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Wilson Cruz Thinks My So-Called Life’s Rickie Vasquez Would Have Become a Reality Superstar

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: Wilson Cruz attends the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards In New York on May 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for GLAAD)
Wilson Cruz. Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty Images

It’s been nearly 20 years since the beloved ’90s one-season TV wonder My So-Called Life first aired and introduced us to gay high-schooler Rickie Vasquez, the loyal friend of Claire Danes’s angsty Angela Chase. Vulture caught up with Wilson Cruz, who played the sensitive aesthete, at the GLAAD Media Awards at the Waldorf Astoria on Saturday night to ask him what a 35-year-old Rickie might be up to now. “I think that Rickie would be a fashion designer living in New York City,” said Cruz. “He probably would have been a contestant on Project Runway and become a reality superstar. And he’s so good-looking!”

The character was groundbreaking, not just because he was a gay Latino character in an era of television when there were few of those to be found, but also because Rickie dealt with issues rarely seen on TV back then outside of Afterschool Special movies, such as familial abuse and homelessness. Rickie’s story was drawn from Cruz’s own, whose father threw him out of the house when he came out at 18. “We have yet to really see somebody who has taken up the mantle as a young, openly gay Latino man on television,” said Cruz. “I would really love to see more young people of color, so more young people of color understand that they too are part of this community. It helps them through this very difficult time of adolescence, which we all know is torture.”

For now, Cruz is content to watch characters like popular-kid Shane on MTV’s Faking It and Chris Colfer’s Kurt on Glee. As for the guy he’d like to see play gay? “Joe Manganiello can have it any time he wants,” said Cruz. “I will wrap it up in a bow and present it to him. And I’ve told him this, so this is not a secret. And he has said no in no uncertain terms. But I keep trying! I’m relentless.”

MSCL’s Wilson Cruz on Rickie’s Reality Future