Ty Keogh has been driving us… well, wild as one of the stars of M-Net’s TV soap series, The Wild.

Born to a showbiz family (his father, Danny, is an actor and mother, Debbie, is a producer), he began working on film sets at 14. It became clear he’d do much better in front of the camera and he was soon cast in local and international commercials. He went on to score roles in flicks with stars such as Joseph Fiennes, Meg Ryan and, notably, Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond.

Since taking on the role of Jack van Reenen in The Wild, he’s won the CLEO 2011 bachelor of the year, was Mr April in Cosmo’s 2012 calendar and was recently voted the sexiest male celeb at the You Spectacular Awards. He’s also a pretty sharp dresser; winning the 2012 GQ Best Dressed Man award.

And now, as voted by you, he’s the ClarinsMEN Mambaonline Sexiest Man of 2012. In an exclusive interview with Mambaonline, the drop-dead gorgeous yet accessible and humble actor opens up to us about taking the title, his battle with addiction and who his secret man-crush is…

Congratulations Ty, you’ve added yet another title to your name. How does it feel to be so admired?

Thank you very much. It’s been such an incredible year. The support and encouragement that I’ve experienced since the start of the show has been incredible. The ‘admiration’ is still a novelty.

With all the accolades you’ve been receiving it must be pretty hard not to get caught up in the hype. How do you stay grounded?

I’m very grateful that the success and recognition came a little later in life as I had plenty of time to figure out who I was as a person before the press and media began labelling me. I surround myself with real people. The type of people who care about who I am, not what I’m made out to be, and who at the faintest whiff of an ego would put me back in line.

Does it worry you that these “sexy” titles could make it harder for you to be taken seriously as an actor?

I believe that looks might help get you in the door, but ability and integrity are what pay the bond. I know there are younger, better looking guys out there, trying to break into the business, but I’ve been slogging away for 12 years, casting, auditioning and workshopping to improve myself as an actor. I’m confident enough in my abilities so as not to let these ‘sexy’ titles result in insecurity.

Where do you get your sense of style? Has it always come naturally to you?

In the years prior to moving to Johannesburg, style was something I always admired, but never had the time or means to take seriously. I’ve always appreciated good clothes and I know what I like in terms of fashion, but I was an absolute alien to the fashion world. I remember my mother sitting me down before I moved from Cape Town and telling me that I had to start taking my personal style seriously if I wanted to be taken seriously. This has become my fashion motto.

You were very welcoming when we let you know about your Mamba sexiest man nomination…

I believe that gay men have exceptional taste, so I take it as a huge compliment. In all seriousness, a person’s sexual orientation has no bearing on my opinion of them.

Was your upbringing a liberal one, accepting of gay people?

I had a very liberal upbringing, surrounded by people from all walks of life. I was raised to be open-minded and accepting, regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation.

Do you remember when you first met someone you knew was gay or when you first learned about what being gay meant?

My godmother is gay and my parents have several very close gay friends and colleagues who have been present in my life for as long as I can remember. I can’t remember the first time I really understood what gay meant, but I remember it being explained to me as simply as “X doesn’t love a woman, X loves a man” it made sense. People love who they love.

Have you had any influential gays in your life?

I have and have had some very influential gays in my life. From teachers, ex bosses and co-workers to mentors and family, family friends and friends, there have been several gay and lesbian people who have taught me valuable lessons and helped me grow over the years.

How would you react if a gay man tried to pick you up?

It happens quite often. I politely decline advances. I’m in a committed relationship [with Miss SA 2009 / The Wild co-star Nicole Flint], so I also decline advances from the ladies.

You’ve talked in the media about your drug addiction and time spent in rehab. It’s a huge problem in the gay community, often related to low self esteem and acceptance issues…

Drug abuse is rife in all communities! It’s those very same issues that I had to deal with, although not related to my sexuality. It took me a long time to accept who I was and realise that the people who love me, love me for who I really am, not for the persona that I created through and during my drug use.

Why did you decide to be open about this part of your life in the media? It’s pretty brave.

I’ve always said that my past doesn’t define me, but it is a part of my life that I’m not ashamed of. I’ve taken those experiences and used them to improve. I would rather tell the story truthfully than have it dredged up and sensationalised by the media at a later stage. In that way it’s out there, it’s not a secret and it can’t hurt me.

Do you have any words of advice for someone struggling with their addiction?

Ask for help! You are not alone. There are people out there going through exactly the same shit and people who’ve been there, seen far worse and made it back alive, who are willing to help you. I did terrible things at the height of my using, but those actions haven’t made me a bad person and I’ve been able to get my life back. There is hope.

I recently read an interview with a local closeted celeb who I know is gay talking about his ideal girl. Do you know any gay celebs who are in the closet?

I know one or two people who would probably be a lot happier if they were more honest, but in saying that, I’m not in their specific situation so I don’t understand what they’re going through. I don’t judge them.

Why do you think it’s so hard for gay celebrities to come out in South Africa?

South Africa is in many ways still very backwards and conservative. It hasn’t even been 20 years since we broke free from an oppressive Nationalist government – although when free speech and privacy is threatened, it feels as if we’re still shackled – and the stigma attached to homosexuality in many communities is awful. In a country where people are killed for being in a same-sex relationship, it must take amazing courage to ‘come out’.

If you were gay, would you be open about it?

I would most certainly be open about it. I know that my family would love me regardless of my orientation, and the thought of hiding who I really am scares me more than the criticism and judgement by others ever could.

Do you think that gay celebs have some responsibility to be role models and be open about who they are?

I believe that if you’re in an influential position, you should do your best to set a good example and make a difference – but that transcends your sexuality.

We know you’re straight… sadly…. But if you had to admit to a celebrity man crush who would it be and why?

Interesting question…. Probably actor Michael Fassbender [X-Men: First Class, Prometheus]. I’m in love with his career. I admire a ballsy actor willing to take risks.

Have you ever been to a gay club? If not, can we take you to one for a visit?

I’m not much of a clubber anymore. The last gay club I visited was 55 in Cape Town, over 10 years ago. I wouldn’t object to a night out, but I do prefer to take my girlfriend out with me…

How do you feel about The Wild coming to an end?

I have mixed feelings about the show ending. I had decided to leave at the end of the year before I found out that we were being cancelled because I felt I needed a new challenge. It has been an incredible journey of self discovery and I’m so grateful for the platform I was afforded, but I knew it was time to move on. I’m sad that it wasn’t renewed. I believe the show’s quality in unparalleled in the local industry, and I’m scared that in future it will be used as a precedent when broadcasters choose to buy international shows rather than growing our local industry by nurturing our talent and creating content.

Why do you think audiences didn’t connect to the show in sufficient numbers?

Sadly, the show’s cancellation had nothing to do with our ratings. People were watching the show and the growth in ratings was slow and steady – which is ideal in long term soaps. I’m sure that in time the real reasons behind it will come out, but I’m not in a position to make public comment.

Very diplomatic! What do you have planned after The Wild? And will you be taking your shirt off, at least every now and then?

For the time being I have only one project lined up. I’m planning a long trip back to Cape Town where I intend spending all my time shirtless. See you on the beach?

How do you rate yourself in the relationship department?

I think I’m a pretty good boyfriend, but you’d have to ask my girlfriend, she might have other ideas…

We know you love cooking. So what dish would you impress us with?

My rib eye steak board with chopped parsley, fresh lemon, chilli, olive oil and garlic usually get polished off quickly. Served medium rare, chopped into slivers and accompanied with a fresh baguette…

Sounds delish. Speaking of tasty things… what part of your body are you happiest with and what are you less keen on?

I’m not too fussed. Although people sometimes remark that my legs are very skinny. So is the rest of me, and I’m happy with all my body… Most of all, I’m healthy, I’m alive today and grateful for that.

Would you ever pose in the nude?

I have posed nude on more than one occasion. I’ve always been comfortable with my body, so it’s never been an issue. My confidence comes from who I am, not what I look like. I’m not too concerned about the superficial stuff.

Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? And what do you plan to change about your life in 2013?

I hate resolutions! I believe that if you want to change something, don’t wait until the day you’re probably going to be feeling most rotten to start. Do it now!

Finally, what would you like to say to the thousands of guys who voted for you on our website?

Thank you guys. I’m honoured that you voted for me, and I hope you all have a stunning festive season. Keep safe out there and, most of all, have a wicked 2013!


• Boxers or briefs: boxers
• Fruit or chocolate: chocolate
• Joburg or Cape Town: money vs lifestyle?
• Pizza or burger: burger
• Champagne or whiskey: neither, but when I used to drink, it was whiskey
• Madonna or Gaga: Lana Del Rey
• Beach or bushveld: beach
• Dogs or cats: dogs
• Books or magazines: books
• Drag or Halloween: Ummm?
• Nightclubbing or eating out: eating out
• Real fur or Faux: faux
• Facebook or Twitter: twitter
• Shaving or trimming: trimming

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