Adam Lambert and OUT Editor Aaron Hicklin: Second Time Around


Adam Lambert sat down with OUT Editor-In-Chief Aaron for a second interview, briefly touching on their past. You may remember the brouhaha from two years ago, when Hicklin wrote a letter to Adam, calling Adam’s conduct as a gay man with the media, into question. Glambs and Glamberts took to the e-waves, calling Hicklin out (no pun intended!) on his message.

Now Adam and Aaron talk again, focusing on Adam’s growth and the music we’re waiting for from Adam. I love that we get another instance of the media realizing Adam’s incredibly powered fan base! All “gazillion” of us! 🙂

Love ya!

~ Carol ~

Adam Revisited
By Aaron Hicklin

Adam Lambert tells Editor in Chief Aaron Hicklin what he’s learned in the two years since he appeared on the cover of the 2009 Out100.

Two years ago, in the 2009 Out100, we anointed Adam Lambert “Breakout Star of the Year,” and shot him for the cover, alongside Dan Choi, Wanda Sykes, Cyndi Lauper, and Rob Marshall. In the accompanying editor’s letter I took the entertainment industry to task for the way they control and limit access to the gay press, using our experience with Adam’s publicist at the time as my example. In hindsight, I was mistaken to address the letter directly to Adam: Although the massive response from his loyal fan base started a valuable debate, my letter was received as a personal attack that muddied the message. Lambert rightly sought to defend himself, in part by demonstrating his independence at the American Music Awards, when he simulated oral sex and kissed one of his band members. A lot of time has passed, and we can look back on that firestorm with cooler heads—so cool, in fact, that we were able to chat together, something we should have done first time around. This year we are honoring Adam for the way in which he has held true to his identity as a gay man while managing a successful musical career, a balancing act that is no mean feat. As he told The Advocate recently, “No one teaches you how to be a gay celebrity.” In a very real way he is leading the way.

Adam Lambert: I heard your name and thought, Oh, here we go!

Aaron Hicklin: You know, I was putting this together, and I realized that it was two years since we put you on the cover of the 2009 Out100. It struck me as important that this time we actually speak to each other.

AL: I agree. I have no hard feelings. That was then, and I’ve learned a lot.
AH: I have too. And I learned a lot from the experience of using my editor letter [as a critique of the entertainment industry]—good and bad, frankly. For a start, I realized you have a gazillion passionate fans and every single one was determined to make sure I knew they existed [laughs].

AL: Yes, they’re very verbal.
AH: They certainly are, and some of them still communicate with me, and I’ve made an effort to respond to as many as I can.

AL: It’s an interesting dynamic, because I think the thing that’s ironic about it is that the photo session for Details [in which Lambert posed, controversially, with a nude female model], the one that we were talking about, was kind of done to play out the fantasy of many of my female fans.

They have deep imaginations, and there’s a lot of fantasy fiction that’s written on the Internet. I try not to read it because it can be a little creepy, but I know it’s something they really get into. So, for me, it was like, OK, I’ve lived my entire life as a gay man; I’m very comfortable with that. And all of a sudden, I have the opportunity to do this photo shoot, to play the opposite stereotype of the straight, butch guy. I found it really interesting, creatively, and didn’t think for one minute that I was toning anything down or trying to change who I was, so much as playing into a fantasy that I knew was really, really present, having been on tour all summer, having women throw their bras at me, and all that crazy shit. I will say that, on the flip side, timing is everything. That’s one thing that I’ve learned a lot about this year. I was still introducing myself to the masses then and, to me, on my own personal journey, it seemed like an interesting thing to do.

Sometimes I’m not as objective as I could be, and I don’t look at things from the perspective of a first-time audience. That definitely was somewhat the case with the American Music Awards performance [when Adam simulated oral sex and kissed his keyboard player]. I didn’t quite put myself in the position of the viewer at home that had watched me on American Idol and, the next time they see me on TV, it’s that performance. The AMA thing was maybe a little too much, too soon, and the photo shoot for Details, although very beautiful, maybe it wasn’t the right timing.

AH: But two years on, I’m curious about what you’ve learned about yourself in this process since you’ve, very transparently, gone from a contestant on a show whose success represented a radical breakthrough to becoming a superstar. It must have been pretty exhausting and demanding and emotionally draining in many ways.

AL: Yeah, it was definitely a lot to take on. But whenever I would feel overwhelmed or stressed out, the thing that kept me balanced is that I really do appreciate the opportunity I have. If I was a little younger, I wouldn’t have dealt with it so well. I’m 29, and having been in the entertainment industry throughout my entire twenties in Los Angeles, I grew almost, like, a Teflon coating, rather than being a kid from Ohio just jumping into it.

AH: So you were prepared to some extent?

AL: No one can really prepare you fully. There were things I was very surprised by [laughs] and had to learn quickly, and had to learn the hard way.

AH: And you probably weren’t prepared to have me pouncing on you…
AL: No, but all’s fair in that game. I think it’s been character building, which is great, and it’s definitely put me where I’m at now. I think the hardest thing about being a gay celebrity is that we’re in the middle of a social rights movement and it’s a very hot topic, so we’re at a very pivotal time. Coming out was great, but there are certain issues that always surprise me and I think, Why is this an issue? I live and I’ve grown up in a space that is very accepting and open-minded; I surround myself socially with people that are artists and very bohemian and I forget sometimes that, OK, we’re dealing with mainstream culture now, which does not have the same mentality as I do. I think, too, that by nature I’m very contrary. If you tell me I can’t do something then I’m gonna push back harder and do it. I’m kind of rebellious, but I try to do it with a smile. I’m not a jerk about it.

For the continuation of this article, click here.

For Hicklin’s first letter to Adam, click here.

About Carol

I started writing on this site back in May 2009, not knowing what I was in for or where it would take me. I had no idea of the joy and personal satisfaction I'd find here. I never dreamed that I'd get to meet Adam, but that dream came true! The bonus of becoming such great friends with Lila and the other fans is what keeps me going. Music gets me though every day. In addition to Adam, I love Muse, Linkin Park, 80s and finding newer bands and supporting them by attending everything that's within 350 miles. With Adam, the boundaries are farther! Thanks for joining us on this ride! :)


  1. Carol, Glamb #7 says:

    I think this should be the picture for Outlaws of Love! 🙂

  2. Random Medley says:

    ADAM LAMBERT changing opinions one TIRED OLD QUEEN at a time.

    Aaron Hicklin owes Adam a lot. Adam is gracious and magnanimous as usual.

    I love the nod to Andy Warhols Elvis picture almost as much as I loved Adams Blue Suede Shoes.

    Aaron probably won’t step on them again.

    Just sign me

    Smug Glamb #350

  3. glamity58 says:

    Since Adam truly can look like Elvis, I wish they had done his hair and make-up (less in this case) to look like Elvis. He could keep the colorful clothes, but he looks less like Elvis than in other pictures he’s taken. Other than that, this is really cool.

    His new song being held up is very distressing, however. I wish he could be like Katy Perry and Bruno Mars and have songs out every other month.

  4. Loved Adam’s look at the MTV awards, especially his great-coat. Not so much his shaved head but I figure something different will come up soon. Wanted to type in a comment on Out’s page but had difficulty. How frustrating. I hope people who have never heard him sing before will add themselves to his follow Twitter page. Jeez, I need to see him on American t.v., Ellen, Leno, anyone. Hurry up single and new album.

  5. Adam: “I’m working with producers and my label directly. I’m not being puppeted around in any way, shape, or form. It’s about the music now.”
    Finally!!! I can’t wait to hear his new music – as anyone who is reading this does, too! Getting more and more excited about it!

  6. Lila - Glamb #3 says:

    Love the picture, love the interview! GO ADAM!!!

  7. glamb# 442 Paula says:

    As always Adam is a class act.His artist personality makes his every project better than the last. i love them all!

  8. cory-coralysbecause says:

    ADAM Lambert you look sooooo yumy with red color, so yumy

  9. cory-coralysbecause says:

    The coming year for ADAM , 2012 was spectacular and he made much music and great concerts and the year and the next was productive.