EJ Johnson, the son of basketball legend Magic Johnson, may have a famous last name but he is determined to make a mark of his own--on his terms. We first noticed EJ in April 2013 when TMZ ran a story, Magic Johnson’s Son Goes Public with BF – Parents so Proud. To us, it looked like a simple stroll on Sunset Blvd with a friend. Even Oprah had a sit down with Magic and Cookie asking questions about EJ’s coming out story. By 2014 we got to see more of EJ in the reality show Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. In season one, he only had a recurring role, but by season two he made such a prominent mark on the show that he cemented his role and became a staple—making him the brake out star.
A short three years later, and EJ has gone through a dramatic transformation and is becoming his own man. Formerly weighing close to 360 lbs., EJ is now half that size; Johnson underwent gastric sleeve surgery back in 2015. We have seen amazing paparazzi images of EJ around Los Angeles strutting his new body with seemingly newfound confidence. He looks amazing!
So you just moved to New York. Are you living here permanently? I still go back and forth from here and LA. I like having both cities in my life. I do the bi-coastal thing. I love it! I love the city.
New York is the fashion capital of the world. You have amazing style and great presence. So why is it important that you are here now? I wanted to reconnect with my first love—fashion, and when I first moved here for school. I really fell in love with the city and the energy, the people and the fashion. I came back to get that energy back into my life. We’ll see where it takes me.
New York is full of energy. There is a lot to get into and so much to do. Do you see yourself having your own line? Certainly somewhere down the line I’ll have my own line. I don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. But I definitely know I want it to be accessible to everybody. It’s going to be very me.
You do have a high-fashion flair too. I do want to do something where everyone has access to my flair.
Something chic but affordable. Exactly!
Since being here in New York, have you been dating or seeing anyone? I have not.
Flirtations? Yeah there have been flirtations of course, but I think that’s very much New York. I feel like everyone is connecting, dating and playing around here. Which, I love about it. I have definitely been doing my thing.
Cocktails after the show… Exactly, who knows what goes down after the show?
So what can we look forward to on this show? You are on Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and now you have your own show EJ and the City. How has that transition been? A lot of work, a lot of work. I didn’t really know how much work it was going to be and how much of a difference it would be. I have to be in everything. As opposed to before I wasn’t directly involved and I didn’t have to be in it. But now if I’m not in it I have to hear about it and then I have to react to it.
And approve everything. Yes, which I love. I love doing my producing thing because I am a producer. I get to do the kind of behind-the-scenes as well as the in front of the camera thing. That’s great!
You get to be in charge of your own image and who you want to become. Yes, and I really want to make a big statement with the show and I want to make sure it’s very, very me because my name is attached to it. I want to make sure it’s very natural and that I can connect with my viewers the way that I want to.
So who are you? How do you see yourself? People talk about your fashion and you mix menswear, womenswear and androgyny. How do you see that coming together? I can’t really explain it. It’s just me. I just see something and I know that it works for me or I know that it doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t really matter what sex is suppose to wear it. I don’t really see a line with that. If it works for you, your image and your look then you should wear it.
Yeah, because clothes don’t have a gender attached to them. They don’t, not at all. Whatever works for your personal style is what you should be wearing.
And how do you describe your personal style? I honestly don’t even know. All that I know is that it’s me. It’s up. It’s down. It’s over there. It’s over here. It’s all over the place. But I think that’s how it should be. I don’t think anyone should be able to say oh my style is like this. It should just be you.
Are there any designers that you are looking at or you draw inspiration from? I have my favorites, but every season my taste changes. Some designers I love one season and then I like, well, they didn’t really bring it this season. Then I’m looking at this other designer that’s really bringing it. It really changes.
If you see a piece that really stands out for you, you are like, yes, that’s what I want. And then I’m like, I have to acquire it.
Well, that’s nice. I think some people would say your rise to success has been easy. What are some of the challenges you face being a rich kid from Beverly Hills, coming up and establishing a name and a career for yourself? I think don’t think anyone’s life is easy. I would say anyone who says my life is easy doesn’t really know anything about my life because it’s certainly not easy or a cakewalk. I have been so happy that my life has been so far left of my family. I love my family, of course, but my dad’s career has been very much business and sports oriented. I am more interested in fashion and entertainment. I definitely put my own stamp on my life. Just because I have a famous last name, like, my path is completely different from everything that he’s doing. I’m happy that it’s like that. So I can separate myself and make a name for myself.
You’re EJ no matter what. Exactly, and that’s really important to me.
So was it difficult coming out or expressing who you are? I think everyone’s coming out story is different and no one’s was easy. Mine was certainly; it’s always a process. I am mostly blessed that my parents, family and friends all have my back. We all love and support each other. They allow me to be me and that’s the best part about it.
I remember when I was coming it out it was one of those moments when my stepmom was like, “Do you have a boyfriend? Do you have a girlfriend?” and I’m like, “no, no.” Right. I think people want to know who you are dating regardless.
Right. Because they are nosey. Exactly--everyone is nosey. You just got to do you.
So, recently you came out with a nail polish color. Yes, I did a collaboration with Chrome Girl and I did one color for charity.
It’s called Jaded. It’s very, very cute and I recommend everyone go out and get it.
You gave 100% of the proceeds to the LGBT center of New York. And why is that important to you? I went to go visit the center a few months ago. I really love to connect to the youth. I think that’s really where my calling is and I am looking forward to getting into some more work with that, other organizations that help the LGBTQ youth. I loved that it was a safe space for them. It educates them and talks to them about working and getting jobs and training. They have all kinds of things to help them succeed if they don’t have a support system themselves. That’s the beautiful thing I loved about the center and I wanted to do my part and help.
I don’t know the exact number but about 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ youth. Yes, and I want to do my part to help.
So what’s next? You have your own show! I’m just going to ride it. I have no idea what’s going to come next. I’m just going to let it happen. I believe that everything happens in the universe when it’s time. I’m definitely going to be dabbling into a bunch of things. I want to get into writing and acting. All kinds of stuff. My creative flares that I haven’t gotten to tap into yet. I’m in talks with a lot of different people for a lot of different stuff. So we’ll see.
So you’re a thespian. I didn’t know that. Yeah I’ve been in musical theatre since I was nine, all through elementary school and high school.
What was your first show? I think it was Little Shop of Horrors. I was literally nine.
Is there anything else you want to cover? I think that’s it. Get ready, watch my show premiering June 19th. It’s going to be everything!
More of this article and editorial spread in the hard copy of Fop. Grab a hard copy here: MagCloud
Photography: SOPHIE ELGORT@sophieelgort
Direction: Quentin Fears @mrqfears
Assistant: Walton Elliot @waltonsworld
Stylists: Nneya Richards @nneya & EJ Johnson @ejjohnson
Grooming: Porsche Cooper @porschefabulous