Broadway singer and actor Isaac Cole Powell, and models Yves Mathieu, Nathan Westling, and Charlie Knepper pose for the covers of VMAN Magazine‘s PRIDE 2021 digital edition. In charge of photography was Rowan Papier, with styling from Aryeh Lappin. Beauty is work of hair stylist Gonn Kinoshitam makeup artist Tatyana Makarova, and manicurists Nori and Jini Lim. Cover stars are wearing selected looks from Calvin Klein.
I am still very much on my journey to self-acceptance but if I could offer one piece of advice to someone struggling it would be to seek community. I was probably 14 or 15 years old [the first time I celebrated Pride]. It was a very humble and sparse gathering in the streets of my southern hometown. I was awestruck by the attendees’ courage to celebrate so openly and immediately felt a sense of belonging. It’s very meaningful to see a parade with only a few dozen participants who, despite their small number, are still willing to take up space and celebrate. – Isaac Cole Powell
Pride means remembering those who were here before me, and securing a space for those who will come after me. It’s important to boldly stand in your identity because when you’re faced with the constant weight of erasure from people who don’t know what’s it like to walk in your shoes, or live in your body, that’s all the more the reason for you to say; ‘Hey, I’m here, I’m queer, oh yeah and [I’m] human.’ – Yves Mathieu
With my platform, I would like to keep educating and spreading awareness about the [LGBTQIA+] community, because what we experience every day is real, and no one deserves to be discredited or told that what they’re doing is wrong. The most important [thing allies can do] is to stay educated, followed by loving and supporting everyone in the community. I’m truly blessed to be in an industry that has been so accepting. I’m excited to move into the future as my true self and no longer live a lie. – Nathan Westling
My entire life has been a road to self-acceptance. I grew up hating a part of myself and thinking that something was wrong with me. I tried convincing myself that I was straight, until I didn’t have the energy to do it anymore. Coming out was pivotal because it was the point in my life when I stopped hating myself and started loving myself. Self-acceptance doesn’t happen overnight, but every day I become more comfortable with who I am. – Charlie Knepper
Photography by Rowan Papier for VMAN, discover more at vman.com