They didn’t win The Amazing Race, but those Chippendales hotties Jaymes and James (that would be Vaughan and Davis, respectively, and respectfully gay and straight) are back on the road, and this time they’re baring their souls. The best friends and singing partners have a new single, “Light up the Skies,” and are in the middle of a cross-country dash to perform together and still shimmy back to the Las Vegas Strip to do just that. (Okay, Jaymes doesn’t really strip, but his pecs could have their own Zip code.)
I caught up with the dynamic duo as they were dashing to Atlantic City for a one-night gig. They were driving, I was on speaker phone, and I soon learned that these two finish off each other’s sentences the way gay hook-ups finish each other.
“He has lots to say at all times,” says Davis on Vaughan’s interruption updates. “I’m lucky if I get a breath in here or there.” It was right about this time that Vaughan screamed out “Freakin’ awesome! It’s super sweet,” in regards to their venture to AC and the new song. And he’s the gay one?
“It’s kind of our fusion of what’s out there now,” Vaughan continues. “It’s Kings of Leon meets Ke$ha. I’m totally into pop, and James has been in a metal band. We’ve already booked seventeen shows; it’s The Amazing Race effect. It’s nuts. We could be horrible and no one cares. It’s pretty insane. We’re headlining!”
In case you’re wondering, the double JJ’s do dress appropriately for the show, and if you want a peep show you’ll have to look elsewhere. Says Vaughan, “We’re gonna wear clothes, we’re gonna try something new. We have an awesome stylist.”
Adds Davis: “During the music part, there’s no stripping going on. We’re hoping that plays over.”
Davis also wants to set the record straight when it comes to the modern state of America’s most famous clothing-impaired club.
“Chippendales has gone through a lot of changes over the years. The term ‘stripper’ is kind of dated now. We’re in a multimillion-dollar theater. We’re not giving lap dances.”
In our changing hetero/homo times, Jaymes and James are truly best friends. Both are in relationships, and they double date, they walk each other’s dogs, and they spend holidays and birthdays together. It’s not just a bromance, an-almost diminishing term. It’s friendship, and love.
“On the list of things to know about my best friend, his sexuality is number 503,” says Davis. “There’s so much more to know about a person. As soon as you stereotype you’re bound to make a mistake—generalization. That goes with anyone; be positive, love them, you’ll get it back.”
Says Vaughan: “I never looked at friends as far as color, or one leg or two. People are people. At the end of the day, he’s not going into the bedroom to see what’s going on, and vice versa.”
That friendship, which hit the nation after The Amazing Race hit the airwaves, has had a domino effect on people across the country. “The LGBT community has been so welcoming of us,” says Vaughan on their fan base, “but we get a lot of straight party crashers. Straight guys come to see us because we’re like buddies. We get a lot of letters—we’re like the Mickey Mouse Club!—saying ‘I had the guts to come out to my brothers or fraternity brothers or so on because of you guys.’”
“A lot of people say, hey, my best friend is gay, or hey, my brother is gay,” adds Davis. “It’s so cool to see that other people have this kind of relationship.”
Vaughan’s exposed his own sexuality while starring in Chippendales, which had some surprising benefits for the rest of the cast. “All the girls thought we were gay anyway,” says Davis. “Now they realize the rest of us are straight. He outed us!”
On that note, I let the two guys get back to the road ahead, with just one more question about the art of exhibition. Which of the two men, I wanted to know, is the most uninhibited?
“I guess it’s me,” says Davis. “You have to watch out for the quiet ones.”
So much for stereotypes…
To keep up with these gentlemen, check out their facebook page. You can also follow them on Twitter: @jaymesv