Meet Jonny Drubel, Hot Gay Romantic of "#RichKids Of Beverly Hills"
Jonny Drubel is a gay romantic with a problem: He's rich and has to deal with it on TV.
The 25-year-old budding singer-songwriter is the featured gay cast member on E!'s new reality series #RichKids of Beverly Hills (based on the Tumblr "Rich Kids of Instagram"), which premieres Sunday, January 19 at 10 p.m. EST. With his Cristal-popping pals Dorothy Wang, Morgan Stewart, Roxy Sowlaty, and Brendan Fitzpatrick, he'll be the one offering a gay, admittedly brash perspective on a show teeming with female selfie experts. He's actually a bit less forthcoming about how much money is parents have, but he's nonetheless a bona fide Richie Rich with big blue eyes and knowing smirk. And if you really need to see him wielding magnums of champagne, check out his Instagram.
We caught up with E!'s new star to discuss dating, celebrity crushes, and fighting with your real girlfriends on TV about whether it's fair that gay men can't donate blood.
The Backlot: The title says it all -- rich kids of Beverly Hills. How would you describe your role in this group?
Jonny Drubel: I think my role in this group is being the one everyone turns to for advice, whether that be logical advice or just advice they want to hear. Maybe advice that they need to hear too. I'm definitely that person. I guess I'm also dramatic as well. A drama queen. Good God! That's so gay.
TB: In the first episode, you argue with your female friends about whether it's ridiculous that gay men can't donate blood. You come down on the side of "yes." Do you discuss these kinds of things a lot?
JD: Honestly, I didn't know that was going to come up, but I'm glad it did. I didn't know gay men weren't allowed to give blood! Like, since 1977 I want to say? I'm glad it came up on camera because it's important to talk about. I may not have had the best arguments on camera because I wasn't educated enough on the topic, but I did some research and learned about it. It's really something we all need to talk about. We need to see how discriminatory this ban on giving blood actually is. It's just so dated.
TB: In the show's description, you're described as "boy crazy." Explain.
JD: I think they call me "boy crazy" because -- well, I don't know if you know this, but I am homosexual. I'm the kind of person who falls in love very quickly, and I probably shouldn't. I'm that guy who's saying, "Oh, I love this guy!" and I've been on one date with him. That guy.
TB: Do you have a particular type you seek out?
JD: Well, I consider myself to be -- and some don't agree with me -- a little cub. I have chest hair. I have all that going on. I guess I go for more of a bear-y look, but I don't necessarily have a type. I do like a little bit older because I think I'm mature for an age. I've gone on dates with younger guys, and I find they're very difficult because there's not much I can talk about with them. I date older, but as long as you're nice, I'm OK. I don't care about the whole body thing. F*ck the whole body thing. That's so dated.
TB: Do your men have to be rich?
JD: That does not matter to me. In fact, it's safe to say I'm the youngest daddy in West Hollywood. Do I want to be? No. But Rich Kids of Beverly Hills has done it to me, and it's something I'm comfortable with.
TB: But do you talk about your own wealth with the men you date?
JD: I'm very East Coast. We kind of go by the rule, "If you have money, don't talk about it." I've been out from under my parents' wing for over two years. I'm working really hard to keep it that way. But I don't really speak about it. Then again I'm a "Rich Kid of Beverly Hills," so I'm so hypocritical. [Laughs.] I'm a walking contradiction! Perfect. That should be the headline.
TB: Let's hit the harder questions: Who are your celebrity crushes?
JD: Ooh, good one. First of all, I love Drake, the rapper. I love a guy who knows what he feels. That's very sexy. I love Robin Thicke. His voice is amazing. Do you know Michael Vartan? I see him all the time at my grocery store and I fawn. I just sit there and stare. It's actually embarrassing. Oh, I also love Andy Cohen. He's very sexy. Oh yeah.
TB: Interesting! He seems a bit devious to me.
JD: He intrigues me. You know what he is? He's very funny and has that kind of knows-what-he-is thing. That confidence. He's a swag. A swag.
TB: What's your reaction when you watch yourself on this show? Do you have ambitions beyond the show?
JD: My reaction to the show at first was that I was a little nervous. Then I realized, "You know what? I'm filming this with my best friends. We're all having fun with it." It's the kind of thing where we're riding the waves together. My ambitions in life? I would definitely like to live off of my songwriter. It's something I'm very passionate about. I would love to be able to live off my writing abilities and voice as well.
TB: Do you have favorite songs and songwriters of the past few years?
JD: It's hard to pick songs, but I can definitely narrow it down to artist. I love everyone from people to Adele and Lana del Rey to artists like Calvin Harris and the Bingo Players. I have total respect for -- and people always make fun of her -- but Ke$ha. She writes all of her music, she writes for other artists, and she just kills the game! She kills the game. Seriously, seriously talented. Then, as a gay man, I love Gaga and Britney. I honestly love Rihanna. I'm very into Top 40.
TB: More importantly: Who are your favorite gay reality stars? I have the feeling you'll have a good answer.
JD: Ooh. Favorite? I do love Brad [Goreski] from The Rachel Zoe Project. I met him once. He's super nice and down to Earth. Andy Cohen I love too. But I've got to give it up to the Fab Five, and although it's not reality, Will and Grace. They paved the way for gay guys who wanted to be more than a side thing on a show. They gave TV a gay voice!
TB: Tell us more about your arc this season. Will you surprise us?
JD: My arc? You'll definitely see me in the studio with an artist I've been working with. She's killing it right now. We're excited for her. It's a lot of us having fun, we do party, we do have a couple of parties, and like all friends we do fight a bit. The show is focused on the girls, and they're so funny to watch and so entertaining that people watching will get a kick out of us. We're all very different, but we're all very good friends, which makes us unique.
TB: It's shocking that you guys are actually pals. No staging there?
JD: No, no! This is not The Hills. This is real. What I was waiting for, though, was a Danielle Staub-type character from The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I'm sorry, but she's one of the best people on reality television since -- I don't even know. I mean, how amazing was she to watch? By the way, if I did drag, I'd totally go as Teresa from RHONJ. I'd flip a table. I'm also obsessed with Ja'mie. I'd also do drag as her. Do you know her?
TB: I'm relatively new to Ja'mie, but I love it.
JD: That's so OK. Welcome aboard!