Remy Duran: The Legendary Top Takes a Brief Intermission
Remy Duran has been so omnipresent in the queer consicousness over the past few years that it feels like he’s always been there. From running Ty Sunderland’s infamous Love Prism parties, to being a contestant on MTV’s Are You The One?, to holding the dubious honor of being the most catfished man on Grindr, was there even a time before Remy was guiding us through the warehouse into the darkroom?
Being a queer NYC party personality is a full-time job—New York City nightlife is an artform all it’s own, and its history and heritage is well worth digging into. Recently, a new wave of party influencers like Remy, Ty, Aquaria, and others have added their own unique point of view to the NYC queer party scene. But with Coronavirus keeping everyone in self-isolation—the bars closed, the warehouses just warehouses, and the masses huddling in front of Zoom screens instead of Ty’s DJ booth—what does a nightlife star do when there’s no nightlife?
We're three weeks into official self-isolation, how are you holding up?
Being a nightlife person, I'm kind of losing my mind. I'm out of work, because nightlife...and I don't know when nightlife is going to come back, because that's the last thing that anyone's really going to care about. Everyone's going to be like, "Shut the fuck up, nightlife people. That's not the priority." And I miss hanging out with my friends, or just being low-key. I don't need a club, but I'm someone who's never in the house.
Are you self-isolating with anyone?
Luckily I am with my girlfriend right now, we're quarantining together. Before quarantine I was using Grindr as a place to find hot bi guys, or open gay guys, that was sort of my thing. It’s not easy to find bi guys...you would think guys would be up to have a guy, guy, girl threesome. No, it's the hardest fucking thing in the world.
That's not a tribe on Grindr.
No, I know. You guys should think about adding bi to your filters.
I will let them know your suggestion.
So, you consider yourself bisexual?
Have you dated more women than men?
Yes. I've only had one really serious boyfriend. I've casually dated boys here and there, but I've had multiple serious relationships with women.
When did you enter the gay nightlife scene?
I first got into the gay nightlife scene at 20. I was dating Andreja Pejić, but I was still, in my mind, thinking I’m a straight boy, she's a girl. I was just like, "Oh, my girlfriend's in the gay scene, because she's trans, cool.” It wasn't until after we broke up three years later that I realized you can send dick pics to gay men and then just go have sex. And that was pretty much that for me. That's when Grindr was newer, and I was recognizable from being out in the scene. Not in the gay scene, but just in the Brooklyn warehouse scene, and people would be like, "Oh, Remy?" And I would be like, "Oh, block, got to delete this." So I had to go on things like Adam For Adam, and dudesnude, because those, they're more--
You poor thing.
Yeah. Those are more down low, so I had to go there. And then when I finally came out, when I was like, "Okay, if I'm going to be out and really explore this, let me just jump all the way out..." I was on Grindr. And then I realized, I had never taken dick pics before, because I never needed to. As a dude who dated women, they didn’t wanna see that. And then I realized, guys need that. Especially as a top. So I started taking dick pics, and that's when everything started flourishing.
You’re known for your impressive member, can you give us a few tips on how to take a good dick pic?
I only have a few hard dick pics. Because the way my dick is, the curvature, it's not the most photogenic when it's the hardest. My trick is that you get it hard, and then on its way down, that's when it's perfect. Right when it's five-sevenths hard. But on the way down, not on the way up. That's the golden hour selfie. I have a good solid 10 that I've used throughout the years. And full-body ones with dick pic I'll update. But some that are just of my dick I haven't changed. I had a full-grown dick at 23, it's going to be the same at 28.
Yeah. It's Remy's dick, it's recognizable.
What do you look for on someone’s Grindr profile? What’s that process like?
I go through Grindr profiles and I can pretty much gauge what people are looking for based on what they've written, what they put on a profile—whether they're looking for right now, or just sort of how sexually charged their profile is. And then I'll just send nudes and be like, "Hey, what's up?" And if they're interested, they respond. If they're not, they don't respond. And if they say, "Hey, I didn't ask for nudes," I'm like, "Oh, my bad. I apologize," and I say sorry and I block them.
Anything you don’t like on a profile?
The thing I hate on a profile is when people put what they don't like. It's just so negative. Just tell me what you're into. You don't have to tell me what you hate. You know what I mean? That's just like, "Dude..." And it's like, with Taps? You don't even have to click in the Taps tab!
We’re on such a fun topic but I haven’t even asked my second question yet.
I know, we just went on tangent after tangent.
What's your normal nightlife schedule look like when there’s not a pandemic happening?
Normal schedule is, I work six parties around the city. I work mostly GBU. I used to work NYJP a lot more, not so much anymore. But I worked GBU in Brooklyn, and that was every second and fourth Saturday.
What does that entail?
Oh, it's just naked clothes check. Just like a coat check would do, but I'm naked.
And then there's a dark room and dance floor?
The whole thing is a dark room. The first party of the month is underwear optional, and the second party of the month is naked only. You have to be naked to go in. It's a social party, there's a DJ, there's a bar, there's snacks, there's a room where it's definitely more speaking-oriented, getting to know people, and that's fine. It's not like, "Oh, dude, why are you talking, this is sex only." And then the rest of it is just a play area, a dark room. So, that's what I do, that's a good chunk of coin. Because I also get paid as a promoter for it.
Truly fascinating, do go on.
And then the other part of it is I work for Ladyfag sometimes, I've worked some of Susanne Bartsch's parties, but mostly I work for Ty Sunderland. Ty's my best friend. I'm the person who—not to say my friend group has somewhat of an ego—but we all sort of have our own stardom. I have the smallest ego, I'd say, as far as I'm willing to, if Ty needs someone to check stamps or wristbands at the door, I don't think I'm too much of a nightlife superstar to sit at the door and be like, "Oh, show me your stamp, blah blah blah." Because if I can help Ty's machine, if I can be the oil in Ty's gears going forward, then I'll do that.
Make it flow.
Yeah, yeah. And someone he can trust and rely on, and someone that will always be there. No "last-minute cancellations," you know what I mean?
Yes, that makes sense.
So, that's what I do. And now, it's just quarantining with my girlfriend.
At least you're not by yourself.
Yeah, honestly if I wasn't with her...we're in an open relationship. I don't know, I’m worried I would break quarantine and go see her, which I shouldn't be doing, or break quarantine and go get my dick sucked. But also, it's tough, because the clinics aren’t open, and I ran out of my extra Z packs. I mean, I don't know how other horny people are managing right now.
Would you say you have a pretty high libido?
I guess. I don't know, quarantine has made me extra horny for some reason. I'm not normally that horny of a person. I like to have sex because I like hot people, and I like having sex with hot people. But I'm not someone who has to bust a nut every day. I'm just like, "If you're hot, all right, whatever." And it’s the uncertainty of how long this will last, so you just have this sort of pent up tension.
Nightlife is how you support yourself, correct?
Yeah. But the good thing is, quarantine has been really great for my nudes business. Which I started on the side casually, because somebody wanted to buy nudes from me on Twitter. That's the one thing that’s good. Now that everyone's pent-up and horny and stuff, I've been posting a little bit more raunchier pictures, like bulge pics to entice them to buy content.
Where are you selling these?
On Twitter. I'll post certain things on Twitter, and I'll be like, "DM me for rates." I don't like posting prices on the timeline. I just sell it directly through DMs. And it's been great. People have been super horny, and I've been making sure I'm making a certain amount a day to keep everything afloat. I'm the only person that—my mom, she couldn't even work before, so she definitely can't work now. I'm the main supporter of the household. I'm the only person paying the rent, the lights, the food, everything for both of us. So I'm just making sure that I'm making content. And having said that, I am officially doing an OnlyFans at the end of the month.
You’re a renowned top, yes?
Most considerate top?
Do you get sick of this branding, or has it been good to you?
I think it's fun. I definitely made a name for myself. Back in... 2015, 16, 17 sort of was the prime of my...let’s say that I had the highest score on Grindr.
You beat the game.
I was definitely on the scoreboard. And I made a name for myself. I mean, I don't see myself as a sexy person. I think I'm handsome, I think I'm cute, I think I'm charming, but other people see it, and other people put that on me. But, I think mostly it's fun. It's camp to me. I mean, honestly Grindr is my favorite app. And I'm always looking. But I am that annoying guy on Grindr that's not looking for “right now” anymore. I had my first wave of discovering my sexuality, and my gayness, and hooking up with all these guys. And now I'm more selective. I definitely still am much more gay than I am straight, but I'm at a point in my life right now where it's much more quality over quantity. Whereas before it was just, "I want it all."
How are you practicing self-care during the quarantine?
I'm changing my diet! I was eating whatever before, but now I really have time to plan out my meals, and evaluate things. And Zoey, my girlfriend, is definitely helping. She's the juice queen, so we buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. I wake up, and instead of getting something unhealthy, we'll start with juice and a smoothie, and then get a substantial lunch. The first three weeks, I was sort of a couch potato. And I still somewhat am. But now I'm like, "Okay, it's been two weeks. I can't just do this, because then time is really going to feel like it's taking forever." We're going to do a whole cleanse.
What's the first thing you're going to do when you get out of self-isolation?
What do you miss most about New York City nightlife?
I just wish this shit happened when winter was starting. This is the worst time. Summer in New York City is when the city comes alive. That's when the city is most vibrant, and it’s own creature. Now I feel like we're going to miss all of it. We'll probably get out of this by September, realistically. And it's just like, "Okay..." And that's just the first wave, because I know this thing is going to come in waves. We're going to have to self-isolate again probably come December. You know what I mean?
Yes, I think we’re all dreading that anticipated second wave.
That's the one thing I’m scared to miss, that moment when summer starts and we all come out of our caves. That first day in the park, that first trip to Fire Island, all those firsts.
No coat check.
No coat check, absolutely. Yes.
What do you think about the attempts to bring nightlife experiences online during isolation? Have you heard of Club Quarantine?
Ty Sunderland's been doing a bunch. He did Love Prism. I get really bored with lives. I'm not someone who goes live often. I think it's cool that people are really engaging with it, and it's really helping them. You know it's funny, you would think that gays are the ones who are really wildin’ out and going crazy and getting naked. But it's the straight people, and all these celebrities' Instagrams, like Tory Lanez, they're having Club Rona on the weekend. Everyone's in there watching these girls twerk and do crazy shit, it’s really nuts. Gays just want to dance. We just want to listen to pop music. It's the straights that are going crazy.
We just want to dance to the new Dua Lipa.
Yeah, the new Troye Sivan too.
Do you think that Corona is going to affect NYC nightlife in the long term?
I don't even know what people are going to do. Obviously nightlife is affected, because how are these clubs going to pay rent, you know what I mean? I’m hoping they freeze rent in April. I get it, March, you shut it down mid-month, so we all had half a month to whatever. But in April, none of us really have been able to make money in a legal way. You have to freeze the rent. And, what is $1200 going to do? Not even just for single-payer renters, but what are bar owners going to do with $1200? They're paying tens of thousands of dollars for rent. What are they going to do with that? That's the thing people aren’t thinking about, but it’s a huge part of our culture. Bars are important places to let loose, socialize, interact, be human.
Are you working on anything right now besides your nudes?
Besides my naked body?
Besides working out the body for the people. The masses.
I've been writing a comic book for the past few years. It was on the back-burner because I’d been going through so much—people in my life passing, and a stressful relationship that I got out of, and then another friend passing—I needed to focus on being happy again, and I couldn't write because I couldn't be in the house. I needed to get out and be around friends. And being at home... it's different. Some people find solace in being home. I don't, because when you've been somewhere for almost 30 years, it feels like, "I need to get out of here. I've been here since the beginning of time." You know what I mean? But now I can sit down and take time out of my day and have a schedule. I'm not going out and getting paid to party and drink. I have some structure to sit down and write for at least an hour. And also maybe get back into designing too. So, that's what I'm going to work on.
Do you have any thoughts about people still going to hook up during the pandemic?
I was on Grindr just this morning. I woke up early, and I was just checking it out, seeing what the situation was like. And someone was like, "Oh, well I already got it, and I'm recovered, so you can come over." I'm like, "No. No, hell no." I get it, everyone has needs, and some people are hornier than others, but just because you got sick, or you feel like you got it or didn't get it, it's really about taking care of other people. It's about not being in transit, and not exposing more vulnerable people. Because New York is crazy right now. At least wait until the last week of April before you break.
Everyone is at an understanding that we're all stopped. And it's peaceful knowing that we're all in the same predicament, where we don't have to compare what we're doing to other people, and it's like, "Oh, this person is doing all this." Now we're all doing nothing. You know what I mean? There’s solace in that. It’s like, "Okay, I don't have to compare myself to others anymore. We're all struggling in this." So that's sort of the only sense of peace that I’ve had. Everybody's sort of on the same page, and we’ve all stopped focusing on ourselves and are focusing on what we can do for each other. That's kind of nice.