If you had told me ten or even five years ago that I would be conducting an interview VR style in the metaverse, I would have looked at you crazy. It just didn’t seem fathomable. Yet that is exactly what happened this past week when I interviewed Leiomy, a key icon in ballroom culture,who was also tapped to bea judge on HBO Max’s Emmy-Nominated Ballroom Competition series Legendary.
Ballroom Dancer Leiomy Is Entering the Metaverse As a Judge on HBO Max's 'Legendary'
We did something different y'all
The interview shouldered a Metaverse-hosted panel that Leiomy joined with fellow LGBTQ+ community leaders Law Roach, Renee Montgomery, and Dr. David J Johns (Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition) for a discussion on gender identity, their unique journeys as intersectional individuals, safety in virtual reality, and owning their identity and culture in uncharted immersive spaces.
Released to the public on 6/21, today, the panel is part of the fourth installment of the Metaverse Culture Series, DREAM HOUSE. As mentioned earlier, we spoke with Leiomy about this project last week in what was an incredible interview that you can check out below.
ONE37pm: Hi Leiomy! It’s so good to be chatting with you today! Let’s first start by talking about DREAM HOUSE. How excited are you for the release?
Leiomy: I’m super excited! I’m a gamer myself so I was already used to using the device, but being a part of the metaverse has been something completely different for me, and I loved it so far. I love the fact that I’m able to create an avatar and the movement behind it, as well as the facial expressions and the fact that you are able to play around with motions.
I also like how you can create your own rooms as well, and have spaces to create your own meanings. You can create different things and ideas are so endless!
ONE37pm: This upcoming installment of Metaverse Culture Series, Meta brought together an epic group of LGBTQ+ community leaders. What are some of the things we can expect from this monumental moment?
Leiomy: Honestly, I want to see how many people get involved with this! I feel like a lot of times people are shy to try new things, or socially awkward. A place like this will help so many people be more open to just talking and being expressive. I look forward to even seeing people having events and seeing huge turnouts with so many different types of people.
ONE37pm: There’s also a ballroom inspiration behind this project. Could you talk a little bit more about that?
Leiomy: Oh yes! I love the fact that they created a runway. It’s really cool! I love how they put together everything about this. I look forward to seeing more and what they can create because I know this is a first phase kind of thing, but it’s beautiful. The environment itself is so beautiful to look at, and even the judges' panel is so cool. The dance floor makes it look so surreal.
ONE37pm: Let’s talk about the guests for this panel. We’ve got Renee Montgomery, Law Roach, and Dr. David J. Johns. That’s an awesome lineup!
Leiomy: We all did the panel altogether, and it was so amazing to be a part of the panel and hear everyone’s perspectives on being public figures and sharing our platforms and journeys. I feel like that’s something that’s important for so many different reasons. We’re all from different walks of life, but we can come together and make things happen.
ONE37pm: How about the way we are doing this interview “Inside The Metaverse.” I don’t think we could have imagined this ten years ago!
Leiomy: Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined this ten years ago. Even hearing about the way we were doing these interviews at first was crazy. Being a part of the panel was something different, and I feel like the exploring has been really fun. I’ve loved seeing all of the reporters coming in, and everybody having their different avatars. It’s been cool to see that!
ONE37pm: What are you most excited about with this project?
Leiomy: I love how mobile the movements are. As a dancer, I feel like I can actually teach a performance class via metaverse. That will be really cool!