The Bingeworthy Queer Docu-series That You’ll Be “Putting On” Your Screens

The first docu-series to hit queer streaming service Revry, “Putting On” follows the life of Israeli born model, influencer and entrepreneur, On Mekahel. Combining our guilty pleasure for reality TV with a still relatively untapped niche – queer TV – “Putting On” is a trailblazer that is answering the queer community’s cry for more variety in reality shows (as much as we love Queer Eye). With short episodes of 5 minutes each, the series is difficult to not binge-watch. The first season explores the trials and tribulations that On experiences in starting up his own underwear brand with his ex-boyfriend. A natural roller coaster ride that is filled with highs and lows – the glitz and glam of the fashion industry meets the raw emotions that are destined to be revealed when launching a company with an ex – the series is simply addictive. We caught up with On to discuss his personal journey and the next steps for his underwear label, MO.

How did a docu-series end up being made about your life?

I started working on the company with my ex-boyfriend, and I have a lot of friends from the Hollywood industry. one of my friends who is my producer called me and she told me that we must have a show about the whole process, about my life. My whole life everybody told me to be on TV – not to be an actor or something like that, but to have a show about my daily life. And I just said, “Fuck it, let’s try”. I wasn’t very comfortable sharing everything at the beginning – but if you think it could be interesting for somebody, I can’t understand why (laughs).

How does it feel to be featured on the first original reality series on Revry – the world’s first queer global streaming network?

It’s very, very exciting because I think that the gay community is not getting the recognition that we should get. We are always the makeup artists, the hairdressers, we are never the main characters. I feel like Revry needed a reality show because everybody loves reality shows – look at the Kardashians, they created a whole new world from reality shows.

Putting On

What inspired you to start up a fashion brand?

I grew up in fashion, I did fashion my whole life – I did fashion for modelling, I did it for acting. I found out that I’m good at making money from modelling. I did a lot of e-commerce because I’m not tall, I’m short, so I made a lot out of e-commerce, mostly underwear. Because my body is short it is perfect for underwear shoots, so that’s what I did my whole life. One day – my dad is a businessman – he told me, “you can’t just wait your whole life for castings and for yes or no answers. Just do something bigger.” So I said okay, let’s start an underwear company. So we did that and now I’m doing everything – a cosmetic line, a lot of other things that you will all see in the second season! It’s a big world and I’m trying everything.

How important is it for you to re-shape this idea of masculinity within the undergarment industry?

It’s important to me because first of all, I wanted to create a brand for men that they could look up to. Also, I wanted people to feel comfortable with their bodies because I feel like all the advertising for underwear usually – especially 2 years ago when I started – it’s “sexy people” only. If you don’t have a six-pack, or if you’re not skinny then you won’t be seen. If I’m sitting at home and I’m not skinny and I’m not in shape, I still deserve to feel comfortable in underwear. I should feel comfortable to go buy underwear, even if I don’t look like the model. Underwear is for everybody, you should feel sexy in your skin.

I like that you added these floral motifs to your designs for the men, so it was looking beyond what the outdated view of masculinity is, and incorporating elements of femininity.

So the first collections we said, whatever the girl has, the guy should also have (for their designs). If it’s flowers in the bra, the guys can have flowers in their boxers. We ended up having a lot of straight people buying these boxers because they wanted to match their girlfriends, so it wasn’t only the gay community that was attracted to that collection. I feel like in 2018 people are just a lot more open to different things, and there’s no stigma like flowers are for girls, or for gay men only.

Putting On

How was the brand received in Israel – are there similar pre-conceived notions that exist regarding gender & sexuality?

Honestly, people would be surprised to hear that Israel is a very open country for everybody. I think that people have this idea of Israel being really strict, and you can’t be openly gay, but Tel Aviv is the gayest city of the Middle East. It went well, we sold there – people are very open.

After this experience would you advise someone to go into business with an ex-partner, and how was it for you personally?

It was never a choice because we thought of the brand before the break-up. He decided to break up with me a week before the biggest part started – going to the factory. So I didn’t choose it – if I could I would say no, because, we are still great friends and we are still talking, we are still business partners. But I feel like I took it the next level and he’s just having a percentage in the company, so we’re not really engaging anymore about everything. I’m getting married so I felt like I needed to put a stop to it. But we created a big brand together and it’s both of our ideas, so we’ll always be a part of that together, but I’m trying to make that (connection) less and less, because again, I’m getting married and my man is more important to me right now.

Congratulations on your wedding. Where are you having the ceremony?

Thank you! So we’re doing the ceremony in Paris, then we will need to have an American wedding and an Israeli wedding. Lots of travelling!

What are the next steps for MO?

We are going to start a sports line because I’m about to open a gym in Los Angeles. I feel that people need to feel comfortable about their body, and I feel that people should do more sports. Already people are doing a lot of sports, so sportswear, underwear and workout gear is very important. You can’t really find it everywhere, so that will be the next thing for MO. Then I have my cosmetic line that we are trying to focus on – basic makeup for men. Even most straight men won’t say that they are using makeup, but they will go to their girlfriend’s bag and cover their pimples with something. So I want them to feel more comfortable about that, to feel more comfortable to be themselves, without worrying about what people think about them. So I’m doing the cosmetics, and I have the cologne out already – I’m trying to build an empire.

Interview by Sara Nicolette

Stay tuned with On Mekahel’s adventures on his Instagram.

Catch Putting On on Revry TV – out now!

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