I Want My Gay TV

Oscar Montoya Wants More Latine And Queer People In Front Of and Behind The Cameras

· Updated on October 4, 2023

From a young age, actor and comedian Oscar Montoya knew performing was in his blood. As a child in Palmira, Colombia, he found solace in his own company, but always knew he was the star of his own show.

Montoya made his breakthrough last year as Richie, the quick-witted photographer on HBO Max-turned-Starz original series, Minx, a ‘70s-set dramedy about the first male-focused erotic magazine. On the second season, which premieres July 21 on Starz, Montoya teases that we’ll see Richie deliver on even “more gay” and “more Latine” excellence.

Like Richie, Montoya is unapologetic about his queerness and his Latine heritage, but Montoya admits he’s a little more reserved than his character. He describes himself as “an introvert in extrovert drag.”

“I have a picture of me, at maybe four years old, where I’m in a park somewhere, and I’m just frolicking by myself,” says Montoya. And it’s literally my favorite picture that anyone has ever taken of me because I was just carefree, I was like living my life. And that really sums up how I was as a kid. I was very shy, I was an introvert, and I had a hard time opening up to people as a kid, just because I was really quiet. But I still lived in my own world and I had such a vivid imagination.”

Montoya arrived in the States at the age of 12, and he knew that as a Colombian, and as a boy who was “gay as hell,” he stood out among his peers. He admits going through puberty was “a toxic time” for him, and he tried to assimilate into American culture during his first few years in the States – which he says is something he regrets. 

He later fell into hip-hop and contemporary dancing, which became his entry into performing arts – where he could fully express himself. 

Over the years, Montoya has found several outlets for his vibrant personality and sharp wit to shine through. As a child, he didn’t grow up with the iconic Disney films we know and love, but through a grown-up lens, he has been watching the classic animated Disney films and offering hilarious commentary on his podcast, Inside The Disney Vault. He also hosts a live all-Latine comedy variety show every month, with his comedy troupe, Spanish Aquí Presents.

Through these independently produced projects, Montoya gets to tap into all of the nuances of his queer and Latine identity, combatting a Hollywood that still pigeonholes artists like him.

“It’s so interesting, because there is like a Latinidad that that feels sort of compartmentalized in Hollywood right now,” says Montoya, “where they see you as, ‘Okay, so you’re brown, so we’re going to only consider you for brown parts.’ And then, it’s like the queer layer on top of that, so it’s like, ‘Okay, well, not all brown parts, just like, the gay brown parts.’ There’s like, a lot of substacks. And then they’re like, ‘Oh, but you’re also, like, in a bigger body, so we’re going to put you in plus-size roles. And I don’t know how much of that is like a mental prison that is projected onto it, or if it’s just the way that Hollywood works, because they take everything at face value, I think. I’m very proud to be Colombian, I’m proud to be a queer, and I’m proud to be in the body that I’m in. People see that, and they’re like, ‘Okay, only roles for that.’ So my goal is to try to shift that perspective and put my point of view into any role that’s given to me, no matter what it’s supposed to be.”

Montoya even playfully suggests that he could play a straight, white man.

Courtesy of Starz

“Straight people have been taking gay roles from gay people all the time, since the dawn of cinema,” he says, laughing. “I can do that too.”

On Minx, the show’s namesake magazine, which is founded by characters Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond) and Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson), is deemed progressive for its time, despite proving polarizing in the local community. The show itself has also been labeled as a game-changer, with many lauding the show for its unabashed displays of sexuality and male nudity. 

But while the content itself continues to evolve, many actors, writers, and producers are reeling from the state of television from behind the scenes. 

“We’re still trying to figure out the ins and outs [of the streaming era],” says Montoya. “That’s why this writer’s strike is so important. It’s essential. It’s a turning point in our industry.”

While some may argue that in the age of streaming, there is an overflow of content, Montoya posits that there isn’t enough content offering multifaceted depictions of queer and Latine people. He says that if he were a teacher, he’d grade the current landscape of queer and Latine representation with a C.

Courtesy of Starz

“You have Primo on FreeVee, and It’s incredible,” says Montoya. “And Netflix had Gentefied, and that was a big landmark for all of us. It was a huge win for the Latine community, especially the community that lives in Los Angeles. And then it became like a figurehead of like, ‘If this show does bad, then we’re all doomed.’ Do you know what I mean?… I say we don’t have enough shows that represent all sides of our culture, whether that be Latine, whether that means queer, whether that means Latine and queer, there aren’t enough shows that capture our essence.”

Even Minx received the ax from Max last December, after initially being renewed for a second season. The show was nearly finished filming the entire season, and decided to complete filming, despite not having a home. The show would later be resurrected by Starz, with the episodes to air weekly.

While the 2023 Writers Guild of America Strike doesn’t seem to have an imminent end in sight, Montoya has imagined a better path to more quality representation on screen.

“People need to take more chances on BIPOC shows, and take more chances on queer shows, with queer people in front and behind the camera,” says Montoya. Because that’s also very important. People just need to take chances on stuff that they haven’t seen before.”♦

Minx, Season 2, premiers on Starz on Friday, July 21, at 9 p.m. EST

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