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.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT - In­ter­view An­drew Creagh Pho­tograhy Ger­hard Meir­ing

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 to­gay­ 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.

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