By Marc Snetiker
April 11, 2012 at 08:59 PM EDT

Hard Times are getting better for Paul Iacono. The 23-year-old actor and former star of MTV’s The Hard Times of RJ Berger today announced on Twitter and in an interview with The Village Voice that he is gay.

Iacono tweeted, “Yes I’m gay. And yes, it does get better. #YOLO.” If you didn’t get the references, the hashtag stands for “you only live once” and the allusion is to the It Gets Better Project, which focuses on preventing suicide and encouraging positivity among gay youths. In his interview with Village Voice, Iacono — who played high school nerd RJ Berger on the cancelled MTV comedy — revealed that his coming out wasn’t wholly planned or expected: “I’m rolling with the punches here. I was asked if I was comfortable doing gay press. I said ‘Of course.’ I didn’t think I’d be coming out. But why not now? I think it’s the right time to say something.”

Though Hard Times was cancelled, Iacono is prepping for a role in another upcoming MTV show called Kenzie’s Scale, in which he plays a college student who moves with his high school sweetheart to New York, only to have a gay awakening when he gets there. Iacono insists that the show is “a radical young Will & Grace” (in that they continue to live together as friends) and hopes that his role will provide LGBT youth with another gay character to look up to (he mentioned Glee‘s Chris Colfer as another positive influence).

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