Actor Daniel Franzese says he was
inspired to publicly come out gay by a fan letter.
Franzese played Damian in the 2004 film
Mean Girls. While his character was out and proud, it would
be ten years before Franzese talked publicly about his sexuality.
“What Damian did for a lot of queer
people and people of size – which I found out later on – it gave
them an identity in pop culture where they weren't made fun of,”
Franzese told PEOPLE. “He's never made fun of for being big or for
Franzese, 40, said that he was moved to
come out publicly after he received a fan letter in 2014.
“Then I got this letter, and the guy
was like: ‘I’m a grown man now, but I was beat up for being a
sissy, I was beat up for being chubby in 8th grade, then your movie
came out. And in 9th grade, on the first day, the popular senior
girls came up to me and said, ‘You’re like Damian. Come sit with
us.’ He was like, ‘I know you drastically changed my high school
career,'” Franzese said.
“It just moved me beyond words,” he
added. “It was very complex human emotions to feel. And I know
that I affected a lot of people’s lives in that movie. I think that
that’s such an honor and something that I don’t take lightly.”
Franzese is currently on the road with
his “Yass! You're Amazing!” comedy tour.
Franzese, fiance Joseph Bradley Phillips split.)