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When we see the glossed, polished Chrishell Stause dealing in “multi-million dollar homes” on Selling Sunset, it’s damn near impossible to envisage her life any other way. Before she was one of the world’s  most stylish realtors (in addition to being an Emmy-nominated actress), however, Stause felt “extreme shame” over her experiences with homelessness – a fact she has discussed at large on the Netflix series. Stause tells GAY TIMES that, after identifying as an “outcast” for most of her life, she finally feels “embraced” as a result of coming out as LGBTQIA+: “Joining the community, there is a sense of the outcasts coming together and making sure that nobody ever feels like that.”

With her marriage to non-binary musician (and former GT cover star) G-Flip, Stause has found a renewed “confidence”. This was on full display in the seventh season of Selling Sunset when she memorably called out a fellow cast member for misgendering G, which has been hailed as a watershed moment for non-binary visibility and pronoun awareness on mainstream television. “We’re filming a TV show that will go out to 190 countries, so it is absolutely my duty to correct that,” says Stause. “I just can’t fathom making a big deal out of making someone comfortable over something as simple as a pronoun. We can all learn and do better. If you can’t be the person that wants to try and make someone feel instantly more comfortable, then stay home.”

This month, Stause will be in conversation – for one night only! – with social media influencers Jack Remmington and Ash Holme at the London Palladium for a no-holds-barred chat. Ahead of her most candid gig yet, Stause speaks with GAY TIMES about discovering her sexuality and marriage to G-Flip, as well as the new season of Selling Sunset (which she describes as the “most dramatic season” yet!).

Chrishell, we are so excited for your upcoming show Up Close and Personal. First of all, where did the idea come from?

Every time I come to London – which is one of my favourite cities – people would ask, ‘Where can we meet you?’ and I never know what to say! Of course, I would be happy to meet people and talk to them on a grand scale, so I was excited. I didn’t know what the Palladium was, and having realised… oh my gosh. It is such an honoured space, so I’m putting everything into it so everyone can leave the night feeling uplifted and ready to have a drink.

The description for the show says you will “dive deep” into some monumental moments in your life, from your homelessness to starring on Selling Sunset and your relationship with G-Flip. So, how are you feeling about getting so – as the title says – up close and personal with audiences?

It is a topic that has scared me many times in the past, just by virtue of what I do, being on a show like this and trying to protect my peace. In the past year or so, I’ve become closer to living my life as an open book. There have been some trials and struggles that I have dealt with privately and not wanted to share with people because of judgement and criticism. That being said, if I can look back at my past and learn anything, it’s that when you do share with people, you connect and give them the comfort that they’re not going through it alone; or give them inspiration to live everyday for the most, because you don’t know what the future holds. We are all trying our best. So, something with a title like Up Close and Personal would have really scared me. I’m in a different place in my life now, where I have turned a new page. Hopefully, I can try and inspire people and let them know they’re not alone.

The new season of Selling Sunset is due to be released this year. Of course, I’m sure you have to be quite tight-lipped about it, but is there anything you say?

We just finished filming season eight and… whoa. I will say it probably ties for the most dramatic season we’ve ever had. I’ve had some really exciting real estate moments, and I’m happy to say that I didn’t bring the drama! Unfortunately, I’m plopped in the middle of it because these are my friends, and some of them are like family. This isn’t manufactured drama. You’ll see this season that we’ve had to deal with real heavy-hitting life events, so I think that will take this show into a place that nobody wishes for everyone. As you know, I’ve been doing this show for a long time, and sometimes my real life intersects with filming. Some of that happens in real time, so it causes some drama. I think it’s nice when the show leans into the fun side, and you get to see us going to different places and doing fun things. The show’s goal is to always out-do itself, and I will say that it’s going to be a crazy season.

Since being with G-Flip, it feels like you are taking no prisoners on Selling Sunset. Of course, you’ve always stood up for yourself, but it feels like we’ve recently seen you step into your own and we’re seeing Chrishell at 100 per cent. Is there any connection between the two?

Oh, unequivocally. I am so happy. Being with G and having real confidence of knowing that I have my person, they have my back, it feels like I’ve found myself. That’s the confidence that you see [on Selling Sunset]. I definitely feel like, as much as I love and I’m grateful for what I do, I don’t need to do the show. So, I think that’s the confidence you see on there, where it’s like I want to be there, because it’s serving something that I really like doing, and I really enjoy the people and situations… It depends. That confidence is there because I don’t have to be there, and I only want to be there if I can further my trajectory.

That confidence you saw on season seven of me standing my ground and not changing because it was, not only what a lot of cast members were telling me to do, but also all of production. You don’t see that. When I’m fighting to not go somewhere, I am fighting a whole production team and standing my ground on something that, in the moment, can make you feel crazy and like you’re going against everyone. Then, when the show comes out, I’m like, ‘Oh! I wasn’t crazy. I knew I wasn’t crazy.’ It’s interesting to have that confidence and film a show like this, because you have to either find it or have it, otherwise you will go mental.

We witnessed this side to you when you fiercely defended G’s pronouns, which felt like a watershed moment for non-binary visibility on mainstream television. Were you aware of how powerful that moment would be?

I don’t think I did. When we’re filming, I never know what they’re going to use. It happens in life all the time. You’ll sit down at a restaurant and they’ll be like, ‘Hi ladies!’ and I’m not the kind of person that instantly makes a big deal about things. But if it’s about someone in my life, I do, and I try and do it in a nice respectful way. You have to understand that we’re filming a TV show that will go out to 190 countries, so it is absolutely my duty to correct that. G’s the most beautiful human I’ve ever met in my life, and to see the amount of hate they get sometimes just because of something so simple, it really is heartbreaking. It also brings out a fierce, protective to me that I, sometimes, don’t even have for myself.

But, when I see how some people will talk to them, it’s so unnecessary and uncalled for. I do feel like it’s important to use my voice to speak up for them. I know they’re one person, but they’re one of many and I know that meant a lot to some people. I always use this comparison: imagine you met someone called Samantha who would prefer to be called Sam – imagine throwing such a fit over what makes them comfortable? I just can’t fathom making a big deal out of making someone comfortable over something as simple as a pronoun. We can all learn and do better. If you can’t be the person that wants to try and make someone feel instantly more comfortable, then stay home.

Thank you for that, as it’s opened so many conversations – even in my own family. There was a ripple effect…

Starting the ripple isn’t always the most liked position to be in, but down the road, the goal is that this isn’t going to be a big deal. Starting the ripple will feel monumental, and I’ve started ripples many times in my career! I’m certainly not starting this ripple, but I think I’ve started it in mainstream reality television. The ripple needed to start.

I saw your Valentine’s Day post to G where you explained how, a week before the photo was taken, you believed you were only attracted to men. How have you been navigating this new aspect of your identity, especially on such a mainstream scale?

In the beginning, it did feel terrifying and exposing because I had questions and people were asking me questions that I didn’t have the answers to. It feels like this was all meant to happen. I feel like my life has been that way, my journey and growing up with this extreme shame of being homeless. Then, having to sell multi-million dollar homes on television. All these crazy things sounds like a writer wrote it! It’s almost stranger than fiction. With my sexuality being a touch point for so many conversations, I’m surrendering to the idea that it was meant to be. I’m meant to help other people understand it a little more. Maybe for kids watching Selling Sunset, it could be something as simple as not bullying someone who doesn’t have the right clothes or not bullying someone who is using a pronoun you think is silly. Maybe they didn’t know someone who was queer before, and now they see me on TV and see that I’m the same person; a regular person and a person they liked.

I love being a lesbian, so I wanted to ask, what is your favourite part about being in the LGBTQIA+ community?

Oh my gosh, I haven’t been asked this, which is interesting. The common thread that feels so beautiful is that every single person and story is valid. That sense of community and belonging is the best part. When I was younger, I felt like an outcast for not having the right clothes or running water, so I didn’t exactly smell the nicest all the time. Joining the community, there is a sense of the outcasts coming together and making sure that nobody feels like that. I thought I might feel like that, because I came out later in life and didn’t have a story of feeling closeted. I feel like my sexuality is more like a spectrum and being attracted to energies. So, I would say that feeling embraced and like I belong in this crazy world is beautiful. And we are in an election year, so it is more important than ever to, not only have that sense of community, but to embrace our allies because we need them more than ever.

You can buy tickets for Chrishell Stause: Up Close and Personal here.