Born in Pennsylvania, Billy Porter, 51, studied drama and moved to New York in 1991 to appear in Miss Saigon. He went on to star in Kinky Boots, winning the 2013 Tony award for best actor in a musical, and a Grammy for the soundtrack. In 2018, he was cast in Netflix’s Pose, which will return for a third series. He is married and lives in New York state.

What is your greatest fear?
That I will be forgotten and my legacy won’t matter.

What is your earliest memory?
Singing a solo at my Ascension Baptist church when I was five or six. There were already fears that I wasn’t masculine enough. When I sang, all of the fear in the adults’ eyes went away.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
I’m not embarrassed about anything.

Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
I bought my BMW in 2014 with cash, because I was bankrupt and had no credit. But I was in Kinky Boots, so I was finally making some money.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
I don’t think we know that person yet. I am the first of the archetype.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Believe it or not, holding in my emotions in a relationship. Not talking as much as I should with my partner.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A home. I just bought one on Long Island. My first piece of property.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
The male Whitney Houston.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
RuPaul’s Drag Race.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
When I was young, my church community said that I would never be blessed as long as I chose to be gay. And we all know it’s not a choice.

What do you owe your parents?
Forgiveness. [Porter was sexually abused by his stepfather from the age of seven to 12.] I’m pretty much there. My mother lives in a nursing home in New Jersey. She’s the love of my life, and it breaks my heart that she has a degenerative disability and can’t hang out with me in person during all the success I am having now.

What does love feel like?
I’m trying to figure out how to receive unconditional love. That’s hard to do when you’ve never really had it, so I’m trying to navigate that.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
The rejection that I have received from my own people.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
The Harlem renaissance in the 20s.

How often do you have sex?
Not as often as I should.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Holding on to my sanity.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That I don’t have control and should just be present.

Tell us a secret.
I am an open book.