USA TODAY’s Patrick Ryan chats with Ricky Martin about his new EP “Pausa” and his cameo on “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.”
Still in quarantine? You’re not alone. Celebrities are cooped up in their homes across the country just like many of us. As we collectively navigate this uncharted territory, USA TODAY presents Quarantine Diaries, which give readers a peek into how our favorite stars are spending their time at home.
Today’s diarist is Puerto Rican superstar Ricky Martin, who is at home in Los Angeles with his husband, painter Jwan Yosef, and their four kids. Despite releasing his six-song EP “Pausa” late last month, the “Livin’ La Vida Loca” singer has scaled back on social media promotion. Instead, he’s dedicated most of his Instagram to amplifying Black voices, in light of the ongoing protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
“I’ve been posting great leaders and inspiring messages of what needs to be done,” Martin says. “I just want to educate the world about everything the Black community has been going through, especially here (in the U.S.).”
Before the Supreme Court granted federal protections to gay, lesbian and transgender workers Monday, Martin spoke up for transgender people’s rights under siege by the current administration. “We have to hold each other in spirit,” he said. “We’re going to celebrate Pride (Month) with our brothers and sisters in the trans community. I’m here for them.”
6:15 a.m. Since we’ve been in lockdown, it’s been extremely important for me to be up at least an hour before everyone wakes up. That time of silence in the house is amazing: for sitting on the couch with my coffee, for meditation, and going over my emails.
8 a.m. That’s when the whole gang – the four kids and everybody else – starts showing up. My mother is here in quarantine with us, and my assistant is locked in here with us as well. For me, it’s religious to have breakfast with my kids every day. It ranges from oatmeal to scrambled eggs. Lots of cheese, please – that’s all I ask.
9:30 a.m. I’m already working. (It’s been great) to be able to work from home and spend time with my kids. We’ve been homeschooling them since they were born, and have two incredible tutors that have been working with us for many years. My twins (Valentino and Matteo, age 11) just graduated elementary school with all A’s.
How are you staying in shape? I haven’t been to the gym! Your self-esteem gets so affected when you go on social media and see everybody working out, but the last thing I want to do is pick up a dumbbell. (Laughs.) I haven’t picked up a dumbbell in 90-something days. We have a little room where my husband works out, and I pass by, say hi and keep walking. It’s just not where I’m at at this point. But I’m healthy, I’m eating good and I’m active.
Lunch: It depends if I’m working. I’ll probably eat a snack really quick, and then when I’m done, I either go back to my music or spend time with my husband. Practicing social distancing, I’ve also been able to open up a little bit and bring very close friends of mine that I know are following the same rules of quarantine (to my house). Mental health is extremely important, and even with distance, it’s good to be able to sit down and have good laughter with people you trust.
On asking his husband to shoot the “Pausa” cover art: I mean, I had to take pictures for the album and I was not going to break quarantine. He’s an artist, and even though he doesn’t specialize in photography, he studied (painting) in college. I told him I wanted to be naked with my torso in front of a wall … and he started taking pictures. These are the new things; we’ve got to be ready to work with what we have. It’s showing us what’s really important and what’s not. I even shot a video here with my iPhone (for the “Tiburones” remix with Puerto Rican singer Farruko).
6 p.m. We had pizza for dinner. As you know, my mom is here, so we’ve been eating really good. Although for us, it’s also really important to stimulate the economy, so we try to (order) in from local restaurants at least three times a week.
8:30 p.m. We’re in bed early every day. We have babies that at 8:30 are sleeping (Lucía, 16 months and Renn, eight months), and when they go to sleep, we run into the room to do the same. Days are long, and (with) four kids, it’s intense.
What I’m streaming: I’ve been working like crazy, so it’s just been music, music, music. When all the kids are sleeping and I actually sit down to watch movies, I just fall asleep. It’s horrible. Although in this house, “(RuPaul’s) Drag Race” is a religion and we don’t mess around with that.
How was guest-judging “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” earlier this month? (Martin appeared in the season premiere, which taped before the COVID-19 shutdown.) I had a great time! I just want to bring all the competitors on the road with me. It felt amazing to be in the studio and see how creative they are. I’m gonna go for (Puerto Rican queen) Alexis Mateo. I love her! She walked in with that flag (bodysuit) and I got goosebumps; my heart was about to explode.
Have you picked up any new hobbies in lockdown? Yes, (if you count) cleaning windows, cleaning toilets and obsessively sweeping my office. I was talking to my mom the other day while I was sweeping the floor and she told me, “Sit down and talk to me! You can’t sit still!” My head is always speeding and I need time to chill.
On quarantining with his mom: She came to spend some time with my kids while I was on the road (in Latin America). When I came back (in mid-March) after canceling my tour, I said, “You’re not going to get on another plane, you’re staying here with us.” It’s been three months and she wants to go home so bad. Unfortunately, she’s been stuck here while her husband is in Puerto Rico. It’s one of those things. But she’s going back home (soon) and I’m going to miss her a lot.
On talking to his kids about current events: Obviously, kids ask questions about what’s happening and you’ve just gotta be transparent. Give them love and answer with honesty – that’s what we’ve been doing since Day One. It’s time to talk about injustice and how, because of the color of your skin, you’re treated differently. We talk about similarities and differences and try to create a full spectrum of ideas. I ask them every day, “How do you feel?” And if they say “good,” I say, “That’s not a feeling. Let’s try again.” So they start recognizing the real meaning behind each emotion, and it’s fantastic.
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