Jamie is Mister Gay Belgium 2017. He is 18y old, just graduated and prepared for the election of Mister Gay Europe and Mister Gay World. In front of me sits a young, but mature guy that tells us more about his election, his theme and his goals.
Jamie, congratulations with your election of Mister Gay Belgium. Do you yet realize it after those first weeks?
Yes, I start to realize it! The first 1,5 week felt unreal for me that I had won the competition. It was crazy when I saw the images!
How did you experience the show?
The show was very exiting! We all knew that we were good. Everyone could win. Before the show we got points on different activities. They told us that the result was close. So we knew that the final show would decide everything. It was also very stress full knowing that you stood before a complete full theater with family, friends and a famous jury that must judge you.
How were your first 2 weeks?
It were weeks full of photoshoots and interviews with national or international LGBT magazines. But we are still working with the team on my campaign: LGBT’s in companies. We like to make a big statement and be prepared for the Mister Gay Europe election in 2 months in Stockholm.
Can you combine your education with your agenda as Mister Gay Belgium?
Yes. Together with the school and the organization we look how we can manage the exams in combination with my agenda. It’s also my last year at secondary school. So next year I can choose to take a free year instead of going further with my education. That gives me the opportunity to give myself a full year for my campaign as mister gay Belgium.
Your theme is LGBT people in companies. What you think should happen more?
I have chosen this theme, because I did already 3 job experiences for my education in different companies. I want that people know who I am. Because I think that is easier in working together. So I said very soon that I am gay. The most colleagues were very positive, but there were still some people who had problems with it. They thought it would be better to be a hairdresser or a visagist. It’s such a cliché and it is bothering me. I started to look on the internet if I was the only person with this problem. But I found out that almost 3% of the people had problems with physical violence in the company because they were LGBT. In 2017, there are still bosses of companies who have problems with LGBT people and not take them for their qualities. So, we have a lot of work to do.
You already know how to manage that?
The MGB team works together for the campaign and we will introduce it in a month.
You are the youngest winner of MGB and you follow up a monument as Raf Van Puymbroeck (Mister Gay Europe 2016). How does that feel?
Many people ask me the question how I will be as good or even better as Raf. He is Mister Gay Europe and 1st Runner up Mister Gay World. Would I like to have the same? Ofcourse! But my goal is to be there for the people and explain my campaign. If I can do that as MGB, MGE or MGW, it doesn’t matter for me!
The last week we read the negative reactions of some people on Facebook about your election. How do you feel by that?
It is choking to read that in 2017 people still give those reactions. I find it strange that people give that on a popular media channel as VTM television. Many people read that on Facebook and read their names too. They give reactions as: I gonna throw u from a building, burn you, shoot u or you should kill yourself. Come on, we are 2017! With the team of MGB, we like to battle against those hate messages and we hope one day they will disappear. Those reactions frighten me a little, but I will not go slower with my campaign because of this. It gives me energy to go further with that!
Macron has been chosen as president of France and he said that he hates homophobian people and discrimination in companies. You’re happy with that?
When a world leader says such things, I only can be happy! Other world leaders, I not gonna mention their names, are harder with the acceptation of LGBT people. I think: you are a world leader for everyone!
Bram Bierkens (organizer of MGB) will guide you the next year. Is he hard?
Bram is a gentle, hard and correct guy! He says what he wants and thinks. But I told him: I’m young and have to learn many things. I’m great full that he is hard for me. It should be. I’m a public figure and an example for many people the next year.
You have to be many times in Antwerp. How does it feel to come in a chauvinistic city that says: the rest of Belgium is parking space?
Another cliché! I know I live far and many people ask me why I not come live here. But I am a citizen of West-Flanders and I’m proud of it. So I will be faithful of my parking space!
You have time for holiday?
I have a bussy agenda, so I doubt that I have time for holiday. But I’m also mister photo genic and won a trip to Milan for a photoshoot. It’s a professional work holiday to the fashion city of Europe!
That’s what they say of Antwerp too….
No comment! (Laughing)
Good luck and enjoy your year of Mister Gay Belgium.