & Feet for Xtian de Medici, tore down the house with its leather kink, sex-soldier gild and silver-surfer sleekness. If Xena the Warrior Princess joined Daft Punk, that – perhaps – could give you an idea of what de Medici the designer was looking to accomplish: a look perfect for drag doyens and strippers, real or imagined.
(The show can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ziq8dDQRS44).
"I may have gone off and became a famous porn star, but I still designed clothing for celebrity entertainers, underground drag performers on the club kid scene and fellow porn stars," he said. Though de Medici always designed something, to the world at large, he's been Gunner: a gay model, pornographic actor, director and web entrepreneur-designer whose GunnerWorld site was synonymous with raw, LGBT reality-based sexuality. His Hole and a Heartbeat site did the same for the straight world, gangbanging tattooed love boys and metal-industrial music.
"As a producer and actor, it was my job to create and portray a fantasy to my audience by setting a specific tone," de Medici said after the Shampoo fashion show. "Through clothing, costuming and acting, I incorporated the tangible and more elusive elements of glamor. I’ve always had a respect for myself, my actors and for my audience and that was something that served me - and the industry - well."
His film lineage gave de Medici the edge that he needed to, in his words, "gracefully blur the lines" between reality and fantasy, much in the same way he claims to be doing in his new career as a designer. Fashion is just another medium to portray his vision. "If you check out the XES Collection I’ve just created, I think it’s evident that I’m really paying homage to my roots by sharing it."
GunnerWorld.com and Holeandaheartbeat.com brought him fame and fortune, but he sold both companies because he wasn't satisfied building, designing and marketing adult websites. His first dream of becoming a designer, full on this time, became his obsession. So he re-branded himself with his birth name, used the connections he made in the web, porn and drag-dressing industries and made an "X" as a part of his name to "always remind me and my fans out there that I will never forget where I came from. Besides, it seemed a natural progression from porn producer to designer. I mean, aren't they both dream weavers?"
Speaking of weaving, the materials de Medici uses for both XES collections (men and women) and XESsories by Exotic Hands & Feet for Xtian de Medici are both ultra-conventional and non-conventional; he collaborated with a local jewelry designer, Kylie of Exotic Hands & Feet for XESsories, to integrate both delicate bead work and a more industrial component of heavier chains. "I cast my own molds, sculpt, paint and fabricate many pieces by combining textiles with art," he said. "By adding leather, chain, plastics and all that glimmers, I make clothing that appeals to a fast-growing market: a market of individuals that are marketing themselves … and I’m no stranger to that."
Strippers, porn stars and drag queens are people who transform and revamp their look to reflect a grander image of themselves, or anything they want to be – that's de Medici's world, where he lives and to whom he relates. That's why he uses a second tag for his clothing that actually does reveal a certain spirituality – even if it is a bit self-deigning or deifying. "It's 'for gods, by gods.' We all have a higher power within us, regardless of where we’re from or what we do. Some people just have the desire to show it outwardly."
With that, de Medici laughed that "Gunner is now Gunner 2.0," and that he is a summary of all of his "xperiences" and achievements, utilizing the success of his porn career and weaving it into his brand new brand. "Working in the porn industry as a producer and a porn star for 15 years exposed me to all the perks and gave me unique insight into the world of stardom," he said. "Why not keep going?"