Joshua Rush was part of history in October when Disney Channel announced that his Andi Mack character, Cyrus Goodman, would be coming out as gay. Cyrus became the first main character on the network to have a coming out story, revealing he had a crush on his male best friend, which he told Buffy (Sofia Wylie) in the season 2 premiere.
“I was so excited when I first read about it. It’s a real honor,” Rush, 15, tells Us Weekly in an exclusive interview. “One of my best friends came out to me before anybody else. I wish that I had someone like Buffy on TV to show me how I should have responded.”
However, he was surprised when he read Cyrus would be coming out — and he found out in a “roundabout” way.
“I was given the wrong break down, a description of the character. I was given one that was supposed to only be given to the casting director,” he explained. “So I went in the audition room, which happened to have [creator] Terri Minsky in it. I went in with this big list of questions. About halfway through, when I finally asked a question about Cyrus’ storyline, she went, ‘How do you know about that?’”
Rush says he’s “proud,” especially in today’s climate, to represent the first gay storyline on the channel and he’s hopeful that others will learn to be accepting from watching. “It’s important to be yourself, no matter what. That’s the core thing for me,” he tells Us. “Whether it involves talking to your friends, like Cyrus does, or talking to your family, it’s always important to be inclusive and love everyone.”
As for the response from the public, Rush says he ignores anything that’s not positive.
“There’s been negativity [on social media], but there’s been an overwhelming amount of positivity and that’s what I’ve been focusing on, that’s what I’ve been loving,” he says. “I seeing so many responses on Twitter and Instagram that have been so powerful. That’s what I think about.”
Andi Mack airs on Disney Channel Fridays at 8 p.m. ET.