Bronson and Sam Page are young, handsome and in love. They’re living the Hollywood dream with their writing, acting and entrepreneurial pursuits. Bronson is a screenwriter, art director and keeper of the well-written and designed blog, LovesickBilly.com. Sam is the stud behind Sam Page Fitness where he operates three private training studios in Southern California. He puts Jackie Warner to shame with his health & fitness writings syndicated worldwide and chronicled on his blog, PeaceLoveLunges.com. Their diverse history sets the stage for a good money story. Let’s start with nickels and nuptials…
1. Was the money well spent on your wedding?
An unconventional wedding in traditional clothing, I’d say. It was a Unitarian Universalist, black-tie, late-afternoon wedding with 150 guests, shrimp and grits as one of the passed hors d’oeuvres, and Chi Chi LaRue as the DJ and emcee. Some of our friends generously gifted and discounted their services, which helped to ensure everything was top-notch, and the rest participated in HoneyLuna, contributing to our honeymoon in Barcelona and Ibiza.
We knocked off a high-end NYC designer’s cake at Hansen’s here in L.A., and it was fresh and delicious, and a third of the price. Instead of altar florals, we placed two 7’ potted Magnolias that are now planted in our front yard. Be creative. Schedule around the Barney’s sale. Stay practical (or green) with guest gifts. A friend did a custom remix CD of our favorite meaningful tracks of the moment, and everyone left went home with a copy. We spent about $20K – a pittance for the best day of our lives. If you want to see for yourself, check out bronsam.com.
2. What is your most significant memory about money?
Bronson: I took care of my Grandparents’ details after they passed, and I found a drawer with years of chronologically filed, cancelled checks written to my university, my fraternity, the school bookstore, to me: tens of thousands of nest egg dollars. It was their dream that I would be the first in my family to finish college, and I did. I couldn’t have done it without my Mom and my Grandparents.
Sam: When I published HERO magazine. As our circulation grew, so did the bills. And I recall writing a check for about $80,000 — I wondered if it would be the largest check I’d ever sign. And I remember thinking, “Oh my God, I can actually make good on this check!”
3. What is your worst habit around finances?
Sam: I’ve really tried to stop worrying needlessly about money. But I still find myself doing it. It’s really been an issue for me in my adult life, especially as I’ve started businesses.
Bronson: I have never balanced a checkbook. I don’t even know how. That and I don’t carry cash regularly. Both things make Sam crazy.
4. How did money first come up in your relationship?
Sam: We took an online quiz about money early on, and one of the questions was “how much money is it okay to spend without checking with your spouse first?” I remember Bronson’s answer was $100, and mine was $500. He was a little shocked at my answer! We’ve since agreed to the $100 ceiling.
Bronson: Okay, okay, $150.
5. Is there a price to fitness?
Sam: In Los Angeles where we live, there’s a particular kind of “fitness” — the kind you see on magazine covers— that sets the bar impossibly high for the everyday American. This kind of “fitness” is heavily informed by steroids, human growth hormone, and plastic surgery. As my friend Jack LaLanne says, taking shortcuts to fitness “is like going to bed with a rattlesnake — it’s going to get you in the end.” But real fitness is free and available to everyone. There’s no monthly membership fee to do 50 pushups or walk a mile before starting your day. People often confuse “LA-style fitness” with real fitness.
6. Did fame equate to fortune when Sam was known as the “Brad Pitt of gay porn”?
Sam: I had a few good months, to be sure, but adult films are unfortunately, still “pay-per-film,” with no residual benefits for us actors. So I wasn’t enjoying the Brangelina lifestyle.
7. What’s this business about being a rodeo enthusiast? Is this an expensive hobby?
Bronson: Kevlar vest, boots, gloves, and a hat: about $500. Road trip gas or cheap airfare to rodeos in the west: $100-$300 round trip. Lodging at a local neon motel (for extra sexy cowboy flavor): under $100 a night. The look on Sam’s face when I dog my steer: priceless.
8. Do you prefer earning your living as actors or writers?
Sam: It was easy doing gay porn — everything flowed to me—interviews, appearances, film roles. But being that exposed is not for everyone, and the career trajectory is pretty limited. Writing is hard, and time consuming. But I get a sense of satisfaction from being published that’s (oddly) more fulfilling than seeing my body on a DVD cover.
Bronson: I came to L.A. to be an actor. I did it for a year. I don’t love it enough for the rejection to be survivable. I’m a much better writer anyway, and I’d love it, even if I were writing copy for soup cans. Fortunately, my situation has never gotten that dire. I have an amazingly fun and rewarding “meantime job” as an art director at Warner Bros., until my script deals are done, and even then I might not leave it. I’m a great multi-tasker.
9. What is the best gift you’ve ever given each other?
Bronson: Hard to say, as Sam’s mastery of gifting is formidable; our tattoos, my cowboy hat, his heart.
Sam: The day after I proposed to him in Honolulu, Bronson took me to Tiffany and splurged for my wedding band, so we both had one. I was really surprised and touched. We returned to L.A. with two platinum rings: simply magical. We wore them for a year, as engagement rings, and then had them repolished and inscribed for our wedding.
10. What did your mothers teach you about money?
Bronson: Money is not happiness; it just makes the pursuit of happiness a little easier. Blindly trust that money (opportunities, contacts, success) will appear without fail provided we never give up on our dreams. Splurge sometimes, and when you really can’t, there’ll always be another of whatever it was you had to pass up, a little further down the road. Don’t leave much of it in a safe.
Sam: She was incredibly frugal, and she emphasized the importance of having good credit. I guess she definitely instilled in me the drive and desire to work hard and earn what I have—all by myself.
More about Bronson and Sam Page
Bronson Page is a 25-year Naples, Florida transplant who grew up bicoastal, permanently relocating to Los Angeles 10 years ago. He is now a screenwriter, art director, and rodeo enthusiast living in L.A. with his husband, Sam. His blog, LovesickBilly.com, is about sex, love, and relationships – as well as a window into his relationship and adventures with Sam. Currently, Bronson is developing his first feature film, a rock opera entitled “Damages”, based on his own true story. He has other projects for film and TV underway. In his spare time, he promotes and supports The Art of Elysium, The Gay American Heroes Foundation, and Being Alive.
Sam Page is the 33-year-old man behind Sam Page Fitness, operating three private training studios in Southern California. He was co-founder and publisher of HERO, a national magazine for gay men. Post-publishing, he appeared as the lead in Ronnie Larsen’s stage play, “My Boyfriend, the Stripper,” then directed by Wash West in the GayVN award winning mockumentary, “The Hole,” and finally, a centerfold in Playgirl. An ex-Mormon, Sam’s health & fitness writing is syndicated worldwide but always appears first on his blog, PeaceLoveLunges.com. He happens to think the hottest man in the room is his husband.
Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.