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Beauty entrepreneurs Malin and Goetz reflect on how their sexuality has influenced their experience of starting a business.

Question: How has being gay affected your experience as an entrepreneur? 

Matthew Malin: Gosh, I don’t know if it has. I mean it must have. 

Andrew Goetz: I mean we’re in beauty. I mean it’s not like we’re in the NFL, so we we’re pretty at ease in our industry. You know I don’t think anyone is going to turn a head, but I think being gay gives you a certain resiliency and a certain confidence that, “hey I’ve been through some hurdles before and instead of internalizing them I’m going to use those experiences as an entrepreneur to really stand up for what I believe in and to go after what I want and not to be intimidated by anything.” I think it depends on your age. When I was coming out in or coming of age in the 70s it was a completely different world than you see kids today coming out in high school. 

Matthew Malin: Yeah, I think we’re really fortunate to live in New York City today because nobody cares. I mean most people don’t care, most people don’t care.  Possibly the one advantage though to being gay has been that there is a community here in New York and it is supportive. It seems very natural to be gay in New York City and to have a career. 

Andrew Goetz: Gay men love skincare. 

Matthew Malin: I’m from Michigan originally, so if you’re growing up in a place where there is not a strong gay community and it’s not widely accepted, it’s difficult. You’re insecure about who you are and you don’t have that in New York, not to the same degree in any case. So I think that’s a great advantage to where we are, where we live. 

Andrew Goetz: It’s inspiring to me like those experiences. How do we.. 

Matthew Malin: It’s nice. 

Andrew Goetz: …take that and use it as some energetic? 

Matthew Malin: Did we answer the question? 

Question: Who are your favorite gay role models? 

Matthew Malin: The first one that comes to mind and I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of it before. It would be Billy Jean King, but just because she was sort of like one of the first to sort of be out there at a time when it wasn’t really accepted to be out there and I don’t know if she was entirely out, but that is the first person that comes to mind. She was a great athlete with great success and out. I mean, certainly Ellen on top of that. She has made a conscious choice to come out and I think she is terrific and amazing and does wonderful things. 

Andrew Goetz: For me it would be someone like a Larry Kramer who is so ahead of his time and so passionate and adamant and also controversial and you didn’t always agree with everything that he did, but he was also very eloquent in his writings and I think he is really inspiring. But I think in the world of celebrities, of that where people have a lot of give up and they can be role models like Neil Patrick Harris. I mean I think that is amazing because so many celebrities don’t do that and it’s different when you’re in the skincare business. It’s not the monumental thing to be out, but if you have something to lose and you do it, make that decision, I think that’s very courageous and if more people did it, it would become more and more banal, which would be great. 

Matthew Malin: I’ve never been asked that question. 

Andrew Goetz: I asked you last night at dinner. 
Recorded on March 19, 2010