Charlie David gets cozy with Jensen Atwood

Jensen Atwood
Jenson Atwood tease
Jensen Atwood

Charlie David gets the dirt from his Dante’s Cove co-star Jensen Atwood on poker habits, Halle Barry and playing bisexual.  

Jensen Atwood was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles.  After time in the military he caught the acting bug and was featured in music videos for Destiny’s Child, Toni Braxton, Ashanti, Lil Mo, Heather Headley and Chante Moore-Kenny Latimore.   

People started to sit up and take notice of the impossibly handsome Atwood.  He played opposite Halle Berry, in Oprah Winfrey Presents Their Eyes Were Watching God and has become an audience favorite for his role of Wade on Noah’s Arc.  Fans of the supernatural soap, Dante’s Cove can look forward to the temperature getting even hotter at the Cove when Jensen joined the cast for the third season.

Charlie David: You joined the cast of Dante’s Cove for season III in Hawaii.  Tell us about your character.

Jensen Atwood:  I play the role of Griffen, the bisexual warlock who is a representative of the Tresum Council and has come to Dante’s Cove to set things straight.  No pun intended.

Charlie David:  This is your second role on a “gay” show and this time you play a bisexual role. Do you have any concerns about being typecast?

Jensen Atwood:  As long as I don’t play the same role I’m happy. The roles of Wade and Griffen are very different. As well as Johnny Taylor and Snoop.  I’ve been blessed to have a pretty diverse career.

Charlie David:  How would you describe Dante’s Cove?

Jensen Atwood:  Dante’s Cove is like a gay Charmed but pushes the boundaries of what you’re used to seeing on television.

Charlie David:  Your character, Griffen, has a very generous attitude when it comes to sex.  Basically the world is his convenience store.  Was it strange to move to such a promiscuous ‘flower-child’ role after the monogamy of Noah’s Arc?

Jensen Atwood:  What was strange was creating meaning for things that have been created. I know that may sound a little confusing. Like Tresum Magic for example. I know this will be a shock to some… But I can’t really do magic.  So to make it as real as possible was a fun challenge.

Jenson Atwood is still king of the beard.
Jensen Atwood is still king of the beard.

Charlie David:  The cast has exploded with new and familiar faces like Jenny Shimizu, Jill Bennett, Reichen Lehmkuhl, and yourself.  Now all the boys and girls liked to toss around the football except for you and Reichen… Care to explain yourself??

Jensen Atwood:  I had a great time with all of the cast. It was torture to watch you guys toss the football around. I love football. But as you know I chose to keep my finger nails long for the character. So playing catch would have jeopardized the continuity. 

Ok, ok, so BASICALLY I didn’t want to break a nail. The first description sounded better though.

Charlie David:  What’s it like to act alongside the infamous Diva, Tracey Scoggins?

Jensen Atwood:  A pleasure. She makes really interesting choices.  And I feel I’m a better actor from working with her.

Charlie David:  You’re most well known for your role as Wade on Logo’s Noah’s Arc.  The show was a landmark showcasing the lives of gay African American men. What was it like to work on the show?

Jensen Atwood:  Working on the show felt like being with family at times. Together we started a project we believed in.  No money involved.  Just a love for the art and a belief in each other.

Charlie David:  I thought Noah’s Arc was so hot.  I begged Patrick Ian Polk to create a role for a skinny white boy… ‘Let me be a pizza delivery boy or Dude playing checkers #2!’  I didn’t care!  And now there’s a movie!!  Will it be like Rachel and Ross on Friends?  Will Noah and Wade get hitched? Will ‘Dude playing checkers #2’ finally get a date with Wade? (fingers crossed!)

Jensen Atwood:  I wish I knew. I am so out of the loop. From what I understand the there’s a happy ever after…. but I’m not sure if Dude playing checkers #2 is part of it.

Charlie David:  In Noah’s Arc, Wade goes through a coming out process which starts with a gay guy and straight guy as friends.  Then curiosity takes over… Do you think it’s common for straight guys to consider having an encounter with another guy, especially in light of gay and alternative culture being so chic right now?

Jensen Atwood:  No I don’t think that’s common for a straight guy at all. But because of the gay and alternative culture becoming more mainstream I think it leaves room for those that aren’t sure of there sexuality. Or for those whose sexuality isn’t as simple as gay or straight.

Charlie David:  There’s a whole DL or Down Low phenomenon that is sometimes relegated to the Black and Hispanic community.  Do you think with shows like Noah’s Arc and the DL Chronicles there will be a change in the community?  Will more men just cut the middle ground and come out?

Jensen Atwood:  I think some people feel comfortable in the middle ground. It’s a trip how DL has been demonized. I think the question is, why would a man have to pretend to be something that he is not? I think it could be easily answered knowing the history of our society.

Charlie David:  For some it’s becoming common for both straight and gay couples – either married or living together – to seek out extracurricular activities on the side.  How much does our generation need to adhere to society’s traditions or are we at a place where it’s suitable to set our own rules?

Jensen Atwood:  I would like to think living in America I have the right to be free.  And any union between consenting adults is between them two, them three, or however many you can manage to have a productive positive and loving relationship with.

Jensen Atwood chill and skip the Netflix.
Jensen Atwood chill and skip the Netflix.

Charlie David:  Is it hard being one of the most beautiful men in the world?

Jensen Atwood:  Thanks Charlie. It is difficult becoming a success in Hollywood. But it’s easy to maintain my roots. I love my family. And they love me enough to not allow me to get lost on Planet Hollywood.

Charlie David:  Who’s a better kisser – Tracey Scoggins, Darryl Stephens, Gregory Michael or Halle Barry?

Jensen Atwood:  Tough competition but Halle takes it!

Charlie David:  We played a lot of poker when not shooting.  You’re such a sweet guy I can’t imagine you bluffing… Which is probably why you beat me. You smile and I fold – here, just take my chips!  Since we’re almost done, fill me in on your most common play – fold, check, or bet?

Jensen Atwood:  You know me Charlie, I’m ALL IN!!!!

Charlie David:  Die hard fans will know you don’t only act and possess dimples to rival Antonio Sabato Jr. but you also sing.  Where can we take a listen?

Jensen Atwood:  I’m still at the very early stages of my music project. And I feel like things are moving in slow motion sometimes.  But I’ll be sure to keep you shoulder to shoulder with progress on my Instagram.

Be sure to check out Jensen Atwood’s band Dreamkillaz on iTunes and Spotify.

Charlie David discusses his work from Mulligans to Shadowlands

Charlie David Proud Times August 2018

Charlie David starred in Dante’s Cove, Mulligans, Judas Kiss and now is at the helm as director and star of the award-winning series Shadowlands.

Charlie David has worked as a host for E!, OUTtv, PinkTV, LOGO, NBC, Fine Living and Slice Networks.  According to many directors and producers that have worked with him, Charlie David is as humble and kind as he is talented.  The entertainment entrepreneur has been referred to as “an amazingly talented and creative entrepreneur”, “a consummate professional”, and “a pleasure to direct, a natural, very telegenic host, and a true gentleman.”

Charlie David Proud Times article August 2018

If you enjoyed this article about Charlie David, explore more interviews with actors from Border2Border Entertainment shows.

STUDlebrity – rise of the social celebrity

Studlebrity rise of the social celebrity Topher Dimaggio

What is a STUDlebrity?

Being famous for being famous is a phenomenon so ubiquitous that it’s almost no longer shocking. Ever since Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian showed up on the Hollywood scene as celebrities known almost exclusively for being rich socialites, thousands more are trying to gain notoriety despite having apparently very few skills–and they’re doing it using social media.

Canadian documentary filmmaker Charlie David explores the phenomenon of the chiseled gay males that are known as a STUDlebrity – guys who seem to make a career out of having impressive audiences on social media. We had the chance to meet Charlie David to discuss his new documentary Studlebrity, and his own personal beliefs about social media.

Q: Most recently you’ve been behind the scenes in director roles. What were your onscreen jobs in the past?

I’ve done on camera work since I was a teenager. In terms of openly gay roles, I was in Dante’s Cove–the first gay series on the first gay network in the U.S, Here TV. I also hosted a travel show on a queer network called Bump!. I’ve moved towards directing over the past 5 years, but I still act. I just appeared in a movie called Paternity Leave about a gay couple who get pregnant!

Q: It sounds like portraying gay characters in the media has been your passion. Did you have any gay actor or director role models growing up?

I didn’t. I grew up in small town Saskatchewan in the 80’s and 90’s when there weren’t as many LGBTQ people represented in the media. At the time, being gay was so closely associated with the fear of HIV that the thought of coming out was scary. It’s part of why being involved in these shows has been so rewarding. We’re trying to grow diversity in the types of stories we’re telling so young people have more examples of successful, healthy gay people. At this point, though, I think being gay is so widely accepted that it’s not a “big deal” in mainstream media anymore. Because of recent political developments, I feel like suddenly the floodgates are opening and so much of the stigma that used to exist has gone by the wayside.

Q: What compelled you to create Studlebrity?

I was curious about this whole “social media star” phenomenon. Technology is part and parcel of our lives now, and we can’t really escape it without ostracizing ourselves. In the old world, studios produced all the content for audiences. Now, we’re the producers and the consumers of content. It’s a new paradigm that we have to figure out, and what gear in that machine we want to represent. Technology is advancing more quickly than we are, and we have to play a bit of catch up when it comes to understanding our relationship with it. It’s a terribly exciting time.

Q: Some of the subjects in your film seem to turn their social media activity into a lucrative living. Is it truly a sustainable career?

It’s a profitable career for very few people. A lot of aspiring actors try to build up their brand using social media to get acting jobs, but it’s not a surefire way to make money.

Q: At one point in the film, there’s some suggestion that these gay “studs” are possibly helping younger gay youth come out. Would you say the subjects in the film could be considered positive role models?

Being able to see other happy, successful, openly gay men living their lives can be empowering to young people who are afraid to come out. Certainly, having more gays represented in the media, and on social media, is a good thing, although I can’t conclusively says every STUDlebrity is a great role models for teenagers. I personally don’t think the elements of gay life depicted in this film are all that attractive or positive, but it’s the truth, it’s happening. My job is to expose this phenomenon, to look at it and examine it, but not tell you what I think about studlebrities – that’s up to the individual.

Q: Your film explores the darker side of the Studlebrity…

Right, including the addiction to validation via social media which is pretty harmful. I think seeking validation is a natural human instinct, but it’s one we should be wary of. If your endorphins get going from seeing likes or comments, that’s a very precarious place.

Social media also unfortunately enables people to compare themselves to these highly curated images of other people’s lives. For vulnerable young people especially, these social media stars give power to that negative little voice that resides in us that sometimes says “you’ll never be that fit” or “you’ll never be that popular”.

Q: A psychologist, Doctor Laurie Betito, makes an appearance in the film and warns against some of these social media “dangers”. What are some important pieces of advice she’s given?

She certainly warns against posting nude photos, or photos in compromising positions and states of undress. Putting yourself out there in a way that could potentially taint future relationships, especially professional ones is a real risk. I personally think we can dial down the overt sexuality seen in social media. It cheapens us.

Q: What’s the best way to approach social media?

I think we need to curate who we follow in the same way we all curate what we choose to post. Follow people that give you a sense of joy and inspiration, not those that make you feel inadequate.

Q: What do you want the viewer of Studlebrity to come away with?

The best thing I can hope for is that people talk about it. You can dislike it or get angry about it or agree with it, but I feel I’ve accomplished my goal if it incites a conversation and even a bit of self reflection. If the audience can look at their social profiles and ask themselves “is this representation of myself something I feel good about?” then I feel the film has served a purpose.

Q: What films can we expect to see in the near future?

I have a sevearl new documentaries coming out. There’s Balls, which is about testicular health and how, as men, we relate to our balls from many different standpoints.

We’ll also be launching PolyLove soon which explores polyamory and non-monogamy.  I just keep following my curiosity! 

Studlebrity ou On aime les belles gueules

Entrevue: Charlie David

Être célèbre pour être célèbre est un phénomène de société tellement omniprésent que ce n’est plus scandaleux du tout. Depuis l’entrée hollywoodienne de Paris Hilton et Kim Kardashian, connues seulement pour être mondaines et riches, des milliers d’autres tentent d’acquérir une certaine notoriété en utilisant les médias sociaux et ce, malgré une dose minime de talent.

Le documentariste canadien Charlie David explore le phénomène des homosexuels au corps musclé qu’on surnomme les studlebrities, ces hommes qui semblent s’être créée une carrière par le seul fait d’avoir amassé un nombre impressionnant d’amateurs sur les médias sociaux. Nous avons eu la chance de rencontrer Charlie David et de discuter de son nouveau documentaire Studlebrity et de ses opinions à propos des médias sociaux.

Plus récemment, on vous retrouve derrière la caméra en tant que réalisateur. Quels ont été quelques-uns de vos rôles à l’écran?

J’ai travaillé en tant qu’acteur de puis mon adolescence. En terme de rôles ouvertement gais, j’ai joué dans Dante’s Cove qui était la première série gaie sur Here TV, première chaîne gaie aux États-Unis. J’ai aussi animé une émission de voyage sur une station queer appelée Bump!. Je me suis orienté vers la réalisation dans les cinq dernières années, mais je joue encore la comédie. Je viens d’apparaître dans un film intitulé Paternity Leave à propos d’une couple homosexuel qui attend un enfant!

On dirait qu’interpréter des personnages homosexuels dans les médias est une de vos passions. Étant jeune, y avait-il des acteurs ou réalisateurs homosexuels qui vous servaient de modèle?

Il n’y en avait pas. J’ai grandi dans une petite ville de Saskatchewan dans les années 80 et 90 et il n’y avait pas autant de gens LGBTQ représentés dans les médias. À l’époque, être gay était si étroitement associé à la peur du VIH que l’idée de s’afficher publiquement était effrayant. C’est en grande partie pour cette raison qu’être impliqué dans ces émissions s’est avéré être si gratifiant. Nous tentons de diversifier le genre d’histoires que nous racontons pour que les jeunes aient plus d’exemples de personnes homosexuelles qui réussissent dans la vie et sont en santé. Je pense aussi qu’être gai est accepté à un point tel que ce n’est plus la mer à boire dans les médias grand public. Grâce aux récents événements politiques, j’ai l’impression que tout d’un coup les vannes sont ouvertes et que beaucoup des préjugés qui existaient ont été enfin délaissés.

Qu’est-ce qui vous a inspiré à créer Studlebrity?

J’étais vraiment intrigué par cet espèce de phénomène de « vedette des médias sociaux ». La technologie fait maintenant part entière de nos vies et il est pratiquement impossible de l’éviter sans pour autant s’ostraciser. Auparavant, les studios produisaient tout le contenu disponible à l’audience alors que de nos jours, nous sommes à la fois les producteurs et les consommateurs du contenu. C’est un nouveau paradigme que nous devons définir, tout comme le rôle que nous voulons y jouer. La technologie avance plus rapidement que nous le faisons et nous devons rattraper ce retard pour comprendre la relation que nous entretenons avec elle. C’est une période extrêmement passionnante.

Quelques-uns des sujets de votre film semble réussir à avoir leur présence sociale en une occupation lucrative. Est-ce vraiment une carrière durable?

C’est une carrière rentable pour très peu de gens. Beaucoup d’acteurs en herbe essaient de cultiver leur identité d’artiste en se servant des médias sociaux pour obtenir des rôles, mais ça n’est pas une façon automatique de faire de l’argent.

À un moment durant le film, la suggestion est émise que ces beaux mecs gais aident possiblement la jeunesse gaie à s’afficher. Diriez-vous que les sujets du film peuvent être considérés comme des sont des modèles positifs?

De pouvoir voir d’autres hommes à la fois ouvertement gais, heureux et accomplis peut être très motivant pour les jeunes qui veulent annoncer leur homosexualité. Il est certain qu’avoir une visibilité médiatique plus grande pour les homosexuels est une bonne chose, mais je ne peux affirmer que toutes les studlebrities soient de bons modèles pour les adolescents. Personnellement, je ne pense pas que tous les éléments de la vie gaie présentés dans le film soient très attrayants ou positifs, mais c’est la vérité, ça arrive. Mon travail est d’exposer ce phénomène, de l’observer et de l’examiner, mais pas de vous dire ce que je pense des studlebrities – la tâche revient à chacun.

Votre film explore le côté sombre de la Studlebrity…

Exactement, incluant la dépendance très néfaste à la validation à travers les médias sociaux. Je pense que rechercher de la validation est un instinct humain naturel, il faut parfois s’en méfier. Si vos endorphines s’emballent à voir des « j’aime » ou des commentaires, c’est très précaire comme situation.

Les médias sociaux permettent aux gens de se comparer avec des images savamment étudiées de la vie d’autres personnes. Pour des jeunes vulnérables, ces vedettes des médias sociaux donnent du pouvoir à la petite voix négative à l’intérieur de nous qui parfois nous dit « tu ne seras jamais aussi en forme » ou « tu ne seras jamais aussi populaire ».

La psychologue Dr. Laurie Betito fait une apparition dans le film et met en garde contre les dangers des médias sociaux. Quels sont quelques-uns des conseils importants qu’elles a donnés?

Elle met en garde contre le fait d’afficher des photos nues ou prises des positions compromettantes. S’exposer de cette façon peut potentiellement entacher des relations futures, celles professionnelles sont particulièrement à risque. Je pense qu’il est possible de diminuer le niveau de sexualité flagrante dans les médias sociaux. Ça nous discrédite.

Quelle est la meilleure façon d’approcher les médias sociaux?

Je pense qu’on doit porter la même attention aux gens que nous choisissons de suivre qu’à celle dont on fait preuve en choisissant ce qu’on affiche. Suivez des gens qui vous apportent de la joie et vous inspirent, et non ceux qui vous font sentir inadéquats.

Qu’aimeriez-vous que l’audience de Studlebrity retire du film?
Ce que je peux espérer de mieux est que les gens en parlent. Vous pouvez ne pas aimer, en être vexé, ou à l’inverse être d’accord, mais je pense que j’aurai atteint mon but si le film provoque une discussion et peut-être même une réflection interne. Selon moi, si les membres de l’audience regardent leurs profils sociaux et se demandent si cette représentation de leur personne est quelque chose qui les fait se sentir bien ou pas, le film aura servi à quelque chose.

Quels films peut-on attendre dans un futur proche?

J’ai un nouveau documentaire qui prendra l’affiche intitulé Balls. C’est à propos de la santé testiculaire et des différentes facettes de la relation qu’ont les hommes envers leurs couilles.


Written by Mikela Jay for