I didn’t have the best childhood. Among other things my family was poor, I had crippling social anxiety, negative self-esteem, was a bit overweight and my high school nickname was “Ugly duckling”. I was deeply dissatisfied with myself, with who I was. I hated myself.

When I was about 20 years old, I watched this reality TV show called “Top Design”. One of the contestants was a gay interior designer named Preston Lee. He was 27, handsome, athletic, seemed to know what he was doing in the competition, but was a bit quiet. While everybody partied and had fun, he stayed away, didn’t talk much, and looked a bit sad. How was it possible that this guy that seemingly had everything that I desired, be exactly as damaged, asocial and lacking confidence as I felt? As I though more about it, I found beauty in it and I identified with his struggle. I understood that even Preston who was handsome, successful, and well-rounded was broken on the inside because he did not truly accepted and loved himself. He was lonely and wanted to be seen, to be heard, to be present and to feel he belonged to a community. At that moment, that beautiful and damaged creature that was Preston became my inspiration to reinvent myself, to emotionally and physically meta morph beyond my current wanting form. I set a date for my goal and decided to adopt the name Preston as my surname to constantly remind myself of my aspiration that I can and must strive to bring my very best self, even when feeling worthless, imperfect and insecure. Years passed and I mostly met my goals. Although some of my childhood damages still linger in me, as I continue to battle them every day, I have bloomed into the man I fell in love so many years ago and learned to appreciate and love me.

I want to become Mr. Gay Europe because I want to be a role model for young gay boys that are struggling to love themselves; just like Preston was mine. I want to share my story, and hopefully inspire others to not give up even if society and your inner saboteur are telling you that you are not good enough. Because we all have the capacity and need to love, feel lovable, and live an authentic life that is rooted in kindness, empathy and brotherhood.

BULGARIA
Name: Alexander Alexandrov Petrov
Age: 31
Hair colour: Blond
Eye colour: Blue
Height: 183 cm

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