If you’re a fan of America’s Next Top Model, you’re already familiar with one of its stars, Cory Wade, who placed third in the 20th cycle of the show. What you may not know is that aside from being a sought-after model, Cory is also a gifted singer and actor as well as a passionate spokesperson for the LGBT community.
He calls Philadelphia home and is one of the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet. LiveGoodFast.com got the chance to chat with Cory about his beginnings in fashion and music as well as his favorite Philly places.
LGF: What’s it like being an internationally known figure living in Philly?
Cory: All I can say is thank God for social media. I can share a genuine connection with my amazing supporters regardless of where I am in the world. Philly works for me because while it is a fairly chill and relaxed city, there is more than enough excitement here if you choose to go find it.
A lot cities out there make you feel like you can’t escape. To me, Philly IS an escape. I’m also lucky enough to have a ton of great supporters right here in Philadelphia. They stop me on the streets and we hug and take selfies. I really do wish I could teleport over to Europe or Asia on a whim and give my international followers the same love. When I do travel overseas I feel overwhelmed by those who come up to me with tears in their eyes speaking in languages I really wish I knew. I am so grateful for all of the love I’ve experienced over the years.
LGF: How did you first discover your live for music?
Cory: My mother can attest to this answer: Mariah Carey’s “Emotions” album came out in 1991 around my birthday a year after I was born. From that point up to when I was around 4 years old, whenever my mom and I would drive in the car together, I would kick and scream obnoxiously unless that album was playing on repeat. I was one of those kids who sang before I spoke and the rest is history.
LGF: How did you first discover your passion for fashion?
Cory: Growing up, I didn’t really have a sense of style. I was a goth burnout with an awkward afro during my years in middle-school. Fashion didn’t come into the picture for me until I started doing drag later in life. I became close friends with a group of queens who literally spoke only of fashion, makeup, music and art on rotation. Being a part of that sisterhood made me want to elevate my own style and I developed a passion for fashion thereafter.
LGF: You have friends all over the world. When they come to visit Philly, what surprises them most?
Cory: Philly always surprises people who have never been here because it is marketed as the land of cheesesteaks, pretzels, and sports. When my friends visit me in Philly they are awe struck by how progressive the arts scene is. They are shocked at how much really goes on here because we don’t really shine a light on the things I love about this city.
The nightlife here is magical, our theaters from the Fillmore in Northern Liberties to the Academy Of Music on Broad Street to the TLA on South and many more are always showcasing high-quality entertainment. We also have a blossoming fashion scene that I am definitely taking part in building and shaping.
LGF: You have the whole day to yourself in this magical city. What’s on your agenda?
Cory: If I’m by myself for a day in Philadelphia with nothing to do, I’ll usually shop for fierce vintage clothing at Retrospect or at one of our amazing local designer boutiques like Nostalgia, Toile Atelier, or the new Oxymoron on 4th St. I will sometimes buy a ticket for one at the Ritz East to catch a life-changing indie film or stop by one of my favorite bars for happy hour. I particularly love The Tattooed Mom & Barcade. When the night falls I’ll kick it with my sister queens in the Gayborhood and dance at Voyeur, Tavern on Camac, Tabu, or Frankey Bradley’s.
LGF: If you could have lunch with any famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Cory: Milla Jovovich! She is an androgynous legend who also does music on the side. Love her.
LGF: Where do you see Philly in the next 10 years?
Cory: Philly gets better and better every year so who is to say how magical this place will be in 10 year’s time? I expect great things for our city! I’d like to see a greater emphasis on the arts. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be special.
Cory has a lot of exciting projects in the works over the next few months. He’ll be appearing in his first-ever billboard for designer Stevie Boie in November and is starring as Angel Dummott Schunard in Jonathan Larson’s RENT at the Ritz Theatre in Oaklyn, NJ from October 29th to November 22nd.