This post is part of a series of Queerty interviews with models, trainers, athletes, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–0r just sit on the couch ogling them instead.
Name: Hernando Umana, 31
City: Primarily New York City, though I also own part of a business in Tampa, FL. So I’m there like every month, but both places. I’m from Miami originally.
Occupation: Singer/actor. I did Kinky Boots on Broadway and tour. I was one of the angels, so a featured vocal soloist. I also did School of Rock on tour. I own a business called CBD Dog Health. It’s a premium supply of CBD products specifically geared to pets. Dogs, specifically, have twice the receptors as humans do for CBD. We’ve seen dogs that couldn’t walk start running, seizures stopping, anxiety calming down in minutes. I’m a huge cannabis proponent, so when I found out my dog could benefit from it twice as much as I could, I jumped at it.
Favorite Gym: If I could afford Equinox right now, I’d be going to Equinox. I’m at Blink right now, which is owned by Equinox but a cheaper version.
Favorite Work Out Song: I have such a clusterf*ck of music. Honestly, now I just put headphones in without music because I don’t want to talk to anyone. I’m so focused right now at the gym, I need to be totally chained into everything. So right now, no music.
Recommended Work-Out Foods: I love food, and I could eat all day long. And I do. But I make smart choices. I’ll eat egg whites instead of eggs, or low-fat cheeses. Low-fat anything, I can do. Low sugar, anything I can do. I make my own food and eat as healthy as I can throughout the day.
Best Workout Outfit: I love being comfortable, really. The brand I’m obsessed with right now is Rhone. Their stuff is really comfy.
How do you balance staying in shape and having fun? Being in shape has given me so much more confidence. It’s really meditation for me. It’s the reason I do have fun. I feel great all day. It’s not about balancing, it’s part of myself.
What about as a vocalist and stage performer? I’m always very aware of the way I speak. Even if I’m in a music park, I’m very aware of where I’m screaming. When I’m doing a show, I have to be hyper-aware all the time. I honestly warm up and sing after every gym session in the shower.
As an HIV+ person, do you have a specific regimen for keeping your immune system strong? I take vitamins. I watch what I eat. My doctor keeps on me. I just try to be as healthy as I can; eating organic, and natural as possible, even with cleaning products. Honestly, cannabis has been a big one for me.
The Broadway community has been one of the most supportive in terms of raising funds for HIV research. It’s also known for being very supportive of queer people. When you came out as poz, was everyone as good as that reputation? Did you get blowback? It was absolutely nothing but love and support. Not one negative comment. I have more respect from people than I’ve ever had before, and it’s literally done nothing but good.
Did you ever worry that being out as HIV+, you would limit the kind of roles or shows that you would be able to book? That’s the last of my worries. I’ve worried for so long in musical theatre about what’s “too gay,” and am I “playing straight” enough. Once I realized that’s all bullsh*t and I’m going to be me, I didn’t care. It’s only done good [for my career].
Tip for staying in shape: I spent so much time worrying and obsessing about fitness all the time. When am I going to wake up, what will I eat, when will I go to the gym. Success didn’t happen to me until it became part of everyday life, and I stopped obsessing. It became part of me. I used to be crazy skinny. I was six feet tall and 125lbs. Now I’m at about 175lbs. It’s all been work. The most progress I’ve seen has been in the past two years because I’ve learned to stop following crazy gym routines and do the basic compound lifting. Just make sure your form is perfect.
What do you keep on your nightstand? Good question. I have a pill case with all my multivitamins and my HIV medicine. I have a face moisturizer, and a lot of weed.