As part of the cast of Crackle’s Men of West Hollywood, Nick Masc has emerged as much more than the boyfriend of star Murray Swanby. Coming from the Sunshine State with three bags and a dream, Masc has crafted his own American dream out of an Andrew Christian contract, becoming a cast member on this buzzed about reality television show. I sat down with Nick to chat about his career so far, what he learned the most about himself from reality tv, and why the greatest risk has definitely yielded sweet rewards for him.
Michael Cook: How did you get involved in Men of West Hollywood and involved in filming for a type of show that involves a group of men, which is rare in the reality tv world?
Nick Mascardo: Well I got involved with the group of people because of my ex-boyfriend Murray Swanby. I joined the Andrew Christian team shortly after I moved to Los Angeles. Andrew basically said to me “these are your new best friends”. There were fellow models, past models, and I ended up dating Murray right off the bat. Apparently over the new few months, our lives just happened to be extra dramatic, with the help of West Hollywood and all of the alcohol. It got interesting enough where it needed to be filmed and someone wanted to capture it all on camera.
MC: What does it feel like to see your relationship with Murray play out in front of the cameras, and seeing your other personal and friend relationships playing out in front of cameras?
NM: You know the old phrase “learn from your mistakes”? Not everyone gets the opportunity for their mistakes to actually be laid out in front of them as an example. Honestly, I think this was a learning experience and I got to see exactly who I didn’t think I was at the time. I lost myself and being able to watch it and seeing it all on camera and being submerged in everybody, I got to see where I was in that part of my life. I learned from it to become who I am right now….
MC: As filming progressed, do you think it brought you and Murray closer together or did it point out things that made you realize you should not be together?
NM: I think when you have cameras all around it is like you always feel you have to be on your P’s and Q’s, and you don’t want to look a “certain way”. When your real life is embedded in it though, you start to forget when emotions are in it. I can see that we are seen together, the same career, job field, friend group; being in it and being your actual life and your real emotions, you forget how it is portrayed and how it is being ported and you get caught up in the emotions. There are also times that on the show that one fight doesn’t make sense. It may make sense in the moment, but it will lead to our problems in the past or currently. It was not always clear what was happening, but it was happening constantly, you know?
MC: Do you feel that your relationships with your cast members have lead you to a place where you know both yourself and each other that much better?
NM: One hundred percent. I’ll be honest, they were my friends before but they have really become family. When you are filming, you open up to people and you can’t always do that in West Hollywood where you let your guard down, you have to keep them kind of halfway up to everyone. When you bond with these people, you learn their coming out stories, their family stories, you cry on each other’s shoulders, you help each other through hard times. It made me have something stronger than a friendship with these people. Even my ex, he and I are friends now. I don’t think without the show it would have or could have ended in a better place.
MC: You are a Florida boy, so what was the road like for you to go from the Sunshine State to West Hollywood?
NM: It was kind of a long road. Growing up in Florida, I wasn’t very exposed to the LGBTQIA community, it was very small, I am from Pensacola. One day I woke up and wasn’t happy with where I was and what I was doing, I could plan out my months to weeks to years on the day. One day, I just put in my two weeks and said “I won’t be here anymore, I am not happy here, I am wasting my youth here. I am going to move somewhere where I can just come out as myself”. I moved to West Hollywood and instead of having to tell everyone that I was gay, I just introduced myself as gay and created a whole new life for myself.
MC: So many people do exactly what you did; they move to a larger LGBTQ community and are able to totally and completely reinvent themselves.
NM: Absolutely. It is my journey. I left Florida six years ago with two check in bags and a carry on. I ended up getting a contract for Andrew Christian, bought my one way ticket with my first check, and I am now rooted, settled and very happy. Sometimes you just have to totally risk what you have in order to gain…
MC: The past couple years have beeb tumultuous for all of us. What do you think you have learned during this time that you will be able to implement in the next phase of your life?
NM: The show has had a huge impact on my life and the way that I perceive myself. When I got here, I didnt have a bunch of connections. I was dating someone that had them all and when date someone that has all the connections and knows everyone, you kind of become their shadow; I was known as “Murray’s boyfriend” more than I was ever just known as Nick. It helped me realize that I can stand on my own to feet, I can do this myself. I dont have to be someones boyfriend, I can just be Nick Masc and be proud of that. I came out of it saying that “I got this, I want to be known as Nick Masc”
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