While his freestyle skiing skills earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Gus Kenworthy made a huge impact and earned millions of adoring gay fans when he came out during an ESPN interview the following year. He and fellow out athlete, figure skater Adam Rippon, were the darlings of 2018’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, sharing playful physical affection, while Kenworthy and his boyfriend, actor Matt Wilkas (star of Gayby), shared an oncamera kiss and even waved a rainbow flag during Rippon’s men’s free skate.
Born Augustus Richard Kenworthy in the U.K. city of Chelmsford, to an American father and British mother, the handsome 27-year-old was raised in Telluride, Colorado and developed a passion for skiing as a child. By his teenage years, he started placing in freestyle competitions. Splitting his time between homes in New York and Denver, he’s also made some movie and TV appearances, including the campy Sharknado 5: Global Swarming and an episode of The Real O’Neals. In the summer of 2018, Kenworthy partnered with Marriott International to promote unique experiences in over 1,000 destinations around the world.
He recently joined us in the VIP Lounge for some talk about travel, Rippon, and the one competitive skiing category he would like to see gone for good.
You previously partnered with H&M as a brand ambassador because, you said, there was a personal connection you felt toward H&M. Why did you decide to work with Marriott this time?
The personal tie for me to this was, I basically spend all my time on the road, whether for training, competing, photo shoots, or fun, and Marriott Moments is nice because it gives you an opportunity to explore whatever city you’re in and find things to do, places to see, food to eat, and they put it all together in one place.
Are there some unique Marriott Moments you’ve tried already or want to, like shark cage diving in South Africa?
They have everything from adrenaline-driven activities like bungee jumping to a food and wine tour. I have used the program for an art tour, restaurant recommendations, getting tickets so you don’t risk getting scalped or fake tickets. One of the best things is that you can go to their website and have peace of mind that when you purchase whatever experience, it’s going to go smoothly.
Which city would you love to see picked for a future winter Olympics, and why?
Denver. It’s partly that I live there, but it’s an awesome city and has the infrastructure for a winter games. The mountain events would have to take place outside the city at a resort about an hour or hour and a half away, which is exactly how it’s been in other cities like Pyeongchang and Sochi, which was more like two hours away. They would probably install a bullet train up to the mountain, which is something I always wished for. And the whole state in a way revolves around the skiing industry and outdoors, and people would embrace it.
I saw this viral video today on how there used to be a freestyle skiing category called ‘Ski Ballet.’ Would you like to see the Olympics reinstate this category or a ski ‘Vogueing’ category?
[Laughing] A friend’s dad has a medal in ski ballet! I don’t know. I feel ski ballet was put to bed, and it’s maybe best that it stays asleep. I don’t think it was particularly cool. Ski vogueing sounds awesome! Actually I’m very excited, because Big Air just got added, which is another category for freestyle.
Where would you and your boyfriend Matt Wilkas like to go for a romantic getaway?
We want to go to Budapest and Prague. Matt’s never been to either of them. I have been to Budapest once, years and years ago in the summer. I thought it was such a beautiful city and so different from other European cities in the vibe, and it’s beautiful how it’s split between Buda and Pest, and the old city and new city. The oldest bathhouses in Europe and the second-oldest Zoo in the world are there.