Lukas Gage Talks Mom’s Reaction to His Kinky Sex Scenes, Diplo’s Surprise Revelation and Partnering With Don Julio

Lukas Gage’s life has taken a complete 180 ever since he became a viral hit after releasing the now-infamous video of director Tristram Shapeero disparaging his apartment following a Zoom audition.

Since then, he’s appeared in “The White Lotus,” “Euphoria” and “You.” He’ll next star in “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” and was recently at SXSW to premiere “Down Low,” a raunchy queer comedy he not only co-wrote with Phoebe Fisher but also stars in with Zachary Quinto.

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Gage is also becoming a go-to celeb for brand endorsements. His new deal is with Tequila Don Julio Rosado, helping promote the pink-hued spirit and the “P(arty) Time Off!” campaign. “Tequila on the rocks is my go-to,” Gage tells Variety. “I used to be a beer guy. But then it made me a little too bloated sometimes. So I think I just keep it to some good quality tequila, drink it on the rocks and call it a day.”

I caught up with Gage on Wednesday as he was en route to an appointment in Hollywood. He agreed to pull over and park as to ensure he wasn’t interviewing-and-driving.

We know it wasn’t too long ago that you were being shamed by that director. And now brands are coming to you saying, “We want you to represent us. We want you endorsing us.” How wild is that?

Well, I’m still driving my shitty Honda Civic that’s falling apart and full of trash [Gage tilts his phone’s camera toward the passenger seat to show said trash]. But I also still got my $20 Erewhon smoothie. I feel so lucky. I feel like it’s a dream. I’m shocked by it. I love these brands though. I’m actually very honored by Don Julio. It’s not like I’m promoting something that I don’t love and I don’t think is good quality. I just feel really lucky and really blessed to be asked to do that, but I’m still that girl. You know what I mean? I’m just a kid from San Diego raised by a single mom with a bunch of brothers. I’m not too bedazzled by the really luxurious things in life, but I love a nice tequila. I love a beautiful holiday, but I don’t care about having like a fancy house or a fancy car or any of that stuff. I just want to be able to have a fun, fulfilling life that is interesting and I want to feel like I’ve lived my life to the fullest.

You were recently vacationing in Mexico. How much tequila did you drink?

Way too much. Although my hotel gave me this mescal with a rattlesnake in the bottle. It numbs your tongue. Suffice to say, I will just keep it to tequila. No more mescal after that trip.

You mentioned your mom. I can’t believe I’m asking this, but what does mom say when she’s seeing you get peed on in “You” and have your ass eaten on “The White Lotus”?

She says, “That’s a great ass. Get that money. Get that bag and be committed.” My mom’s cool. She’s like a cool little hippie lady. With nudity, I think we both share sort of a European vibe.

I imagine you’ve gotten some crazy fan mail.

No. [Laughs]


We have a couple people from the golden shower community that are very grateful that it’s being shown on screen, and they have some haters who are yucking some people’s yum. Everyone should feel heard and feel seen. I never wanted to make anyone feel scrutinized or like the butt of the joke. I just believe that everyone should embrace all their kinks and everything that they love about themselves and not feel ashamed.

What will all of those communities think when they see “Down Low?”

My hope is that they feel seen and they don’t feel judged and they feel like it’s a space of sex positivity and sexual identity positivity. For me, that movie is really a story about selfishness versus selflessness and embracing one’s true self before it’s too late. I grew up with some people whose parents came out later in life. I feel so lucky at where I’m at right now, where people at least are getting to a more accepting place, that it’s embraced to be who you are and to discover and explore, whereas these people that I grew up with, their parents never got to. They were suppressing all these feelings for so long and then they get into the later end of their life and they’re like, “Shit, I didn’t live my life authentically and embrace myself and love myself.” It’s all about doing all that stuff before it’s too late.

Going back to endorsements, it’s kind of amazing to see a brand like Don Julio working with you, because it wasn’t too long ago they probably wouldn’t want someone who talks so openly about their sexual identity.

It’s just a testament to Don Julio. They have a wide variety of people who come from all different backgrounds, all different orientations and races, and they’re all a part of the campaign. And everyone on Don Julio’s campaign is fun, and I think it embraces living life to the fullest and not being put into a box. We got Diplo on board. We got the iconic Lisa Rinna and we got Anderson .Paak. We got Rickey Thompson.

What did you think about the headlines that Diplo made yesterday? [Diplo revealed during an appearance on Emily Ratajkowski’s ‘High Low’ podcast that he’s received oral sex from a guy and considers himself “not not gay.”]

I’m sure there are a lot of people who have that same exact experience but maybe don’t have the confidence or the honesty to talk about it like that. And, you know, there’s going to be people on either side saying that he’s not labeling himself enough. I commend him on his honesty and I don’t think we need to label everything and have it all figured out. Things can be in a gray area and don’t have to be so black and white.

What does it mean to hear from a young queer person who says they saw themself in you in “White Lotus” or “You.” Representation means a lot.

That’s the goal. At the end of the day, you hope that the stories do more than just entertain. Maybe it’s just being entertaining for the sake of being entertaining, or maybe it’s an escape from whatever hard time they’re having in their life, but to be seen in these characters, to feel like you can connect and like somebody else gets it — I’m not alone out there — that at the end of the day is the greatest gift that I can have in this job. It’s the greatest compliment that I can get on anything that I’m playing. People say to me, “Why are you always in wacky situations and crazy stuff?” But if I have a kid saying, “I felt seen in that and I feel connected to this character,” if I am part of that conversation, then that’s an honor and a huge compliment.

This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

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