By Andrew Moreno
Posted: May 2008

    No stranger to adventure and excitement,
    Reichen Lehmkuhl is on mission. He is
    insistent on always working. From authoring
    a best-seller, to acting, modeling, lobbying
    for human-rights and creating a network of
    business deals, Lehmkuhl sees no stop in his

    De Novo Magazine was thrilled to talk to
    Lehmkuhl, and I think you'll agree, he's going

    Moreno: Mr. Lehmkuhl, what’s one thing
    about you that will never change?

    Lehmkuhl: I will never be able to focus on just
    one project.  I have too many interests and I
    always seem to have 5 or 6 jobs going on at
    one time.  
        Photo by Tony Duran

Moreno: What was your childhood like?

Lehmkuhl: I grew up in a trailer park in a worker’s town in Massachusetts .  I was made fun
of in school for being the poor kid.  I overcompensated with my grades and school work
and put tremendous pressure on myself to excel, which made me even more of a dork to
the other kids.  It got me into the U.S. Air Force Academy, so that’s when I broke away
and my life began.  

Moreno: What did your parents do?

Lehmkuhl: My mom was a registered nurse but became a stay at home mom by the time I
hit the 5th grade.  My father worked through different jobs of a company called Northrop
Corporation, a defense contracting giant.   

Moreno: What was your first job?

Lehmkuhl: My first job was one my friend Josh talked me into, washing Mack Trucks with
these high pressure guns, connected to a tanker truck.  We would drive the truck to
locations where there a bunch of dirty trucks (such as a fleet of UPS trucks) and clean
them all day at that location.  By the end of a day, I was covered in grease and oil.  I wore
gloves but my hands would often get cut from the strong spray of the gun.  I still have
scars on my hands from that. It was a bitch of a job but it paid for my high school car and

Moreno: You have an exceptional list of accomplishments?  What current goals
are you working on?

Lehmkuhl: I’m working a new reality show right now and it will focus on life from a very
different perspective.  I’m working on a second book, the sequel to my first book, “Here’s
What We’ll Say”.  My jewelry line  “Fly Naked” just hit 10 Saks Fifth Avenue stores across
the country to test it out.  It’s an exciting time and opportunity, so I’m happy.  

I’m also working on love-fostering an amazing relationship where you both are there for
each other 100%.  A working relationship is under-rated in life and sometimes when we
have it, we don’t even realize it.  Hold on to the one who loves you.   

Moreno: I have read so many thank you notes and messages from your fans and
readers who have found your book so inspiring.  What has been your reaction to
the book’s success?

Lehmkuhl: I’m glad that the book has had such success mostly because it’s opened so
many minds to what our U.S. Armed Forces really does to our LGBT&Q service members
and to the U.S. Taxpayer when they put people in our community through court martial
proceedings and, ultimately, ruin their lives, careers, and years of hard work and
dedication.  I won’t stop speaking up about these issues until “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” has
been abolished.  Once it has been overturned, I will start fighting to have our LGBT&Q
service members who were affected by the past policy monetarily compensated by our
government for the human rights abuse they underwent under the atrocious policies that
hurt them under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the ongoing ban on gay people in the U.S.
Armed Forces.    

Moreno: If you don’t mind sharing, so we can get to know you better, can you
share with us a moment, both happy and sad in your life that has had a
significant impact?

Lehmkuhl:  Happy:  The day my first flight student flew solo in a plane, I had taught him
how to fly.  (I’m a flight instructor).  

Sad:  The day I realized that a person who I may consider my friend in Hollywood would
throw me under the bus to gain one more personal notch on the fabulous meter.  It really
IS “La La Land”.  It was an enlightening moment.  Eventually you learn to never believe
your own press and that, in that town in particular, it’s ALL business.  There is nothing
wrong with being successful in the business, but you should expect to get hurt if you get
close to and place your trust in the wrong people.       

Moreno: One of your rules on your 10 Rules of Life quotes reads, “You will learn
lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, ‘life’”?  What
lessons have you learned?

Lehmkuhl: A night at home with the one you love is better (and better for you both) than
attending a red carpet event. (a.) I will never please everyone.  I have to follow my heart
and be happy for the few who may be happy for me.   Jealousy hides from me and bursts
out at moments when I wasn’t prepared to see it—and from people I never thought would
harbor it. (b) Take dead aim for what I want and believe in.  (c) Surround myself with
those who want to see me happy doing just that.   (d) Support those I love whole-
heartedly (e) Realize that there is enough abundance to go around for everyone.  
Another’s success does not signify any sort of failure for me.     

    Moreno: You’re something of a sex
    symbol.  Have you always been
    comfortable with your body?

    Lehmkuhl: Oh man, I couldn’t be more shy
    and uncomfortable with my body.  There are
    pictures of me with my shirt off or in a bathing
    suit.  Those were minor hours of my life over
    years of living and it took the photographer
    and staff of the shoot more hours to get me
    comfortable enough to do it than it took to
    take the pictures.  What others think is a
    good idea (ie: in photo shoots) is something I
    never really agreed with.  I try to do as much
    in the industry with my mind as I possibly can,
    not with my body.  I’m appreciative of anyone
    thinking I’m a sex symbol, but I don’t see what
    they see.   
         Photo by Edwin Santiago

Moreno: For the gentlemen who would like to acquire a fragment of your
physique, do you have any exercise tips?

Lehmkuhl: I’m a bad one to ask.  I have an arsenal of chicken pot pies in my freezer.  I am
lucky to eat almost anything I want, but I am dedicated to working out on an almost daily
basis for about two hours a day.  I hardly ever do cardio-exercises.  I would attribute it all
to weight training.  The more muscle I have on my body from lifting weights, the more fat
my body burns all day and all night to keep that muscle alive.  That’s my own personal
theory.  I’m sure it’s flawed somewhere in that line of thinking.     

Moreno: Tell us about the motivation behind the Fly Naked merchandise?

Lehmkuhl: In commercial flight school, there was a challenge to strip down naked and fly a
certain plane in the flesh on our first solo flight.  “Did you fly naked?” was the question I
had to honestly answer after my return.  I did.  I flew naked.  It was a liberating
experience.  It’s a metaphor for coming out of the closet.  You just do it…you strip down
naked and let the world see you.  Just like in the plane, you don’t have to scream that  
you’re doing it.  You just do it.  Not many things in life take that kind of character and
courage.  I wish everyone were able to fly naked.  I understand that some can’t but the
world is allowing us to do it more and more every day.  

Moreno: You’ve had your experience with public relationships.  Are you
currently dating?

Lehmkuhl: I’m currently in love.  

Moreno: What turns you on?

Lehmkuhl: Loyalty is huge.  Respect for my privacy is huge.  And a mean squeeze of my

Moreno: In general, what kind of people do you like to work with?

Lehmkuhl: People who do it, rather than those who talk about doing it.  I learn the most
from those people.  

Moreno: What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

Lehmkuhl: Wondering if I set the house alarm.  Eventually I get up and check it.  Sleeping
alone is a tough one for me too.

Moreno: If they made a film about your life, what would it be called?

Lehmkuhl: Flight School

Complete the following sentences:

Yesterday, I . . . "got a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel and took someone special on a
'rescue-getaway' date."

Life has taught me . . ."to expect the unexpected."

"Fame" . . . is an illusion. "Success is a feeling that only you can see and feel.  No one
else need be involved."

For more information on Mr. Lehmkuhl, please visit  
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