South African born Chris Olwage (27) scooped the 2013 Mr Gay World title for New Zealand on Sunday in Antwerp, Belgium, while Steve Williams failed to reach the top 10.
This was the second year in a row that New Zealand bagged the title. Last year’s competition in Johannesburg was won by German-born Andreas Derleth, who also lives on the island nation.
“I’m feeling amazing,” the newly crowned Olwage told Gaynz.com. “The abject fear of what I’ve just taken on is becoming quite apparent,” he added.
Olwage works as a dancing and fitness instructor in Auckland, where he lives. He first caught the attention of the public in his new home when he appeared on New Zealand’s Got Talent as a ballet dancer.
The buff performer has previously spoken about his early life as an overweight child, facing constant verbal and physical bullying and living with depression and thoughts of suicide when growing up in Cape Town.
“It was so bad I used to try and hide immediately the bell went at the end of the day so the bullies couldn’t find me because, of course, I was too big and slow to run away from them,” Olwage told New Zealand’s Got Talent.
He moved to New Zealand with his parents in 2002. At the age of 20 he began to eat well and started gymming; completely transforming his body.
While South Africa’s representative to Mr Gay World failed to come in the top ten, he did achieve the highest score in the written exam category. Williams competed in the event with little time to prepare after he was awarded the title when the original Mr Gay South Africa 2012/2013, Jason Rogers, resigned in June.
Mr Gay SA Director, Frank Malaba commented on Facebook: “We might have not made top 10 this year, but we sharpen our tools for next year. Well done Steve for representing this year. Thank you for taking us this far. And thank you for standing up to take your place in a tough race. Much respect.”
At Sunday’s finale, Namibian representative Ricardo Amunjera-Themba became the first black African contestant to place in the top five at Mr Gay World.
The first runner up was Mr Hong Kong, Benjie Vasquez Caraig (31), and the second runner up was Mr USA, Matt Simmons (25).