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Singer, actor, dancer, producer, TV personality, social media marvel and Broadway sensation Frankie Grande has partnered with the fashion accessory brand Fifth & Ninth, creating an exclusive line of phone cases designed for Pride. Join Grande in a pop-up event hosted by Fifth & Ninth on June 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Phluid Project at 684 Broadway in NYC. The event will include music, drinks and a meet and greet with Grande.

I spoke to Grande regarding World Pride, the event, the exclusive phone cover designs, The Phluid Project, creators of the coolest clothes on the planet and what’s next. Shedding light and positivity on everything he touches, aside from his celebrity status, Grande involves himself with countless charities and advocacies. Having co-founded Broadway in South Africa, he eventually partnered with buildOn and helped build a school in Malawi. He was honored for that with the Global Impact Award. He has also been involved in helping Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has raised money for AIDS/LifeCycle. Grande has been on Broadway and has appeared on “Celebrity Big Brother,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the American Music Awards and a long list of others.

Photo Credit: Chris Shelley

What is Fifth & Ninth?
Fifth & Ninth is a company that I decided to collaborate with for my phone cover line. They do a lot of different items, but phone covers seem to be very popular. For me, right when the iPhone X was coming out I wanted to be one of the first people that had a cute, customized iPhone cover. It always takes forever to come out with new ones, and the ones we came out with together, I really like the selection.

So you’re doing an event with Fifth & Ninth on June 24 at a pop-up location?
Do you know about The Phluid Project, the Phluid store? I’m a huge supporter of them. I think that it is so important for us to have clothing that is non-binary, that is not associated with gender in any way, shape or form. It’s the first gender-free clothing store in the world. It is absolutely zero gender when you walk through the door. Immediately, the first time I sat down with them I thought it was such a wonderful idea, and you will definitely see me dress in Phluid for all of Pride. So we were talking about what my event would look like, if I should have one during Pride, because Pride is like my Christmas, my Halloween, it’s my everything. So we decided to collaborate and do this wonderful event. When I came out with the phone cases, it was a very symbiotic. It was very beneficial to celebrate the phone cases, and sell phone cases with Fifth & Ninth, and then have a very fun, fabulous influencer, with all of my cute influencer friends and dear, dear friends to come and celebrate with me.

With World Pride quickly approaching, aside from your event, what else do you have planned?
I’m literally doing as much as I possibly can, especially because it is World Pride. I usually do an event here and there during Pride, but now I’m going to do as many as humanly possible. I am very honored to be a Stonewall ambassador this year for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. I think that it’s time that the LGBT speak up as proudly as we did 50 years ago, all over again. We’ve got a crazy administration; people are trying to make us go backwards, so we have to be just as loud as we were 50 years ago. It’s not like things are getting better, so let’s be quiet; it’s [that] things are getting better, so we better stay loud. So I’m doing everything I possibly can during World Pride, everything.

Photo Credit: Chris Shelley

Well said. I know what World Pride means to you, because you just told me, but for somebody that’s going to experience Pride for the very first time, what would your advice be to them?
This is the time when you need to embrace your true, authentic self. It’s not about becoming something for someone else, it’s not about going to parties. All those things are inherently available during Pride, but what I encourage someone to do is just really tap into your authentic self and celebrate it. Be unapologetic for yourself, and let this be the thing that catapults you every single day. I am fortunate where I am in a place in my life where I don’t have to deal with the corporate structure of America. I am allowed to wear makeup and glitter and sparkle and shine. I know that it’s unfortunate that people don’t get to be themselves, so I want this to be like someone’s big production and be what it’s like to be able to celebrate yourself every single day. I hope that one day we get to a point that it is actually the norm.

That’s a great answer, Frankie. So can you describe these phone cases that you are coming out with?
Basically, I always had like a black, ordinary phone case. It was kind of depressing to look at my phone with that case. So of course my phone case has a neon rainbow on it. It says “Shine Bright” with beautiful neon letters. If you look at your phone, you will be reminded that you are fabulous. You are going to see “Shine Bright” when you make a phone call, “Shine Bright” when you go on social media and “Shine Bright” when someone calls you. Unfortunately, in today’s society, there is so much negativity going on on your phone, and you just get stuck in that viral, controlling people on the internet, and to pick up the phone and see “Shine Bright,” we can approach the world with a little more love and happiness, and that’s what I want to inspire everyone to do.

Photo Credit: Adam Bouska

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t carry their phone 24/7.
24/7, and this one actually protects the phone. I dropped my phone with the cover a million times, and there was no damage. That was my one requirement.

Will this be for all phones?
There are certain ones that it’s available for.

So Frankie, aside from Pride, what are you up to?
I’m proud to be announcing that I will be in the Henry Danger Musical, which is appearing on Nickelodeon on July 27. I am one of the stars, and I get to sing and dance, and this character, let me tell you, is a beautiful, over-the-top, glittery, fairy of a man. I get to be very free, very loving, and it’s so good that it’s on Nickelodeon for kids to see. I’m wearing glasses and glittering stones, and it’s just so unbelievably fabulous that I get to do this for kids. I’m so excited. It’s going to be so over the top.

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Eileen Shapiro
Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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