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June 13, 2023 6 min read




At this early stage in his career, Zane Phillips already showcases an enticing versatility in the array of characters he portrays. Whether it's capturing the hearts of audiences as a teen-heartthrob and demigod in CW's hit fantasy series Legaciesor embodying the charismatic and captivating modernised version of Jane Austen's George Wickham in Hulu's Fire Island,the Colorado-born actor refuses the predictable. 

With his latest endeavour in Netflix's groundbreaking queer drama Glamorous,Phillips once again proves his commitment to exploring diverse roles and playing against stereotypes. "To me, if I'm doing this right, I need to feel that I'm always doing something different and unlocking a part of myself,” he tells me. 


Sitting down with Man About Town, he talks the joy-filled process of making the show, the importance of diverse queer representation and what it was like portraying “icon” Kim Cattrall’s on-screen son. 



Hi Zane, congratulations on Glamorous! What can audiences expect from this show?

The show is about a gender non-conforming queer man named Marco who gets a job at a cosmetics company owned by a former supermodel played by Kim Cattrall. I play her son Chad who is the director of sales for the company and initially acts as an antagonist towards Marco, because he essentially sees Marco as coming onto his turf and stealing his mother’s affection. The show feels like a spiritual successor to Ugly Betty. It’s silly, it’s fun, it’s queer but it’s also very sincere in a lot of places and it’s a joyous expression on what it means to be queer in life, in work and in relationships. 


That’s one of the most refreshing things I found about the show, that there’s such a diverse spectrum of queer characters, rather than just the one stereotype. 

It’s such a blessing, because here’s the thing, as a queer person, when I’m with my friends, I don’t not act like a stereotype sometimes, but the beauty of it is, when you have so many different queer characters, you can dip in and out of different references and suddenly you do feel like you have more realised characters because they can live without the pressure of being the sole pillar on which queer representation rests, you know?


Is that one of the things that attracted you to the project in particular?

For sure. It’s a funny thing as an actor because, you know, on the one hand you want to be able to do anything, but on the other hand you want to be able to be a part of your own storytelling in as many ways as possible. What was nice for me was that I got to do both and this character for me is a classic straight archetype; the blonde, rich, douchebag, from '80s and '90s movies who was always terrorising the main character. It was fun to take that and put it through a queer lens and figure out how his own experience of being the only gay son to a single mother influences how he got to that point. 



You mention Chad’s mother there, who’s played by the legendary Kim Cattrall. What was it like sharing scenes with her? 

I mean it was great! We all came in with a truly, inherent gay reverence for her, which I think really helped because her character itself is an icon and figure who everyone respects and wants to do well by. I wanted to be a good scene partner for her and make her proud of me. So I didn’t have to reach too much [laughs] with my character wanting to do the exact same things. Essentially, you want her to feel like she’s being supported by the rest of the cast, but yeah, it was incredible and it was iconic [laughs]. 


You do get a sense from the chemistry on-screen, that it was an incredibly fun series to shoot. Is that accurate?

Yeah, absolutely. You never quite know how a cast is gonna gel, you never know how personalities are going to mix, But I think what was really lovely about this cast was that everyone believed in the material so much. Everyone was dedicated to doing their best work and showing this show off in the best light, but also there was a lot of humility to go around and I think that made things go so smoothly, because we did support each other and were excited for each other, and everyone is so funny and charming and I’m obsessed with them! I can’t wait for the premiere so I can squeeze my girls again! It was a really fun crew. 


Do you find there are any similarities between yourself and Chad?

Well, I definitely think there are a tonne of differences between us because generally, I don’t consider myself to be a Type A kind of person. I consider myself a bit more relaxed and a little less conniving. I will say, there is something about when you grow up as a young queer kid that you are desperate for approval and your desperate for everyone to like you and you’re desperate to be the best everything. The best little boy in the world. I definitely felt that growing up. I grew up in central, small-town Texas and I absolutely felt the pressure to be the smartest kid in the room. I was the one trying to do student council and the one who was trying to do sports. I wasn’t very good, but I still tried [laughs], and even after that you realise you are getting a lot of your validation from just the idea of being good and successful at things, instead of enjoying the fruits of what success might bring.So, I think in that regard, I do relate to Chad. It’s about having to take a step back and saying, ‘You know this isn’t making me happy and I’m doing something for an ulterior motivation, and I need to do things for me.’ It’s also a big thing within our current millennial hustler culture, we’re all working our asses off to make a place in whatever industry we’re in and I think we’re all having this moment of saying, ‘Actually this isn’t good for my health and it’s not making me happy.’ 



You touch on your childhood experience growing up in Texas as queer. Where did your love for acting manifest from and did you feel like it defied the environment you grew up in?

 I was very lucky in that my household was pretty relaxed, my dad was a psychology professor and my mother did a whole bunch of different things, but they both instilled this idea, in my sister and I, that we work hard so you can pursue whatever you want. For me, that freaked me out because I wanted to make sure I did something good and successful and I wasn’t really looking into the arts, but my sister was into acting and she got me into theatre. In my small hometown, we had a small community theatre where they always needed boys, so it didn’t feel like a mark against you I’d say, but you definitely didn’t want to feel like you were participating too much. 


There was a day in seventh grade where I stopped crying for years, because you entered an environment where emotions were not an asset to you. But then I was doing a production of Man of La Mancha in community theatre, and I had been very closed off for a very long time, and I remember doing this show where I was watching a rehearsal and thinking that this was unlocking something in me and the value of that came shining through, knowing I had to pursue it to its natural end. 


Are queer roles something you actively seek out as an actor?

Yeah. I think it’s helped some of the fear [involved in role] because sometimes you’re scared to show that side of you because it can be daunting still to look at something and think that you’re going to show a more feminine side of you, but yeah it’s something I want to continue to pursue, that unravelling, because I know how valuable that can be and it’s something I can hold onto. 


Do you think this show will help highlight the importance of authentic queer representation in the industry?

You know, I think Marco’s journey throughout the show is something I personally have never seen before and that’s really exciting to me! It’s funny because I’ve had the screeners now for a little bit and I’ve been watching them with my family at home in Texas and my mum loved it. What that made me realise is that it’s so important to have something that someone outside of the queer community can watch and be riveted by. Every time we have new queer representation, it adds to the dictionary definition of what it means to be queer and I think the best thing for us, at this point, is to have endless definitions, to say we’re not just one thing but we are so many different things. When people know we’re multifaceted it’s harder to dismiss us. 


Glamorous is available to watch on Netflix now.