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Catching Up With Frankie Grande

We chat with Grande about everything and anything from starring in the hair-raising romp Summoning Sylvia, to love, hate, reality TV (of course) and his favourite Ariana song…

By Christopher Turner

Later this week, Frankie Grande will be hitting the big screen as the LGBTQ horror-comedy Summoning Sylvia opens in theatres across the country. Written and directed by filmmaking duo Wesley Taylor and Alex Wyse, the hair-raising romp tells the story of a gay bachelor party that takes a spooky turn when sinister spirits are suddenly summoned. Grande plays Nico, one of the soon-to-be married groom Larry’s best friends in the film. It’s a character who is Grande’s complete opposite, but someone he’s excited for the world to see. (Just wait for his hilarious seance scene.)

Of course, we’ve been watching Grande play a variety of different roles for years, and he’s proven himself to be much more than mega pop star Ariana Grande’s older brother. He’s become a fixture of reality television with a very memorable appearance on Big Brother 16, as a judge on America’s Best Dance Crew, competing on the UK reality show Celebrity Big Brother 18, competing on the TV game show Candy Crush, and making a couple of memorable Drag Race appearances, including one in the recent “50/50’s Most Gagworthy Stars” episode, which saw the queens split into groups to interview three delightfully chaotic celebrities: Grande, Charo and Love Connie.

Outside of television, he’s been a fixture on the stage, with starring roles in The Unauthorized Musical Parody of: RockyHow to Succeed in Business Without Really TryingMamma Mia!Rock of Ages and, most recently, the off-Broadway musical spoof Titanique the Musical, based on the music of Céline Dion.

The Big Brother and Broadway star has also been a fixture of pop culture headlines for years, including for his May 2022 wedding to actor Hale Leon.

IN sat down with Grande for a wide-ranging interview that covered everything from the upcoming highly camp movie, to his traumatic and highly publicized throuple, how he found love, his role models, sobriety, love, hate, reality TV (of course), and even his favourite Ariana song.

Hey Frankie! Let’s kick things off and talk about your latest project, the LGBTQ horror-comedy Summoning Sylvia. Tell us about the film and your character.
Summoning Sylvia is a thriller-comedy-horror movie about a gay bachelor party where we decide to rent out a haunted house in upstate New York. My character Nico, the witchiest of them all, decides it’s time to summon the ghost haunting the house and get the true story about how/why she died and who she murdered.

Summoning Sylvia 

Do you normally like scary movies?
Scary movies are my husband’s and I’s favourite genre of movie. My love of horror was instilled by my mother from a very, very young age. Camp horror is amongst my favourites of the genre. Summoning Sylvia definitely falls into that category, which makes me extremely excited for the world to see it!

What’s your fave scary movie?
Is this ghost face? Ha ha ha! I actually really liked Scream Six. But my favourite horror movie of all time would have to be Aliens, even though it’s more sci-fi than horror. It is my favourite movie of all time actually. If I had to pick a classic horror movie, let’s go with Child’s Play, since it scarred me for life when I was seven years old.

Do you want to pursue more acting roles?
Yes, I am a trained actor and that is the only career that I have ever thought about pursuing. Reality TV just kind of happened to me, but acting is my passion and my dream. I’m hoping that my performance in Summoning Sylvia will lead me to other leading roles in feature films.

I know you’ve talked about this before…but let’s chat about your infamous three-way romance in 2018 with married couple Daniel Sinasohn and Mike Pophis. What did it teach you about relationships?
It taught me any hole is a goal… next question. HAHA

Is it true that your failed throuple helped you find true love?
ABSOLUTELY! I don’t think I would have been as receptive to dating my now husband, who is very traditional, had I not had such a terrible and traumatic experience in my throuple. 

Summoning Sylvia 

Speaking of your husband…. What do you love about being married?
EVERYTHING. His smile, the stability of knowing that he is my one and only true love, and that he loves me for me, exactly as I am, and I love him for him, exactly as he is. It’s so EASY! I’m so happy!

What’s the one piece of advice someone gave you that has really made a difference to you?
Well, my husband has been a vegan for five-plus years and he got me on the vegan train. It COMPLETELY fixed my IBS so… THANKS HUNNY!

What is your advice to people who are looking to you as a role model?
Be unapologetically yourself. If you find yourself constantly needing to apologize for who you are, surround yourself with new people ASAP.

Who do you consider a role model?

You’ve been sober for six years now. What inspired your sobriety?
Well, I lost the desire to live, and anyone who knows me knows how much I love to ‘shine bright like a Frankie!’ I stopped shining. So I desperately wanted to get back to that person I was when I was 24, before drugs and alcohol came into my life. Sobriety COMPLETELY did that for me. I’m never going back. Ever.

I was super obsessed with all things Frankie/Zach Rance on Season 16 of Big Brother. Are you guys still in touch?
Nope. #RIPzankie

Summoning Sylvia 

Haha. Okay, more reality TV talk…. I saw you recently popped back up on Drag Race.
Yes! It’s my favourite show on earth, and when they call I LITERALLY bend over backwards for them. I was in New York City with an off-Broadway show (Titanique) and had performances the night before and the night after filming on the opposite coast. But I took two red eyes, didn’t sleep, and LOVED EVERY MINUTE!

Who are your fave queens from the franchise?
Salina Estitties, Shanglea and Eureka! They are my family.

We are seeing so much political hate and legislation happening throughout the US right now.… How do you think the community can best combat the landslide of hate?
Well, we really need to educate these discriminatory bigots…WITH LOVE! Which is really the hardest part of it all because these ignorant people are being fed false information through right-wing media. This is why I have aligned myself with GLAAD, which works tirelessly to flip the script and promote positive messages of inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community into mainstream media, which is the best way to spread the truth and actualize our existence for these Republican radicals.

You’ve also had to deal with hate online. Any messages for your haters?
Go fuck yourselves. JK! Honestly, the hate doesn’t bother me anymore because it just shows how broken those people are. I can’t imagine being so miserable that you make your sad lives about trying to bring other people down. So I pray for them to find the peace that I have in my life, cause I feel NO NEED to tear down others. It’s just pathetic. I have much better things to do with my life.

What do you want people to know about you that they might not already know?
I am a sci-fi, fantasy-obsessed nerd. Glamorous homosexuals come in all varieties.

Fave TV show, movie and song?
Currently: Star Trek PicardAvatar the Way of Water, ‘Trustfall’ by Pink. Oh, and Summoning Sylvia. DUH!

And, I have to ask… What’s your all-time fave Ariana song?
‘Goodnight n Go.’

Last question. What’s next for Frankie Grande?
World Domination! I am constantly working on something new, so please follow all my socials @FrankieJgrande to keep up with all things Frankie.

Summoning Sylvia is in theatres March 31 and will be made available for rental on VOD and on most major streaming services starting April 7.

CHRISTOPHER TURNER is a Toronto-based writer, editor and lifelong fashionisto with a passion for pop culture and sneakers. Follow him on social media at @Turnstylin.

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