‘Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard’ star Preston Mitchum talks reality TV, representation, and the fight for equality

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Season one of Bravo’s Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard has finished airing, and Preston Mitchum, one of the show’s stars, is opening up about his experience. 

The activist and attorney tells ABC Audio that he only had one expectation going into filming: “Just to have fun.”

“I watch reality TV a lot, so I knew it will be a mixture of many personalities, many people in a pressure cooker situation, some drama, some love, some fun. And so I wanted to experience all of it.”

The reality show follows an all-Black cast of friends as they summer in Martha’s Vineyard, but Mitchum, who was the only Queer cast member, didn’t feel pressure to represent for those entire communities. 

“No, I didn’t feel that way. I also take very seriously what it means to be a Black Queer person on TV when I don’t see many of us being represented in a very holistic, multidimensional way,” he explains. “So though I knew I wasn’t going to represent everyone … I wanted to at least start with representing myself first and then hopefully that would translate so people can be themselves too.”

It’s also not lost on Mitchum the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding gay rights and Affirmative Action, and his message for that is to “keep fighting the fight.”

“I know this is reality TV, but I don’t think reality TV stops at the doorsteps of light shade. I think it’s an opportunity for like amplification of culture, ideas, experiences, and frankly, I think it would be negligent for me as an attorney, especially to not share those experiences,” he says.

“Trouble doesn’t always last,” he adds. “I just always want us to realize the next day will always be better than the day before. Even when it doesn’t feel like that.” 

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