Now that the 2010 Olympics are over, figure skater Johnny Weir can take a deep breath. But, of course, just because the biggest competitive event of the year is over doesn’t mean Johnny has any plans to settle down. The Russian-trained skater is gearing up for the World Championships in Italy, and then plans to tour some more before finally taking a much-needed vacation (hint: his plans involve riding a yak). After that, Johnny’s plans are fuzzy. He might continue to skate and push towards the 2014 Olympics in Russia, his “second home.” But either way, he wants to work in fashion and design his own line. Oh, and he’s currently promoting his Sundance Channel reality how Be Good Johnny Weir, which is heading towards its finale at the end of the month. No wonder the first thing he said to us when we spoke to him last night was, “I’m exhausted.”
How are you feeling after the Olympics?
I’m so surprised with the reaction I’ve gotten from the American public, they’ve been so supportive of me. Whether I have a medal or not, people have really reacted to my skating. I wanted to get a reaction, no matter what it was. So that’s a medal and a victory in itself.
What are your plans for the future? Are you going to be competing in the World Championships?
At the moment I’m planning to go to Torino at the end of the month [to compete in the World Championships], and then Evgeni Plushenko and I are going to tour across Russia and Europe, doing shows. Then we’ll be in Asia in the next few months.
Are you planning to compete in the Olympics in four years?
I love Russia very much and I think of it as my second home. I would be in a dream world to compete in and be in the Olympic Games in Sochi. But at that point, I will be almost 30 years old, and that is old for a figure skater. But as long as I’m strong and fiery and want to compete, I’ll do it. I love to compete and perform, and as long as I can do it, I will.
You mention that you feel that Russia is like your second home, and you have trained in the Russian style, but where Russians once dominated the medal stand in figure skating, they weren’t as successful at the Olympics this year. What is your reaction to that?
Figure skating is very political and if you have a skating event in North America, the judges will push the North American skaters to the top. But you better believe that North Americans will have a tough time when they are competing in Russia at the next Olympics in Sochi. And if you look at my scores, I had the support and the highest scores from mainly Russian and Eastern European judges, not from the American, Canadian or Western European judges. Russia is very strong, I trained with Russian ladies’ champion, and it was her first year at senior level and she made a very big splash. In Torino [in 2006], the Russians won all but one event, and won one medal in at least every event. And you can’t always stay on top.
Do we get to see your Olympic experience on your show, Be Good Johnny Weir?
The Olympics are actually the series finale of the program. We were filming up there and we got a lot of stuff. We couldn’t film in the Olympic Village because that’s a very secure place. And we can’t go backstage during skating performances because that’s also a very secure place, but we actually got a lot of really great stuff.
Do you feel like your success has made men’s skating more popular in the U.S.?
Right now, the U.S. men’s skaters are much stronger than the women’s skaters. We have been for years now, but now that it’s on the Olympic stage the American public can see it. The men are a very serious force. I hope that whether people love me and my style, or Evan and his style, that people are respecting the men for what makes us excellent skaters. That makes all the difference.
Speaking of Evan Lysacek, you speak very frankly about him and his look. We wrote an article about him pointing out how orange he looks. Is he really that orange in person?
I’ll speak very frankly about everyone, but everyone only asks me about Evan. Everyone has their own style, and Evan has very dark hair, tanned skin and very white teeth. I’m about as white as white can get with very dark hair, that is my style. You’re always going to look a certain way on TV, and everyone has their own style. If that’s the way you want to look, I have no problem with it.
What are your post-figure skating plans? We’ve heard you want to apply to FIT?
I do want to apply to FIT. This summer I’m planning to have some meetings with the school and see what I can do and if I can take classes while I’m still traveling around the world and performing. Ever since I was old enough to understand what higher eduction was, I understood that it was one of the most important things to do as a young person. And going to school for something that I am interested in is very important to me.
But first, after all this touring is over, I want to take a vacation. I’m planning to go to Mongolia because I want to ride a yak, then I’m going to Russia after that to visit with some friend and do some partying. Then I want to just lay on the beach. I hope. I’ll probably end up going to the Jersey Shore for a month with Snooki. I’ve never been to the Jersey Shore before and I live in New Jersey.
Ultimately, what do you plan to do with your degree from FIT? Do you think you’ll ever design skating costumes?
I want my own fashion line, but I’m not going to make skating costumes. I’ll design them, but I think Vera Wang has that market cornered. I want to have a real fashion line. I think people in life often get typecast or pigeon-holed as the first job they choose in life. I don’t want that. Whatever I do next, I won’t associate with figure skating. I’m in figure skating and interested in figure skating now because of the sport, not just because of the fashion.
On your show, you complain that you are broke. Is that because figure skating is an expensive sport or because you buy yourself Balenciaga bags?
It looks like I have so many clothes and so many things but I’ve been collecting them for over 12 years. They are what I love, I save up for them and they’re a treat for myself. Truthfully, most of the money I make from figure skating goes back into figure skating and it’s a very expensive sport. It’s always a struggle, because I don’t come from a very rich family. There are lots of things that I’ve had to understand, and money is one of them.
Be Good Johnny Weir, which airs Monday nights at 10:30 on the Sundance Channel, will have its season finale on March 22.
(Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)