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!

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