JORDAN BRUNO WINS MR GAY WORLD
After years among the final top-five delegates, Australia has finally won the Mr Gay World title. “Our” Jordan Bruno proudly brings home the crown.
Australia has finally won Mr Gay World. “Our” Jordan Bruno brings home the title.
DNA: Congratulations on winning the Mr Gay World title. It’s been a long time coming for Australia, hasn’t it?
Jordan Bruno: Absolutely! This competition has been going for 10 years, so it’s amazing that Australia has finally got the gold medal.
Can you remember the moment you won? What were you thinking and feeling?
I was in shock. I didn’t think I was going to take out first spot, so I was genuinely overwhelmed.
DNA spoke to you before you went to the finals in South Africa, and you were definitely in it to win. Do you think that attitude helped?
I have no doubt it helped. I honestly had the intention of taking out first place and I felt like I had done enough advocacy work and charity work over the last few years to justify me winning it, too. With the right mindset, I’m of the belief you really can achieve anything.
You won five of the 12 judged categories (Photogenic, Interview, Campaign, Online Vote and Formal Wear). Which was the most challenging?
They were all challenging in different ways. However, I’m not much of an academic so having my knowledge of LGBTIQ history tested was challenging. I invested a lot of time into studying. Mr Gay World is more than a pageant; the organisation is looking for future leaders and role models. Which of the other delegates impressed or inspired you?
Mr New Zealand [Ricky Devine-White] is doing amazing things and was a friend heading into the competition. His work around removing HIV stigma is something to be admired. Samarpan Maiti, Mr India’s advocacy work in a less progressive country is something to be admired, too. All the boys had amazing social missions, though, and are all at different stages, trying to create change, so it truly was something to be admired. They are all leaders and role models in their own way.
Did you form close bonds with the other delegates?
Yeah, I definitely made a lot of friendships. It was such a unique life experience; to share it with 25 amazing men is something I will cherish and talk about for many years to come.
Did you crush on anyone?
[Laughs.] I might have had a slight fling with Mr Belgium!
In previous years, the delegates have often gone on to help each other with their local projects after the competition. Can you imagine that happening with your year?
One hundred per cent. As soon as the competition ended we all talked about how we wanted to share each other’s campaigns and really make the work we are doing visible across the world.
It’s not a beauty contest, so how do you feel about the Swimwear and Photogenic categories?
I feel it’s something that could potentially change in future years. It’s a great exercise and does push people out of their comfort zones but I would love to see a competition that focuses solely on advocacy work and social work.
There’s definitely a sex-appeal factor to the competition, though; are you comfortable being seen in that way?
I have no problem acknowledging the sex-appeal factor of the competition and being seen in that light; however, I really did enter the competition based on the advocacy work and leadership aspects.
What did you wear for the National Costume category on finals night?
I dressed as Crocodile Dundee as it’s iconic to Australia and easily recognised by an international audience. I also had an Indigenous artist paint a piece of my costume as it was important for me to acknowledge the traditional custodians of Australia.
It’s expected that Mr Gay World takes on a project during his year with the title; what will yours be?
I’m trying to release a cook book with all profits going to LGBTIQ charities. I’m starting a series of short videos tackling LGBTIQ issues including body shaming, lesbian inclusion at pride festivals, transsexual awareness, removing HIV stigma, bottom shaming and a lot more. You will be able to watch them across the DNA social platforms.
What was the highlight of the event for you?
I was lucky enough to volunteer at an orphanage during the competition, and I really connected with the kids. I was seriously emotional afterwards, but they left me feeling so inspired and have helped me realise how much I want to have a family of my own.
It’s weird to say, but the highlight of the competition was meeting those children and them awakening something within me. I’m looking to go back and visit in October.
Had you been to South Africa before and were you there at the time of the Pink Loerie gay pride parade?
This was my first time, and I can’t recommend it enough. It is a seriously beautiful country and has such a diverse range of cultures. Yes, the competition finals are in Knysna, and the Pink Loerie gay pride parade happened while we were there.
What most surprised you about other delegates and hearing their stories?
What shocked me the most was the LGBTIQ situation in a lot of countries and the widespread homophobic bullying that goes on across the world. A few of the delegates actually lost their jobs for attending the competition, and there were very harsh things said to many of the other delegates for being involved. It made me realise how far we have to go for equality on an international scale.
This year was the first time there were delegates from Nepal and Japan. Although we all come from different cultures, are gay life experiences, like coming out, similar around the world?
No, they vary greatly from culture to culture. Although there seems to be a worldwide movement for acceptance and diversity from my discussions with the boys, a lot of queer people in cultures are shunned from their family and community if they come out and can’t actively promote their sexuality without consequence.
You ran cooking classes for trans kids in Western Australia and helped bring them together to create a support network. Are you still doing that? I was lucky enough to host a range of LGBTIQ classes, which have been amazing, but as of late I’ve been focusing more on cooking classes in schools with a focus on anti-bullying and LGBTIQ awareness.
How do you balance all your commitments – Mr Gay World, the community work, and earning a living?
Well, in all honesty, I struggle and constantly burn out. Finding a work/life balance is something I’m not very good at and I do over-commit. Having said that, I love the opportunities I’ve been afforded in my life, so I consider it my duty to give back and be a positive role model. Some things are worth struggling for.
Do you have time for boyfriend?
Nope! I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic so I do hope love finds me, but I’d rather be single than with the wrong person. I’ll keep patiently waiting until he comes along, ha ha!
Many readers will know you best from the TV show My Kitchen Rules, so we must ask, how’s your lovely mum, Anna?
She is honestly the best human in the world. She is going well and we are working on an exciting project that I can’t announce yet. Otherwise she is travelling around, attending pride festivals and sharing love like only a mother can.
MORE: For Mr Gay World go to www.mrgayworld.com. For more Jordan Bruno find him on Facebook and on Instagram: jordanbruno.mkr
Jordan wins Photogenic and Evening Wear.
The 2018 Mr Gay World delegates.
Jordan’s outback look for National Costume.
Swimwear winner: Ricky Devine-White, Mr New Zealand.