Mr Gay South Africa 2009 finalist Tyrone Nell is sexy, sweet and driven by romance and the need to succeed. His good looks and charm earned him the 2007 Mr Legends title, and when he isn’t modelling in his spare time he’s also a Business Solutions Consultant. Born and raised in Cape Town and having previously lived in Joburg, this handsome 21 year moved to Durban in a whirlwind decision largely based on his heart’s desire. Smart, romantic and drop-dead gorgeous? We wanna know more about this hottie…

Do you have a special someone in your life at the moment?

Yes I do, we have been together for a year and a half now and he was one of the main reasons why I moved to Durban.

Damn! How did you two meet?

We met on Facebook! He poked me, and at first I ignored his poke but then he poked me again, and I had a look at his profile and thought: ‘What a hottie!’ I remember in one of his photos he was posing shirtless with a cowboy hat and that just did it for me. After one week of chatting he drove up to Johannesburg to see me and after that I drove to Durban for a couple of weekends. Then I finally decided to move there. The time was right and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Do you ever plan on getting married? Does marriage appeal to you?

Marriage does appeal to me and we have spoken about it, and we would like to exchange vows one day. We won’t have a huge ceremony, just something small and private.

What kind of man and what kind of qualities appeal to you in a partner?

A guy who is strong headed, a man’s man, who knows what he wants in life. Someone who I can communicate well with as a partner and a friend.

When did you come out?

I went over to London for eight months after matriculating and I made the decision to be myself there. When I returned to South Africa I didn’t know what to expect: was I going to have to hide my true feelings again or would I be able to be who I was at home? Eventually I decided that I was going to be myself and I started meeting people and going to places where there were guys like me. So, I was 19 when I came out.

Who was the first person you told?

My first boyfriend.

What’s the best thing about living in South Africa?

The weather! We have perfect weather.

What’s your favourite local restaurant and why?

Piatto on the snell parade in Durban. Beautiful setting, great service and awesome food!

Where would one generally find you on a Friday night?

Probably at a mate’s place, or drinks out on the town. I enjoy Traxx nightclub in Durban.

What albums are blaring through your speakers at the moment?

I’m listening to albums compiled by Sam Boylan. He’s a very well known DJ and has played all over the world. He’s also one of the owners of Traxx nightclub in Durban and I love his music: uplifting hard house. Otherwise I’m really enjoying Jay Brennan at the moment.

How do you get around town?

With my little white Ford Fiesta.

If your house caught on fire, what would you grab from the blaze?

My man.

If you inherited a large sum of cash, what would you spend it on?

Property… but in this case, for the sake of spending, I would spend it on an exotic holiday.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I have always wanted to model and be involved in the television industry.

What did you end up becoming, once you had grown up?

I am a business solutions consultant now, as well as a model.

Do you love your job?

I enjoy my job. It has its ups and downs. I love modelling and enjoy every moment of it.

What was the last movie you saw on the big screen?

The Proposal

Describe yourself in three words…

Young, Vibrant and energetic.

If you could have dinner with five people, living or deceased, who would they be?

Steve Jobs (from Apple Inc.), Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), Richard Branson (owner of Virgin), Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum.

Do you have any hidden talents or special skills?

I enjoy singing and I am currently learning how to play the guitar.

Are you harbouring any celebrity crushes at the moment?

Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum. (Laughs)

Why did you decide to enter Mr Gay SA?

Last year I wanted to enter the competition, but was not able to because of work. I promised to enter this year and have stuck to my word. The prizes are great and the experience is worth it.

Some people say that pageants are cheesy. How would you respond?

Pageants can be cheesy, I definitely agree with that statement, but the organisers and contestants can change that. So, not all pageants are cheesy.

What would you like to achieve in your reign should you win the title?

The world is still very anti-gay, and it is sad that this is the case in the year 2009. I believe that it is still going to take a while before things really change for the better, but I would like to make a difference in our country. Even if it is just a small difference.

The search for a gay man of impeccable character, taste and style – and of course – a temple of a body to house these admirable qualities is on. If you’d like to take part in the new Mr Gay South Africa competition, visit

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