"Harry Cook published a book! Winning! And he didn't even have to get arrested or a release a sex tape! But there is plenty of drama, from addiction to self-hate to coming out. He's got lots to share and it's a great read." - Perez Hilton
Actor, author and activist Harry Cook was born in the UK but moved to Australia with his family when he was ten years old. Harry began acting in his early teens and soon scored a breakthrough role opposite Academy Award winner Geena Davis at age seventeen. He has since starred in various TV shows, films and theatre productions both nationally and international.
Although on the surface Harry looked like he had it all – acting, Hollywood parties – he was a complete mess on the inside. Despite growing up in the nineties, he faced discrimination and bullying. Being gay was still viewed by many as something shameful not that long ago. The conflict between his outer and inner lives saw Harry enter rehab when he was nineteen.
In 2013, at age twenty-two, and after years of struggling with his sexuality, Harry came out publicly to his fans on YouTube. At the time, Harry feared the impact his coming out would have on his career, but knew he had to be true to himself. The video went viral overnight; Harry became front page news in Australia, the UK and the USA. Since coming out, Harry has been at the forefront of LGBTQI activism both nationally and internationally. He came back to Australia to support the fight for marriage equality, and he and his husband continue to live here.
Written with warmth and humour, Pink Ink is a memoir of Harry's years in Hollywood, addiction and life after rehab, finding love and marriage, fighting for equality and, ultimately, his resilience and push for self-acceptance. Pink Ink is an inspiringly raw and honest read for anyone who is facing adversity, questioning their identity or needs reminding that there is nothing more important than being exactly who you are. It is both touching and hilarious, warm and gritty.
Harry Cook on:
Marriage equality: "Marriage equality was a good step on the path for equality as a whole, but the journey is in no way finished. The fight is far from over when it comes to making sure religious discrimination is kept away, and queer parents and families feel safe from ignorance and bigotry."
Conversion therapy: "It's a huge surprise to many that conversion therapy is carried out in Australia and this horrific practice still hasn't been outlawed. It's disgraceful this isn't illegal. The next frontier is ensuring the welfare of queer youth across the country."
Growing up queer: "It's so important that we remember the other letters of the LGBTQI+ alphabet when we are talking about equality. Coming out is a difficult process for anyone, and it's imperative that our trans, bisexual, intersex brothers and sisters, etc all know that the entire community is behind them. The queer community as a whole is still up against a lot that we still need to overcome if we want a fair and just Australia for everyone."
Author: Harry Cook
Question: What inspired you to write Pink Ink?
Harry Cook: Growing up I remember there being a huge void when it came to LGBTQ stories with happy endings. The very few queer stories that were out there were quite morbid and heartbreaking and, while I absolutely think that some of those stories are extremely necessary for society to understand history, I also think it's quite disheartening for young queer people if we can't see ourselves represented anywhere living happy, full lives. Pink Ink is my story and it is by no means all smiles and rainbows, but I wanted to show people that we are queer people can come through immense pain and live happy, wonderful lives just like our straight peers. We need more of that I think.
Question: What do you hope readers take from Pink Ink?
Harry Cook: I hope queer readers relate and I hope straight readers get a look at what our lives are like and continue to be like today. Only by learning will society move forward. I'm hoping my story will open peoples' eyes that people can learn and evolve. I am so proud of my Dad for choosing to learn and not live in ignorance. It takes extreme strength to challenge what society entrenches in us and my Dad is one of the rare few who decided to challenge what society taught him. I'm so incredibly proud of him for that.
Question: Was it difficult to relive certain aspects of your life, when writing Pink Ink?
Harry Cook: Yeah, very much so. I think we as humans lock away painful memories a lot of the time in the back of our minds. It's not fun reliving old pain but I found it lovely looking at how far I've come. It's been quite the wild ride so far.
Question: How did it feel to have Perez Hilton endorse your book?
Harry Cook: I'm so grateful to everyone who has endorsed my book. Perez is one of many who have said lovely things about it and it means the world to me. Sarah Colonna, Nick Adams, Matthew Mitcham, Michelle Collins, David Campbell etc etc. I'm truly so humbled by it.
Question: What's next, for you?
Harry Cook: Acting is always my first passion so I'm always on the hunt for the next best script. I'd also love to write some fiction or young adult. I've always loved to write and, as I mentioned earlier, when it comes to LGBTQI+ representation I truly believe young queer people need to see ourselves in more. More books, more TV, more film, more sport. The more we can see ourselves represented, the less our limitations of who we are become. So yeah, I'd love to write some queer-themed fiction or YA next. Perhaps even a screenplay.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Author: Harry Cook