Insiders probably already know that Gayographic (大城小同) is holding the first ever Mr. Gay China beauty pageant on Jan. 15, 2010 at the Lan Club. The winner will represent mainland China in Oslo, Norway, vying for the title of Mr. Gay World Ambassador. This is of course a monumental event in the history of the Chinese LGBT community. I finally did some test shots with 3 candidates last Sunday, courtesy to Gayographic organizers Ben Zhang, Ryan and Niu Niu.
So here is the scoop:
1) Xuefei. Calm, laconic, and mysterious.
What I especially appreciated about this candidate was his timeliness (first to arrive), patience (always a plus in the eye of a photographer), and a certain forlorn, other-worldly quality. This definitely sets him apart from any kind of visual stereotype. He’s not the first one you notice when you enter the room, yet there’s a sense of mystique and intrigue that will slowly draw you in.
2 ) Emilio. Handsome, upbeat, winsome.
Emilio’s good looks have a mass appeal by most societal standards, gay or straight. He also possesses the kind of physique that gives strength, hope, and inspiration to all health-related New Year resolutions. Potentially the poster boy of Mr. Gay China, I think this beauty pageant could be the perfect opportunity for him to fine-tune and deepen his already hugely likable character and personality.
3) Simon. Charismatic, uninhibited, fun-loving.
Simon is a ball of energy, capable of proposing 60 dramatically different poses per minute. There’s definitely a bit of an artist’s soul in him, not to mention an off-beat fashion sense. I trust that what he lacks in physique, he will amply make up by creativity and enthusiasm!
Finally, a rather dignified group portrait:
I look forward to meeting the other candidates. Their courage is a constant inspiration. It’s one thing to come out of the closet to one’s friends and family; it’s another thing to participate in such a highly publicized event, obliging each to clearly broadcast his romantic and sexual preference. Let’s face it, China is still an immensely traditional and limelight-shy society, deeply steeped in the Confucian culture of modesty (中庸) for the sake of (outward) harmony. These men are the first (hopefully of many) to break these barriers.
This contest is about community. It’s about beauty. It’s about identity. It’s also about the lessons of self-conquests, the phoenix rising high from the ashes.
Best of luck to all the candidates! If you wish to get involved with this event, please contact Gayographic. Mr. Gay China needs all of your support!