Is there anything that Ross Mathews can’t do? Consider that, on top of his day job as the ever-bubbly host and TV personality behind a nationally syndicated daily talk show, Hollywood Today Live (which was just renewed for a second season), he also hosts a top-rated weekly podcast, “Straight Talk with Ross Mathews.” Add to the running list: best-selling author (Man Up!), host du jour on E! Live from the Red Carpet, and newly minted judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The 36-year-old entertainer may have landed his big break as the scene-stealing intern, then correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, but these days, “Ross the Intern” occupies a league of his own with top coverage of the Academy Awards and now the Olympics under his belt, scores of devoted fans, and a panache like no other’s.
During last year’s Capital Pride, Mathews turned heads atop the Marriott Rewards parade float by officiating the now-legal nuptials of George Carrancho, 49, and Sean Franklin, 47, right along the parade route. This year, Mathews’ latest project in Pride, a second partnership with the Marriott Rewards #LoveTravels campaign, was also met with epic proportions, amassing some 3,500 contributors for a monumental art installation in Washington D.C., with artists including Laverne Cox and Jazz Jennings, star of TLC’s I Am Jazz.
During a rare moment of downtime on the set of Hollywood Today Live, Ross sat down with Passport in the Green Room to talk Capital Pride, in-flight fashion, and what #LoveTravels means to him.
How was your second Capital Pride experience in D.C.?
Amazing! I rode on the Marriott Rewards float for the second year in a row. This time last year, I was being ordained to marry George and Sean on our float during the Parade, and they actually came back this weekend a year after marriage equality became law!
What does #LoveTravels mean to you?
It’s all about embracing your own personal journey, embracing how you love, and traveling with love in mind. For me, it’s staying true to yourself and your passions.
Tell us more about this art installation.
On Friday, we did something really exciting. For #LoveTravels, we asked thousands of people to express love in any way they could think to. So, people took paint to canvas, art supplies and all, and we unveiled the contributions of 3,500 people in one giant art exhibit! What’s really great is that for each submission, Marriott Rewards donated to Casa Ruby, the only bilingual LGBT community center in D.C., run by transgender women of color.
Is there a certain je ne sais quoi to live T.V. that keeps you on live platforms?
What’s great is that every day, you walk in and it’s, ‘Who do we have on today? Sherri Shepherd, I love her!’ Whitney from My Big Fat Fabulous Life was just with us, and I love watching her show, so that’s always great fun. It’s the spontaneity to it. But it’s great when friends come in, too—Kris Jenner, Khloe Kardashian—and I can say, ‘Hey, I have a job!’
How do you travel: With a light carry-on, or with stacks on stacks of luggage?
I only travel carry-on. I can make almost anything fit, so the actual carry-on itself is packed to the brim. I always take my noise-canceling headphones — spend the extra money — my iPad for music and movies, and also a backup Chapstick, because I’ve dropped mine before and, unacceptable. Also, I always carry along mints, in case the person next to me needs one.”
Any tips for our readers on in-flight fashion?
You know, I’m not above an elastic waist with cuffs at the bottom, like a high-class sweat. $9, Old Navy! Also, don’t pass up on slip-on shoes.
Straight Talk just had its first-ever live taping at the Abbey in West Hollywood. Take us behind the scenes. What was that like?
It gave a little texture to what we do, to be able to talk back and interact with each other. Normally it’s just me and my four friends getting together in-studio, making each other laugh, but we have hundreds of thousands of listeners now. It was so much fun, and just so phenomenal. After over a year and a half of shows, it was special to me to have over 150 listeners stop by at 2PM on a Tuesday, no less. It was an amazing turnout.
What are your go-to tropical getaways?
I love Palm Springs! I have a house there. We go to Puerto Vallarta and Miami, too.
You’re no stranger to the whole lot of award shows, but does one in particular hold a special place in your heart?
The Oscars, hands down. It’s the culmination of an entire season.
Are there still actors who you get star struck to see?
All of them, seriously. Even when they’re my friends.
Even Gwyneth Paltrow?
Even Gwyneth Paltrow.