When Marc Malkin left E! Entertainment last year, the Hollywood Reporter’s Chris Gardner described him as “one of the most beloved figures of the Hollywood red carpet and events scene.”
It was only natural, then, that Variety, the influential 113-year-old definitive chronicler of entertainment business news would soon come knocking. And on July 30, Marc was named senior events and lifestyle editor for the publication, giving him a wand in the entertainment community that wields enormous power.
We’re pretty sure that power is in good hands.
You see, Marc is someone who has rebooted his life and is still evolving. He is determined to be out, loud and proud about his own struggles with shame and addiction because he believes it will save lives.
The notoriously bubbly and impeccably bespectacled dapper man about town has undergone something of a personal metamorphosis, overcoming an addiction to crystal meth that he calls “the devil.”
“It grabs onto you and won’t let go. There has never been a bigger challenge in my life,” he told the Los Angeles Blade.
“Deciding to get sober changed my life. It didn’t happen overnight — it was a process,” he said. “There were some very dark days but also moments of clarity that showed me my life was worth living.”
“I had treated myself worse than I would have treated my worst enemy,” he adds.
Now that he is clean and sober, he wants to do what he can to help other people who are struggling: “My fear now is gay men are not talking about it. People are too ashamed to share that they’ve used or even worse, that they’re addicted. I can tell you that my addiction was hidden for a very long time. It wasn’t until I decided it was time to for help that most of my friends even knew what was going on,” he said.
“Meeting my husband and learning his story also gave me purpose. We met one another at exactly the right moment to save both of our lives,” he said. Fabian Quezada-Malkin had struggled with alcohol and was nearly homeless until the Los Angeles LGBT Center was able to help him tap the help he needed. “They saved his life and for that I will be eternally grateful. He saved mine.”
Paying it forward is important to Malkin and he’s worked hard in support of the Center, having just completed the 548-mile San Francisco to Los Angeles AIDS LifeCycle ride he says has also changed his life. He raised $7,984.00.
“The ride can be really tough at times but there is always someone riding beside you to tell you, ‘you’re doing great. You can do it,’” said Malkin.
“As a man in recovery and living with HIV, I proved that I am no less than anyone else. The shame of addiction and my status fell away as I pushed myself up and over hills,” Malkin said, his voice breaking.
The day after the ride, Malkin came out publicly as HIV-positive and with a greater appreciation of himself and his mission: “#visibilitymatters. I need to be out about my status to help others.”
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out when I was 18, my freshman year in college. I went to a meeting of the gay student group at Boston University and I felt like I had finally found my tribe. It took a few years, but coming out to my dad was not easy. He eventually came around. He was an old-school Brooklyn guy who just needed some time and education.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
My husband, Fabian, for everything he’s been through and survived to become the smartest and strongest man I know. Others include AIDS activist Peter Staley and groundbreakers like Ellen DeGeneres (we must never forget the impact of her coming out on the cover of Time), RuPaul, Barney Frank, Billie Jean King, Elton John, Ryan Murphy, Lena Waithe, the stars of Pose…I have so many.
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?
I don’t go out to bars and nightclubs so much these days (getting sober and being married will do that to a guy). I think I loved Cherry Pop, but I may have been too drunk to remember most of my nights there.
Describe your dream wedding.
It happened on Jan. 3, 2014. My husband and I got married at the Beverly Hills Courthouse with about 25 guests followed by lunch at Escuela Taqueria on Beverly Boulevard.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Recovery. Gay or straight, I want to see people struggling with drugs and alcohol to find recovery. Getting sober saved my life.
What historical outcome would you change?
Ronald Reagan’s refusal to do anything about HIV and AIDS.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Ellen DeGeneres coming out on the cover of Time. And anytime Madonna releases a new album or music video.
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I usually don’t take photos with the celebrities who I meet while I’m working. But I did when I met Indya Moore and Dominique Jackson of Pose. The show and the stars have blown my mind.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“I’m Not One to Gossip, But…”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Throw away the discovery.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
My late uncles David and Arthur both died of AIDS. I believe they’re out there somewhere looking over me.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Take a page out of the ACT-UP playbook. Be loud. Don’t take no for an answer. Fight like our lives depend on it.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To save my husband and our dogs from danger.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
“You’re gay and my friend is gay. I should totally set you up. You’ll love each other.”
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
Do “Moulin Rouge” and “Chicago” count?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
If burning cinnamon and gingerbread scented candles during the holidays is considered a social custom, please stop.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
A Willy Wonka Golden Ticket
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That drugs and alcohol really suck. At least they did for me.
Why Los Angeles?
Moved here for a job. Stayed because I loved it.