interview by JANA LETONJA

Actor, poet and writer Christian Weissmann is releasing his book ‘Her, Him & I’ on 11th June. The book is a poignant collection of poetry and prose that tackles the complexities of heartache, gender roles, queerness, and toxic masculinity. Christian has previously appeared on hit shows like ‘Saved by the Bell’, ‘Dear White People’ and ‘Girl Meets World’.

Christian, you’ll be releasing your book ‘Her, Him & I’ on 11th June. Tell us more about the inspiration behind it.
Yes, June 11th is sneaking up on us. ‘Her, Him & I’ is a collection of poems that follows the first two romantic relationships in my life and my ever-changing relationship with myself. It’s a sharp-witted take on the world of bisexuality and ultimately, an ode to queerness.

The book is a poignant collection of poems. What made you decide to write it as poems, and not like a regular book?
From a young age, I used writing to navigate all of my emotions. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that poetry became my primary outlet. The art of poetry allows me to be abstract and push creative boundaries in ways I hadn’t before. Needless to say, I was obsessed. Fast forward a few years later, I had hundreds of poems, countless stories to share, and I wanted to celebrate those lived experiences. That’s how ‘Her, Him & I’ was born.

What does the book and its release mean to you personally?
I feel like I’m having a baby, literally being wheeled to the delivery room as we speak. It’s thrilling and nerve-wracking all in the same moment. I have dreamed of releasing a book for as long as I can remember, so I am constantly pinching myself. After these poems are out there, they’re no longer mine, they are of the world. Free to interpret, dissect and connect with them however they may please. That sort of liberation for my art is what’s most exciting to me.

The poems tackle the complexities of heartache, gender roles, queerness and toxic masculinity. Why is talking about these themes not only important to you, but also for the society?
I have deeply struggled, and still struggle, with self-doubt and obsessive thinking about love, societal perception, sexuality and everything under the sun. Getting to talk about these topics so openly has helped me destigmatize those insecurities. I hope that people can have a similar experience while reading the poems in this book.

In the book, you offer readers an unfiltered view into your psyche across three acts, loving a woman, a man and yourself. Tell us more about all these different relationships you experienced. The poems are not only relatable to the queer community, but anyone who’s struggled to define, accept and love themselves for who they are. How important was it for you to go through this process yourself, accepting and loving yourself for who you are?
These relationships I have had completely changed my life. I learned so much about myself from the individuals I’ve been lucky enough to love, there are more than just two. I understood what I need from a person and what I don’t. I got to experience such highs and such lows, all of which were absolutely necessary to grow into the person I am today. Although there were some incredibly tough moments in terms of heartache, it was vital for me to build an armor of self-love that can weather the storm.

The release of ‘Her, Him & I’ will coincide with the Pride month. How special is it to release it during such a significant month for the queer community?
It’s incredibly cool. Garnering attention for queer art is an arduous task, so getting to share ‘Her, Him & I’ during a time when more eyes are on queer creatives is something I’m very grateful for.

What are you most excited about for the release of the book and all the promotional work accompanying it?
I’m thrilled for poetry lovers to read it and hopefully see their own experiences reflected in the poems. I’m also eager for my friends to get the book and guess who each poem is about. It’s not as easy as they’d think. Maybe I’ll run a bid on whoever gets the most right, wins a prize.

Before being a poet and writer, fans got to know you as an actor. What do you enjoy the most about acting and living through different characters?
Acting and poetry have always been major forms of escapism for me. Growing up as a closeted queer kid, embodying another character allowed me to express my flamboyance without feeling too exposed at first. Now as an adult, acting feels like where my inner child thrives. The joy and freedom I experience on set are unparalleled. Driving onto a studio lot is like arriving at Disneyland. I get to stretch myself, explore vulnerability and humour, and collaborate with others who share the same passion. What a treat.

What can you share with us about your other upcoming projects you’re working on?
I can’t share any details publicly yet, but there are some very exciting developments coming soon in both acting and writing. Stay tuned.

all photography by RYAN PFLUGER