“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
— Lao Tzu
It may have taken Luke Bosco (aka Luscious) a few tries, but at age 27, and after living through trials and tribulations, he is standing tall.
PGN: When I met you, you were in a talent competition and your mother was the one talking you up — so are you a momma’s boy?
LB: [Laughing] Very much so.
PGN: What’s the best thing about your mom?
LB: Oh, where do I even start? She and I are super tight. She’s my biggest fan. Ever since I can remember, whenever I expressed an interest in something, the next day she’d bring me to the store and buy me the instrument or put me in a class and see if it stuck. Usually it didn’t, but she tried nonetheless.
PGN: What were some of the things you tried and failed?
LB: Ugh. Violin, trombone, piano — though I still play. We tried singing lessons, dance lessons, art class. You name it.
PGN: Where did you excel?
LB: Art. I think some people would argue that that’s my best discipline, but I don’t find it’s the best for me considering I’m super hyperactive and need to be center stage. As soon as I get off a stage, I’m looking for the next opportunity to get back on it. As much as people want me to draw, I get the most satisfaction and fulfillment from entertaining people. Whether it’s on a stage or in a room full of people, I just love making everyone smile and laugh.
PGN: Any siblings?
LB: I have an older brother. His name is Matt, and he’s my best friend in the world. I worship the ground he walks on and think he’s the coolest person in the world.
PGN: What makes Matt marvelous?
LB: He just is. He’s in a very popular band called “Kicking Sunrise.” Their song “Here’s to the Sunrise” is the theme song for CBS Philadelphia. It’s what runs during the opening sequence. I’m so proud of him.
PGN: That is pretty cool. Are your parents artistic?
LB: My dad is a carpenter, so he’s very creative that way. He works all by himself. He finishes basements, builds decks — you name it. I’ve always admired that he can build something out of nothing. I owe my artistic abilities to him because when I was a kid I would ask him to draw basic figures for me. Since he’s a carpenter, he’s good with proportions. He’d draw the bodies, and then I’d add the clothes. I loved drawing superheroes. My mom is the owner of a hair salon “Hot Waves” that I manage now. It was the winner for five years in a row of “Best Salon in South Philly”. She’s an absolute powerhouse.
PGN: So you grew up around hairdressers —
LB: Yes, when I was born we lived in a house connected to the salon. We moved to South Jersey when I was 4, and when I got older and wanted to move back into the city my mom said, “Guess what? The house is open.” So, I got to move back into my childhood home. It’s nostalgic and awesome, and I love it!
PGN: I know that many gay folks are in the beauty business. Did you get exposure to the community early on from that?
LB: Surprisingly, no. I had very little exposure to the gay community to the point that I convinced myself that I was straight and that the gay thoughts I was having could be pushed back. That’s not how love is shown on TV. That’s not what all my friends are doing. I was “straight” until I got to college.
PGN: What were some of your interests in school?
LB: I did very well academically, so much so that I got bored and lost interest. I was in trouble a lot because I’d finish my tests or assignments in class and then get bored and start goofing off and then I’d get kicked out, but still got good grades. Turns out I had undiagnosed ADHD. My brother had severe ADHD and, because he didn’t do well academically, he got treated for it, but I flew under the radar because of my grades and never got help for it. I had a hard time; it just didn’t look like it.
PGN: Were you into sports or theater?
LB: Nope. I was way too interested in trying to be popular. Theater was considered uncool, and I was doing everything in my power to look cool and fit it. Then the last month of my senior year a friend asked me to fill in for someone in a play. I did it and absolutely loved it. I was like, “I wish I’d done this all throughout high school!” But I missed out. I was too focused on being popular, which I accomplished. I even won “Mr. Washington Township.”
PGN: I used to be on the board of GLSEN (a gay educational group), and the founder used a lecture in schools about how homophobia affected kids because the fear of being labeled “gay” kept so many from finding or following their passion. After one workshop, this kid who was a jock at the school said, “When they made us come to a lecture on gay stuff, I thought ‘why do I have to go? I’m not gay.” But what you said made me think of the time in 3rd grade when I brought home an art project. My dad said, “What are you some kind of fag?” I didn’t even know what it meant, but I could tell it wasn’t good. I quit class even though I loved it. Who knows, I might have become a great painter if it wasn’t for his homophobia …”
LB: Wow, that gave me chills. Luckily my parents were very supportive when I was coming out. My dad’s brother is gay so he was used to it. Frankly, they were cooler with it then I was. My mom was very, very Christian so I assumed that she was going to have a problem with it, but they couldn’t have been better. I, on the other hand, had some issues. I went to University of the Arts and hated it: didn’t like the forced projects and classes. So I dropped out after a month without my mom’s permission. I was really battling my sexuality, and it was really the lowest point of my life. I was so focused on not looking gay; I figured if I was the bad kid or the funny kid, at least I wasn’t the gay kid. I was doing everything I could not to be gay. I got into drinking and drugs, partied a lot and was a complete wreck.
PGN: Sheesh, that is a lot.
LB: I know, and just when I was starting to feel comfortable about who I was, I told one friend, one friend, because I needed to get it off my chest. It was a shock to find out that Luke Bosco, Mr. Popular, Mr. Washington Township, was gay. It was huge news. She told everyone and the next day the entire town knew. I was totally rejected. I wasn’t invited to parties. Guys were afraid I was going to hit on them — it was horrible.
PGN: What got you through it?
LB: Well, I got an opportunity to audition for the rapper T-Pain as a backup dancer. I got the gig and was able to tour the world as a dancer. It gave me something to live for. And as I was the closest thing to fame in our little town, I became the “it” kid again and was living my best life from that aspect. Unfortunately, I was way too young for all that came with it. Too much money; too much freedom; too much trouble, and I blew it all. After touring the world, hanging out at T-Pain’s mansion with a strip club in the basement and a full arcade, doing music videos, I came home and had to work at Dunkin’ Donuts. I had a bad attitude; I was cocky and resentful until one day I woke up. I was like, “Luke, your personality is not working out for you. You need to make a new one or you’re going to lose everything and everyone.” I vowed to become the nicest person I could be, and I’ve tried to live up to that ever since.
PGN: How did you get the T-Pain gig with no real training as a dancer?
LB: I just got creative. It wasn’t one of those “Fame” type of auditions where they had a whole group of people and that, 5-6-7-8 kind of thing. They just had people go up one at a time and freestyle. I noticed that everyone was standing, so when my turn came, I grabbed a chair, jumped in the air, pulled it open and came down on it and then did the whole audition dancing sitting down. It was something to make me stand out and it worked.
PGN: What was the most outrageous thing that happened on tour?
LB: We were doing a show in San Francisco, and after the show he wanted to go to a club three hours away. So we drove three hours in a party bus, and because I was underage, they snuck me in between two guys while they distracted the bouncer. I partied in a club I had no business being in, but I had the time of my life.
PGN: What was one of the best moments?
LB: We performed for a sold-out stadium. Right before the show, T-Pain called for a prayer circle and said to us, “I’m going to do a new song I’ve never done before. Come to the bus so I can teach you the dance.” It was 15 minutes before the show. It was crazy, but we pulled it off. The song was “Best Love Song.” In it he says, “And now we’ve got the whole stadium in love.” I remember looking out at the sea of people moving to the music and thinking, what am I doing here? I’m just a kid who likes to smoke pot and dance in people’s basement. How did I get here? I think I even cried onstage because it was such a magical moment. To this day, it’s my favorite song. I think it was one of the best moments of my life.
PGN: Were you still in the closet?
LB: I thought I was. I found out later that the dancer I was rooming with was upset that he had to share a room with the gay guy.
PGN: So you came home and partied for a few years before getting a new attitude, what did you do then?
LB: I went back to college to study psychology. I wanted to learn more about how the human mind works, especially mine. I had a therapist, Dr. Amy, who helped me and was incredible. If it weren’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be here. I wanted to be able to help people too, whether through art or dance or music.
PGN: Going back to the arts, tell me a little about your alter ego, Luscious.
LB: Oh he’s great, very confident. He sings. He dances. He raps. He can do anything. I started by doing burlesque, but I was told I needed to do a certain style, slow moves, cabaret-style music, and I was like no. I’m doing it my way. I’m dancing to old school hip-hop and pop music. I’m doing Magic Mike moves; I’m bringing the party to the people. I leave the politics at home because sometimes we can get too serious. I’ve been at shows where the performer is like “F Trump!” and of course F him, but sometimes people just want go to have a drink or celebrate a birthday and forget about that stuff. They want to go out, see something fun and then get on the dance floor to shake what their mamas gave ‘em.
PGN: Speaking of mommas, when/how did you come out to the family?
LB: That was through porn. My mother found it on the computer, but she was just like, “It’s OK. I love you and you’re my best friend forever.” My dad found out when I put something on Facebook about a guy I was dating. I worked with my dad as a carpenter for a while, and we were on a lunch break. He went to check his news feed and it showed that I was in a new relationship. He showed it to me and said, “Oh awesome, congratulations.” And that was the first time we ever talked about it.
PGN: That’s fantastic. Best Motown song?
LB: Shotgun from Jr. Walker & The All Stars
PGN: Favorite piece of clothing?
LB: I have a pink baseball jacket that is really loud. I wear it when I want to be noticed. “Peacocking” if you will.
PGN: What do you keep in your wallet aside from money?
LB: A prayer card from Italy.
PGN: Best or worst experience at summer camp?
LB: [Laughing] I went to the same camp for about six years until I was old enough to be a counselor. I got fired the first day for calling a girl a brat. That was a past life when I was mean me.
PGN: What are you up to these days?
LB: Unfortunately, I woke up one day last October and was paralyzed from the waist down. I’ve always had back problems, and that day the disc just gave out, shattered and crushed all the nerves. It was something called cauda equina syndrome where the nerves are so shredded they look like a horses tail. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t move. I called my mom and said, “Girl, I need help I can’t move!” She came and took me to a hospital, and they sent me in for emergency surgery right away. I was in the hospital for a month-and-a-half, and I had to teach myself to walk again. I suffer from seasonal depression as well, so in the winter I tend to stay home and write songs and choreograph dances. I’m still on the road to recovery, but I’ve started dancing again. I’m not as flexible as I was, but I’m able to move. I’ve done some backup dancing for a few artists and am making my own music as well as managing the salon. So there’s a lot going on. Big stuff coming this spring.
PGN: What’s the best way for people to find you and your alter ego Luscious?
LB: I’ve stopped using Facebook because people get too negative, and I’m all about keeping things upbeat. You can find me on Instagram @absolukely717