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Black Swan's Antwerp butterflies

Wed 31 Jul 2013 In: Events View at Wayback View at NDHA

The nerves are kicking in for Mr Gay New Zealand Chris Olwage gets ready to take on men from all over the globe in a bid to bring the Mr Gay World title back to New Zealand. In February, the South Africa-born dancer and personal trainer won a close competition to represent New Zealand in Antwerp. Known as ‘the Black Swan’ for his appearance on New Zealand’s Got Talent, Olwage is well-known in Auckland’s GLBT community for his work as a Get It On! model and his regular performances. Ahead of his Antwerp challenge, Olwage describes his nerves as “a hybrid cross between butterflies and chinese knotwork in my belly”. Mr Gay World 2013 is taking place in conjunction with the World Outgames, which also begin this weekend. The delegates arrive tonight, and will then go into two days of photo shoots, tours, teambuilding and a visit to the Outgames’ human rights conference. The competition proper gets underway on the weekend, with the winner announced in the early hours of Monday morning New Zealand time. Olwage has spent the last eight weeks in constant preparation for the challenge, from campaigning for funds, to acquiring materials to conceptualise artwork and a national costume which he has made himself, doing “the hard yards of constructing, sewing, crafting, painting and even tailoring of clothes.” He says he is feeling prepared, but not knowing what to expect he is still worried he has not prepared enough. “We are being scored over four whole days not just an event so I have to have my best foot forward, correct clothing donned and biggest smile present at all times... this takes planning,” he says. “At the very least I hope I do New Zealand proud. Representing a country that claimed me as its own is such an honour. “I feel it is my duty to show what we are and present us as the truly diverse and accepting land. Furthermore, there is a title. I am hoping to continue the winning streak for New Zealand by bringing the title home again.” Olwage says with current title-holder, New Zealand’s Andreas Derleth, one of the judges, he is sure he will have to work even harder. The New Zealand entrant would not have made it to Antwerp without the help of gay-run company Wireless Nation, and a few other donors, who wish to remain nameless. “I cannot thank Wireless Nation enough for their gracious sponsorship,” Olwage says. Keep an eye on for updates on how Olwage goes! Jacqui Stanford - 31st July 2013    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Wednesday, 31st July 2013 - 10:11am

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