Billy Porter’s mainstream success forcing designers to change attitudes

Billy Porter and his stylist Sam Ratelle are now being “hounded” by designers who have refused to send the Pose star clothes in the past.

Before finding a legion of new fans thanks to his role as Pray Tell in Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s hit TV series, about the ball culture in ’80s New York, Billy was known as one of Broadway’s leading stars.

Thanks to Pose, Billy is now a household name, and over the last six months has brought his unique style to the mainstream red carpets at events like the Oscars, Golden Globes and the Met Gala.


“The very people who said, ‘No and no again,’ are literally hounding us,” Sam laughed to The Hollywood Reporter. “If there’s a change of heart, we’ll listen to it. But we don’t want to be anywhere that we’re not welcome. And it’s so funny, because they are interested in supporting when it works for them, but not when it doesn’t. ‘Come to the show and sit front row because you’re fabulous.’ However, when we go back and ask for things, it’s always a ‘no.'”

In February, the multi-talented star served as the official ambassador for New York Fashion Week’s men’s shows, sitting front row at numerous presentations.

He went on to stun at the 2019 Oscars, wearing a black velvet Christian Siriano ball gown, complete with a tuxedo jacket.

However, getting clothes sent in for the 49-year-old is no easy task.

“Others have told me in the best corporate way, ‘He’s a queen; we don’t want to work with him,’ or ‘He doesn’t have enough followers,’ or ‘We don’t like his Instagram aesthetic,’ or ‘He’s just not big enough.’ Which is generally what happens with Broadway talent,” Sam sighed. “Nobody wants to ever give them clothing. And these are often the most talented people in the world. They’re so deserving of looking fantastic. It’s a billion-dollar industry! We have to be able to open these doors.”