For those who still ponder the power of the Internet, consider 24-year-old fashionista William Sledd. In less than two short years, this YouTube phenom from Paducah, Kentucky has projected his fashion advice from his local Gap store (in a management role) to his infamously clever “Ask a Gay Man” vlog on YouTube to a successful leap to Bravo’s OUTzoneTV.com—with still more projects in the works. So, see what one can achieve from their bedroom computer in their mother’s house?
Sledd recently took time from his hectic vlogging schedule to chat with ChicagoPride.
PJ: First, I must tell you that it was completely surreal to watch you on YouTube sit in your bedroom with legendary Broadway queen Christine Ebersole talking about sweats. How were you able to contain yourself while “Little Edie” was gracing your home?
WS: It’s not like that. Christine and I are friends. I knew her as Christine before I knew her as “Little Edie.” I’m honored to be the friend of such an amazing woman. To me, she’s Christine. She’s like a second mom.
PJ: You’ve listed having other role models like Sarah Jessica Parker—who is already very well-known for her incredible sense of style. What specifically do you appreciate about her style?
WS: I love SJP because she can take the most hideous thing and make it interesting, fashionable and her own. She has that uniqueness where she stands out. She’s the girl other girls look at and think, “Why can’t I look like that? Why didn’t I think of that?” She makes everything work.
PJ: You’ve said that it bothers you when people “look like crap.” Do you think gay men have a responsibility to be more fashion conscious than others?
WS: No, I think everyone does—not just someone who is gay. Everyone needs to take a step back and spend that extra minute in the mirror. Everyone should care about their appearance because, unfortunately, we live in a world where people are judged on appearances. You need to make sure you look good everyday.
PJ: You often recommend certain fashion that people should avoid. Instead, is there a particular fashion item that you absolutely love and wish people would actually wear more of?
WS: I have a secret obsession for women in pencil skirts and stilettos. I love it.
PJ: Congratulations on your recent birthday. I hope it was as pink as you dreamed. I especially like the fact that your birthday shares National Coming Out Day. With your increasing media exposure, do you feel any pressure to be more than a fashion role model to your peers?
WS: Yes, I think my braveness and openness helps them see that I’m a strong individual, and a lot of kids look up to me for that. I don’t care what other people think about me. I get a lot of emails from kids, and I know they admire me for that. I don’t want to do anything to let them down.
PJ: I imagine with your incredibly crazy year that you’ve had little opportunity for a “personal life.” Let’s say you agreed to accept a blind date. Describe what you hope he would be wearing when you first see him?
WS: I don’t know. That’s tricky. He needs to be hot, though.
PJ: So, what’s in store for William in 2008?
WS: I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2008. I can’t think a day ahead, much less next year.