You may not know Holden Nowell by name, but if you’re one of the billion-plus people to have watched the video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s mega-hit “Call Be Maybe” you’d certainly recognize the 29-year-old from his role as the hunky, tattooed boy next door who is the object of the singer’s fantasies — until the twist at the end when he’s revealed to be gay.
In an interview with iHeartRadio Canada, Nowell reveals he’s still recognized from the 2012 video — and hates it.
“It’s what people began to recognize me as and know me as, and it was only that,” he says. “It was really difficult for me and really frustrating. I was always the ‘Call Me Maybe’ guy, everywhere I went, and after awhile I got really sick of hearing that.”
In the interview, he gripes about the fact that even though he’s the central figure in the wildly popular video, he earned a mere $500 from it, insisting he “didn’t get a single penny in royalties” after being assured he’d receive royalties down the road.
Looking back, he blames “some really shady stuff” he alleges was taking place at his agency. “I don’t know who ended up making my money, but I never saw a single penny for it,” he says.
In addition, Nowell also admits he was uncomfortable playing a gay character. “The fact that they had to make me gay at the end of the video… it was all very… I didn’t like being known as the gay guy in the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video. It was just something I wasn’t used to,” he explains.
In fact, he reveals that the original idea was for his character’s homosexuality to be revealed by having him kiss another man at the video’s end.
“I was like, ‘I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’m not going to kiss a guy, especially for $500.’ I said, ‘I really don’t think I’m comfortable kissing a guy for a music video.’”
As a result, he says that he was the one who came up with the video’s alternate ending. “I said, ‘You know what? What if instead of me kissing a guy at the end of the video, what if I just give a guy my number or something like that?’”
Nowell insists he has no problem with gay people, it’s simply not who he is. “I think people should be allowed to love who they want to love, but I love women,” he adds. “There’s no amount of money, no amount of fame that could ever make me… I couldn’t do something that didn’t feel right in my soul.”
After giving the interview, Nowell was not pleased by the way it turned out. Taking to Instagram, he blasted the article and its author. “Apparently I’m a narcissistic – bitter – slanderous gay bashing – Hitler loving – free thinking – outspoken – ‘conspiracy theorist,'” he wrote, adding the hashtag #GottaLoveJournalists before writing, “Thanks for the support, A**hole.”