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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > November 2018 > INSIDE LANE

INSIDE LANE

Painter, illustrator, opera singer, comedian — MATTEO LANE has done it all. The Italian- American virtuoso may look like a hunky, reallife version of Mario Kart’s Luigi, but he opens
Matteo wears shorts, by Fila, socks, stylist’s own
Words Cliff Joannou Photography Leigh Keily Styling Joseph Kocharian

When did you realise you were funny?

I grew up on the same block as my 22 cousins, and we’re all around the same age, so we were constantly together. I was kind of the show-pony for the family: “Oh, look what Matteo can do!” I was always doing impressions, singing, imitating people on TV.

Do you think it was partly that classic thing of using humour to deflect attention from your sexuality?

I think it’s a combination. I grew up in a family which communicates through humour. But also, yeah, you add on all those layers — going through middle school, everyone starts falling into their gender roles and you’re like, “Uh, oh!” when you realise you’re gay. But I wasn’t clever enough or funny enough to use that as a defence. When I was called “faggot” I would just shut down. I don’t think I became proud of my humour until I was in college and came out, then I started caring less about what people thought. I think it’s different today, but in my time we didn’t have a Tyler Oakley.

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About Attitude

The Attitude Awards issue! With Adam Rippon, Jess Glynne, George Takei, Boy George, Tituss Burgess & more. Plus: 20 years on from Matthew Shepard’s murder his parents speak about his enduring legacy