Billy Porter admits wearing a dress to the Oscars was a business decision

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Billy Porter attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland. Photographed by Kevork Djansezia
Billy Porter attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland. Photographed by Kevork Djansezia
Kevork Djansezia

The Pose actor turned heads with his tuxedo gown at the 2019 Academy Awards and he admitted people were right that he was looking for attention in the outfit because getting noticed helps him to stay in work. 

"People were like, 'Oh, he's just trying to get attention.' Well, yeah, I'm in show business! It's part of my job. Otherwise, I don't eat," the star told InStyle magazine.

The 51-year-old actor admitted he used to feel frustrated that men had fewer sartorial options than women and was grateful to have a platform to challenge ideas of gender norms.

"I used to get frustrated that women could wear whatever they wanted and men had to show up in the same penguin suit. The reason why women wearing pants is consid­ered okay by society's standards is because it comes from the patriarchy."

READ MORE | Billy Porter wants his own fashion line - 'It's not just about what I'm wearing'

"The patriarchy is male, so suits are strong, and anything feminine is weak. I was sick of that discussion, and I knew my platform allowed me to challenge it. I had been running from my feminine side for years because I was told that my queer­ness would be a liability in this business. And it was for decades - until it wasn't," he adds.

Though Billy feels honoured to be hailed a fashion icon, it is a term he's been hesitant to use about himself.

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