Ms. Cleo is a central figure in the new Tony Shaff documentary "Hotline," about the world of phone hotlines. The alleged psychic and shaman rose to fame in the late-90s and early-00s as the face of the Psychic Readers Network. PRN was ultimately charged with deceptive advertising, billing and collection practices in 2002; Ms. Cleo was revealed to be a fraud; and she faded from the public eye.
"I'm as gay as a two dollar bill, same as you," she told the Indiewire interviewer. "And I mean no disrespect, because I'm gay. And for a long time... Long before you were even born, in fact. And in the black community and the Jamaican community, that's not easy. Not at all. As a matter of fact, when I came out publicly in 2006, I lost a large portion of my family. It's so difficult. I'm grateful for all you younger folks where it's not that way anymore. But I'm a mom. I have grown children. I'm not sure how old you are but I'm pretty sure at least two of them are older than you. And it was tough worrying that someone would take your children because of who you are."
Cleo came out publicly via the Advocate in 2006. Although she had already come out to some of those close to her, she said she was afraid of the "wrath" and "exile" she would face. Still, she decided to come out to take control.
"Even though it's 2014, not every person you run into is going to embrace you," she told IndieWire. "But at some point in time you have to stand for something or you fall for it. So by the time the media had thrown me out there to whatever devices, I thought, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to take back my power. I'm not going to let them out me, I'm going to out myself.
"I think only about 30% of people who know of me know that I'm gay," she added. "They're clueless! I don't hide... I've been gay since I was about 16. I went to an all girls boarding school and loved my mother for it. She would die if she heard that but she's already dead so it doesn't matter."
Read the full interview with Indiewire here and reminisce about Ms. Cleo's hotline by watching the video below.