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Dancing queen

By |2008-08-07T09:00:00-04:00August 7th, 2008|Entertainment|

That look Brooke Hogan’s gay buddy Glenn Douglas Packard gave the anti-female-president celeb on the second episode of VH1’s “Brooke Knows Best”? Yeah: It meant, “Are you serious?” – just like it appeared.
“She’s not educated enough to know the candidates and things like that,” Packard says from Orlando, where’s he on a short hiatus from the show. Editing caused the argument that brewed between the two to be cut. But Packard, despite disagreeing with Brooke’s Hillary Clinton remark (“I think that it’s kind of crazy that a woman is running, because I think women deal on emotions, and menopause, and PMS …”), gives her props for voicing her opinion, even if it did make her seem like her father – the legendary Hulk Hogan – used her one too many times for wrestling practice.

Dancing around the question – Should you school her? – he safely says: “I’ve learned that there’s all different types of people in the world.”
And he’s worked with several of them.

As a choreographer-turned-reality-star, the 34-year-old Detroit native – who moved to a farm in Clare, Mich., with his family and then attended Michigan State – worked with Michael Jackson on his televised 30th Anniversary Celebration (which scored Packard a Primetime Emmy nod), before becoming the quintessential queer sidekick to Brooke Hogan on “Brooke Knows Best,” which airs at 10 p.m. Sundays.
He met Brooke while he was part of a failed boy band twONEty (21). She was 13 (she’s now 20), and, while rehearsing in Orlando for a European tour, band founder Lou Pearlman introduced the two, thinking Packard could help launch her pop career.

“We had a real good business relationship, and then it grew into a friendship later on in the year,” he says. She joined Tattooed Angels, Packard’s company specializing in the production of music videos, commercials and live stage performances nationwide. And he went on to choreograph her tour and first music video, “Everything to Me.”

Now they share a Miami pad together along with a third roomy, Ashley, who they found after sifting through a sea of English-challenged prospects (“Weren’t they hilarious? Oh, my God, I couldn’t believe it!”). But just because he and Hogan are BFFs doesn’t mean it’s harder to work with her. “It’s more difficult to work with a lover,” he laughs. “I guess, because being younger and me being an older figure, she really looks up to me and takes my word and knows that she can trust me. I look out for her best interest.”

And so does her dad. Especially when a dude’s rooming with his daughter. That’s why he asked Packard upon moving in: “How gay are you, on a scale of one to 10?”
“When I was answering that question, I had all the cameras around and all these things are going through my head, like, ‘What are my gays gonna say if I answer this wrong? What is my family gonna say if I answer this a certain way?'”
He responded with a 10.

“I saw my dad sitting at home and going, ‘Oh, my God, he’s walking around in his heels and his boa and marching down the street singing Celine Dion.'”
For Hogan’s overprotective father it was a relief, and for Packard, knowing the Hulk was cool with the queers, it was, too.
“During (the) Spring Break (episode), he’s giving me a kiss on the cheek. I think it’s gonna let a lot of smaller states and smaller towns realize – be a little more accepting, because here’s somebody like Hulk Hogan who’s got this gay character around that he’s accepted into his life and loves him for who he is and what he is. I think it’s gonna open up a lot of people’s eyes.”

Packard was once engaged. To a woman. Things changed, though, after a tractor accident on his family’s farm nearly left him dead. He walked away with a broken back – and a new perspective on life.
“It just made me realize I’m living my life a way I didn’t want to. And I wanted to live it my way.” He takes a long sigh and continues: “Something horrible changed my life for the better, actually.”
Inspired by the MTV era (and “Footloose”), he went for his dream, armed with years of farm-band practice.

“I literally would go around the farm just dancing in the barns, milking cows, having music playing, entertaining all the employees, the other farmers, (and) the cows would be standing there just mooing, and I’d just be dancing away.”
Years later, after moving to New York City to pursue dance at The Ailey School, he choreographed for Liza Minnelli, ‘N Sync and Whitney Houston – during “her skinny years,” he laughs – and was thisclose to joining homegirl Madonna on her “Girlie Show World Tour” in 1993.

“(I) made it down to like the bottom dancers – like the last 15 guys – and Madonna walks in the room, and she cut me,” he laughs.
Had the four-wheeler mishap not occurred, Packard says he’d still be working for the family biz and living the “Brokeback Mountain” life – married to a female with kids, sneaking off to gay bars. Instead he decided to be himself, coming out to his parents with mixed reactions (which he recently discussed on his blog, tattooedangels.com/blog) and doing what he’s wanted all along.
“It’s like I’m all of a sudden back in front of the camera in full force and … in my early 20s this was my dream – and now I’m getting a second chance at it in my 30s, and I’m really gonna embrace it.”

He wants to launch a clothing line, act, direct, choreograph: “Look out. I’m gonna be the little male Tyra Banks meets Paula Abdul.”
Eighties Paula, we hope.

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.