Four weeks after winning the Mr Gay Europe 2016 title, time has come for me to sit down and think about my crazy journey so far.
The first two weeks after the competition were absolute madness. Mr Gay Belgium is a huge competition, followed and supported by a lot of people. Me winning Mr Gay Europe was a big deal and huge for the competition in Belgium. National news, radio, TV-shows and so on were calling to have a talk, interviews and pictures with the new Mr Gay Europe. People suddenly took me seriously, knew who I was when I walked into any gay bar anywhere, listened to my point of view, and even the vice president of Belgium welcomed me. A real roller-coaster as you can imagine.
Canal Pride Amsterdam Europride
My first event was straight after the Mr Gay Europe finale gala dinner. From Oslo, we went straight to Amsterdam to attend the Canal Pride on the OUTtv boat. Canal Pride is different to other prides as it goes on the waters through Amsterdam in the Netherlands. People stand on the sides to see all the 160 boats float by. After me attending the Canal Pride, we were invited to the closing festival of the Amsterdam Europride. A big event with lots of acts, shows and many parties where we could expand our network in The Netherlands.
After the Canal pride we went back to Belgium. When we arrived at the train station of Antwerp there were press, friends and family waiting to welcome me back to Belgium. A lot of people wanted a first reaction for both radio stations and television; and finally I could hug my friends and family.
A day after we were back in Belgium, the mayor of Antwerp offered an honoring and a press-moment. A chance for me to give a speech and tell about my adventures and future plans to the national press, and also a chance for me to talk about how lucky we are to live in Belgium with the LGBT-rights we have. I still remember the stories Mr Gay Poland and Mr Gay Bulgaria told me about how things were in their countries.
Antwerp Pride, Belgium
Just days after the honoring, it was time for Antwerp Pride. A few days of events with culture, queer arts festival, a parade and one big party where everyone could celebrate who they are and could be proud of the community. For me it was a few crazy and very hectic days. Meanwhile I was doing interviews both in Belgium and in countries like Great Britain, South Africa, The Netherlands, Germany; and countless organisations from all over Europe who were contacting me to start up campaigns.
Back to work
Because I work in a college called Thomas More, there will come a time where I have to go back to reality after all the parties and ‘fame’. It will be back to exams, correcting papers and correcting portfolios and sports.
My next ‘big thing’ is traveling to Malaga in Spain. I’m going there for a photoshoot for a magazine called ‘Gay&Night Magazine’. While I’m there, there will also be shoots for companies like Pepsi, Shirtcase and KAY Bodywear. So a few busy days still ahead. To be continued. 🙂