Photography by Roger Erickson. Styling by Julien Jesus. Prop styling by Christopher Stone. Grooming by Mahfud Ibrahim for Exclusive Artists. Gus Kenworthy (left): T-shirt by Calvin Klein, Matt Wilkas: T-shirt by Ermenegildo Zegna.

Gus Kenworthy, Freestyle Skier and Olympic Medalist:
I grew up in Telluride, Colo., the sort of town where if some thing occurs in your family members, or you hook up with somebody, every person knows just before you do. It’s a quite liberal town — forward-considering and accepting — but I was way as well scared to come out in high school since there had been hardly any gay men and women, and undoubtedly no 1 I knew.

Matt Wilkas, Actor: I grew up in Camden, a little town on the coast of Maine. My father passed away when I was 12, so that was a truly hard portion of my childhood, and I was somewhat effeminate and never genuinely match in. I was almost certainly only conscious of getting gay because it was pointed out to me so much by every person else. I tended to hang out with girls far more, and I was extremely a lot a mama’s boy — I loved decorating, drew a lot, and was obsessed with old film musicals like Carousel —  all the clichés of a young gay kid.

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Kenworthy: I figured out I was gay at about the age of five. If I was watching a movie, I was always fixating on the male lead and not the female lead. I located dirty magazines beneath my older brother’s bed, and I don’t forget staring at the guy in it and pondering, This is type of crazy. My closest household friend was a girl, and I was often excited to go to her house and use her Simple-Bake Oven and play with her Barbie dolls — all the things I wanted to have, but I had Tech Decks and G.I. Joes. I remember asking my mom for a Barbie when I was young and my brother telling her, “You can’t get him Barbies.”

Wilkas: I started to do theater after my father died, and it just fit. Folks began to see my talent rather than all my flaws, and I grew happier and located my group. My mother was extremely religious, but she was quite loving and didn’t care that I wasn’t like the rest of the boys. With theater I felt I’d discovered someplace I belonged.

Kenworthy: When I was in high school I realized, Oh, I’m in fact genuinely into guys and want to hook up with them, but that was not an option at all. I’d just turned pro in skiing, and I was traveling, so there had been girls at events, and they’d get pushed on you, and it was hard to circumnavigate that. Then, when I was 18, I met my very first boyfriend, Robin, who was also involved in the ski industry, operating in film and photography. He didn’t know he was gay, he didn’t know I was gay, and we became buddies. Then, after a night of drinking, I decided to make a move. I set it up so that if he freaked out, I would just say, “I’m so sorry, I drank as well much,” but he reciprocated, and that was the begin of a five-year partnership. It was entirely in the closet — we presented ourselves as pals. We’d get hotel rooms with two beds when we were at ski events. He’d keep in one more area at my parents’ home. It was sad.

Wilkas: I ended up going to Boston University’s theater plan because they gave me a total student-aid package. It was my initial time living outdoors of my family members residence. I was surrounded by all these young creative folks, and students have been coming out of the closet, and that was shocking and thrilling, and then it was my time to do that as well — extremely significantly. Each Friday there was a three-hour class in which, one by a single, everyone gets up and performs anything, and I got up and free-spoke about how I was gay.  

Kenworthy: I never ever believed I’d come out even though I was skiing. I was sure that my sector was homophobic, so I decided I’d have my ski career, and then come out to my pals and reside with my boyfriends or get married, but it would be a separate issue. But I got to a point where the discomfort of holding on to it became a lot more than the discomfort of letting it go. It was damaging to be in the closet, damaging to not hold my boyfriend’s hand if we have been in public, damaging to be thinking, Oh, my God, what does that other person believe of me appropriate now? That’s when I realized I was being a wuss, and that I had to stand up for myself and let everyone know. Robin and I had been on the rocks, and I just decided that if I was ever going to meet somebody else, I needed to be out.

Wilkas: Gus reached out to me on Instagram, and he was extremely sweet. I think he said he really liked my sense of humor and believed I was funny, and I believed, Who is this guy? I didn’t know what cost-free-skiing was. I’d just come out of a connection and was going to therapy and wasn’t really in the right place, so when he asked me out, essentially on a date, by means of Instagram, I couldn’t do it.

Kenworthy: I’d written him a message on Instagram whilst Robin and I have been on a break — I’d seen Matt in the movie Gayby, and he’d popped up on my Instagram with these videos he makes, and I watched a few of them — he utilized to do these ones with a silly chick who wiggles when the sun hits her, and I thought they have been actually funny. I followed him, he followed me back, and I wrote him this truly long message on Instagram. I stated, “Hey, I believe you’re genuinely funny, and you seem actually sweet, and I’ve been enjoying following you on Instagram, and really I’m in the closet proper now, and I’m coming to New York in a couple of weeks if you want to get a coffee or anything.” He got back to me to say that he’d love to get a coffee. We did not get a coffee — I texted him the final day I was in New York, and it didn’t work out, and I thought that it was probably for the far better.

Wilkas: A year later, when Gus reached out again for a drink, I thought, OK, I’ll do it. Look at his image — he’s adorable. Why not do this? But I was really nervous and insecure — he was significantly younger than me, and then I identified out we have been going to dinner on his birthday. He was on a trip with his mom and friends. 

Kenworthy: We went to [the restaurant] Westville. He was currently drinking — I feel it was a blueberry mojito — so I got 1 too. The conversation was genuinely effortless, and we kissed outside the restaurant following dinner, and then he walked me back to my hotel and went on his way. We texted all through the evening, and the next day he came to the hotel to hang out again. I was truly there with my mom — but she was out wandering about, so Matt and I hooked up for the very first time. Then we had a drink with my mom, and she invited Matt to join us for dinner, and he stated, “Oh, no, I wouldn’t impose myself like that,” but she forced him to join us. My mom’s incredible, so funny and cool. She loved Matt correct away.

Wilkas: Last year I was shooting a film in Maine, and Gus came to pay a visit to for a couple of weeks. That would have been an opportunity for him to meet my mom, and I stated, “Mom, I’d truly like you to meet Gus,” and she mentioned, “No, I genuinely can not.” So that was really upsetting, but I feel he’s more empathetic and upset for me than upset that he cannot meet her.   

Kenworthy: His mom is very religious and not really approving of the homosexual way of life. She’s never ever met any of his boyfriends — she’s by no means met me. It’s sort of difficult on me because I know how difficult it is on Matt. I consider he’s gotten to the point exactly where he thinks it is her loss because she’ll by no means genuinely know him, but he has two sisters — I had Thanksgiving with them, and they’re so great, just like him. We played board games with the nieces and nephews, and Cards Against Humanity when the kids had gone to bed. 

Wilkas: Gus likes surprising me. He showed up at my door in Hartford, Conn., where I was undertaking a play, a couple of months after we met. In the 24-hour period just before that he was getting extremely elusive, and I got the sense that he wasn’t interested in me any longer. I was weirdly upset, and then he showed up. We had been on the couch kissing, and I’d been sitting on the words for a extended time, the feeling of it, and I just said, “I have some thing I want to say, but I’m actually scared to say it to you,” and I started crying. 

Kenworthy: I was going to him in Connecticut just before Christmas, and we had been lying on the couch watching Tv, and I could really feel his heart beating and sensed his energy, and he turned to me and mentioned, “I want to inform you something, but I’m scared,” and I just completely hijacked it and mentioned, “I love you.” And then he mentioned it back, and he was crying, and I was crying. It was truly sweet.

Wilkas: He’s such a sporty boy — he plays basketball with his buddies, and he’s super competitive, even when we’re playing a board game and nothing’s at stake. He’s also really charming and so funny and goofy, and he has a genuinely sensitive softy heart. He’ll cry watching a video of some underdog on The X Factor. We really like going to films — I believe I’ve seen more films with Gus than I’ve seen in a lifetime — and we get to travel so a lot with each other. I believe that’s 1 of the very best items about Gus, that he’s an adventurer and explorer. He’s not a homebody at all. I’ve never been a homebody — I’d rather stroll out in the cold rain than sit at house. He took me to Hawaii for my birthday final year. 

Kenworthy: For the 1st 5 days, we stayed at a couples-only resort that was really fancy and stunning, and for the second half, some pals flew out and I got a condo in a clothes-optional gay resort. We weren’t walking about naked the entire time. There were a lot of individuals that had been, the kind of people I was hoping wouldn’t be. But we went to a nude beach a couple of occasions, and then we took our buddies — we were all naked and skinny-dipping, laughing on the beach. It didn’t feel weird. It was uninhibited and enjoyable.

Wilkas: For me, getting apart a lot of the time is a very good point, but I do not think Gus feels that way. He does not genuinely want a extended-distance partnership. I don’t either but think time apart is beneficial and can operate. We’re at present in the longest stint of time apart and that is difficult — there has to be some understanding of what the limit of our time apart must and need to not be.

Kenworthy: All relationships take function, and we’ve certainly begun to recognize that. I’m traveling and skiing and coaching and competing. He lives in New York — he can’t genuinely live in Denver. Also, I was in a connection from 18 to 23, and I nonetheless haven’t genuinely skilled that considerably sexually. I wouldn’t want to ever sacrifice my connection with Matt just to go out and get that out of my technique, but we’ve also talked about that and he does not want to deprive me of experiencing something even though I’m still young. I don’t necessarily know what that indicates. We’re not in an open connection and we’re not breaking up. But we’re also not getting married. 

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The Adore Portfolio: Gus Kenworthy + Matt Wilkas
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