Drumroll, please… Here’s the interview you’ve been waiting for! I’ve truly heard your desperate cries to find out everything there is to know about reality star and Palm Springs personality, hunkalicious Scott Cullens. I just happen to have direct access to the man himself and in-between shooting his new reality program Grand Designs for A&E, I was able to get him to sit down and reflect on a wonderful life well lived. We know each other well enough to be aware of one another’s sick and twisted mindset and humor which I believe draws us together. I knew Master Cullens’ answers would be fierce. But of all the celebrity interviews I’ve done and there’s blessedly been a few from RuPaul Dolls and soap opera stars, Scott gave me more heart and soul than I had even imagined him offering.
I see Scott on a daily basis at World Gym Palm Springs pumping iron, cutting abs with his trainer Eddie and sweating the house down on our cardio playground. Cullens is religious about his workouts and worships the time he spends at the gym. His body is unbelievable. He is always in his look and I’ve never seen him look bad. From carrying a pink backpack over his bowling ball sized shoulders to overseeing his own company, Palm Pacific Construction, creating masterpieces in beautiful homes across the Valley, Scott Cullens is one of a kind. Unique, complex and a brilliant example of the way gay culture is often revered today, here’s Scott on striving for perfection as a Gym Barbarian, his time with Barbara Walters on The View and what type of man really turns him on.
Steven Michael – Let me start off by saying in my most reassuring Samantha Jones voice to Carrie Bradshaw before she became “runway roadkill” during Margaret Cho’s fashion show in Sex and the City, “You’re a model.” An inside joke, indeed. Can you give us a brief history of where you grew up and what your childhood was like?
Scott Cullens – “The best way for you to visualize my childhood in Kansas and Missouri is to think of Honey Boo Boo but with less class. My parents were in high school when they had me so we grew up together. I remember our airbrushed van – naked ladies with gigantic tits, shag carpeting on the floor, ceiling and walls with a wet bar and moon roof. We entered the van in car shows and I took the trophies to show and tell. I worked very hard pumping gas, mowing lawns, picking up aluminum cans so I could keep up with the kids at school with new Nikes and terry cloth shirts. It wasn’t a dream childhood, but I had parents that loved me.”
“I did have the brawn as a teenager. I went to high school with Brad Pitt. Yes, he may have become an international mega super celebrity, however, I won ‘Best Body’ in high school. He might have the fame but I have the ‘Best Body’ award. Remind me to dig it out for you from Mom’s basement. I was a swimmer in high school and was well liked by the girls. However, you weren’t allowed to be popular unless you played football or were a cheerleader. Thank God for those girls liking me or I would have been an outcast.”
Ooh, child. I do not miss high school. I was very involved in clubs, band and even a cheerleader but knew there was a life outside of it waiting for me. What do you personally feel is the biggest misconception about you?
“The biggest misconception about me is that it’s easy for me to stay in this shape. There is a fat guy screaming to get out of me. I workout like a fiend every day, hour of cardio, hour and half of weights. I try to watch my diet but I’m drawn to junk food.”
“I would love to give you lots of information about my new television show on A&E but we are only in the 2nd week of filming and I’m contractually unable to discuss the details until we get closer to airing. I can tell you it is a home building and design show that is already popular in other countries. They are following me building a new luxury home in Palm Springs over the next several months from start to finish. I’m very excited and fortunate to be a part of this project. I will of course find it appropriate to take off my shirt at many inappropriate times during filming.”
Well naturally, Gypsy Rose Lee. Your fans would have it no other way. What do you find the most fascinating part of shooting reality TV? And the biggest misconception about filming?
“Reality TV is like porn, a lot of starting and stopping. It is not really flowing like you see it in the finished product. It’s always difficult to remember to repeat the question you are asked by the director in your responses or the viewer has no idea what you are talking about.”
I have always believed that reality stars are pawns for the editors. Bruce Villanch once said to do and re-do what the directors want in reality television or they’ll fuck you in editing. Which best describes your workout regime? Joan Crawford’s Mommie Dearest intensity or a Navy Seals hardcore beat down? Describe your workouts and do you eat exactly what you should for the perfect physique?
That actually sounds good to me right now. The food not the regime. Well, whatever you do works really well. We’re friends naturally on Facebook and I see the comments people leave for you and your breathtaking images, basically paying homage for a job well done. Of course, I must bring you down to earth by witty quips of my humor and I see some of your other confidants do as well. It comes from a place of love. How does it make you feel when you read the comments of admiration? Because I’ll be first to say it, “Bitch you look good.”
Just hit the 45-year-young mark myself. How do you deal with haters and do you find they are out there watching you waiting for you to have a bad hair day, so to speak?
“When I did my first television show, I was unprepared for the haters. The blogs and fan mail was 90% nice but the other 10% were not just mean, they were blood-thirsty, venomous, hateful messages. It really got to me for a bit. But then I realized that not a single one of those people know me or have even met me. That much energy put into hate must surely be about something wounded within them and I stopped taking it personally.”
“My interview on The View was a fantastic experience. I was afraid of Elizabeth Hasselbeck because of her conservative stance on everything. However, she called out my name when she saw me before the show and introduced herself. After a while, I realized I may not agree with a single word out of her mouth but she is a nice woman and I respect her. Whoopi was the nicest and gave me a bear hug and whispered in my ear that my bravery on coming out with severe OCD helped a lot of people and she was proud of me. Barbra Walters was asked specifically not to bring up a scene in the show involving a tampon. The producer said it was too much for morning audiences. I was sitting one foot from her as she agreed not to speak about it. Then WHAM! She side swipes me with a question about the tampon scene. I came back with the solid quip, “I understand how scaring the gay guy with a tampon is hilarious, I get it,” and that ended the entire segment.”
“She later tracked me down after the show and asked me a half dozen questions about my relationship and OCD. I called her Barbara and I think she wanted a Ms. Walters. Oooops. Two weeks later I was contacted by the Oprah show and booked for September 11th that year with Whitney Houston. You don’t think I was nervous? Well, a few days later, after I’m sure a thorough Google search involving naked pictures and my Big Muscle profile, I was uninvited. I told ABC and The View about the pictures online and they didn’t care. My story is still interesting and helpful whether you’ve seen my dick online or not. Whatevs.”
Whatevs, indeed. I remember you telling me the story after you had returned from New York and I was wanting to hear it again. Thanks for sharing. I had been in Nashville when it aired and I was packing to return home in the hotel room watching you thinking, Whoa! Speaking of Obsessed, were you happy with how you were portrayed overall? How does it feel seeing yourself on the television?
“When I was first contacted for the show Obsessed, I said, ‘Hell no!’ I carried around these crazy thoughts and behaviors in my head my entire life and I was not going to be ridiculed on national television by discussing them openly. But my therapist said that if I could help one kid that was afflicted like I was, would it be worth it? So I agreed. Overall, I was happy that the show reached millions of people and I received hundreds of emails and messages from people that went to seek help from a professional or the best letters were from teenagers who told their parents they suffered from the same thing that guy on television does. I was trapped in my room at age eight because I had so many rituals I had to perform to get out. It’s torture.”
“The show really focused in on my obsession with germs but that really was a masterful edit because my real affliction is counting and where I walk or don’t walk. What I touch or don’t touch. It’s really an inexplicable affliction but the best way to explain it is there are these strange thoughts that enter an OCD-afflicted person’s head which then causes anxiety. The anxiety seems to be temporarily abated by performing a senseless ritual. I have had many many years of therapy and lead a life that most would not even notice any of my rituals. I work hard to keep the anxiety low and not perform the rituals. Stress makes it worse. Being happy seems to be the best medicine for the affliction.”
“I know several of the guys in The Adonis Factor received a lot of backlash after the movie aired. I was as honest as I could be about circuit parties, drug use, steroid use, Botox, and all of the things that are a part of being in the ‘gay scene.’ I think my total honest approach garnered me a lot of fans and support for my role in the movie. I really did not get a single mean or hateful message. They were all very positive.”
What do you do on your time off? How does Scott let his hair down?
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for today’s gay community and thoughts on how to combat it and survive through it?
“One of the biggest challenges for today’s gay community is drug abuse. The drugs have been there for those of us who could not handle the feelings of ‘less than’ or fear. Crystal Meth seems to be the worst culprit and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t tried it to just know that it is not worth the experience. I have no judgments about drug use, but I do have judgments about drug abuse when it has a negative impact on the individual and our community. I’m grateful I have the frame of reference I do. Sex and parties are so much more fun sober, for me.”
“I had intentions of being a doctor. I finished pre-medical training and did some externships after college. My life today may not have been exactly what the plan was when I was younger but I can honestly say its better than I had ever hoped.”
If you weren’t living here in Palm Springs, where would you be? If you didn’t have the successful construction business, what would you be doing?
“I cannot understand why everyone in the world doesn’t want to live in California. I’ve lived in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Palm Springs. I could live anywhere as long as it is within the State of California. I used to own several private training gyms in Los Angeles. We had mostly a celebrity clientele like Herb Ritts, Brad Pitt, Rachel Hunter, K.D. Lang and Monica Lewinsky. I’ve changed my career several times in my life and always found success. If you love digging ditches and are passionate about digging ditches, then you will find a lot of success digging ditches. Find a passion and it always turns into success.”
What is you biggest passion?
What can people expect from you as a good friend and what do you expect from the people in your close circle?
“I expect loyalty, honesty and money from my friends. They can expect loyalty, honesty and that I’ll spend the money.”
As far as romance goes, what kind of man do you look for? And are you seeing anyone serious right now?
“I am a serial monogamous dater. I like pretty boys and I do not have the best track record as far as tenure but I do not regret any of my relationships. My first boyfriend 20 years ago is still my best friend today. I am currently seeing someone. We have only been dating for a couple months but maybe #14 is my lucky number!”
What do you want your legacy to be?
What/Who truly inspires you to be greater than you are?
Any advice for today’s LGBTQ youth?