First Published: May 2003
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.

MTV have acquired an excellent reputation for their honest portrayal of gay issues and campaigns against homophobia, gay-bashing and unsafe sex. Their reality-tv shows like Real World have featured a number of gay individuals, and their latest Road Rules series has made a star in the US of Shane Landrum. Shane was the first openly gay person to be in the show and you can see him in action this Monday night (19th) at 9.30pm on MTV.
In Road Rules six strangers travel across America in a large motor caravan and they have to perform various challenges, but the biggest challenge for former University of North Carolina student Shane Landrum happened before he even went on Road Rules. Just before leaving to film the first show, Shane had to come out to his father and step-father, both of whom are in the US Military.

While his dad didn't believe him, his step-father was more relaxed. 18 months on, with Shane's tv and modelling career taking off, Shane's developed a tremdous amount of personal confidence as he told OutUK's Mike Gray .

Shane: Right now everything's amazing and I've been working really hard. We just shot a new show for the next season of Road Rules. We've been working hard so I'm ready to go home.

OutUK: Tell us about the new season of Road Rules. I don't think I can tell you guys. It's gonna be really interesting. There's a huge huge fight, like one of the biggest fights. It's gonna be a good season.

OutUK: You sound very up...did you have any difficulties being out on the show?
Shane: Honestly my only problem really that I was having being gay on the show was I came out to my parents practically two days before I left to do the show. That's a hard thing to do in life period. They've had a shock like that and then two days later I'm filming a television show. It was a bit much so I never really got to deal with the issues until after the show. But now I'm living life like I want and honestly the response has been so positive that I wouldn't have wished it any other way.

OutUK: How do you get on with your parents now?
Shane: Honestly the problem was not with being gay. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that I was going to be gay and tell the entire nation about it. I mean I can understand that at some level but I had to say to them this isn't about you anymore. This is about me and my life and what I want to do with it and do for myself. Sounds kinda selfish but that's what's mattered to me to be true.

OutUK: I gather you've signed modelling deals, was this what you always wanted to do?
Shane: You know I had wanted to do things like that, to do things in this industry before the show. But honestly I was doing the right path that every kid my age does you know, you go to high school, you graduate, you go to college, you do whatever. Basically the show gave me the chance to admit to myself "Hey I really am interested in the industry".
Honestly after you do something like the show, it's kinda hard to go back to what you used to be, because you've changed so much, you learn so much, you make good connections so that you can continue and do what you want to do.

OutUK: Have you got a regular boyfriend?
Shane: No, no (laughs)... I'm kinda shopping around....

OutUK: Are you going to come to the UK?
Shane: I don't know. We'll see what happens. It's not the cheapest thing to do right now...we'll let the war tidings calm down.

OutUK: And what's the most exciting thing that happened to you since you first appeared on Road Rules?
Shane: I think honestly the most exciting thing that happened to me because of the show is it's not like an event, it's more like a feeling I have about myself, a confidence and the way my esteem is at a point I never thought it would be. I never thought I would beat myself up about what I could and couldn't do. Doing something like Road Rules and facing your fears and meeting different people and having those people positively accept you regardless of who you just teaches you I can do this and I can do what I want and I can accomplish it and not be apologetic for who I am as a person.
OutUK: Do you think that's helped other young people come to terms with their sexuality?
Shane: God I hope so. I mean a previous show on Real World helped me deal with it so I mean that on some level if it touches one person and says "It's OK. You don't have to be sad, ashamed or worried about hiding anything because life is so much better if you just accept it, because people will accept you because you're comfortable with yourself. I hope that more kids will be helped by the show.

Road Rules 9.30pm Monday 19th MTV
Photography by Andrew Swaine


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