“Dancing on Ice” star Colin Grafton on skating with The Vivienne, his workout routine & his foray into modeling

“Dancing on Ice” star Colin Grafton on skating with The Vivienne, his workout routine & his foray into modeling

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Colin Grafton remembers what it’s like to feel small. As a young figure skater, Grafton would anxiously wait for the hockey players to show up, dreading their taunts from behind the boards.

“I remember feeling so nervous at various points in my childhood. You know, I’d be skating and the hockey players would come and bang on the side of the rink and shout words,” he told Pink News.

Far from the only male figure skater to face discrimination, Grafton eventually used the broadsides as motivation. They say success is the best revenge, and he was determined to be the best.

“That would shut them up,” he thought.

And guess what? It did!

“It wasn’t easy but all of it made me stronger because I took it and focused everything on my sport,” he said.

Grafton shined in his sport, competing with Team USA as a pair skater with Kyle Duarte (they won bronze at the 2012 Junior U.S. Championships). But he retired from professional skating the following year, moving onto performing.

Over the last decade, Grafton has starred in numerous European tours, culminating in two straight appearances on the British TV hit, Dancing on Ice. Think Dancing with the Stars with ice skates.

In other words, Grafton is a perfect fit! He immediately jumped on our radar, skating with Drag Race UK royalty The Vivienne, the series’ first drag competitor. During the most recent season, he partnered with actress and singer Claire Sweeney.

As you may infer, he wasn’t necessarily hiding his sexuality. The Boston native posed for the cover of Gay London Life, after all… in nothing but his Calvins!

But it wasn’t until last month when Grafton talked about being gay publicly for the first time. He opened up about his personal journey in the aforementioned Pink News interview.

“It’s been a long journey, but now I am proud of myself,” he said. “I want to let other people know that they should be proud of every part of themselves too.”

With that spirit in mind, Queerty recently caught up with Grafton while he was taking a respite in the U.S., and talked about everything from his experiences in figure skating to becoming a tabloid fixture. Here’s what he had to say…

QUEERTY: What’s the reaction been like since you spoke about being gay for the first time?

COLIN GRAFTON: To be honest, it’s been wonderful. Obviously, it came out in the press about a month ago, and I’ve had sooo many messages from people in the sporting world and also Dancing on Ice saying it’s helped them. Sometimes, people will send you a long story about their journey. It’s really nice to hear about other people and their stories. If I can help anybody come to terms with themselves and be proud of who they are, that’s amazing!

Do you find figure skating to be accepting?

It’s making progress, but it was a taboo subject for some time. I know there were many male and female skaters throughout the years who were nervous to come out, because they didn’t know if it would affect their scoring. I think only in the last 10-15 years, I’ve seen a shift to be a lot more accepting. It’s cool now, because you see younger athletes being proud of who they are. You have Amber Glenn, and she’s just been a role model for the younger generation. She’s excelling! So yeah, it is becoming more accepting, which is wonderful to see.

With that in mind, there are a number of out figure skaters. Have you connected with them?

I just saw Johnny [Weir], he was a judge on Dancing on Ice. I’m friends with Eric Radford, the skating world is quite small! We know each other through the competitive skating world. Once you get to an elite level, everyone sort of knows everyone. Eric has always been supportive. We see each other on social media. His competitive partner, Vanessa James, just finished Dancing on Ice with me as well. It’s a very small web!

You’re also in amazing shape! What’s your workout routine?

Well, skating keeps you in shape. I’ll tell you that! But I have tons of friends who go to the gym and it’s their leg day or upper-body day or cardio day. They work on one part of their body. For whatever reason, I’ve always felt imbalanced doing that. I’m not a heavy weightlifter, but I’ll go in and do a full body workout. I’ll start with cardio, work through the major muscle groups and end with abdominals, and then cool down with a stretch. That’s been my workout plan for years. I don’t lift super heavy weights, but I tend to do more lifting in the offseason of Dancing on Ice, because we’re so tired on the series and lifting people up all the time, I don’t really have the energy to bench press!

You famously partnered with The Vivienne during your first season on Dancing on Ice. Who are your favorite queens?

Obviously, you know what I’m gonna say first! I have a few. I’m friends with Baga Chips, who’s friends with The Vivienne. That drag world was kind of new to me, I’m gonna lie. I learned so much from The Vivienne about everything, and got to be part of her world for six months. It was so cool to see. Blu Hydrangea is also amazing. But it was cool, because I was skating with Vivienne, and all these amazing drag queen artists were following me on Instagram.

You also aren’t afraid to pose shirtless or in your favorite pair of Calvins. What do you like about modeling?

Modeling is something I’ve never considered. It just sort of happened with skating. As athletes, we work our bodies out all the time, and I’ve been proud of the hard work. I don’t pose shirtless to be like, “Look at me, look at me!” I’m proud of my body, and think we should be. Everybody should be proud of their body regardless, but I’m happy with the hard work I’ve put in. 

Are you dating anyone?

I’m as single as they come! My first year of Dancing on Ice I was in a longer term relationship, but unfortunately it became hard with the distance. But everything is on good terms. I’ve been single for about six months now. I’m just getting ready to start dating. When I get back to London, we’ll see what happens! I really feel like I’m living my authentic life now. 


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