Q & A With Johnny
From love to Louboutins, Johnny answers new questions every week.
Q. Are there actually 1,001 ways to style a mullet?
Unclear, but I hope so.
(Webmaster’s note: Johnny cut off his mullet in October 2011, so we may never know for sure.)
Q. Your large suitcases look like safes. What brand do you use, and why?
! I have used Rimowa since 2004 and I would never change. They are light, strong, and roll on all fours, so they make it easy skipping through Narita or Sheremetyevo, and they look super chic. I think they are the same size as those cute little Fiats. You can’t be stylish traveling with one carry-on suitcase, no matter what the magazines say. I bring at least two options for every day I’m gone, and as obnoxious as that may be, it’s who I am and I can’t be tamed.
Q. You have inspired me to start figure skating, and I was wondering if you had any tips to help me! Also, what brand of skates do you use, or which ones do you think are the best?
Never be afraid to fall down! I use Riedell
boots and John Wilson Gold Seal blades
because they are the best!
Q. Johnny, you’ve been flying across the world the last few months, and I need to know your secret! How do you beat the jetlag monster?!
A. Lots of water.
Q. Did you want to be famous when you were growing up?
A. I never thought about fame because I was so sheltered growing up in the country. I didn’t know what a famous person was. I knew about Chopin and Tchaikovsky and how to grow tomatoes and ride horses, but being famous wasn’t on my radar. As I hit my late teen years, I appreciated famous people and what they were all about, but I never thought I’d become famous.
Q. Do you like to shock people?
A. I don’t have an aversion to shocking people, but I’m never out to shock people. I live my life, and if people laugh about me, cry about me, or decide I’m an obnoxious boob, then so be it. I just live and do the things I love.
Q. You’ve heard the comparison. So what do you think of Toller Cranston (his skating, him as a person), and have you ever met him?
I think Toller Cranston is a great champion and artist, and I will always respect his contribution to my sport. I met him once in 2004, after competing in my first world championship, and he congratulated me and I found him very kind. I respect the past champions of my sport, but I don’t have to revere them simply because they won something. I have created my career centered around me and what I find beautiful and good, not what someone else thinks is trendy, or by following anyone else’s path.
Q. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? You seem very social and outgoing, but you also seem to value your time alone. Would you rather be at a crowded party or home reading a good book?
A. I am a major introvert. Over time I’ve gotten more comfortable in public situations and mixing at parties and so on, but in general I prefer a one-on-one dinner with my friends, or sitting at home chilling in my underwear. I keep my creative juices flowing by spending a lot of time on my own.
Q. Your relationship with Stéphane Lambiel is adorable. What makes him so special to you?
Stéphane and I don’t keep in touch much outside of performing together. Stéphane is a crazy artist like me, so when we’re together, we can relate on that fact and sing and dance and go wild. Stéphane and I have been friendly since we began competing with each other in Slovenia in 1998, and ultimately our friendship evolved as we got older. He’s one of the kids I went to kindergarten with, so to speak, and we go through a lot of the same things. I have very few friends in my profession, and performing in many of the same shows with Stéphane is always special.
Q. I was wondering where you get all your Russian apparel? I’m a competitive figure skater, and my coach is Russian also. I want to represent! :)
My Russian apparel is actually given to me by the company who makes it, Bosco Sport
. Bosco is a very powerful name in Russian fashion, and Bosco Sport is the official apparel for the Russian Olympic team.
Q. Do you think you are good at cooking, and what is the best dish you can prepare?
A. I think my cooking is a work in progress. I can cook different meat and pasta dishes very well, but I’m still not amazing at making fish or baking. The best thing I make is fresh, handmade manicotti with spicy chicken sausage sauce. I also make a great mustard salad dressing.
Q. What are the very very basic skin-care steps that you do routinely in the morning? How long does it usually take you to get your face all ready for the world? What about if you’re just going to putter around the house (as impossible an idea as that is with your schedule…)?
A. I wash my face and moisturize every morning and night. I take great pride in my skin, and it’s my job to take care of it. I rarely get facials or change products, as I think that can hurt your skin and make it feel unsure of where it is. In my world, every object and thing has its own personality, and if you piss your skin off, it’ll piss you off. I usually take thirty minutes to get ready for the world — whether it’s for a red carpet or going to the grocery store — which I don’t think is too bad.
Q. My daughter always skates well, but recently she has been having a lot of problems calming her nerves before competitions. Any suggestions on dealing with this?
A. Nerves are the worst part of competing, but you need to have them! If you’re never nervous, you won’t really understand how to deal with it. One of the greatest comforts for me was visualizing the performance in my head, and also going out to the rink and seeing the lighting and feeling the cold to know what you’re dealing with environmentally.
Q. As you get older (waaaayyy in the future), will you go for plastic surgery, Botox, both, or will you let nature take its course? And what’s your view on plastic faces in Hollywood?
A. I’d assume I’ll know when I get to that point. I’m not against having work done by any stretch of the imagination. I think men oftentimes look funny once they’ve gone under the knife (Bruce Jenner), so I’d really have to think about it. My hope is that I am always comfortable with the way I look and own every inch of my aging skin.
Q. What is your favorite accessory?
My bags and watches. My favorite bag is probably my green Hermès Birkin, and my favorite watch is my rose gold Cartier Calibre!
Johnny’s green Hermès Birkin is featured in US Weekly’s November 28, 2011 “What’s in My Bag” column.
Q. Will you design any costumes this season? And whom will you support this season?
A. I have not designed any costumes this season because I have been far too busy. This season I am looking forward to seeing Yuzuru Hanyu continue to grow and prosper as a skater. I am really excited to see how Ksenia Makarova skates and her new material for the year. I am very excited to see Elizaveta Tuktamisheva compete on the Grand Prix — I mean, she looks like my little sister, and she has an amazing triple axel. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov were incredible last season and I can’t wait to see them in competition. I’m also interested in seeing Adelina Sotnikova, Li Zijun, Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, Adam Rippon, and Jason Brown!
Q. What new thing would you like to try, and what would you absolutely never try? (I’m thinking jumping out of a plane or something…)
A. I would really like to learn the Japanese alphabet — that’ll be the next new thing I learn. I will absolutely never go scuba diving, swim in the open ocean, or jump out of a plane.
Q. Do you ever take your chain of charms off?
A. I never take my necklace off. Every day I wear it, the power gets stronger. I even keep it on to clean it! I don’t allow anyone to touch my charms unless the clasp on the chain is closed so they can’t take my power from me. If I need to add a new charm, or remove an old one, I do it with white gloves on so I don’t rub off any of the luck. Superstitious? Nahhh.
Q. I am the mom of an amazing nine-year-old son. He has begun to take figure-skating lessons, and has recently moved up to freestyle lessons. He really enjoys it, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. My question is: How do I encourage my son and keep him strong as THE ONLY BOY taking figure-skating lessons right now in our area? I want him to continue on knowing that it doesn’t matter. His happiness matters.
A. My mother constantly told me she was proud of me and also made sure I understood the magnitude of what I was doing. She would say things like, “If you want to go to the Olympics one day, you will.” I think as long as you show your son how loved he is and how invested the family is in his success, nothing else really will affect him.
Q. Is there any song you wanted to skate to that you knew you couldn’t because it would be pushing the limits just a wee bit too far?
A. I’ve always wanted to skate to a rap song. Whether T.I. or Eminem, I don’t know, but I would skate it in a very real way, a very soulful way. Many skaters do rap as a funny performance — they pretend to have flavor and urban feelings, but they’re all super-white and “Wonder Bread,” as I say. I would want to tap into the soul and pain of rap and really do it right. You don’t have to sag your pants and dance like you’re drunk to perform to rap. I’d be Johnny Weir, skating the way I normally do, in a costume I’d be proud of, feeling the rap.
Q. Who is your favorite character on Shameless, and why?
I like Lip
the best because he knows exactly what he wants, and he’s extremely clever and handsome.
Q. To what extent do you think the mental component of competition is the biggest barrier to your success?
A. My mental game has always been the weakest part of my sporting life. When you think about it, kids usually start competing around age six or seven; I started at age twelve, and within four years I was the Junior World Champion. There wasn’t a lot of time to learn to jump, spin, compete, travel, and so on — I just did it. As I got older, I got better at competing, but when you’re immediately thrust into the top echelon of your sport, with the world watching, it’s hard to have the common ups and downs that an average kid goes through when they start competing. If I return to competition, I’ll have a whole new mental game built in.
Q. Tell us about one of the most embarrassing moments in your life.
A. Falling or crying on national and international television is pretty embarrassing.
Q. What places on the Earth would you like to visit?
A. As for places I haven’t been, Israel, Poland, Ukraine, Argentina and Brazil really interest me.
Q. Will you be competing in the next Winter Olympics?
A. I really hope so. It’s a huge commitment, but I know I can make it to another Olympic Games if I put my mind to it.
Q. Have you ever done anything incredibly stupid just to prove a point? If so, what?
A. In a sign of solidarity, I used to fall down on purpose just so my pair partner wouldn’t feel bad if she fell. In my training time with my first coach, I would storm off the ice to show that I’d had enough and didn’t need to hear her, but in reality I was just missing my own training time. I wore my Bosco Sport clothes that say “Russia” all over them at major competitions simply because I didn’t feel any support from the American Federation, and I wanted to prove to them that I could do everything I wanted without them and without playing their games. But many people who don’t know my past issues or who are just casual skating fans thought I hated America, which was never the case. Point is: I always have done and will continue to do things to prove a point, stupid or not.
Q. Who is your favorite character on Modern Family, and why?
I love Gloria
. She’s such a sex bomb, and so funny.
Q. If you had to choose one word to define you, what would it be?
Q. Is there one particular song or piece of music that makes you feel powerful?
A. I only listen to music that makes me inspired or feel strong and powerful. I always feel great when I listen to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”
Q. What, in your opinion, is the sexiest quality in a potential partner?
A. Soul. Looks fade, sex slows down, material things and success come in waves; the one thing I think is sexiest is that you can feel someone’s passions and their soul. A nice set of pouty lips parting to reveal a beautiful smile always helps too.
Q. What is your favorite piece of fur clothing that you own?
A. I can’t choose a favorite because the other ones will become jealous. My first fur coat, “Svetlana,” has a special place in my heart, though, because I had to work so hard to be able to buy it. Roberto Cavalli, beaver and python, very nice.
Q. Did you ever have an imaginary friend when you were little?
A. Nope, I liked a real friend. Call me crazy…
Q. Have you ever asked those around you to refer to you as “John” and not “Johnny”? Or do you prefer “Johnny”?
A. In school I was always “John,” because it separated school from my professional life. “John” sounded more professional than “Johnny” in educational institutions, so I went by “John.” I’ve come to accept “Johnny,” though I still prefer that people call me by whatever nickname they have for me over “Johnny.” But Galina always said if you change your name, or your sex, you change the alignment of your stars.
Q. If you were given the chance to create your own signature flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, what would it be?
A. Banana ice cream, chocolate chips, and a bit of marshmallow.
Q. Loved you on RuPaul’s Drag Race! You’ve been photographed in a dress occasionally. Would you ever go full-on drag queen?
A. I wouldn’t go full drag unless I had a complete make-over from a real Drag Queen, and just for a one-night-only situation, or for Halloween. Drag has never been a passion of mine. I do respect illusionists very much, but I am happy to be a boy and carry a purse, more than be a boy who looks like a girl carrying a purse. I like my penis too much to tuck and duct tape it!
Q. Have you ever been tempted, when some random person calls you “ma’am,” to just run with it?
A. I always run with it. Why would I fight them on their thought? In general
I won’t get to know someone who doesn’t know me well enough to call me “sir,” so I hike my bag up a little higher on my shoulder and prance away.
Q. If you were stranded on a desert island, and could choose eight pieces of music, a book, and a luxury item to have with you, what would they be?
A. Music: “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, “The Swan” by Saint-Saens, “Bound to You” by Christina Aguilera, “Halo” by Beyonce, “Odinochestvo” by Slava, “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum, “Gorod Kotorogo Net” by Igor Korneliyuk, and “Piano Concerto in A Minor” by Grieg. Book: The Charm School by Nelson Demille because I can read it over and over again. Luxury item: Chanel sunglasses.
Q. What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done with your skates on?
A. Eaten. My skates are sacred and I treat them with respect since they’re my vehicle to doing what I love. I have never made sweet love down by the fire in them.