(Johnny Weir shot exclusively for Next Magazine by Santiago Felipe. Photo Assist: Michael Ventolo; Styling: Judson Harmon/ODD (Odd-Style.com); Hair: Eric Alt; Makeup: Erika Menanteaux. Special Thanks Kylie Culnane and Jason Shumaker.)
Are cats color-blind?” Johnny Weir asks. Fortunately, there are no felines in the studio during Weir’s Next Magazine photo shoot, since he’s rocking a one-piece comprised of loosely woven yarn that any kitty would want to get all up in (and FYI, no, cats aren’t). As Weir cycles through a few more high-fashion get-ups, the topic turns to New York Fashion Week, his latest favorite designers (“Asher Levine—he’s New York; young, hip, cool.”) and personal idols he’d most love to meet.
“Karl Lagerfeld,” the New Jersey-based Weir volunteers. “But I wouldn’t even be able to speak to him. I’d really like to have my photo taken with Vladimir Putin. And Justin Timberlake. I had a big crush on him before I got married…”
At this point Weir’s husband, Victor Voronov, the down-to-earth, clean-cut 28-year-old lawyer he married late last December, glances over. Clearly, there is no “get out of jail free” card for a Timberlake indiscretion if they do ever meet. “No,” Weir affirms. “I’m very jealous and protective and don’t need any diseases, so I don’t tolerate cheating and nor does my husband. Even for Justin Timberlake.”
Weir’s courtship of Georgetown Law graduate Voronov, whom he first met at a party years ago and reconnected with last July, is partly documented in the 10-episode second season of Logo’s Be Good Johnny Weir. Shot over two years following Weir’s appearance in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the show charts his break from competition in order to soul search, date and dabble in many other fields and disciplines, including the publication of a 2011 memoir, Welcome to my World, in which he officially came out publicly, and the media blitz that followed.
In the debut episode we saw Weir record his dance-y debut single, “Dirty Love,” which hit No. 1 on Japan’s charts the day it was released. The season will also see Weir kiki with Kathy Griffin, RuPaul, fellow Olympian Matthew Mitcham and Cazwell, with whom he records a duet titled “Kiss Me in Public.” “It’s about dating somebody who is embarrassed about you or in the closet,” Weir says, “and all you want is for them to kiss you in public.”
Weir admits that Voronov—the pair actually share the hyphenated Weir-Voronov surname—was quite closeted when they started dating, which presented an issue in light of Weir’s paparazzi-bait status. “As much as I love the fact [that] he’s very pure and not on the gay scene, it was starting to become a roadblock that I couldn’t take him places or talk about him,” Weir explains. “Even in the show, he hadn’t come out yet so he goes by his nickname, ‘Vitya.’ I didn’t push him, but once things got serious I said, ‘It’s impossible for me to go back in a closet to date you, so make a decision whether you are too afraid to come out or want to be with me.’”
Voronov chose the latter and today is very happily out, while Weir, who never had time for relationships (or even to “get laid”) during his intense training and competing since snagging a Gold Medal in the 2001 World Junior Championships, has found deep fulfillment with his partner.
“My husband is everything I needed in a man,” Weir attests. “He’s a masculine, macho guy who walks with a chest puffed out and nose up. He’s taught me a lot about leaving my issues and problems with work at work and coming home and being happy and cuddling and spooning and making dinner. There’s also a lot of Russian grandmother in me; I want to take care of everybody and feed them and wash their socks, and he provides that [outlet] for me because he’s from a Russian Jewish family and Jewish mothers do everything for their sons. Major talent in the bedroom as well…and he’s a good person, and that’s something I was afraid I wouldn’t find in the gay community.”
A desire for professional fulfillment and career possibilities beyond competition also fueled Be Good Johnny Weir’s second season, since figure skating, like many Olympic sports, is perhaps second only to porn in its stars’ limited shelf lives. “Figure skating burns out people really fast,” Weir nods. “I’m 28, but my body is probably 80, all the inside workings.” He pooh-poohs the possibility of transitioning into a coach à la Greg Louganis—“I spent so many years freezing my ass off in a cold ice rink I don’t want to be 60 or 70 and still freezing my ass off”—but would like to create and headline his own Cirque du Soleil-styled ice show, or even an official Cirque collaboration. “At the end of the day it’s very fit people in tight costumes. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Yet Weir, who has returned to training this year, has decided to compete once more at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia before officially retiring. As for whether he plans to wear fur—in 2010 he did not, after receiving death threats by anti-fur activists—or go faux again with say, kitty-friendly yarn during his competition career swan song? “I still wear fur,” he responds. “I choose to wear fur and I live in a free country and don’t listen to terrorists about my life. Now that somebody has faced me with death, in order to change, I will be much more strong in my ability to wear fur. As long as I make enough money to buy one, I will wear one!”
Be Good Johnny Weir airs on Logo Mondays at 10pm.