Jaymes Vaughan first came to our attention in Season 21 of CBS’s The Amazing Race as he and fellow Chippendales performer James Davis attempted to win the million dollar prize. They came in second to The Fabulous Beekman Boys but Vaughan used that exposure as a springboard to a new gig with OK TV’s entertainment magazine as well as a frequent guest at CBS’s The Talk. (He also recently heated things up — shirtless — on CBS’s The Young and the Restless!)
Since joining OK TV this past summer, Vaughan has been interviewing such people as Cyndi Lauper, famed producer Jerry Mitchell, Joan Collins, Criss Angel and Susan Lucci. But how has he taken to being the one asking the questions? And what happens if his TV gig takes him away from his Las Vegas gig with Chippendales, which he is still very much a part of? And what does he think his father, who passed away last year, would think of what he’s up to right now?
I grabbed some time with the charming Vaughan recently to have him respond to those questions and more.
TheBacklot: Tell me how the OK TV gig came into your life?
Jaymes Vaughan: I’m pretty excited about it. OK TV from OK Magazine has stepped into the world of entertainment news. It’s a nationally syndicated show that comes on at night and it’s not only syndicated but it’s on the REELZ channel multiple times a day.
It’s definitely a step up from where I was. I’m still doing the local Vegas [news] show and they say everything always leads to something and I wanted to get back into entertainment news. Before I ever graduated, I realized I wanted to sing and I could make money singing so I left the news station I was working at to do that.
Lucky for me I was on a show called The Amazing Race and once you get something like that people start giving you opportunities. I was then invited to be a ‘celebrity fill-in’ for More Access in Las Vegas and that turned into me hosting a weekend edition of that show. It was just me getting back into the game. And then I did a little Chippendales fitness segment for OK TV last year and I really loved the production team. They were just fun and so excited about this, and that’s how I feel about this industry so I wanted to work with them. I submitted my stuff and kept checking in and finally the opportunity came up for a correspondent and they wanted a guy so I got the job.
Since joining OK TV, what’s been the biggest challenge for you?
JV: I always try to watch myself and not get too excited but, honestly, there really hasn’t been a challenge. The only challenge has been in balancing my schedule because I do so much stuff, which is good. If you tell me my day is filled with 23 hours and 59 minutes of things to do, I’m going to be happy about that…there are so many people who would kill for one of these jobs so I never take that for granted. I’m so lucky to have them so I don’t mind working my ass off. It’s not really working for me, it’s fun!
And you’re keeping your Chippendales commitments, right?
JV: Yes! The Chippendales is such a family dynamic, it really is, and they’ve been so cool and supportive of my opportunity. I have an understudy now, which helps so it’s easier to take off for OK TV when they have an understudy that they love having in the show. But they’ve been so supportive of me going after my dreams and they realize Chippendales can be a jumping off point for other things. For me it really is and you can trace the timeline. Chippendales took me to Amazing Race and Amazing Race took me to the local show and the local show took me to the opportunity to work my skills for the national show and from the national show, who knows where it’s going to go next.
What happens if one of these gigs wants you to make a permanent move to Los Angeles, for example?
JV: I have thought about that, too, and I think there’s ways around that. Some of these shows I only shoot 3-4 days a week and Vegas is home to me. I don’t think I’m every going to completely leave Vegas, but it’s kind of cross that bridge when you get to it thing. Everything always seems to work out – knock on the wood paneling in my car. I always joke that I have a charmed life and I do. I think it’s because I don’t put energy out there for anything to be other but that so things work out for me. I have no doubt whatever is supposed to happen with all of this, is going to happen. What I’m supposed to be doing is what I’m going to be doing. I feel like I won’t have to really abandon the Chippendales thing. They’ve been so good to me and I wouldn’t want to.
Jaymes Vaughan doesn’t see leaving Chippendales in his future. (photo: Gabriel Goldberg)
You’ve got an easy quality of talking to people. Do you get nervous talking to some of these people like Cyndi Lauper and Susan Lucci!
JV: It’s all just fun for me! I try to switch it up and have fun with them. Like with Susan, I’ll say ‘Girl, I did my first soap opera a few weeks ago and I didn’t get to slap nobody. Can you teach me how to slap somebody?’ The cool thing of being on the other side of it is when I was on The Amazing Race and I really got to learn what it was like to be the interviewee and the best ones were the ones where they wanted to play with us and they didn’t ask the same question over and over…I want it to be a break for them from the mundane same interview.
However, there are people where I don’t get nervous but I get anxious, because I want to make sure that I get out of them what people at home want to really hear. Not the same boring stuff. So you’ll see I tweet that I’m talking to this celebrity and what do you want to know?
We’ve talked about your dearly departed Dad before. What would he say about all this going on with you right now?
JV: You know, that’s really why I’m doing all this, to be honest with you. It’s funny, how something like this happens to you and it just puts everything in perspective. I had a really good life in Vegas. I was singing in two shows, things were great but I just got comfortable. There were all these things I said I wanted to do in my life that I wasn’t doing because I got comfortable but then my Dad got sick and just like that he was gone.
There were so many things I told my Dad I was going to do because I grew up with my Dad being so supportive. He was my best buddy and was always cheering me on and taking me to auditions. I don’t want to sit back and look at another day and be like ‘Oh, I was too comfortable’ or ‘I was too afraid of this.’ I learned in a very hard, rough way and I know my Dad is with me and I see my Dad all the time. It’s like ‘Hi, Dad.’ I feel him on my shoulder all the time and I know he’s watching me…my Dad was a really amazing parent in how he always said ‘Son, I’m proud of you.’ I feel my Dad being proud of me and it’s an amazing thing.
Vaughan has become a regular face on CBS’s The Talk. (l-r, Sara Gilbert, Vaughan,
Sheryl Underwood, Sharon Osbourne, Julie Chen and Aisha Tyler, CBS)
What’s going on with your dating life?
JV: I’ve got my boo. I don’t talk too much about my personal life. I put myself in the public eye and I chose to put myself in the public eye. However, he didn’t. I get some flak from people on Instagram and Twitter or Facebook like ‘why don’t you post pictures of your boyfriend?’ And I say he didn’t sign up for this life like I did. It’s not my place to put him out there. There are some rude people on social media and if you’re not ready for it, it can really hurt you. You can go out there and save 100 kids from a burning house and there’s going to be someone who is going to say ‘why didn’t he put the fire out, too?’
So I’m fiercely protective of people that I love and I’m protective of my boyfriend and I’m protective of him to the point that I don’t want people coming at him in a negative way for no reason whatsoever when he’s an amazing person who puts a smile on my face every day. So I keep it to myself but everybody who knows me personally in Vegas, they know my boyfriend. It’s not that I keep it a secret. It’s just I don’t throw him in the spotlight that he didn’t ask for.
And of course you’re in the new Chippendales calendar, right?
I am! I am Mr. December! I’m the year-end wrap up! [laughs] Nothing says Christmas like Jaymes Vaughan half-naked.
For everything about the Chippendales – including their 2015 calendar – visit their website. For air times for OK TV in your area, visit the show’s website. You can also follow Jaymes on Twitter or his YouTube channel.