Look out Hollywood, he may play an affable teenager on TV, but Kevin McHale’s talents don’t stop at acting.
Unless you just recently returned from a mission to Mars, you’ve heard of Glee, the seemingly omnipresent, proudly campy TV show about a high school glee club. TWELV caught up with Kevin McHale, the 23-year old actor who stars as Artie on the megahit series. Before joining the cast of Glee, McHale grew up in Texas and belonged to the boy band, NLT, which toured with and opened for the Pussycat Dolls. We spoke to him about his most memorable experiences with fans, his admiration for Kanye West, and his adoration for the British band, McFly.
If you were fifteen years old, how would you feel about Glee?
I would be pissed I wasn’t on it! Simply because growing up, people always said I had to pick between acting and singing, and that was never an option for me. I like both equally for different reasons, and here Glee comes along. It’s such a unique situation, where we really can do everything we love and sing songs we never thought we could or would.
What was your most interesting fan encounter on Glee?
I’ll never forget when we went around the U.S. on our first promotional tour to different malls all around the country. At that point, only the pilot had aired. [At] one of the first signings, a group of high school friends came up—who were probably only a year or two younger than me at the time—and said, “Thank you for playing he losers. Thank you for playing us. You have no idea how much it means to us that we will get to watch you guys every week representing us.” From then on, I think we all felt the gravity of how the show really could touch people, in addition to making them laugh.
Do you have any current pop culture or celebrity obsessions?
Kanye West. I have the utmost respect for the guy. I think he’s infinitely talented and he connects through rap in a way that no else has before. Your grandma probably knows his music. Music, fashion, tours. He’s an entertainer. There aren’t may all-around entertainers like that anymore.
I read that you’re a fan of the British band, McFly. Tell us about them. McFly!
They’re a British pop band I stumbled across when I was fourteen, and their first single had just come out in the U.K. I became obsessed. I’d order all their singles and CDs. I got all my friends into them. I even made my family watch their tour DVDs. They’re super-taented dudes and are still cranking out great tunes. Love those guys.
Glee’s made a difference in a number of people’s lives. Has this changed your awareness of certain issues?
Glee’s opened up my awareness for everything! The obvious one is people with disabilities, for me. I realized how naive I was and how unobservant I was in terms of people with disabilities. When I got cast as Artie, it was night and day. I suddenly noticed the challenges in everyday life for certain people and how resilient people are. The best part about being Artie is that being in a wheelchair doesn’t define who he is.
From the show, I’ve gotten to meet so many great kids and adults in wheelchairs, and everyone has been incredibly inspiring and makes me so proud I can be a part of something like this.
Artie isn’t a fashionista. How do you differ from him in that regard?
This is our biggest difference. Since the show started I’ve become more and more into fashion. I’ve really grown to love it and that’s all thanks to our amazing costume designer, Lou Eyrich. Lou would bring a huge grandpa sweater for me to try on, and she’d ask, “Is this OK with you?” and I’d always say, “Whatever you want!” She’s a genius and created such distinct characters with the clothes, along with Ryan Murphy.
Make up your own ending for Artie. What do you see happening to him in the future after the show ends?
I think he becomes the next George Lucas/Steven Spielberg.
The theme of this issue is LOVE. What comes to mind when you think of the word love?
It’s like five shots of espresso back to back and never lets up. It’s what makes you happiest. It can be a person, a song, a place.
source: Kevin McHale News