One thing you’ll notice from time to time is the Princess lives to reminisce about 80s Salt Lake City. It was this weirdly magical time for a gay teen. The stars and planets seemed to cosmically align and gifted us three different under aged, new wave dance clubs — Maxim, which took over Classic Skate in Murray on Friday nights; Impulse (later London Underground) was where Bodega is now; and Palladium which was housed in the Michael’s space in Sugar House by Nordstrom Rack. As gay teens in the back water, that was our city in the 80s. We’d come from Provo to Ogden to these new romantic danceatiriums. We found comfort outside of our solitary confinement of hell that was called high school and I can guarantee it save many a life of my generation.
Recently I got to sit down with an old friend and reminisce about our crazy underage nightlife and shenanigans — Brandon Liberati, whom you might recognize from the new season of Bravo TVs hit series Newly Weds, The First Year, and his husband, the well-known Hollywood fitness guru Craig Ramsey, (you’d be hard-pressed not to recognize the blonde Adonis if you saw him).
Brandon’s youth, something they elaborate more in the show, came from out Sandy way and lived through the early up-bringing of mental and physical abuse, typical of any gay kid from here in that period.
“I felt so lost,” Liberati told me in our FaceTime interview. “It was the classic case of thinking I was the only gay person in the world.”
At the ripe age of 15, one of his best girlfriends brought him to club Impulse and that’s when he found his kindred spirits.
“Those days changed my life,” he said. “I found my people, I kissed a boy and learned about music and acceptance and life as it suited me.”
You’d notice Brandon, with his silver fox hair and toned body of tattoos, defiantly easy in the eyes. I remember Brandon from back in the day, he was droolingly cute, perfectly tanned and coiffed, with a body that was naturally perfect. The first thing you still notice about this Italian stallion is the the ultra-bright smile. It’s no wonder the pretty boy who grew into full fledged god is finding his X-minutes in the public eye.
Leaving Salt Lake in 1990, he split to California where he’s been to this day. He started a career as a makeup artist in Long Beach, then headed north to San Francisco where we reconnected. It was there that Liberati started his illustrious career doing hair.
“San Francisco,” he tells me, “is where I both found and lost myself.”
It’s very easy for a young 20-something from Salt Lake to move to a big city and overindulge in everything it has to offer. Those overindulgences and the thrill of the excess of city life all too often cover the damaged upbringing of one’s past and his translated to the experience of being raised here in Salt Lake, something he talks freely about in show. What he doesn’t talk about is the dark place that lead him to a suicide attempt.
Thus far Brandon had found himself dressing the hair of the Silicon Valley elite. So, together with the need to leave the excesses of San Francisco, he embarked to Los Angeles to get his life together and take his career to the next level. Liberati is now one of the highest in demand among the Hollywood starlets. Chances are if you have ever seen a red carpet, movie or magazine, you’ve seen his work.
Shortly after moving to Los Angeles seven years ago, he spotted the love of his life in the Golds Gym (shocking) and they have been making waves as one of Hollywood’s power elite since. With his career and Ramsey’s foot already in the door of the Hollywood house, it wasn’t long before I started seeing Brandon on screen himself — He was one of RuPaul’s sexy muscle boys for Drag U which lead them to being cast in Bravo TV’s hit reality series, Newlyweds, the First Year. Throughout the show you see them live their fabulous lives, problem solve life issues (one has a medical scare this month)and get really personal with their families. Are they doing anything ground-breaking? I guess that depends on who you ask, but as Liberati and Ramsey see it, gay marriage is still relatively new and has a certain amount of taboo attached for middle America. They hope that by being public with their lives, people will see them, have to face them and eventually accept them.
I personally feel them to be so brave because opening your lives to the public like that can leave you very vulnerable to hate mongers — not only the straights but I was shocked to hear the nay saying within the gay community. Oh well, as I told them, Jealous Bitches gonna hate.
If you haven’t seen the show, the boys are hysterical. Brandon has always had a great and slightly racy sense of humor and my favorite part about Craig is that, for the big blonde Adonis god he is, I’m almost positive girlfriend feels real comfortable in a pair of heels.
These two cuties are just getting started with what life has in store for them and I think you’ll find their antics, both on camera and behind the scenes on their YouTube show Fit and Phab, to be strangely compelling. I’m certain you’ll fall in love with Brandon as hard as I did 30 years ago.
This is one of my favorite subjects to write about. Local boy follows dream and succeeds!
Congrats to both of you Brandon and Craig and good luck on your first year. Cheers! Q