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Donovan & Matthias Vriens-McGrath

Born and raised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Matthias Vriens-McGrath was educated as a classical ballet dancer. A leg fracture made dancing a short-lived career, so Vriens-McGrath turned to the worlds of design and publishing. Moving to Paris in 1992, he started collaborating with Dutch magazine, eventually becoming both its creative director and editor in chief. Under Vriens-McGrath’s direction, Dutch went from being a local homegrown magazine written in Dutch to an international style bible published in English supported by fashion’s major advertisers. Tom Ford has been quoted as saying Dutch was his favorite magazine of the nineties, and style guru Diane Pernet writes, “Back in the nineties, Matthias was one of the founders of Dutch magazine, a publication that influenced the way we looked at magazines for the next few decades. That was when I first became aware of his power to provoke”. Provocation, always done with a sense of humor and elegance, was one of the keys to Dutch’s success, including the famous naked issue where the only fashion visible were the brand credits themselves. In 1999, Vriens-McGrath became worldwide creative director for Giorgio Armani and a year later was named senior art director for Gucci group. While working as an art director, Vriens-McGrath discovered his passion for photography and moved to New York City, producing editorial for I-D, the Face, Vogue Hommes International, the New York Times, Interview, Numero and Numero Homme. Vriens-McGrath lives and works in Hollywood, California with his husband Donovan Vriens-McGrath, with whom he has created BL33N, an online extravaganza.

Matthias and Donovan got married after Barack Obama was elected US president (January 20, 2009). While gay marriage was not legal at the time, they believed it was their right anyway. The couple asked Matt Tyrnauer, director of Valentino: The Last Emperor , to perform the service. The wedding invitation read: ‘Donovan McGrath and Matthias Vriens invite you to their illegal wedding.’ A year later, they tied the knot legally in Provincetown, Massachusetts.


Back in the nineties, Matthias Vriens-McGrath was one of the founders of Dutch magazine, a publication that influenced the way we looked at magazines for the next few decades. When Donovan met his husband, Matthias, he discovered a different world of creative possibilities. Exposed to his work and influence, Donovan then started to take pictures and found that this is the only other thing that gave him as big a rush as acting or teaching so he instantly loved it. Together they launched BL33N.

Donovan and Matthias took each other’s names to underline their bond. The two say they spend every minute together, when they are in the same city. “We shoot, edit, work, design, eat, fuck, and sleep together—and do a great job at all of it while having a blast,” says Matthias. “That’s a pretty intense life like, you cannot believe.”

Donovan was born in Texas to a military family that originated from Boston. The early years of his life he moved around the US every few years as military families do. Settling back in Texas as a teenager Donovan discovered the theater and a creative outlet. At the fragile age of 16 he came out, left home, and left school after being accepted into an acting conservatory where he studied for two years. After turning 18, he moved from Dallas to New York and let the city give him the education he wanted. During this time, Donovan studied with some of the world’s most renowned acting teachers, performed at public theater, Williamstown theater festival and even had a quick stint on Broadway.

Along with the acting training Donovan discovered yoga, took his first teacher training at the Sivinanda Yoga Vedanta center in New York, took in all that the city had to offer in its burgeoning yoga scene and has been a practicing yoga teacher ever since. After New York, in his mid twenties, Donovan moved to LA to further develop his acting career. He spent years at the Groundlings theater (yes, the same one where our favorite comedians Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig started) performing and writing, got a few gigs on TV and supported himself acting in commercials and teaching yoga.

When Donovan met his husband, Matthias, he discovered a different world of creative possibilities. Exposed to his work and influence, Donovan then started to take pictures and found that this is the only other thing that gave him as big a rush as acting or teaching so he instantly loved it. Donovan started off with taking a few pictures for fun and with Matthias’ support and encouragement Donovan has now published work in Out, Blend, and Glamour.

Source: http://www.matthiasvriensmcgrath.com/about & http://www.gratefulgrapefruit.com/2013/08/06/tuff-boy-fun-by-donovan-vriens-mcgrath/

More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance


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