entertainment

Geordie Shore’s Nathan Henry on being 1st to have gay sex on TV: 'It's an accomplishment!'

Excl: Star on his brand new house, dating in lockdown and dealing with homophobes

2020-11-10

Words: Jamie Tabberer

It’s pre-lockdown, and Geordie Shore wild-child/party animal Nathan Henry has just answered the phone to Attitude... while on his way to Ikea.

This is a very grown up development.

“I’ve just bought my own house!” explains the star. “I really want to get in there this weekend!”

In fact, the 29-year-old is moving in by himself - the height of adulting, some might say - and last month shared pictures from the doorstep of his glossy new home on Instagram. (Thanking his mother, he said: "it's time for this lil bird to flee the nest").

It'll certainly be a change of pace from the anything-goes Geordie Shore houseshare, where Nathan has lived off-and-on since 2015, famously becoming the first reality star to engage in gay sex on TV. (Along with his partner, of course).

“When we first talked about [it], I was embarrassed," he recalls. "Then I thought, no. Everyone has sex. Behind closed doors, everyone has sex. It’s how we got here! It’s a natural thing.

"It's not something you think, what, at the age of 29, what's your accomplishment - I was the first person to have gay sex on TV. But it's still an accomplishment!"

Here, to celebrate his TV special on Geordie Shore: Their Story, Nathan chats to us about reality show psychological care, his post-coronavirus fitness regime and having 500 matches on Tinder...

 
 
 
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How has lockdown affected life for you?

“At the beginning everything was done through Zoom. Half the things I’ve filmed this year, I basically look like s**t on. I’m like, ‘I’m filming it from my room – I’m not getting dressed!’”

You just posted a picture of you in Egypt – have you been on holiday?

“No, I went at the beginning of the year for my birthday, just before lockdown kicked in.”

It’s quite an anti-gay country – did you feel comfortable?

“I was lucky: I was with my family and we were in a resort. I didn’t tone down any of my gayness at all. Thong briefs, speedos, kimonos, Birkenstocks… my cousin is one of my greatest supporters, and she encourages me to be myself.

 
 
 
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"Everyone at the resort, they weren’t really dressing up for the evening meals, but I’m all about that. One night, I had Doc Martin sandals, a really cool shirt, a fedora, loads of jewellery, a full face of make-up. And my hair was bright ginger because I’d used the wrong hair dye before the trip. I looked horrendous, but I embrace it!”

What’s been the biggest change in the TV industry over the last six years, from your perspective as a gay man?

“There’s still a long way to go, but now TV is more inclusive. When I first joined Geordie Shore, the only [reality] shows that had gay and lesbian people on, and people of colour, was the likes of Big Brother. Now, you’ve got Love Island – although it’s a shame Love Island’s format is the way it is. It’s very hetero-narrative. Don’t get me wrong, it’s entertaining. But we should be celebrating all aspects of life and all sexualities.”

 
 
 
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Lemon Fanta πŸ‹

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Reality show aftercare has been a big subject this year. What kind of support do you guys get?

“At Geordie Shore we’re very lucky. We have psych chats on a regular basis. We’re filming 24/7. We have down days every third day or so. On the down day we’ll speak to the psych, have some downtime, get our phones, check in with people at home. We get to mentally check out of Geordie Shore. We’re not too stuck in it. Then, when we finish filming, we’re given psych chats again. When we film, the crew, cast and production team, the execs – we all live together. We have that bond.

"If we have a problem – I remember when I went through my breakup, I was in, mentally, a very dark place. It was awful. But as soon as the execs found out, one of the producers rang me every day to check how I was. Also, I’m in a cast of 10 people, and we have I think nine different group chats! We’re in constant communication.”

 
 
 
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You’ve spoken before about the racist and homophobic messages you’ve received on social media. How is that situation now?

“I don’t think I get any racist comments anymore. I get homophobic ones a lot. People in my DMs calling me ‘f****t’, ‘an embarrassment.’ It’s sad, given what’s happened this year that people are still like that. But some mindsets you just cannot change. I try to not let it affect me personally. Most people wouldn’t dream of saying such things to my face.”

This is quite an accolade, but I read that you’re the first reality TV star to engage in same-sex sexual activity on-screen. How does it feel to have moved the needle in that way?

"At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. Then one of the producers was like ‘We want to make sure you’re OK with this going on TV.’ I thought, this is the kind of stuff I would have done at the weekend at home. What’s the difference on Geordie Shore? ‘Because this is going out to the world.’ I kept forgetting about that! ‘S**t, yeah.’

But then I was like: ‘I want people to see this, because it’s never been done before.’ At the end of the day, are you going to show everyone else having sex but not me?"

 
 
 
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Do you get a lot of offers from guys?

“What, trying to hit on me? Surprisingly, no! I thought: ‘I’m going on TV, I’m going to strike gold here! Everyone’s going to want to get with me!’ No. If anything, I think it might have had the adverse effect. People who don’t watch the show have a preconceived idea of what it is and what we’re like. So they’re maybe intimidated. I do get a lot of messages from LGBTQ+ people thanking me for doing what I do and being unapologetic. If anything, I’d rather have those messages in my inbox than a shedload of d**k pics!”

I’m sure you’re selling yourself short…

“Don’t get me wrong! My Tinder, that’s a different story! I’ve got 500 matches.”

 
 
 
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Is there much to report on the lovelife front?

“At the beginning of the year I was dating. But now, how long can you have a conversation with someone without actually meeting? I went on a date with someone for a walk recently, but it didn’t go anywhere.”

Have you been sticking to your fitness regime during lockdown?

“Now there’s nothing much to do, I’m in the gym all the time. Mornings and afternoons I’m going. I’ve stuck at it now for my own sanity. It’s one of the things that’s kept me going in 2020. It releases endorphins and makes you feel better. And after the gym, I let myself eat what I want.”

Who have you spent lockdown with?

“The majority of it I was with my mum. Now I’m in the middle of my house and my mum’s. I’m conscious that come Christmas, if there’s another lockdown, I’ll be by myself. But I do love being on my own, my own space. You don’t have to wear clothes - you save on washing!”

Catch up on Geordie Shore: Their Story on MTV PLAY.

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