‘Stuart Hatton is The Managing Director of Mr Gay Europe’ are words that I feel proud to read over and over again. It’s been a bizarre old journey and I am so happy to think that I have come this far, from winning Mr Gay UK twice, being placed in the Top 3 at Mr Gay Europe and then going onto to win Mr Gay World, I feel immensely proud that my skills, experience and attributes can be used to forward Mr Gay Europe in a positive new direction while retaining all the history and values that make this one of the best leadership roles in the World.
From my perspective, I know how stressful the competition can be but how rewarding and fun the experience is throughout. As Managing Director of Mr Gay Europe, I am now in a position of using my past experience, my knowledge and my media skills in a positive way at the ‘other end of the table’ while working alongside the MGE Producers to help the MGE contestants reach their full potential and create a positive impact on gay culture, not only in their own counties but through the European Continent and The World as well.
As a former delegate of the Mr Gay Europe contest, I know how daunting the prospect of representing your country on an international level can be; I remember arriving in Austria in 2014 and meeting Mr Gay Germany for the 1st time, it was such a surreal moment, you think, “here is a guy, just like me, representing his country, and here we both are, in Austria, ready to compete for a role which is really, really, such a big deal.” We quickly chatted about our lives, our home and in actual fact, we also chatted about heels and we laughed and then we soon felt at ease in each other’s company.
As the 1st day rolled on, one by one I was introduced to the delegates from the other countries such as Ireland, Northern Ireland, Lithuania, Cyprus, Belgium, France, Bulgaria and so on, and I soon started to realise that these men, who I had seen in the media and on social media in the build up to MGE, were just men, just normal men, but with voices, we were all in the same position, and we laughed and we bonded and spoke about our day jobs and what life was like in each other’s countries and we enjoyed time in each other’s company.
And that is what I remember most of all from my time at MGE, the friendship and bonds that I made with all my fellow Mr Gays. One of the strongest bonds I made was with Ireland’s Robbie Lawlor and Northern Ireland’s, Nick Flanagan. Myself and Nick now host a worldwide radio show on Pride Radio covering all LGBTI stories and debates and we work alongside Robbie to bring awareness to his campaign ‘Youth Stop Aids’. And that is what I would encourage all the delegates to do at Mr Gay Europe, make friends for life, make ties and help better each other’s LGBTI cause’s in each other countries.
I know that MGE 2016 and onwards is going to be a blast. I can’t wait to get going and make some new friends and LGBTI allies along the way. As one voice we can shout loud, but together we can roar. Watch out Europe, we’re coming to paint a rainbow!