Tom Sandoval Is the Number One Guy in This Group
In February, Tom Sandoval bombed Laurel Canyon in his Mercedes E-400 Coupé and spoke excitedly about the time when he asked his hero Neil deGrasse Tyson if our evidence of dark matter was based solely on gravitational lenses.
Sandoval, 36, is an unlikely science lover. The star of Bravos Vanderpump Rules is better known for his elaborate grooming - the iron, level 5 hairspray, forehead shave - than for his intellectualism, but he's drawn to science because it gives him something as an alternative to religion that he can believe. "Something I love about scientific truths is that they are true - but not facts. They are true until proven otherwise." He pauses and his voice calms down as he considers why he's so drawn to truths that aren't necessarily facts: "It keeps people from being so closed."
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Tom Sandoval's universe is organized according to other laws. He is one of the main characters in Vanderpump Rules, the bravo reality show that takes place in gay West Hollywood and revolves around the lives of bartenders and servers in Lisa Vanderpump's SUR restaurant. (SUR stands for Sexy Unique Restaurant and makes it a Sexy Unique Restaurant Restaurant, which is not important but funny.) Sandoval's storylines are classic reality TV: They involve a chaotic separation with fraud and lies and a shirtless fistfight in a parking lot in Vegas. His care is so legendary that it is practically a minor figure.
"He is a peacock, he is a preener, he is someone who likes to have an appearance," said Tom Schwartz, Sandoval 's best friend - with VPR - Costar - with a business partner. Sandoval can look vapid on television. Reality shows have a flattening effect: they shrink people into characters, play out the outer edges of the yin and yang of their personality and concentrate on the extremes. And while Sandoval is a real person with interests and opinions that don't fit well into the VPR plot line generator, he's definitely also a person of extremes.
His show manner, which can be seen as ridiculous and irresistible in the "Is this guy real ?!" Reality TV art is part of what makes him a compelling star. He is unabashedly vain about his appearance in a way that men don't normally talk about; He doesn't just tan - he has a tanning strategy. (It's about his ankles.) He cries openly and lightly. He often says to his male friends with these tears: "I love you". In an incredible display, he came to BravoCon with full resistance. It is striking and a lot of fun to see. But over the course of the seasons, eight of them so far, something more important has surfaced about Tom Sandoval - he doesn't seem to be tied to the rigor of masculinity. He calls it "extra AF". But his extraness has something more contemporary, less just for the camera. And with people increasingly questioning outdated ideas about it and pushing against what it means to be a man - and how the show is counting on its place in 2020 and firing four performers involved in racist incidents - something strange is happening happens: the comic star of a show The bad behavior of heterosexuals in a gay playground has become a convincing model for a friendlier, gentler, more tolerant and far more aggressive type of masculinity.
Vanderpump Rules started in 2013 after a direct line-up made up of real friends and colleagues who were as chaotic as friends who date and celebrate and fight for position within their group. Their relationships led to struggles; These fights - sometimes physical, sometimes verbal, always memorable - are legendary and make up a large part of the show's appeal. There was the one where Stassi Schroeder slapped Kristen Doute in the face with a backhand to sleep with her ex Jax Taylor. and the time when Katie Maloney, Schwartz's wife, hissed, "Let's talk about how your cock doesn't work" while testing a Porsche for Vanderpump. And then there was the one where Taylor - red-faced, sweaty, big-eyed - got angry with Sandoval, which Taylor saw as a social usurper, and tried to get Sandoval back in his place in the VPR pecking order by explaining : "You are not number one in this group. I am number one in this group."
But as the eight seasons of the show unfolded, Sandoval proved to be number one in the group. The outfits and care, the sheer ridiculousness of his entire existence, are still there, charming and confusing onlookers. But Sandoval has evolved. His hyper-turbulent relationship with Doute was replaced by a largely stable one with his partner Ariana Madix. Vanderpump brought him out from behind the bar and took on the role of owner when she described him and Schwartz as TomTom's faces. As he matured, still in this world of West Hollywood bars and parking battles and messy AF friends, he became something of an adult in the group.
The gayness of the world in which they worked was always there - the core of every season is the participation of SUR employees in LA Pride - although there were practically no LGBT characters on the show. But in 2020, as the storylines of celebrations in feathered wings on a Pride car changed to marrying and buying a house, the occupation's increasingly weak relationship with their community felt increasingly exploitative.
Among the show's fan base, which strongly distorts female and gay men, the murmur of discontent with the portrayal of the show or its lack in season six began with Billie Lee, a supporting woman in a supporting role that only lasted two seasons. It reached cacophony levels in the summer of 2019 while the current season was filming when Buzzfeed reported that Sandoval's co-stars Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright were going to have a very homophobic pastor officiate their TV wedding. The cast was noticeably and uncomfortably silent about the choice of their friends, with one exception: Tom Sandoval, whose decision to confront Taylor because of the pastor resulted in Sandoval being released from the wedding ceremony (and eventually resumed).
Sandoval says he learned to be bullied as a teenager and occasionally harass others. "I felt like an asshole," he says. "And I don't like that feeling." When the popularity of his unpleasant phase followed, he assumed a white knightly mood and became "a bully for bullies". And on television, his white knightly mood was the catalyst for high drama, especially when the cast learned to navigate and press with cameras.
"I will always try to express myself when I feel that something is wrong," says Sandoval of his instinct to face his Castmates, even if the others remain silent. "You know, people in the cast. .. "He takes a break. It is as if they are afraid to speak up. I can say that it bothers something and I sometimes feel okay, I think I have to be the one who says something. "
Sandoval's willingness to be extra - whether it's a scene in front of the camera, about the hypocrisy of Cartwright and Taylor, or his 36th birthday party (the subject? Extra AF, duh!) On a couple of heaven - High stilts - provide great television, but also inspire the men in his life to get involved in a freer, truer version of themselves.
"It helped me," said Peter Madrigal, the SUR manager and sometimes VPR actor, "because you know I'm a very male guy. But seeing him the way he helped helped me a little, To make progress. I. " I used to only wear black, now I wear blue pants. "Madrigal is absolutely serious about integrating blue pants into his wardrobe and into his life - about what a blue pants guy would say about him, about the prospect that blue pants could open, about the change in the inside Chemistry that goes along with a change in self. Expression. "Seeing someone who has the courage to be himself has given me the courage to be myself," he says. Like so much at Sandoval, his peacock is two things at once: a blatant depiction of narcissism and something that is almost inspiring.
In some areas, however, Sandoval has grown more slowly; Together with decision-makers like Bravo Brass and Vanderpump himself, he ignored some racist incidents involving the cast. It was only when protests broke out across the country and the cast of VPR duly jumped on the black squares on Insta to proclaim their support for demands for racial justice and police reform that the straightforward white reality stars faced real consequences for their racist behavior outside the camera.
Schroeder and Doute, both original actors, were released last week for repeatedly terrorizing Faith Stowers, a black woman and former SURver who had been minimally seen on the show over the years. Taylor also got involved in 2017, making claims about Stowers' criminal history on Twitter this year. But Bravo has not fired or publicly reprimanded Taylor for his racist abuse of Stowers, nor has the network taken significant action against him and Cartwright to give a homophobic pastor a national platform by identifying him as the official of their television wedding. Through a representative, Bravo declined to comment on ongoing discussions about the occupation. A Sandoval representative did not respond to requests for comments regarding the dismissal of his Castmates.
Sandoval's disposition to look for those who have less than him - less trust, less money, less access - became sharp when TomTom, the West Hollywood bar of the same name in which Sandoval and Schwartz hold a minority stake, was forced to to close March. They discarded the idea of setting up a GoFundMe to raise money for TomTom's displaced employees, but an offer from Cameo, the service that allows people to book personalized celebrity videos, seemed to fit perfectly. They agreed to accomplish what they had raised up to $ 10,000.
They made 73 cameos in one day. You passed the goal of the ten big fundraisers almost immediately - and if he got itchy, what about it? "We go far beyond that, we have a whole series, I have different colored LEDs, a ring light, I have my trumpet, my ukulele, my guitar," says Sandoval. "We have jokes: baby jokes, we have bartender jokes, we have doctor jokes, we have spouse jokes, lawyer jokes - how do you get the lawyer out of the tree? You cut the rope." He laughs and tells another - the cameo had been requested by a lawyer, so he had enough. "What did the lawyer say about the dog? The prosecutor wants you to overrun it." He learned to play "Don't Worry Be Happy" on the ukulele because "people are stressed". Now he's using his social media presence to raise awareness of causes that support racial justice, and he and Madix have joined protests in LA.
He fights for himself to be cut off from the things that drive him - to be with people, to plan elaborate costumes and wild parties. He hates zoom. He has stress dreams, just like everyone else, but his are "epic, how this great responsibility has been given to me, I have to achieve this great journey or this great destination and it will be a journey of trials and difficulties. There has been a lot of that. "His dreams, as well as his cameos and costumes and hair styling routine, are additional AF.
In preparation for a follow-up interview in April, he had blow-dried his hair to speak on the phone. His iron, he said, was heating up. Despite everything, Sandoval was still exactly who he was, dreaming his epic dreams while sleeping and awake. "I had this crazy idea - it's a terrible idea, I know. But how cool would it be if I sent the motorcycle sidecar to New York and drove through Times Square?" In the background of the call, Madix intervened: "People are dying."
Sandoval's tone changed chastely. "These are the ideas that I have to keep advising myself against," he said. Those were just the business costs as Tom Sandoval. "These are the extra, damn things that go through my head all the time. "
Originally released on GQ
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