In the ever-evolving narrative of LGBTQIA+ representation, actor Jonathan Bailey stands as a trailblazer, weaving his own unique story through regency-era drama in “Bridgerton,” the groundbreaking period piece “Fellow Travelers,” and an upcoming role in the movie adaptation of the classic musical “Wicked.” Beyond the glitz of Hollywood, Bailey takes on a new role as an advocate, succeeding Tom Daley as the recipient of the Changemaker Award in GAY TIMES Honours 2023.
The spotlight intensifies on Bailey as he embarks on a “critical and crucial” partnership with LGBTQIA+ charity Just Like Us. According to Bailey, “LGBTQIA+ issues don’t speak for themselves, and you need people to step forward. It’s important for me to be able to do that.” His commitment extends beyond red carpets and film sets, evident in his infectious energy during a GAY TIMES shoot in Marrakech, Morocco. Bailey, sporting a freshly acquired tan, dives into discussions about his partnership with Just Like Us.
Having worked with various charities before, Bailey expresses why Just Like Us resonates with him. The charity’s focus on providing LGBTQIA+ youth with the vocabulary and tools to articulate their experiences strikes a chord. Reflecting on the extraordinary opportunities presented by his projects, from “Bridgerton” to “Fellow Travelers” and “Wicked,” Bailey acknowledges the platform he now has to guide people toward diverse narratives and causes.
Laura Mackay, CEO of Just Like Us, praises Bailey’s activism, highlighting his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of LGBTQIA+ young people. Bailey, in turn, commends the Just Like Us team and their ambassadors, who left him “with my jaw slightly on the floor.” He emphasizes the impact of authentic storytelling, acknowledging the charisma, vulnerabilities, and obstacles shared by these young advocates.
Describing Just Like Us as a “supernova ball of energy,” Bailey applauds their efforts in transforming LGBTQIA+ discussions in schools. He commends the enriching stories told by ambassadors, emphasizing the ripple effect as more people embrace the benefits of open conversations. Bailey acknowledges the Positive Futures report, recognizing the undeniable correlation between early acknowledgment of LGBTQIA+ identities and improved mental health outcomes.
For Bailey, the partnership with Just Like Us forces reflection on his own upbringing and the lack of LGBTQIA+ support during his school days. Returning to his home village for a “Fellow Travelers” campaign, Bailey recalls feeling “not acceptable” in a community that lacked exposure to diverse identities. He questions how different his life might have been with the vocabulary and ambassadors that Just Like Us provides.
As Bailey’s career has taken him from a rural village to the multicultural hub of London, he notes the importance of inclusive environments in fostering self-acceptance. His involvement with “Fellow Travelers” aligns with the mission of Just Like Us, delving into the complexities of the queer experience across decades. Bailey sees the series as an opportunity to shed light on the various facets of LGBTQIA+ history, from the Vietnam War protests to the AIDS crisis.
In the ever-widening spectrum of LGBTQIA+ advocacy, Jonathan Bailey stands not only as a talented actor but as a compassionate voice amplifying the stories of those who need it most. His journey from the glamour of film sets to the heart of activism reflects a commitment to creating a more inclusive and empathetic world.
Jonathan Bailey’s journey as an actor and advocate unfolds like a captivating screenplay, marked by authenticity and purpose. As captured through the lens of Asafe Ghalib and eloquently penned by Sam Damshenas, this narrative of resilience, growth, and commitment to LGBTQIA+ representation comes alive. Umar Sarwar’s creative direction weaves together the visual and written elements, creating a tapestry that celebrates Bailey’s achievements on both the stage and the frontlines of advocacy.
In a world where LGBTQIA+ voices continue to break barriers, Bailey emerges as a beacon of change, embracing not only the glamour of his cinematic roles but also the responsibility that comes with his platform. The Just Like Us partnership becomes a pivotal chapter, illustrating his dedication to empowering queer youth with the tools to articulate their experiences.
As the curtains fall on this exploration of Bailey’s multifaceted journey, the digital pages of gaytimes.co.uk beckon, inviting readers to delve into the complete narrative. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling, photography, and advocacy converging to create a compelling narrative that resonates beyond the screen. In celebrating Jonathan Bailey, we not only applaud his achievements but also join him in the ongoing dialogue for a more inclusive and understanding world. The digital issue, a culmination of artistry and storytelling, awaits exploration—an invitation to witness the intersection of talent and activism in the vibrant tapestry of Jonathan Bailey’s life.
Photography Asafe Ghalib @asafeghalib
Words by @samdamshenas
Creative Direction and fashion by @umarsarwarx
Art Direction by @jackrowe_
Hair by @svenbayerbach at Carol Hayes Management using Sam McKnight
Makeup by @kareemjarchemakeup
Retouching by @dariabolog
Creative Production by @anisacleaver
Cover Design by @drawingbagel
Fashion assistance by @lilyhobman @brxdturner