On Point With: Facundo Rodriguez

This sexy Argentinian-born actor and model has had every bar job in (and off) the books… so now it’s high time for him to be the boss! Boy Butter beauty Facundo Rodriguez is here to serve Thirst.

Thotyssey: Hello, Facundo! Thanks for chatting with us today! First of all, belated congratulations on the successful opening of Thirst in HK! It’s a gorgeous and fun new space.

Facundo Rodriguez: Thank you! Managing Thirst has been an incredible experience! I’m very excited to have another safe space for our community to have fun and be themselves.

I love the ambiance: gray and pink, with a sexy little lounge area in the back and some of the biggest basement bathrooms I’ve been in, lol! What kind of vibe do you want people to feel when they’re in Thirst?

I want people to feel comfortable, have fun, enjoy the great music from many talented DJs, delicious drinks from handsome friendly bartenders, and many different talents we have every day of the week!

Yeah, where exactly do you find all those hot bartenders, hosts and gogo boys to populate Thirst and her big sister venue Rebar? So much beauty!

I agree! They are are all very sexy, and incredibly friendly! I guess I’m a good casting director!–something I’ve learned from my years of acting, lol.

I’ll get back to Thirst in a minute, but let’s discuss the man of the hour for a moment. Where are you from?

I’m originally from Argentina, Buenos Aires. I moved to United States 20 years ago.

What made you want to come here?

I came for a vacation that got extended, lol. I fell in love with NYC from the first day! I was only coming to study English for a couple of months, but I made one of the best decisions and stayed longer to try to have a better life… a decision I will never regret.

Did you work as a model and actor before you first got into nightlife, or were you always doing it all at the same time?

I started modeling while I lived in Miami for five years, the same time I went to theater school. I did various commercials, prints and plays. Later on I moved back to NYC and enrolled in New York Film Academy. I did theater for ten years, some short films, a web series and more commercials. But I was working in nightlife since I was in Argentina, and all through my modeling / acting career in the USA.

There were millions of eyes on you care of your sexy Boy Butter commercials, which aired during Drag Race for several seasons! How did you get that gig, and what was it like to shoot those ads?

The photographer filming the commercial recommended me to Eyal Feldman, founder of Boy Butter. He thought I was the right guy, and I guess the rest is history. I had such an amazing time every time I shot those commercials, especially the last two produced by Straw Hat Productions. There is nothing better than working (or making magic, as I always called it) with incredibly talented, sweet people. I’m very lucky!

Are there other acting roles or modeling campaigns you’ve done that you remember fondly?

Let me see what my memory remembers, lol! I did two modeling campaigns for Saks Fifth Avenue, and several for Nasty Pig. I played Julien Massi for two seasons of Hustling web series, then several different roles for different Off-Off Broadway plays, drama and comedy. The last one was Men in Towels written and produced by Michelangelo Alasa at the Duo Theater.

How did you start in New York nightlife?

When I moved from Argentina in September 2001 and decided to stay, I needed to find a job. So I started gogo dancing at The Roxy, as I also was a gogo dancer and bartender in gay clubs in Argentina. I didn’t speak much English at that moment. Then I moved to Miami for five years and worked at Score, I think I did pretty much everything except DJing, lol! I was a porter, barback, gogo dancer, bartender and manager. That’s how I learned so much–every position in a bar / club, and I always enjoying the nightlife!

Then I met Franco DiLuzio (friend / business partner) when I moved back to NYC. We tried for a while to open a gay bar, then he introduced me to the owners of G Lounge, because they were looking for a new space… just like us. We all started a partnership and created magic! That opportunity changed my life. After struggling for years, and working so hard (and saving money), I finally got to fulfill my dream of becoming a bar owner.

Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing people having a great time in our bars. Just the thought of all the sacrifices and years of hard work that led to a very happy ending! I won’t lie, it’s a lot of work–sometimes stress, as we want everything to be as perfect as it can be. I want to keep working towards continuing to give a safe, happy space for our community and for everyone!

You and Franco have been part of the managing team at Rebar, formerly G Lounge, for a while now. Rebar is helping to keep queer Chelsea nightlife alive with circuit parties, drag shows, game nights, sexy gogo boys, drink-and-draws and even live jazz. What’s been the best part about your Rebar experience? And, has it become a challenge to keep a Chelsea space going when so many of the Manhattan gays flock to Hell’s Kitchen, where Thirst now is?

We knew it was gonna be very challenging to reopen a bar at the same place where another very successful bar was before, especially when most of the gay people moved to HK. We are bringing a lot of different experiences every day of the week, and we feel it’s worth the ride! Also, being one of the only survivors in Chelsea, I have to say it makes me very proud. There are still a lot of gay people living in the area, and we have very faithful customers that will follow us no matter where we go! So far, it has been an incredible experience!

[Photo: Paul Freeman]

Covid was a bitch, of course (still is!) but Rebar was extremely careful with reopening and adhering to all the guidelines. And on top of that, you were getting ready to start opening Thirst when the lockdown happened! How did you all not pull all your hair out and lose your minds during that time?

Yes, Covid was a bitch… for everyone! We had to close for a whole year, we were very lucky to have the chance to reopen; unfortunately many bars didn’t have that chance, it was very sad. Opening Thirst in the middle of a pandemic was very stressful because it was a huge risk not knowing what was going to happen, what the new regulations were gonna be… for me, I was praying every single day! But life is about taking risks, and I’m not new to that challenge.

[Photo: Daniel Robinson]

Well, for Thirst it worked out well because it got its own opening weekend just last month and didn’t “compete” with the earlier grand openings of other new spots in HK. You can personally be found at Thirst throughout the week, but perhaps your most important night is “BambiLand” on Fridays which you produce. You’re joined by host Richard JMV and DJs Lucas Sakalem and M Samurai! What’s that night like?

I’m so excited to finally produce my own party. I put together a very talented group of people. The party is so much fun, it’s a mix of fantasy with a sexy vibe. I dress up together with the entire staff, and customers are loving it!

So I know there’s probably too much to talk about, but is there anything coming up at Rebar or Thirst, or even in the Private World of Facundo, that the kids should be looking out for? Pride is just around the corner, for one thing!

We have a lot of fun parties programed for Pride week. Both bars will have different themes, as we always do at Rebar. I would encourage for people to follow our social media to find out more. About Facundo’s world: I’m gonna be the model for “Drink & Draw “on Pride week as every year… that’s gonna be a lot of fun!

I’m sure everyone will be getting their… pencils out for that one, lol! By the way, the children will scold me if I don’t ask this: are you single now, or otherwise?

I am currently single… but knowing me, not for too long, lol!

Noted! That somehow brings us to our final question: Drag Race! After a loooooong season, we finally have our Top… Five (ugh). Who’s team are you on to win?

Hmm… it’s very, very difficult to decide between all these talented girls. But I do have my two favorites: Willow Pill and Lady Camden. But I wouldn’t be upsetting if any of the others win, too. I found Bosco incredibly hot!

You’d make a great couple! Thanks, Facundo!

[Photo: Daniel Robinson]

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Facundo Rodriguez’s upcoming appearances, and follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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