Zane Phillips, the charismatic actor, who has already achieved stardom with his role in Netflix’s comedy series ‘Glamorous,’ graces the cover of MMSCENE’s November 2023 issue.
Photographer and Creative Director Kevin Sikorski beautifully captures Zane’s essence in every frame, in collaboration with Producer Paulina Older and Stylist Branden Ruiz.
‘Glamorous’ offered Zane a dream-come-true opportunity, a show envisioned as a small queer utopia by creator Jordon Nardino. This resonated deeply with Zane, whose previous work on ‘Fire Island‘ had already shifted his perspective on professional settings. ‘Glamorous’ not only affirmed his journey but also fostered a genuine community within the cast, promoting an ego-less environment fueled by a shared dedication to storytelling.
The groundbreaking LGBTQ+ comedy series champions the significance of representation both on screens and within the industry and underscores the importance of celebrating queerness in all aspects of life, particularly in a workplace setting where identity meets the public persona.
Contributing Editor Nikola Bajovic sits down with Zane to talk about his career path, role models and aspirations.
How did you decide on your current career path, and what motivated you to pursue it? – I came to the decision to pursue theater as a junior in high school – I was doing a community production of Man of La Mancha, and after years of being socialized by masculine, southern, “show-no-emotion” culture, I finally felt that this art form was the key to just unlocking something inside myself. I knew nothing about how to pursue it as a career – I think my parents were just as unsure as I was – but I decided to take it a step at a time and see where we got. That’s led me all the way here, I think.
Now, when I get down about things, I know that the tide will flow back. Understanding a career in terms of this balance helps. It’s a mental game.
Were there any pivotal moments in your career that influenced the trajectory of your professional life? – I think it’s a collection of moments. They often arrive just when I’m ready to give up, or when I think I’ve made a terrible mistake pursuing this career, or when I’m convinced I’m not talented/resilient/good-looking enough. Usually there is a small reminder, or a minor victory, or a moment of art really moving me just like it did when I first started out, and I’m able to put myself back in a place where hard work meets motivation. Now, when I get down about things (which happens a lot oops!) I know that the tide will flow back. Understanding a career in terms of this balance helps. It’s a mental game.
Starting out as an openly queer actor in an industry that doesn’t always necessarily reward that, I have honestly found it really hard to know what my pathway is.
Have you had mentors, individuals or some role-model inspirations who guided you in your career? How did their advice impact your professional development? – Starting out as an openly queer actor in an industry that doesn’t always necessarily reward that, I have honestly found it really hard to know what my pathway is. I think I often look to my dear friends Claybourne Elder and Eric Rosen, who have integrated the personal and the professional in a really lovely way, to exemplify what it means to pursue happiness in the midst of building excellent careers. I also have to shout out my more recent friend, Robert Gant, who was doing this before almost anyone else. He’s been terrific at putting all of this into the greater context.
Maintaining an acting career often involves balancing work with personal life. How do you manage this balance? – I often don’t! Ha!
Following your graduation from Elon University and your move to NYC, could you share your top 5 must-visit spots or eateries in the city? – I’m probably not the best person to ask because my NYC life usually just involved whatever was cheapest, but let’s go!
- The Bronx Botanical Garden, especially during the holiday train show
- Culture Espresso – their cookies are the perfect antidote to bombing an audition
- Tiki Chick – I love a tiki bar, and the pink wave might be the best fried chicken sandwich I’ve ever had???
- The northern half of Central Park – fewer tourists, more places to get lost
- Cafe Tibet on Cortelyou in Brooklyn – a hike, especially when I was living in Washington Heights, but so so worth it
I just want to continue challenging myself and trying new things. It sounds trite, but there is just an endless well of unique storytelling out there!
Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for the next phase of your career? Is there a particular direction or accomplishment you are aiming for in the coming years? – I think my biggest concern right now is being able to ride the waves that will come – that means delving more into the creative side of things. You can’t control what pandemic might come, or what jobs might not, so I’m interested in expanding myself in any way I can. Other than that, I just want to continue challenging myself and trying new things. It sounds trite, but there is just an endless well of unique storytelling out there and I want to drink!
Model: Zane Phillips @zanethan
Photographer + Creative Director: Kevin Sikorski @escaperealife
Producer: Paulina Older @polderexpress
Stylist: Branden Ruiz @branden.ruiz
Grooming: Kelly Howard @kelizaa_mua
Lighting: Carly Hough @carly.rene
Stylist Assistants: Carlos Camargo @CarlosHoee and Ariel Arechiga @ariel_monroe_