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 Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad's Adoption Journey Amid a Global Crisis

Erik Alexander writes about a personal moment of happiness — the birth of his son — amid a world gripped by the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 has shaken the whole world to its core. From one part of the globe to the other, it has all but stopped life as we know it. This scenario seems all too reminiscent of something that the American South will never forget. Living in New Orleans, Louisiana we are accustomed to dealing with evacuations and disasters because of hurricane season each year. From June to November, we are on alert. As you can imagine, Hurricane Katrina's lasting effects really taught us how to deal with disaster prep along with recovering from the aftermath.

Keep reading... Show less

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."

Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse