Craig Ramsay and Brandon Liberati first brought their larger-than-life personalites to the desert in their groundbreaking Palm Springs wedding in 2014. The wedding was actually filmed for the Bravo TV show Newlyweds: The First Year, and made the celebrity couple the first federally legal same-sex couple to be married on television.
In addition to their television work, Ramsay is a fitness expert and Liberati is a hairstylist to the stars (he recently did Rose McGowan’s locks) and both share a passion not just for each other but for desert living, too. And while they don’t have an official residence in the Coachella Valley — yet — all signs point to their being very much at home as the two Celebrity Grand Marshals of the 2017 Palm Springs Pride Parade on Nov. 5.
Amid the pool parties and general al fresco Pride merriment, Ramsay and Liberati will bring an important message of compassion and inclusion — along with some great Palm Springs travel tips, too. Palm Springs Life spoke with the couple at the Riviera Palm Springs, the same spot where they got married.
PSL: How did this role as Celebrity Grand Marshals for the Palm Springs Pride Parade happen?
Craig Ramsay: We got involved with Palm Springs Pride by being involved in Palm Springs.
Brandon Liberati: Our favorite place. Palm Springs is our favorite city.
CR: We’ve been together eight years and we have regularly, like every other month, come to Palm Springs as our getaway [they currently live in Los Angeles. And it was May 11, 2014 that we got married in Palm Springs, at the Riviera Resort. We haven’t been back to the Riviera since but it’s great to be back.
BL: And our point also in getting married in Palm Springs , when we got married on television, we only went to places, stayed at places that were either gay-friendly or gay-owned.
CR: Because there’s a lot that you’d be shocked at that are transparently not.
PSL: What is the message for this year’s Pride Parade?
CR: We want to be inclusive and we want to educate, but we also want to reward people that are trying to care for all people, not just LGBTQ. In 2017, which is a crazy s–tshow at this point, we’re really trying to focus on just love and acceptance.
BL: To anyone contemplating coming to Pride, do it. When you come and celebrate these events, you support the community and you further the causes of equality for everybody. It’s about being able to be yourself and supporting others and allowing them to be themselves.
Craig Ramsay (left) and Brandon Liberati tie the knot at the Riviera Palm Springs in 2014. The wedding was part of the Bravo TV show, Newlyweds: The First Year.
CR: And we’re a part of Palm Springs. The LGBTQ community has had an influence on a lot of what people love about Palm Springs. And it’s time to celebrate everyone who has made Palm Springs great.
BL: If you take a look at the grand marshals that have been chosen, you have transgender (Kristin Beck), we’re the first federally legal married couple on television, as the celebrity grand marshals, and the local grand marshal is a well-known drag queen (Michael Holmes). I feel like this Pride is inclusive of all groups of the LGBTQ community.
CR: And like Palm Springs in general, it’s inclusive. This year’s theme is definitely about taking care of each other and taking care of everyone. This is not just about LGBTQ now. We have women’s rights being attacked. Any one that has ever felt like an outcast, this Pride is for them. So you’re going to see a uniqueness that we’re bring as well. Our kickoff party is at Trina Turk/Mr. Turk’s boutique store from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 3 and everyone is welcome. We want to see everyone.
BL: We’re even including people that are on prime time shows that are straight people that play gay people…Carly Hughes from American Housewife. I think that we also bring a different flavor to this year’s Palm Springs Pride, and most of the people here in Palm Springs, local businesses and the community know who we are.
CR: By now they know us because being here every other month, we’ve made it a point of not purchasing a home because we wanted to experience every single hotel, resort, bed-and-breakfast, restaurant and we’ve done a pretty damn good job haven’t we?
BL: We are in the market though. We will end up here.
PSL: Before you were married in 2014, were you each coming to the desert individually?
BL & CR: Yes.
CR: We have a really funny story about how our relationship developed and it happened here in Palm Springs. Within about a month of us dating, I came out here solo for a weekend. I was actually filming my first Bravo show, Thintervention, and I had a little break and Brandon came here to surprise me and showed up with his bags. Which is sometimes a no-no when you’re first entering any kind of romantic relationship because you haven’t established any specifics.
BL: I flew in from San Francisco.
CR: He flew in, he showed up and it’s been good ever since…success!
BL: It was a great weekend.
Craig Ramsay (left) and Brandon Liberati solidified their relationship in Palm Springs.
PSL: So what keeps bringing you back? Of course there’s the weather…
BL: The people are our favorite thing about Palm Springs. That’s what made us fall in love with it.
CR: And the scenery for me. I’m Canadian, originally from one of the smallest farming communities in all of Canada. One of the reasons I wanted to have our wedding here was to bring my Canadian friends and family over here because this has been our getaway vacation and it should be for everyone. We always tell people if you’re going to invest in a vacation you have to have one here.
BL: Also, I’m a midcentury modern freak, so our wedding had that for a theme, I’m wearing Mr. Turk swim trunks…and in Palm Springs we’re always amazed at the legends you run into…from [cultural figures] to people at the forefront of what the LGBTQ movement has been from the beginning. And it is humbling and we love it. This place does represent everything aesthetically and emotionally who we are.
CR: Beyond humbling. When you’re in Palm Springs…even though we’ve had an incredible career, when you’re here you have to be ready for the fact that most people have done more — bigger and more. The people here have had fabulous lives and careers.
PSL: Any favorite addresses around town?
CR: I recommend a full week to experience all the recommendations Brandon and I have for Palm Springs.
BL: You have to check out the architectural gems here. The Pink Elephant car wash was the theme for our wedding invitations.
CR: Grab a bike. From your hotel or —
BL: …from Bike Palm Springs.
CR: You have to experience the Cheeky’s breakfast, or the organic Palms Café, and Jake’s is terrific — a great local place. And we love Lulu’s too! It feels like being on a classy cruise ship.
BL: Main thing to visit: Over the Rainbow Desserts. They did our wedding cake. The must stop!
CR: I’m a fitness expert, and this is what I’m recommending as your “healthier option cheat treat.” The best cupcakes!
Palm Springs Pride, Nov. 3-5, pspride.org. The Pride Parade begins at 10 a.m. Nov. 5 starting in the Uptown Design District at Tacheva Drive and Pal Canyon Drive, heading south and ends at Amado Road and Palm Canyon Drive.