Meet Samer Salem, Your New Crush From “My Fake Boyfriend”

Meet Samer Salem, Your New Crush From “My Fake Boyfriend”

But acting wasn’t the only closet Salem had to come out of. “One of my first agents asked me to change my name. I said no,” he smiles. “I was so proud of myself for that.” That same agent asked him if he was gay. “I was still closeted to myself — and everybody else — at this point, so I said no. And my agent said, ‘Oh, thank God. Gay doesn’t work.’ Like, if I wasn’t already in the closet, you just pushed me in further.”

Salem recalls another early experience working with a director who kept saying his name wrong. “He was like, ‘Ugh, I’m never gonna get it.’ And I just thought, you look like a fucking idiot because my name isn’t hard to say. It’s a fucking name. Say my name properly.”

“Still, 99% of the experiences I’ve had have been amazing,” Salem is quick to add. “Everyone on set, the other actors, the directors, everyone has been so awesome. So I don’t have any horror stories, really, besides the small ones.” But those little micro-aggressions add up, and they get in your head. “Especially in the beginning, when you don’t have much to go off of, or your own experiences to inform you. These are the people you’ve hired to work for you, and they’ve been in the industry for a long time. I think about the agent who told me to change my name and told me ‘gay doesn’t work.’ They were a phenomenal agent, and I don’t think they were actually homophobic at all, or had malicious intent whatsoever. They were just the product of the industry they had been working in for over 20 years. But still, you bear the brunt of that. Especially as a gay man in this industry. It’s fucking brutal.”