Photo by Kevin Penczak

“When the first episode aired, it was attacks from all angles — from about my looks to my voice to my mannerisms. I asked a couple people who’d done similar things how they dealt with it, and they told me, ‘You know, you don’t have to read all the comments,’ and I’m like, ‘Please. I can handle it.’

“At the beginning, it’s all exciting, good and bad. And then it becomes addicting. And then you start caring about what they’re saying. And then you start following those people.

“I really wanted to go out there and represent being a gay man in Chicago. And then people were hating me — they'd send me pictures of my body fat. It became that push-pull: You want to see what people are saying, but you also have to be prepared for people to come after you. It can very quickly spiral out of control. So you have to be careful not to get addicted to the good, just like you can get addicted to the bad.”