welcome to my crib

Symone & Gigi Goode on their favorite MTV classics, ‘Avalon TV’ & why ‘Jackass’ was always a “little bit” gay

Image Credit: ‘Avalon TV,’ WOW Presents Plus

I want my Avalon TV!

The latest series from World Of Wonder (the folks who bring you Drag Race) is a vibrant, eclectic, hilarious peek inside one of LA’s hottest creative collectives, The House Of Avalon. But this is no Cribs—it’s something way more glamorous, absurd, and utterly unique.

Among The House Of Avalon’s ranks are Drag Race Season 13 crowned queen Symone, Season 12 runner-up Gigi Goode, designer and stylist Marko Monroe, and friends and collaborators like Hunter Crenshaw, Grant Vanderbilt, Caleb, and Rylie—all of whom get a chance to shine on Avalon TV.

Symone and Gigi describe their show as a “fever dream” that puts this chosen family front and center, celebrating each other and the pop culture that makes them tick through behind-the-scenes footage, campy comedy sketches, interviews with other tastemakers and iconoclasts (the premiere features ex-con Dance Moms star Abby Miller), and even a loving ode to Jackass called “Dragass.”

In fact, Jackass is just one of many television shows from the past with a clear influence on The House Of Avalon. As the collective’s bio goes, they “worship in the church of pop culture,” In turn, Avalon TV is an homage to the entertainment that raised a generation—particularly early 2000s-era MTV—which they’ve flipped on its head and injected with a big dose of queer joy.

Ahead of the series launch, Queerty had the opportunity to sit down with the icons Symone and Gigi to discuss Avalon TV‘s origins, the awkward LGBTQ+ representation in shows like Next and Room Raiders, and why we could all use a good laugh.

QUEERTY: Hello, it’s so great to speak to the two of you—how are we doing today?

SYMONE: Hi darling! Great to see you!

GIGI GOODE: We’re doing fabulous, thank you!

So, Avalon TV feels like it was designed to give the gays everything they want: It’s docu-series, it’s talk show, it’s sketch comedy, it’s fashion. But what is Avalon TV to the two of you? How do describe it?

GIGI: Fever dream!

SYMONE: And that’s it! [Laughs.] It is our creative loves, expression, and joy, in a TV format. Everything that we love, everything that we, are who we are—all wrapped into 30 minutes. So obviously we’re excited for everyone to get to see that and see what we do and how we do and why we do. it answers all the big questions.

It’s funny because, with social media, it does feel like we get to see so much of your lives, and even a glimpse into the House Of Avalon. But this series just blows the door open, and really let’s people in—in this “fever dream” sort of way.

SYMONE: And that’s what we wanted. Like you said, you always get to see us on Instagram, looking lovely, stunning—sometimes—and doing the most. But we really wanted to show what all goes into that and how we live our lives. We all said to each other, “If we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it right and just give everything to everybody.”

GIGI: It’s really exciting to get to see everybody a little bit more. You see the pictures of me and Symone on Instagram, but what you don’t know is that, the entire week leading up to that, there were 12 cooks in the kitchen.

So it’s almost like, up until this point—dare I say—we were only getting half the story

SYMONE: Honestly! [Laughs.]

Beyond being this distillation of The House Of Avalon, there’s also this overwhelming sense of nostalgia to the whole thing—specifically for a very certain era of MTV.

SYMONE: Oh, 100%.

GIGI: That’s the Bible!

SYMONE: For all of us. And so when we were sitting down and trying to figure out everything, we knew we wanted it to be like MTV—but if it were today and we had creative control. It was the nucleus for us.

GIGI: I think when it really started to come to fruition that we were leaning into that side of inspiration was during the pandemic when we had our Avalon TV streams on Twitch. And we would do them, what, like once a week?

SYMONE: We were streaming at one point every day, like everyone would come on and have their own segment for at least two hours every day because what else were we doing, you know? I was fun to take that and cultivate that into a bigger show, where all of us can be on in camera at the same time. [Laughs.]

It’s funny because, when we talk about the “MTV Generation,” we mean the Gen X-ers who came of age when the network first debuted. But our version of MTV was pretty different; it wasn’t just music videos. We had shows like Jackass which is parodied in Avalon TV, but then also My Super Sweet 16

SYMONE: Oh my god, Cribs, Next, Parental Control!

GIGI: I loved Parental Control! Yes!

Room Raiders, too!

SYMONE: Now I’m going to go look it up on YouTube, oh my god.

Oh that’s a wormhole. There are some wild old episodes of, like, Next where people are just awful to each other. But… you know, we learned from it!

SYMONE: We learned, and now we’re better. [Laughs.]

I like what you said earlier, Symone, about this series being like MTV if you were in charge. And that’s so key because, back in the day, we were starting to see little bits of progress and queer representation on these shows—but oftentimes it was in the most awful way possible.

SYMONE: Yes! And we were just happy yo have it, but like… what was that?

GIGI: It was the guys on Next with the popped colors and spiky hair.

SYMONE: So vivid.

Right? But on that note, in what ways was this era of MTV speaking to you as queer people? Did you feel like you were being represented?

SYMONE: Not necessarily from the queer side of things, but it was fun. Like, you watched it to have a good time and to be entertained. And so much about being queer is, like, the music videos and seeing our divas doing their thing, coming out looking stunning, or having a message, or just living their lives in a certain way. So, I mean, it just inspired us to be more of ourselves, if that makes sense? Even if we couldn’t see it. We were like, “Okay, well, Madonna, she’s on stage, and she told us to do this. So you know, what? I’m gonna go do what Madonna does.” It just gave you a different type of inspiration, even if you couldn’t see yourself. And so we really wanted to take that and just, you know, polish her a little bit. Refresh!

GIGI: I think one of the main points of the shows of that era—aside from the music side of MTV, which was a lot of education for us—the whole point of a lot of those shows was that there was no point! It was just for fun. It was literally nothing more serious, there’s no deep meaning behind anything. It’s for you to watch and for you to forget about what’s going on in your life and just shut that off and have a laugh or two. And now, how much more fun that all the leads of these shows are queer people, right?

Of course! And seeing you all do this Jackass style stunts for “Dragass” is really fine. And, honestly, there was always something a little queer about Jackass anyway…

SYMONE: Yeah, a little bit! They got handsy a couple two, three times.

GIGI: Oh yeah! The anal beads with the kite? My god.

I want to ask the both of you this, so let’s start with Gigi first. What’s a reality or competition show from that era that you think Symone would absolutely eat?

GIGI: You know what, I want to see Symone—if Symone could travel back in time and be this version of herself on Bad Girls Club, it would be SO FUN. That would be so good to see her on.

SYMONE: I would die! I would die. But I would never fight… well, never say never. But I would twist the girls and it would be so fun.

And, Symone, what about Gigi?

SYMONE: Oooh, i’m seeing for you, like, when Paris [Hilton] is trying to find the best friends. Do you remember that?

GIGI: Yes!

SYMONE: That would be really fun. Or just both of us doing The Simple Life. Send us to Altus, Arkansas for a month!

And, lastly, this being a fantastic showcase for The House Of Avalon, what do you hope people walk away from this show knowing about your family?

SYMONE: I’m excited for everyone to see the behind-the-scenes, but I think what we really, really wanted everyone to take away from this is to not take anything too seriously. We just really wanted to hammer that home—in our own different, fun, unique ways. I think that’s kind of the overall message for the show.

GIGI: I mean, laughter is medicine. It’s healing. It’s honestly—

SYMONE: It keeps you young. I mean, look at us!

Avalon TV premieres October 9, exclusively on WOW Presents Plus, with new episodes every Monday.

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