With a visibly important and timely role under his belt with the hit UK series Victoria, actor Jordan Waller is ready to trade in his well-fitted tail coat for some laughs with purpose, as he kicks off his one-man comedy show.
Candid's Fashion & Entertainment Editor, Jeff Conway sat down with this young gentleman, wise beyond his years, to uncover the refreshingly honest perspective that resides within his unique story.
Jordan, you were raised in a truly modern family. Did I hear that you have three moms?
Well unfortunately, Jeff, I only have two left.
Yes, I heard one has passed away.
At one point, I did have three. My mothers are lesbians, Dawn and Miranda, who raised me. When Dawn and Miranda split up, my mom [Miranda] got together with Jayne, who became sort of a third mother.
As they sort of all broke up and got back together in the tightly-knit lesbian community of the southwest of England in Bristol, which is sort of a ‘Lesbian Riviera' in England, I've expanded a tightly-woven quilt of lesbian input in my life, so much so that I am now pretty much just a middle-aged lesbian myself in a very young man's body.
I really do identify more than a guy/man, as a lesbian, to be honest.
Did society ever take a toll on your confidence at an early age in your childhood with not being a part of a typical ‘nuclear family'?
So initially, it really went in waves, I have to say. Before I went to school, I didn't know anything else, so it was completely normal.
It was only when I went to school that I saw other children with these more conventional, nuclear families that I went back home rather confused and quite jaded, wondering why I was raised differently.
At eight [years old], Jayne picked me up at school and it gets around that I have these lesbian parents and I am bullied relentlessly, so much so that I have to move schools. But by the time I get to secondary school, the fortune pendulum swings completely and I am suddenly really interesting and popular and different because I have gay parents.
You played the only son of Winston Churchill in the film Darkest Hour. How was it working alongside celebrated actors like Oscar-winner Gary Oldman and how did you rise to the occasion with such a calibre of cast beside you?
You need to work with the best in order to be the best.
It was a really daunting experience being around someone so talented as Gary Oldman. It was also a very humbling one as well, because he was a really down-to-earth guy. He was such a cheery, positive person and really playful and fun. He would dance to Bob Marley dressed as Winston Churchill on-set [laughs] and really just took all the seriousness and gravity, frankly, out of the atmosphere.
I've learned a lot from him. It was an absolute honour.
You have played Lord Alfred on Victoria, who was a closeted gay man during a time when homosexuality was not tolerated and barely even discussed. What do you hope viewers understand most about this oppressed character?
That's never been poised to me like that, Jeff. I hope that viewers can understand how difficult it can be to navigate different types of love.
What Lord Alfred is going through is experiencing feelings that aren't necessarily bedded in language, because there is no term. ‘Gay' actually is a very politicised term that only really appears much later on in the twentieth century. He's really, with Drummond [fellow Victoria character], navigating a totally unexplored sea of feelings, which is what I think is so fun to play.
After all the marriage equality rulings that have passed in multiple countries around the world, if you had the chance, what would you say to your character Lord Alfred to give him some peace of mind about the future, with you knowing everything that the gay community has achieved and overcome in recent years?
I would say thank you to him and I would say thank you to every single dead gay man and lesbian for living a truth and for somehow contributing to the wonderful story that is ‘gay'.
I think it's amazing, in spite of all of the slings and arrows that history has thrown at the gay community, that there has been an unwavering resilience among individuals to be themselves. Gay is a choice… a choice to be you and that is one of the hardest choices you can make and if you do, I really honour you.
Tell me about your new one-man comedy show called The D Word. I don't think it would be too assuming of me to say that it is somewhat largely based on your actual life?
It is indeed. I unfortunately lost one of my mothers two years ago to cancer, Dawn; mum number two. I was fighting myself having to live next to an enormous hole that she left in my life.
I tried to fill that in by searching for my biological father, who is an anonymous sperm donor. He is an impossible, unknowable figure in my life.
And The D Word explores the four holy D's in my life, which are daddies, dykes, dicks and now death. It's an exploration of what it means to define yourself as a man and how young men in particular struggle to express the way that they feel.
I think it's a fascinating study when you put men through trauma, how they cope, and I think that more stories like this need to be told, so we can really share in vulnerability together as men.
You recently decided to become a sperm donor, as that route is how you came to be. What made you decide on this and have you noticed how those confidentiality measures have changed since you were born?
Yes. So, I think that it's the greatest gift that you can give to any couple who aren't fortunate enough to be imbued with the right puzzle pieces to make a child themselves.
My father gave me, my mums, the greatest gift – my sperm donor, I probably can't call him my father. I wanted to ‘gay it forward', quite frankly. If I can do that for other people, it's really lovely to be able to masterbate and not upset people, but rather masterbate and please people and give them the greatest gift ever. So I don't see the problem with it at all.
And in terms of the anonymity laws being waived in 2005, to some extent, I think it's a shame that they were waived because there can be something extraordinarily liberated in letting yourself go of biology.
We're obsessed as a society with biology. My father is my sperm donor, he's not my father. I don't have a father. That's a gap in my life, but it's amply filled by wonderful women.
If any children I father were to get in contact with me in the future, I think I would be in the greatest position, having been through it myself, to explain to them that I'm here, ask any questions, but ultimately, I am not your parent. I am happy to know you, I am happy to see you, I'm even happy to form a relationship with you. But I can't fulfil things that you need to fulfil yourself and I think that's one of the most heartening messages we can all learn from the sperm donor story. You have the strength within you to live the sort of life you want to lead.
‘The D Word' is being previewed at the VAULT Festival 2019 across Waterloo in London. Click for tickets.
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