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“If we can be the new gay Posh and Becks, we’re down for it,” says Ollie King, the cheeky, moustached tarmacer from Brighton who memorably made history this year as a cast member on I Kissed a Boy, the UK’s first-ever gay dating series.

Hosted by Dannii Minogue, the BBC series was met with overwhelming acclaim over its depiction of the queer male experience and for reinvigorating new life into the reality dating genre. Following the reunion, it was confirmed that Ollie and Dan Harry, the duo known for their raunchy shower antics, were the only couple whose relationship survived post-Masseria.

Dan, a PR from London and fellow member of the burgeoning community of moustached gays, says: “Something that comes across in the show from Ollie and I’s relationship is that there’s a lot of sexual chemistry. That is absolutely the case, but it’s so much deeper than that. The emotional connection is what drove us together and kept us together over the last eight months.”

Here, Ollie and Dan speak with GAY TIMES about their ‘mischievous’ time on the historic series, how I Kissed a Boy ‘represented a queer utopia’ and how it could “go even further” in a potential second season.

GT: How has life been for you both, post-Masseria?

Ollie: The love that we have both received… Even yesterday, for instance, we popped in a shop in Brighton and the owner said, ‘My husband’s a massive fan and so am I.’ It’s beautiful to see, people’s faces light up when they clock us. It was just a gay holiday for us, and it’s impacted so many people. The love has been astonishing and we’re both super grateful for it.

Dan: Let’s go back and rewind. We spent one more night in the Masseria after filming wrapped, so no more recording, and that was the night where me and Ollie were more cuddly in bed. The next day, we got our phones back and that was when the whole realisation happened, about how we knew each other. We were standing in the queue for the plane, I was putting Ollie’s number into my phone and I just started going, ‘OH MY GOD!’

Ollie: You’d think he’d just met Elton John.

Dan: And Ollie was freaking out. He started panicking.

Ollie: I was like, ‘Oh no, don’t tell me I’ve sent nudes to his best mate.’

Dan: Basically, all the pictures that we’d sent to each other months prior…

Ollie: Babe, you name it. It was there. It’s mad to think that we had been chatting before, and for whatever reason, we just didn’t get around to meeting. When I really could’ve just popped down to London and it would have hit off then.

Dan: From that point, Ollie spent one night back in Brighton, then came straight to London and stayed in my little studio flat in Shoreditch for literally a week. I spent some time with him in Brighton, meeting all his family. We just started to integrate into each other’s lives. Months passed and we spent New Year’s Eve together…

Ollie: That was nice. I enjoyed New Year’s Eve.

Dan: I then took a job and had to live in Amsterdam for a while. Ollie and I had difficult times during that period, of staying connected to each other. And with the show coming up, it was scary for us. We managed to overcome that and since then we’ve been super strong. It feels exactly how it felt in the Masseria.

Ollie: Even just the little things, getting Chinese and watching Drag Race.

Dan: I’ve got Ollie obsessed with Housewives. Something that comes across in the show from Ollie and I’s relationship is that there’s a lot of sexual chemistry. That is absolutely the case, but it’s so much deeper than that. The emotional connection is what drove us together and kept us together over the last eight months.

Ollie: The other boys thought it was just sex-driven, but is that such a bad thing when you’re into someone? I don’t think it is. Take from it what you will, but I think our connection was the most legit and the reunion did portray that.

GT: We have to talk about the shower scene. There’s been minimal gay representation in the dating show genre, so how historic do you think it was for audiences to see two moustached homosexuals getting frisky in the shower together on the BBC?

Ollie: It was just our cheeky selves causing mischief. We don’t stop laughing when we’re around each other and I love making him laugh. Two guys in the shower kissing… Had I had something like this as a 14-year-old boy, I would’ve been like, ‘Oh right, so this is how I’m feeling.’

Dan: It would go in your wank bank, Ollie.

Ollie: Exactly! You did get the PG version [of the shower scene], not gonna lie. But, it’s the BBC – you’re not watching someone’s OnlyFans. They toed the line as much as they could, and I really respect them for that. I wanted to talk about real gay life and culture, what we do and where we go. Even wearing a red ribbon on our Pride night, every little factor was key for me. And that’s what attracted me to Dan as well; his level of maturity and understanding of who he is. He knows his gay history, loves who he is and isn’t ashamed to be camp or dress how he wants. I love someone who loves being outrageously gay. We were out the other night for instance, watching a drag queen. I looked at Dan and said, ‘Don’t you feel proud to be gay?’ I feel like we’re gifted this life, where we don’t have to get a mortgage, have kids, get married. We don’t have to have grandchildren and die, that’s not our lives.

Dan: One more thing on the shower… First of all, that shower scene is a snapshot of Ollie and I’s relationship. We were in there having a laugh, being cheeky. It was showing gay love and romance in a really authentic way, and sometimes that manifests into two gay men going at it in the shower. I’m proud of being part of such an iconic moment of the show.

GT: I Kissed a Boy featured queer conversations that are scarce on British TV, particularly in the reality dating genre, from Grindr to LGBTQ+ icons and the struggles faced by the queer community. Do you think the series accurately captured what it means to be a queer man in the UK in 2023?

Ollie: In a strong sense. Watching it back, there weren’t any elements where I thought, ‘They could’ve done that better.’ Don’t get me wrong, I personally wish it had been longer because we had so many chats but, ultimately, it’s the first of its kind. As far as representation goes, I feel like it’s a good reflection for those who don’t know about gay life.

Dan: I think it represents a queer utopia. It shows what life could be like if the world just accepted us. We were in the Masseria, full of gay men who completely accepted and embraced each other. Imagine what the world would be like if it was just like Masseria? Also, because we’re making a show here, everything in the Masseria is manufactured to make us all fall in love, right? Ollie and I were in this completely fairytale world of the show and we fell head-over-heels for each other. After we left, we were in the real world and had to contend with all these other tests and challenges.

GT: Besides Dan’s move to Amsterdam, what other challenges did you face?

Dan: It’s logistical things. Boring answer, but that’s what it comes down to. As a London gay, we become accustomed to a much more vapid lifestyle. Before I was on the show, I would burn through dates. If I found one thing I didn’t like about someone, then it wouldn’t go further. [I Kissed a Boy] was a wake up call. In terms of challenges, it really came down to not being able to see each other enough and the pressures of an impending reality show. I was thinking, ‘How is that gonna affect our relationship? How are we gonna manage that?’

Ollie: It was a great job opportunity for Dan to go to Amsterdam. It did test things, but also, you were very mentally tested in the Masseria. I’ve never experienced anything like the crash and burn we had when we came out. It was the holiday blues times 10. But ultimately, we’ve learned so much about ourselves and the path we want to take forward.

Dan: You hear me talk a lot on the show about, ‘I need someone who’s gonna fit into my life’ – basically expecting someone to bend for me, right? It wasn’t quite as intense as it comes across, but that was a bit of a reality check for me. As Ollie and I have spent more time together, I’ve realised that it’s about us both compromising. It’s important to me and I want to fight for it.

Ollie: The level of risk that we were prepped for and then started to feel was intense. We both felt like our heads were on a chopping block, especially when we’re told about a shower scene like that. You know what the gays are like, they’ll either love it or shoot you down. We are grateful that it was taken in a great way.

Dan: The reason why Ollie and I have been received so positively is a testament to the fact that we are so authentic as a couple.

Ollie: A lot of people do relate. For instance in ‘Yas or Pass’… Let me clear this up, Dannii asked us what we would consider a high body count. I was like, ‘Hmm, 400?’ and then you’ve got other boys saying 30.

Dan: For the record, if I was there for ‘Yas or Pass’ I would’ve said 500.

Ollie: That’s what I’m saying! Dannii didn’t ask how many we’ve slept with. It’s funny, everybody said they would date someone with a high body count but when I said 400, I felt like they were judging me. If someone said 1000, why are you judging them? In our community, sex is a positive thing and I love that.

GT: Let’s talk about Dannii, a goddess. You both formed a really strong relationship with her and Dan, you previously said you had an unaired moment with her on the terrace. What happened?

Dan: Dannii would pull out certain boys from the Masseria if they had a predicament. For example, my love triangle with Mikey and Ollie. Dannii invited me on a ‘Dannii Date’ where we chatted about that situation, the pros and cons of each boy and what I’m not sure about. I say Dannii helped me out but all she did say was, ‘You’ve got a big decision to make, the kiss-off is coming!’; laying it on thick. We also spent time talking about her history as a queer icon, how she performed at Heaven back in the day before any pop stars did that. She was basically advised by various people in the industry not to. People said if she performed there, she would become embroiled in this controversy of whether or not she was gay. Against all the advice, she did it anyway. Since that point, she’s been such a staunch ally for the community.

GT: Dannii cracked me up when I asked her about elements of gay culture that she learned from the series. Was there anything that the cast taught her on set?

Ollie: She’s a very educated woman! She’s one of the gals, so much fun to be around and work with. She stuck with us through thick and thin. At one of the kiss-off’s, I was going for a very Tom of Finland vibe. When I was getting ready, the boys didn’t get the look. Dannii said, ‘Ollie I love this look, very Tom of Finland!’ How is it that this straight woman gets my reference, but the other eight boys didn’t?

Ollie, you could tell that you were the biggest Dannii stan there.

Dan: I will say, I’d be excited to see her every time but my heart would always race, Padam Padam, because you knew shit was going down.

Ollie: She has such a presence, where you just feel like she’s your mate. She’s so motherly to the point where I could crack a joke with her. One of the producers said at one point, ‘Ollie, she really appreciated that because she was so nervous to meet you all, and you cracking a joke put her at ease.’

Dan: That’s how Ollie makes me feel as well.

GT: I recently did an article explaining what I loved and didn’t love about the first season of I Kissed a Boy. The main criticism was, and Ollie you mentioned this, the short runtime. From your perspective, what did you enjoy? And what do you want to see improved on for season two?

Ollie: It definitely needs to be longer. Secondly, I did say to production that there needs to be someone in there over 30 to represent. I understand the audience they’re trying to hit, but if we’re looking for true gay representation, the daddies are a popular figure! Vitor, for instance, was looking for that older man.

Dan: As an extension to the older point: the cast was so diverse, but it could go even further. Second of all, one thing that we keep getting a lot of is that there should be a winner.

Ollie: Or at least vote for your favourite couple. I feel like we need to involve the public, like Love Island. People would lose their shit if they could do that. Maybe not a winner, but there needs to be a voted favourite couple or the shadiest couple.

GT: What else would you like to stay? The soundtrack, c’mon!

Ollie: Adam, who does all the music, did such a cracking job. The gay icon night… I can’t explain how much fun we had. When you’ve got Alan Turing and Freddie Mercury, who would’ve thought it? That and the fashion show needs to stay.

Dan: What I’d love to see going forward is more funny moments that feel like we capture gay culture. For example, Ollie and I’s first interaction where he asks me if I do the door at Fire and if I go cruising, that is such a special moment that I’m proud of as it’s so representative of two gay men meeting each other for the first time. Also, more authentic conversations and backstories; Gareth’s story about his family, Matty’s story about his internalised homophobia and Ollie’s story about his body image. You’ll never see that on Love Island.

Ollie: We’re normal people. We’re not semi-rich influencers who have the body of a god with dead chat. I’m just your average, run-of-the-mill lad.

Dan: I also want to see more romance. With Ollie and I, you got to see a real life romance blossom. I love that man and I’m so proud that we’re a power team together.

GT: Blimey, I’m such a third wheel here, aren’t I? I’m happy for you both, though.

Dan: We’re always looking for a third, it’s fine!

Ollie: Always!

GT: I have taken that on board. So, what is next for you both?

Dan: Basically, me and Ollie are… It feels like we’re so far into this relationship that we’re now just grabbing the bull by the horns. There’s loads of opportunities coming towards us. We’re trying to seize them! We are going on a cruise in a couple of weeks, planning different holidays…

Ollie: It was great fun making I Kissed a Boy, but it made us realise that there isn’t a lot of representation out there, couple-wise. If we can be the new gay Posh and Becks, we’re down for it. I’m very business-minded and career driven, and the teamwork we’ve got going between us… We’re in talks with people right now and we’re so excited about it. Lemme tell you: this is only the start.

I Kissed a Boy is now streaming on BBC iPlayer.