Nathan Henry has been a part of hit MTV reality show for six years now and he’s arguably become one of the series’ most important cast-members.
Why? Because he’s helped to broaden the show’s audience and scope from strictly being boys out necking girls to a house that is way more inclusive and inspires others to be themselves.
The show, that sees lads and lasses from Newcastle hitting the ‘Toon and getting mortal’ while living in one big house together, isn’t just about the drunken nights out, as every series airs those all important raw moments too.
One famously being when Nathan decided to come out on camera in 2015, knowing that the moment would be broadcast not only nationally but globally too.
Fast forward to 2020 and he’s now been on the show longer than some of its OGs, including Charlotte Crosby and Gary Beadle, and looking back on his journey in a new episode of Geordie Shore: Their Story, Nathan says he is proud of being so ‘open and honest’.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Nathan praised producers for allowing him to be ‘unapologetically himself’ and working with him so that he could share his coming out story in exactly the way he wanted to.
Recalling the episode, that for a while was one of Geordie Shore’s ‘most watched episodes ever’, Nathan told us: ‘When I watch reality TV programs, I can tell when someone is faking and not being themselves.
‘Say if you’re doing a one series thing, you can fake your personality in that, but Geordie Shore we come back every series, so if I was in one series faking being this person, I couldn’t keep up.’
‘There’s no way I could do it,’ he said. ‘I needed to do it for myself, I just wasn’t being honest with myself and to everyone else. It was the only way I was going to enjoy the experience by being completely honest with everyone. I spoke to one of the producers and said, “I want to come out, and I want to do it like this, I can’t lie anymore.”‘
Asked about the initial reaction he received from viewers, Nathan said he was inundated with so much praise, which, at first, really confused him.
‘I got so much praise which I was really confused about. At the time, Geordie Shore was still very heterosexual, boys out banging birds, and then this gay black man has just come out on TV,’ he laughed.
‘I, honestly, when I came out, didn’t think it would affect as many people as it did. I still to this day get messages from people saying, “thank you for coming out, is there any advice you can give me?”‘ Nathan revealed.
‘The fact that I did something without meaning to and changed people’s lives for good means that I know whatever I’m doing, I’m doing right.’
When he thinks back to when he first started Geordie Shore, Nathan told us that he ‘100 percent’ thinks reality TV is becoming more and more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community, but he argues that there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure better representation onscreen.
‘When you think about it, the only reality TV show that was inclusive was Big Brother. X Factor occasionally, but you never saw any gay or lesbian or people of colour winning,’ Nathan said.
He continued: ‘I think moving forward, everyone needs to be included. Every storyline needs to be followed no matter how big or small – even representing more minor communities.
‘I want to see more transgender people on TV, I want to see more transgender relationships, I want to see more inter-racial relationships, I want to see more pansexual relationships.’
Discussing the future of reality TV, he called for show producers to end the usual ‘heterosexual narrative’ that dominates onscreen.
‘Everyone loves and everyone feels and I want to see more of that. I’m sick of this heterosexual narrative – boy, girl, happy ending – that’s not reality. It’s all kind of things and that’s what’s important, especially after this year, that is what I think is needed and it’s about time,’ Nathan said.
‘TV is changing and it is happening,’ he stressed. ‘But the process needs to be a lot faster than what it is.’
Geordie Shore: Their Story continues Tuesday’s at 10pm on MTV.