'Glee'-ful and Proud with Alex Newell

by Chris Carpenter
Saturday Jul 12, 2014

21-year-old Alex Newell has already conquered the world of TV, thanks to his recurring role as transgender student Wade "Unique" Adams on "Glee." He won the role as a result of competing on "The Glee Project" in 2011, while he was still in high school. Newell's initial reward was a two-episode story arc, but he is about to begin his fourth season.

The self-proclaimed diva has now set his eyes on the music world. His first single, a cover of "Nobody to Love," just became available and Newell is currently putting the finishing touches on his first album. He will likely be introducing some of the tracks during his Main Stage performance at the San Diego Pride Music Festival the afternoon of Sunday, July 20. I recently had a delightful phone chat with this truly unique and gifted multi-hyphenate.

How's it going? What are you up to?

Hey! She's just shopping in New York today, waking it up and having fun.

We are very excited to have you back at San Diego Pride! How was your first experience here in 2012?

It was so much fun! I love coming to San Diego and just having a good time. The first time I went, I was with my mom and two agents. We had a blast.

What will you be singing? Can you give us a sneak peek?

I have no idea. I never know what I'm going to do until I'm there. When I spoke at San Diego Pride two years ago as a Grand Marshal, I didn't know what I was going to say until just beforehand. I believe in living in the moment and going with the spirit.

You recently released your first single, congrats! When is the album coming out?

I don't know yet. We're still recording everything. It's a lot of work, but going great. I'm really excited about it.

"Glee" is heading into its last season. Is Unique still a part of it? Do you know what's going to become of him/her?

You want to know, we want to know! (Laughs) The actors are waiting to hear. As soon as we know, you'll know... at least, what we're allowed to talk about.

"Whoever I share my life with has to accept everything I have been through and everything that I am."

How has the "Glee" experience been for you all in all?

It's been amazing. I was still in high school when I entered the "Glee" world, and everything just took off. It's been so fast-paced, but I've loved every minute of it.

I read you attended a Catholic high school. What was that like as a gay teenager?

It was perfectly fine. I'm every bit of a diva, so nobody really bothered me. When I came out I was a force of nature, so they didn't dare get in my way. (Laughs) Plus, they respected me as a singer, which I had been doing since I was a kid and then I was on "The Glee Project." The former principal is so sweet to me still, Sister Cathy. She's a nun. (Laughs)

This is a more philosophical question, but what does pride mean to you?

Being prideful of who you are; what you did today or this week or month that has made you who you are. And as a community, being proud of how far we have come.

Looking ahead 20 or 30 years, where do you hope to be?

Married with at least three kids, being a stay-at-home daddy and working only for fun. I'd love to have four albums out, six Tonys, four Grammys and three Oscars and be happy. I'm very family-oriented. I love cooking, cleaning and shopping. I'd be happy taking care of my husband and kids. Thirty years from now? Wow, I'll be 50! (Laughs)

Who is your ideal man?

Rich. (Laughs) No, someone who is understanding of my past and my emotions. As an actor, you have to dig into your past and your emotions a lot. Losing my dad - he died when I was six years old - was hard. In a way, I'm still getting over it. Whoever I share my life with has to be understanding of that. They have to accept everything I have been through and everything that I am.

Wow, I'm sure you will find someone special. Thanks so much for your time, Alex. We can't wait to see you at San Diego Pride!

Thank you! It's going to be a blast!

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