Robert Sepúlveda Jr. is a true renaissance man.
He’s an accomplished interior, jewelry, skincare and fragrance designer, artist, LGBTQ+ activist and reality TV star.
Sepúlveda has appeared as a suitor on Logo TV’s “Finding Prince Charming” (the first ever all-male dating show, hosted by Lance Bass) and on MTV’s “Room Raiders” (MTV’s first all-male dating competition show).
Blogging about his experience on “Finding Prince Charming,” exclusively for People magazine, Sepúlveda wrote, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m watching myself on TV – how surreal!!!!! I feel so blessed for this amazing opportunity I’ve been given to meet 13 amazing men – with the potential of leaving with a life partner – with the man of my dreams. This certainly isn’t the most conventional of ways of finding love, I get that, but I will take it. I’ll take this chance that’s been given to me.”
He made history creating the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks – an historic public art installation in conjunction with Atlanta’s Cultural Arts Department, meant to represent unity and tolerance within the LGBTQ+ community.
“The journey of this project has been filled with many joyous moments of progress, as well as moments when we thought we couldn’t go any further,” Sepúlveda wrote on the The Rainbow Crosswalks website.
Sepúlveda originally contacted the City of Atlanta in 2014, with a proposal about installing The Rainbow Crosswalks at the 10th St. & Piedmont Ave location in Midtown before Pride that year. Although the project didn’t happen then, thanks to a GoFundMe campaign, over $44,000 was raised, and the crosswalks were installed in time for Pride 2015.
His interior design career started in the textile industry, where he worked with such well-known hotels such as The Biltmore, Caesar’s Palace, Mandarin Oriental, Le Meridian, W, Ritz Carlton, and Loews, to name a few. Today his firm specializes in luxury residential and commercial spaces. And this year, he will launch a jewelry line called the RSJ Collection – an array of sophisticated, one-of-a kind, unisex items.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out to my family when I was 17 going on 18. I was afraid to tell them, not knowing how they would react, but the fear was unwarranted. They are such a huge support system and fully embraced me. I really over thought it.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Gilbert Baker – the designer of the Rainbow flag. He truly created something iconic. As well as all members of the LGBTQ+ community who are living their true lives.
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?
LA has so many great places. Soho House is always great to have a relaxing private drink and food. Delilah is also is one of my faves!
Describe your dream wedding.
I have always imagined getting married in Florence at the Palazzo Scala Della Gherardesca, Four Seasons. It’s an old Palace turned into a small, beautiful hotel with beautiful gardens.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
When I lived in Atlanta I created the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks – and a nonprofit around the crosswalks. But I work with many non-profits. The two I am most passionate about is PAWS, which is a no-kill animal shelter, as well as Project Angel Food, which helps provide food to ill patients. I help prepare food, make soup – whatever they need, I’m there to help.
What historical outcome would you change?
Unfortunately if one changes something that happened in the past, it could change everything in the present. Sad things happen that shouldn’t: JFK being assassinated, the murder of Martin Luther King, we can go on and on – but all things happen for a reason.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I suppose it would be being on Finding Prince Charming – that’s definitely a pop culture moment, and I’m so glad I was part of that.
On what do you insist?
Loyalty and honesty are so important to me. I surround myself with a close circle of friends and I need to be able to trust them.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I just had an Easter party, so I posted videos and photos from that.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“How to create your dreams from thin air.”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would be VERY concerned. Hopefully that never happens!
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I have a strong faith. I believe in karma, and the more positivity one gives, the more they will receive.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Just to continue fighting the good fight. But also to understand the other side – then one can better explain what they’re fighting for.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
I have always wanted to try walking over hot coals – I’ve seen videos and they explain how it’s done. So, the experiences alone would be worth it.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
The bear, or woof, or cub thing – I find that strange.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Mean Girls” is pretty gay, lol.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Having good manners is essential, but overdoing it or being fake is terrible.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I try not to “covet” physical objects. What I see as my best prize, if one wants to call it that, is helping others who may be going through something I’ve gone through. We are much more alike than we are different. If my life experiences can help someone else, that’s a huge prize!
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
So many things! My niece is 18, so I know how much 18-year-olds think they know, but really don’t. I don’t believe in regret, but I definitely would have done some things differently.
Why Los Angeles?
I’ve lived in NYC, Miami, and many other cities in between, but LA really has a beautiful outdoor vibe. The weather is generally always good, the beach isn’t that far away, and it’s a great location for business.