An exclusive interview with Matthew Simmons, who was crowned as title holder of the Mr Gay World USA competition on Saturday, June 22, 2013.
CM: Why do you think you deserve the title as gay ambassador for the
Matt: I believe I am someone who others can look up to and I represent a good
cause. I am able to relate and connect with others on a personal level. I am a strong willed individual with an interesting and diverse background. Namely, my past employment, both as a Marine Corp soldier and as an adult entertainer. Though gravely different choices, I am not ashamed of either. Both have made me the individual that I am today. I hope to share my experiences with others and shed positivity.
CM: Why did you choose employment in the adult entertainment
Matt: It was an honor to serve my country, but I personally felt lost and insecure
during my service in the Marine Corps, because I was gay and unable to be my
true self. My choice to begin working in the adult entertainment industry was a way to escape the reality that I was a gay man, in a military life that was unaccepting. It was my way of being OUT in a hidden community. Not to mention that I was young, and this industry pays better than a minimum wage 9-5 desk job.
CM: Why did you end your employment in the adult entertainment industry?
Matt: Over a year ago, I left the industry when I began thinking of my future. It just hit me that this industry is short lived and I want a career that I can retire from and be proud of. In the future I can see myself married and having children.
CM: What do you have to say to those people that will judge you for your past career choices?
Matt: Just because this was a choice I made in my past, it should not hinder my future career choices and the fact that I am eager to take a stand for equality and make a difference. I am much more than just my employment choices.
CM: What are your plans for the future?
Matt: I am currently enrolled at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and I intend to finish school and get my business degree.
With my Business Management degree, I hope to work in my Uncle’s law firm and continue being an activist for gay rights.
CM: How can your past experience positively affect others?
Matt: As we know now, my past experiences include wonderful decisions like joining the military and poor decisions like doing Adult films. Through it all, I've never stopped learning and growing into the man I am today. So if there is anything to take away from my story- it is that our lives and the values we hold should not be judged on our past alone. Our lives are a work in progress.
CM: Jarl and Michael, as the co-founders of the Mr Gay World USA organization, why would you choose a gay ambassador for the USA that has had employment in the adult entertainment industry?
Michael: I wouldn't choose an adult film star to be Mr Gay World USA- and I don't believe we did. We chose a young man who- much like myself, made some poor decisions that unfortunately would affect his entire life. I am a recovering alcoholic who was once arrested for drink driving and had spent years in and out of rehab- but have turned my life around since. I doubt any of us would want to be judged on our past but for who we are today and what we've learned along that way that makes us better and more healthy individuals.
Jarl: That’s a complicated question and we knew that this would cause a stir, but being gay and having had people judge me all my life, I feel that I am not going to be the one to judge. I was brought up in a very religious and conservative part of Norway and everyone judged. I decided early on that if people ask for forgiveness and want to be a better person than I am not the one to let the past hinder them. I feel that Matt is wonderful role model that will help many young gay men make positive choices by speaking about his past. So together, with the judges and our values and mission, we believe that Matt was the best choice. We
look ahead, we look forward. What’s ahead is much more important; Marriage equality, Gay adoption rights, human rights and equality for all, and Matt will be a great part of that.
I dream to inspire my peers to overcome the tough obstacles in their life and strive to be the best person they can, never
giving up on their dreams and never losing sight of who they are. Traveling to and living in many foreign countries for the better part of my childhood has allowed me to gain a respect for people living in other parts of the world that may not be as fortunate as many Americans are. I believe this makes me relatable to a diverse range of men, giving them someone they can easily look up
Mr. Gay World USA 2013 -- Beautiful Men with Beautiful Aspirations
Much more than a typical beauty pageant or reality-show competition, this event highlights the depth of commitment and creativity in the gay community while choosing one man who represents the best of these qualities. Gay men from across the United States, who combine charisma with commitment to various positive causes, will come to New York for a weekend of challenges and competition, culminating in the selection of Mr. Gay World USA 2013.
HOSTED by Jarl & Michael Billy
FEATURING The New York City Gay Men's Chorus
INTERNATIONAL POP DIVA Hera Björk
EUROVISION STAR Josh James Dubovie
MISTER GAY WORLD PENNSYLVANIA Troy Michael
GLEE's JC Jones
and NEXT TOP MODEL'S Isis King
To enter the competition or learn more about sponsorship, visit www.MrGayWorldUSA.com
NEW ORIGINAL REALITY SERIES "THE NEXT AMERICAN GAY" LAUNCHING SEASON 1 IN 4 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES—FOLLOWS 12 GAY MEN WHO COMPETE IN STRENGTH, BEAUTY, AND LEADERSHIP TO SERVE AS A SPOKESMODEL FOR THE GAY COMMUNITY.
Judged by Executive Producers, TV personalities, and long-time gay rights advocates Jarl Haugedal and Michael Billy and hosted by LOGO TV's Jonathan D. Lovitz, the reality competition series follows 12 gay men from all over the USA who move into a hotel overlooking Manhattan to compete for the title of THE NEXT AMERICAN GAY- a role model and ambassador of the gay community. Each episode the boys are put to task with a variety of challenges--strength, hotness, leadership and much more--to represent their community as The Next American Gay. The winner receives an all-expense-paid trip to represent the United States in the international Mr.Gay World Competition as well as magazine covers, TV appearances and sponsorship opportunities.
Watch the short video clip below, featuring the cast of The Next American Gay!
Mr. Gay World Puerto Rico 2013 Competition Announced
Innovative Competition To Bring Men From the Beautiful Island of Puerto Rico to "Use Gay for Good"
Mr. Gay World Puerto Rico 2013, a competition that goes beyond beauty to find the most inspiring and compelling gay man in Puerto Rico, will be held in April 2013 in San Juan. Much more than a typical beauty pageant or reality-show competition, this event highlights the depth of commitment and creativity in the gay community while choosing one man who represents the best of these qualities. Gay men from Puerto Rico, who combine charisma with commitment to various positive causes, will come to San Juan and be included in the challenges and competition, culminating in the selection of Mr. Gay World Puerto Rico 2013.
"This competition is a chance to go beyond stereotypes and to show the passion, activism, and vision of gay men today," said founder Jarl Haugedal. "While only one man can win, they all represent the best of the Puerto Rico gay community."
This historic event is the first annual competition to include Puerto Rico. Contestants apply to be a part of the competition online, and are selected based on their commitment to social causes such as gay adoption and equal marriage rights, as well as accomplishments and good looks. The winner, to be chosen by judges at the final pageant event, will go on to represent the Puerto Rico on the world stage, as he competes in the Mr. Gay World 2013 event in Antwerp, Belgium in August.
"Mr. Gay World Puerto Rico represents an exciting new paradigm in the world of both activism and entertainment, said TV Personality and Humanity Pride Productions Executive Producer Michael Billy. "It proves that one can hold an audience’s attention while inspiring them."
More information, updates, and application information can be found at
Photo Credit MGW/MGE - Aaron Comis
Johannesburg, South Africa - April 9, 2012 - from the twenty-two gay men representing their respective countries in the 4th annual Mr. Gay World competition held in Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City on Sunday, April 8th, Andreas (Andy) Derleth of New Zealand was elected Mr. Gay World 2012. Andy will continue to carry on the vision and mission of the organization that seeks to fight the discrimination and stigma faced by the gay community in many countries today. Mr. Gay World empowers and raises the visibility of optimistic gay men in a constructive dialogue with our fellow citizens.
PHOTO: (L-R) South Africa, USA, New Zealand, France, Netherlands
Andreas (Andy) Derleth is an operations project manager of Warehouse Stationery in New Zealand. Originally from Hassfurt, Germany has a Bachelor degree in business management. Andy has a passion for travel and sports and participated in the 2nd Asia-Pacific Outgames and is very excited to be going to Antwerp next year for the worldOutgames. Andy is in long term relationship and on the 11-11-11 he entered in a same-sex civil union in New Zealand.
Other awards presented included:
Mr. Gay Swimwear - New Zealand (Andreas Derleth);
Sports Challenge - New Zealand (Andreas Derleth);
Best Interview Challenge - New Zealand (Andreas Derleth);
Mr. Gay Formal wear - Netherlands (Thom Goderie);
Mr. Gay Congeniality - Netherlands (Thom Goderie);
Mr. Gay People's Choice Award - Philippines (Carlito Floro Rosadino, jr)
Mr. Gay National Costume - Philippines (Carlito Floro Rosadino, jr).
Mr. Gay Photogenic - Argentina (Gonzalo Enrique Bagalor)
Mr. Gay Outreach - Czech Republic (Tomas Fryda)
Top Score in the MGW Written Exam - South Africa (Lance Weyer)
2012 Eric Butter Philanthropy Award - Coenie Kukkuk
Mr. Gay World 1st Runner Up: South Africa (Lance Weyer)
Mr. Gay World 2nd Runner Up: France (Remy Frejaville)
Mr. Gay World 3rd Runner Up: USA (Kevin Scott Power)
Mr. Gay World 4th Runner Up: Netherlands (Thom Goderie)
Top 10 Final Standing:
5th Runner Up / 6th Place: Canada (Thomas Egli)
6th Runner Up / 7th Place: Hong Kong (Jimmy Wong)
7th Runner Up / 8th Place: Australia (Benjamin Michael)
8th Runner Up / 9th Place: Philippines (Carlito Floro Rosadino Jr.)
9th Runner Up/ 10th Place: Czech Republic (Tomas Fryda)
In a spectacular grand finale at The Lyric Theatre, South Africa's member of the board, Coenie Kukkuk, known for being a gay advocate himself made the customary turnover to Belgium's worldOutgames Antwerp 2013 producer, Jerko Bozikovic, which will be the next host producer of Mr. Gay World 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium (August 1-5, 2013).
Connextions Magazine, the award-winning LGBTQ Travel Magazine, is your trusted resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer travel destinations, vacation ideas, fun travel videos, LGBTQ travel guides and the latest news relevant to our entire rainbow community. Connextions Magazine focuses on celebrating the LGBTQ Traveler providing information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer travel, our LGBTQ culture, the diverse style of our rainbow community, adventures, gay romance, tips for Lesbian Moms, Gay Dads, Bisexual, Transgender Parents and families.
Connextions Magazine LLC - PO Box 242, Calverton NY 11933
MISSION: Connextions Magazine is The Travel Magazine for the LGBTQ community. Making connections to travel like a local, whether on a quick weekend getaway or a luxury vacation, Connextions transports our readers through dazzling photography and insightful content about gay travel, dining, queer culture and style to destinations and memorable travel experiences across the globe. We are your Connextions to the world!
Copyright © 2010 - CONNEXTIONS MAGAZINE, LLC - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
LIVE | TRAVEL | CONNECT®