Gay Dad Life

Interview with A-List Star Ryan Nickulas

Ryan Nickulas, formally of Logo's The A-List: New York, has been busy since leaving the show. He has solidified himself as a style expert & beauty editor, and recently welcomed twins with his husband Desmond via surrogacy. We caught up with the A-lister to talk about his path to parenthood, his turn as a reality TV star, and what the future holds for this family of four.


How did you become dads?

We always said we wanted children. We had been married almost 5 years when we decided to really move forward. We felt like we had  taken enough time to be selfish and really know each other. It was the next step for us at that time. We chose to surrogacy which was amazing!  It was not--- and I repeat, not---the easiest journey once the shot was fired, so to speak. It was not all baby showers and candy; there were some definite hurdles; there were some definite personality conflicts. There was a lot of things. But overall when I look back at the difficulties and the joy, there were lots of bot. Now I get to look at two beautiful healthy children. It was worth every second!

What was the timeline? When did you guys meet, when did you become serious about becoming dads and how long did it take?

We rekindled in 2006, and we were married in 2007. We started our surrogacy journey in 2012 and it took about 18 months all in. My children will be turning 4 in July.

Were you living in the Boston area when you began your journey or were you in New York at that time?

New York City is where we started. And the funny thing is, once it was confirmed that we were having twins, I kind of freaked out and I wanted a home. I wanted a yard, and a home, and a car. I felt ready to start that next process as soon as possible. We moved one month before the twins were born. Packing and setting up my home! And then wondering, "When are we going to get the call?"

What have you told them so far about the surrogacy experience, how do they understand?

You know, the conversation hasn't really come up yet. They have asked a few times if they have a mommy because the other children at school and playdates have a mommy and you know I didn't see that one coming when it happened. I just said you have two daddies that love you very much, and that everyone's family is different. And in our family we have two daddies and you guys, and that is our family. They just moved onto the next page in the coloring book. I absolutely welled up with tears as I was trying to grasp for the correct verbiage.

At this stage of the game, I'm not going to necessarily force it, and when the questions come they will be answered. As long as they're surrounded by love, we're good.

You're a transcracial couple. How did you decide on egg donor and gestational carrier? Did race come into the picture?

It really didn't to be honest. We 100% trusted the doctor, Dr. Doyle out of Connecticut Fertility. With his success rate, we followed his yellow brick road. He submitted some really great candidates for both. When it came to the surrogate versus the egg donor, sure, we paid a little more attention to the egg donor details, but he was kind of the puppet master because everyone was superbly qualified. So, we did not care when it came down to race or eye color. We cared more about genetic backgrounds and mental illness, that was where I cared. That was it! Everything else we went with our gut and we went with our doctor. I think you can drive yourself crazy. And for some people those things really matter. Hair color, eye color, SAT score, where people went to college. Sure, that was somewhat factored in but it really didn't matter. I didn't want to allow myself to worry too much about it... I didn't want to feel as if I was playing God.

What are the names of your beautiful kids?

My daughter is Cynthia, and my son's name is Sebastian.

When were they born?

July 23rd. They're turning 4 in July.

Now that you're a dad and have been for the past 4 years, I assume a lot has changed. So tell me some things that you miss, and some things you don't miss about your former life?

[Laughing] Well, a lot hasn't changed from my former life. I can still get out to dinner on a Friday night and we try and do that after the kids go to bed. I still have all my same friends, I don't make it to every party or every celebration like I used to be able to, and my friends understand. But, the basics of my life have not dramatically changed. I host a lot more now, I have a lot more people over as it's just easier. A little bit of preparation and planning and I am still able to get things done, I guess you could say.

Are you the cook in the house?

We all kind of have our hands in that [chuckling].

When you look back at your life in "A-List New York," how real was it?

You know, the reality show is more real than you think, that one specifically, and I hate to admit that because there were so many moments that were just embarrassing. But, of course things get edited a little bit and things get put together.

So the cat fights were real?

Yeah, everything really happened, I'm not an actor, you know? I'm a hairdresser not an actor. They just chose really charismatic people that were very different and of course stuff was going to happen. So at the end of the day, when I look back at that, I consider that I was mothering most of those men at one point or another during the show. It was a little bit of a prepping time for me.

And you were in a relationship at the time and you were thinking of fatherhood?

It was definitely discussed and it started to really be discussed towards the end of the first season. I chose not to have my children on television which was partially one of the reasons why I did not come back for a third season.

Was this for reasons of privacy? You didn't want to expose your kids?

In case something went wrong ... there were a lot of reasons why I chose to not have my kids on television. You know it's one thing for me to sign onto a reality show and we all know what that means, and I can always take care of myself in that field, and whether or not I look in the most positive light or not, I can always own it or not, whatever. I can't make that decision for my children. Even though I'm their father. And no disrespect for people who put there children on television, but personally for myself, I don't want my children on T.V. and I didn't want to be taken away from the beginning of fatherhood for a T.V. show. I just wanted to immerse myself in that experience and not be worrying about what time the production was coming or if the lighting in the room was going to work, or any of that. I just wanted to be with my children. Knowing what goes on in a show it would've taken so much of my personal journey of fatherhood. It didn't feel right.

What are your plans for the future?

The kids! [Laughing] It's almost summertime so we're having BBQs and getting ready to maybe do a family trip to Cape Cod and professionally I'm the executive producing a short film at the end of May about love and loss of a mother which I myself lost my mother not that long ago so it felt very true to me. There is a beginning conversation of a new reality show which would be very different for me. As you know on T.V., you just never know, but it does sound exciting. So there's a possible T.V. show in the making. But not with my kids!


More Celebrity News

Gay Dad Wedding Album

7 Reasons We Love Nate Berkus

Neil Patrick Harris’s Beautiful Bday Message to His Hubby

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

A Gay Dad Wonders: What Will the 'Roaring Twenties' Bring?

Jim Joseph says he's looking forward to "moving forward in 2020" and in the decade to come!

The Roaring Twenties are upon us, and with the new decade comes great anticipation.

I remember as a kid that whenever a new decade came, it felt like "out with the old and in with the new." It seemed like pop culture and the way of doing things suddenly shifted. Witness 1979 into 1980 and the dawn of a new era in music, fashion, entertainment, and culture. Same with 1989 into 1990. Bam!

As I got older and started my own journey of growth, I started tracking decades by the milestones I had hit during each of the ten-year increments.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Tell Us Their Parenting Goals for 2020

Some are hoping to expand their families — others are hoping to keep the members they already have alive!

We asked our community on Instagram what their parenting goals were for 2020. Here are some of their responses.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

10 Ways Gay Dads Inspired Us in 2019

No two gay parents have the same family creation story, but they still have one thing in common — they inspire us.

Every week, we bring you the stories of gay men and their families. While no two of these stories are the same, one thing they have in common is this — they inspire us. Check out 10 (out of the MANY!) ways gay dads moved us in 2019!

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Only so much growth and learning can occur when we limit ourselves to our fears. If people never did anything they were afraid to do, life would be incredibly boring and far too predictable. At some point we must face the things we fear and just go for it not knowing what will happen next.

After finally coming out to my ex-wife after ten years of marriage (see previous articles for that story), and eventually telling my family I knew there was one more step I needed to make.

I am a business owner. I am a structural chiropractor and am highly specialized in my field. Nearly four years ago I opened my own clinic, Horizon Chiropractic Center, in Phoenix, Arizona. I poured my whole heart, body, and soul into the creation of my practice and its growth. Opening a business fresh out of school is no simple task and I worked hard to build my practice with close relationships and word of mouth referrals. I established myself as an expert and built a strong reputation as a family man, and my ex-wife and kids were the face of my practice.

I loved and do love every person who has ever come into my office and treat them like family. We laugh together during visits, celebrate wins, cry together, often hug, and cheer each other on regarding various things in our life. That's also a large part of who I am: a people person. I enjoy spending quality time with those I am privileged to help. No one comes in my office and only sees me for 2-5 minutes.

Even though there was so much good that I had built into my brand and reputation fear eventually found its way into my business too. I was afraid of what would happen if people found out the truth. Would they be okay with having a gay chiropractor? Would they still trust me to be able to help them? Of course, the story in my head I was telling myself was much bigger and badder than it needed to be.

When we decided to get a divorce, I felt strongly that I needed to face these fears and begin telling a number of patients the truth of what was happening in my life. I know in reality it is no one's business but my own. However, I felt like I needed to let my patients who had become like family to me truly see me for who I am, and who I always was. And so slowly, case by case, I began to tell a select number of people.

I'll never forget the first patient I told. She had been coming in for years and was bringing her son in to see me who is on the autism spectrum. It was the day after my ex-wife and I decided to get a divorce and she could tell something heavy was on my mind. I eventually came out to her. The first words out of her mouth were "I am so proud of you!" We cried and hugged and it was the complete opposite of what I ever expected. And it was perfect. I felt loved. I felt accepted. I felt seen.

As time went on it got easier. And overall the responses were all completely positive and supportive. Out of all the patients I told and those who found out from other circles, only three stopped coming in to see me. Since coming out, my office has grown tremendously. My reputation hasn't changed. If anything, it's solidified. I can't help but think that part of that is due to finally embracing all of me and allowing others the same opportunity.

I read somewhere once that you never really stop coming out of the closet. And I've noticed that too. Sure, not everyone needs to know; it isn't everyone's business. And I hope that one day we live in a time period where fear doesn't prevent anyone from being seen. I want to contribute to the upward trajectory I think our society is headed of understanding, acceptance, support, and equality.

I would love to be able to say that after coming out publicly I no longer feel fear; but I do. And I think in some ways I always will no matter what. But that's part of life, right? Recognizing fear when we have it but then choosing to move forward out of love – love for others, but maybe more importantly love for ourselves.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

Keep reading...
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse