I was first paid to write by Movieline, when the magazine picked up a story I wrote on spec about my harrowing dance audition for Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour. The editor there Edward Margulies liked my writing and soon gave me my first official assignment, a profile of Florence Henderson who wasa promoting her very un-Brady-like turn in the R-rated comedy Shakes the Clown. She was a blast to talk to and gave me a real gift in that she was playful and irreverent, talking about sex and farting and stuff, which made for a really fun, edgy article. As a result, more Movieline assignments followed.
When I had a handful of clips from Movieline, I pitched myself to other magazines and some bit, including Detour, Los Angeles and British Premiere and within a few years, I was able to quit my day job doing graphic design for the West Valley Community Center and focus full time on my writing.
The mid-90's to the early 2000's was a great time to be a freelance magazine writer. I would sometimes go to the newsstand and see multiple cover stories that I wrote for different magazines like TV Guide, In Style, Glamour, Us Weekly, Marie Claire, The Advocate, Seventeen, Esquire, Time Out New York, YM, Cosmopolitan and Out. I also had two novels published, Misadventures in the (213) in 1998 and Screening Party in 2002, both of which were born out of magazine columns.
As the internet exploded and magazines began using fewer freelancers and in many cases folding, I turned to other media to make my living. I was a regular guest host on Sirius XM's OutQ channel and I co-hosted the nationally syndication radio show Twist, for which I got to interview some of my favorite pop stars including Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Olivia Newton-John and Janet Jackson. I always remember sharing with Janet that her song "Together Again" was played at the memorial of a friend who had died of AIDS and Janet's warm and thoughtful response.
After Twist ended, I worked primarily in television, writing on shows like Lovespring International with Jane Lynch, The Big Gay Sketch Show, Botched Post-Op, The Gay for Play Game Show starring RuPaul and Fashion Police with Joan Rivers.
But I missed interviewing people so in 2014, I started Dennis Anyone?, a weekly podcast about "making things up and making things happen" where I talk to creative people about how and why they do their thing. Sometimes it gets a little deep and I love that.
Some other fun facts:
• I was born and raised in Holbrook, AZ on historic Route 66. Oprah stayed there on her road trip with Gayle but not in the iconic Wigwam Hotel. It didn't have enough natural light for her.
• I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcasting. I did a lot of musicals in college, including Snoopy where I played the title character. One critic compared my performance to "day-old Alpo." That dude is still more than welcome to kiss my ass.
• Out of college, I spent five years traveling the world as an entertainer / Assistant Cruise Director for Princess Cruises. It was awesome. In the last few years, I've gone full circle, writing and directing stage shows for Princess including The Dangerous Hour and Hollywood Screen Test.
• I love movies and I've worked on a few. I co-wrote the feature film Testosterone and my short films include Reunion, Rubdown, Dipshits, Evie Harris: Shining Star and If We Took a Holiday, all of which are available online.
• I've always been into game shows and in 2004, I turned that passion into the stage show The MisMatch Game, which has played two weekends a year at the L.A. LGBT Center ever since. To date, it has raised around $160,000 for the Center's homeless youth program.
Learn more at www.dennishensley.com