Almost 6,000 votes later, your Port Underwear & Mambaonline Sexiest Male Celeb of the year turned out to be the hunky and very humble soap star Ramey Short.
This 30-year-old, currently single, actor was born in Cape Town and grew up in an orphanage. He studied Sport Science and Marketing Management at Stellenbosch before turning to Hollywood to start his climb up the ladder to stardom. Today, he’s best known for playing the role of bad-boy Dr Quinton Meyer on the Afrikaans soap series Binneland.
We recently got up close and personal with this charismatic stud at the Binneland studios in Johannesburg. He turned out to be funny, approachable and enthusiastic. The best part of all, he manages to be even better looking in the flesh.
So how does it feel to have been chosen as the gay community’s sexiest celeb?
I think it’s a very big honour. I think gay guys know fashion and have good taste so it’s a big honour for me.
How did you react when you were asked to take part? Every year we struggle with some celebrities who don’t want to be part of the survey, especially sportsmen.
I can’t… To me I can’t believe that people in this day and age still have this attitude about being nominated for an award in the gay community. Overseas, big stars see it as a compliment. I think it’s pretty cool that I was nominated.
You star in an Afrikaans show. Did it never worry you that the conservative part of the audience or your fans might be turned off.
I don’t care! If the fans are not be happy with me being chosen as the sexiest celeb for gays then, sorry. I wouldn’t change for the fans but I would try and shape the perceptions of the fans.
You’ve won a couple of “sexiest” titles over the year. Have you ever thought that people might not take you seriously as an actor because of your looks?
I don’t take it too seriously. I’m very laid back. I’m just a very ordinary guy with a lot of confidence. You know, if I take a walk down to the mall I can spot at least five guys that are way hotter than me (Laughs.).
Why did you decide to get into acting?
I was 11 years old and I saw a photo of Mark Wahlberg in Huisgenoot and I thought maybe I can look like this guy someday. So it was always a passion and dream of mine. I always wanted to be an actor and I wanted to study it but everyone told me “no, don’t do it”.
So is it true you were spotted by a Hollywood talent scout?
When I was 16 or 17, Mark Wahlberg did the Calvin Klein underwear campaign and behind everybody’s back… I had done a lot of sport so I was really ripped… I did a photo shoot in the same style and I put it on the internet. (Laughs.) And when I started studying at Stellenbosch in 2000 a talent scout from Warner Bros saw it and contacted me asking me if I wanted to do modelling and acting over there. I thought it was a joke at first… but he paid for everything and took me over. And I had the best, best experience ever in my life. I studied acting there and I even ended up meeting Bruce Webber, who was the photographer for Calvin Klein!
And then you came back to South Africa…
My visa ran out and I came back. I started waitering again in Stellenbosch. I really didn’t want a career in Sports, although everybody told me that I had to start working. So I started studying acting again and I got an agent. Then I got an audition and the lead role for More Than Just A Game – the official movie for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. And after that I got more auditions…
Working in a steady job in a soap series, does it worry you that you might get complacent and lose your ambition as an actor?
Yeah, you get into a soap and here in South Africa it’s the highest that you can reach. You get paid a salary, you’re very stable and you get into a comfort zone. You buy a house, buy a car and then you can’t go somewhere else. But for me it’s always been my dream to go back to Hollywood and compete with the best. And I will always chase my dream.
So do you see yourself ever going back to LA?
Well it’s been very good working here at Binneland, it’s been a fantastic stepping stone and I’m so grateful to [Binneland producer] Friedrich Stark for having given me the opportunity. But I am currently signed in Canada and the States and I just finished my contract here so I’m going to be moving to the States in March. So it’s official, I’m leaving the show.
And where would you like to see yourself in Hollywood?
I’d just like to be a working actor over there. I want to be doing what I’m doing and learning every day. It’s not about being famous for me. It’s about the art, it’s about the passion. If I can do that every day with amazing people then I’ll be blessed.
What are the best and worst parts of being a celebrity?
(Laughs.) I hate that word, “celebrity”! First of all I don’t think we really have any real celebrities in South Africa. A celebrity to me is if you’re world famous.
But you are a public figure, you are recognised…
Yes, but I don’t think that there is a “worst thing” about being a public figure. When people approach me I always try to make time for them. For me it’s a compliment. They’re approaching you because you’re doing good work and they enjoy what you’re doing.
Do people sometimes confuse you with your character?
When people meet me they do often think I’m Quinton. And they think that I’m a bad boy like him. That doesn’t worry me.
You played a lot of sport when you were younger. Were you a jock at school?
I wouldn’t say I was the most popular at school. I was ‘one of the guys’ because I played rugby and did athletics. But I wasn’t the “it” guy.
What do you think about the bullying of gay kids in schools that’s making the headlines these days?
I was judged when I was younger, so I make a point of it not to judge people. With my background – coming from an orphanage – I know what it’s like to be different or to have low self esteem.
So coming from an orphanage allowed you to relate to some extent?
Yes. If you can help someone like that, then I would – it personally gives me a lot of satisfaction. I think it’s really stupid to criticise someone because of their sexuality. And it’s just wrong to do it. I think that people that bully others are themselves suffering from low self-esteem and it makes them feel better. It’s lame.
Well today kids are coming out so young in school…
You know, I had a friend who was gay in Stellenbosch. He was a older than me. He was in his thirties and his mother and father were in their sixties and seventies. He had told me that he was gay but he was afraid to tell other people and his parents. And I kept telling him that being gay doesn’t matter, “people will accept you for who you are, live your life, you only have one life”. And it was sad to see that he was afraid to come out. I really think you can’t live life if you aren’t open about it. To me that’s really sad.
How do you respond if a guy comes on to you at a club or a bar?
I’ve had it a couple of times. I take it as a compliment because it means that I must be dressing nicely and be looking after myself (Laugh