Billy Porter reflects on his ‘daring’ Oscars dress ‘that changed the world’: ‘Men feel freer’
Billy Porter, the Tony-winning actor known for his daring style, wants to continue pushing boundaries. He has been breaking gender norms for years, with his most iconic moment occurring at the 2019 Oscars when he wore a Christian Siriano velvet tuxedo gown. Despite this, Porter says he rarely thinks about the outfits themselves, but rather their lasting impact. He believes his Oscar dress has changed the world and that fashion has become more gender-fluid since then. Porter says he dresses in ways that feel freeing and authentic to him, hoping his daring fashion choices can be liberating for others. Recently, Madame Tussauds unveiled Porter’s wax figure, wearing a replica of his iconic 2020 Grammy red carpet look. The unveiling took place just before the annual New York City Pride March. Porter, who will serve as Grand Marshal, believes having representation in spaces like Madame Tussauds is important for people to see themselves positively.
While Billy Porter’s “daring” style will forever be etched in fashion history, the Tony winner wants to keep “moving forward” and push the boundaries.
Porter, 53, has been breaking gender norms for years, with arguably his most memorable moment happening at the 2019 Oscars when he showed up in a Christian Sirirano velvet tuxedo gown.
However, the “Pose” actor notes to TheFantasyTimes that he rarely thinks about the outfit itself and is more focused on the lasting impact that it had.
“What the world thinks is the most memorable is the Oscar dress, the tuxedo Oscar dress that changed the world,” he tells us at the unveiling of his very first Madame Tussauds’ wax figure at New York City’s Boom at the Top of The Standard hotel.
“That’s the most significant one because of the impact it’s had on the entire world,” he continues. “Fashion has changed since then. Men feel freer since then and I love being a part of that.”
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The daring look — which Porter recreated at the 2023 Golden Globes — led stars such as Harry Styles and Lil Nas X to explore more gender-fluid fashions.
Yet Porter says he never intended to start a trend, rather he was just dressing in ways that felt “freeing” and authentic to him.
“Everything that I do is based on the assignment and how I feel,” he explains. “The fact that it feels daring is other people stuff, I show up and do what I want, what I feel, what makes me happy.
“I’m always daring, I guess, to some other people because there’s so much fear connected to it and I hope that having presence enough to not be afraid of what other people think and use that in my art can be freeing for some people, I hope,” the actor continues. “Because it’s definitely freeing for me.”
And on Tuesday, Porter — and his fashion — officially became “immortalized” among the wax figures at Madame Tussaud’s New York.
Porter’s wax figure dons a replica of his 2020 Grammy red carpet look, complete with an exact replica of his bedazzled, revolving hat.
While the “Cinderella” star was thrilled with how his wax twin turned out, he was even more honored that the unveiling fell right before the annual New York City Pride March.
“I can’t believe I have my very own wax figure in Madame Tussauds New York. My likeness is immortalized forever,” Porter, who will serve as the parade Grand Marshal this year, said. “To end Pride Month with a bang like this is so memorable.”
“Madame Tussauds is known around the world. As a Black, queer man in this world, it’s really special to have representation in this space,” he continued. “Our kids, and adults too, need to see representations of themselves in the world and the kind of positivity I try to spread — the talent, the love, the intention. It’s great, it’s amazing.”