Out LEGO-enthusiast, Sam Hatmaker, is currently competing on the FOX competition series “LEGO Masters,” where teams go head-to-head to make outrageous creations hoping to take the trophy and a big cash prize! GLAAD’s Head of Talent, Anthony Ramos, spoke to Hatmaker – who is gay and uses they/them pronouns – on the heartfelt messages they have been receiving from the queer community. Hatmaker, who previously built “The Golden Girls” house out of LEGOS, also reveals what other queer icons are on their LEGO-to-do list!
Q: When did you first get into creating amazing things (like The Golden Girls house!) out of LEGOs?
A: I have built LEGO Sets since I was 4 years old, collecting four 30 gallon totes full. I couldn’t find pieces to build any of my ideas. I sorted my parts about 7 years ago, giving me another artistic medium to be creative.
Q: What other queer icons have you made from LEGOS? Who is next on your list?
A: I am finishing Beyoncé right now. My list is long. Ian McKellen, Lwaxana Troi, Majel Barrett, Joan Crawford, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Prince, Tilda Swinton, 3 or 4 different Dolly Partons…SO MANY!!
Q: As someone who uses they/them pronouns, can you talk about the importance of having representation?
A: I wish the whole world would get on board with respecting people for who they are, including using their pronouns. I honestly didn’t think about it as we made the show. I wanted to show the world that storytelling and creativity are as important as technical ability. We all create to their own ability, and still tell stories with the bricks. Now that it is on TV, people contact me telling how I represented something to them. It is a beautiful cycle of love and support, because they are all representations for me now too.
Q: You have a great sense of style! How happy are you to see more people like Billy Porter and Harry Styles help change the idea of what people wear?
A: I have been waiting for this style revolution for too long! I am happy that we are finally getting to a place where clothing doesn’t have a gender. Jesus and Mary wore the same thing in the Bible. High heels were designed for men first. The more people I see doing it, the happier I get.
Q: You have a great partner on the show (Jessica Ragzy Ewud), but if you could pick a queer icon or celeb to be your partner who would it be and why?
A: I had an amazing partner on the show. We had different styles and abilities and we, like every team, had rough patches. We overcame it and worked as a team to tell some amazing stories. For the celebrity partner, I would have to say Brad Pitt because I KNOW he loves LEGO and he has plenty of stories to tell. Britney Spears supposedly builds with her kids, so she might be fun too.
Q: You said you have cried some happy tears since the episodes have been airing and other LGBTQ people have been reaching out to you – what are some of the things that have resonated with you?
A: The moms that write to me have just touched my heart with their love and support with their stories about their children being excited to see someone they could relate to. Representation really does matter. I have cried at a LOT of them.
Q: How important have Legos been for you during this time of pandemic and self-quarantine? Any masterpieces you are working on?
A: Having an ability to express creativity is important for everyone. If I couldn’t build, or draw, or build something during this time, I would go crazy. I built a LEGO Divine from Pink Flamingos that is about 14” tall last year. I am working on Edith Massey from the same movie to go with it. I also finished 2 commission pieces since going into quarantine, so it’s been productive.
Check out this clip of Sam and their building partner Jessica from the Star Wars challenge episode airing Wednesday, April 8 at 9pm on FOX. The season finale of “LEGO Masters” is Wednesday, April 15.