Mr Gay World 2019 winner Janjep Carlos a clear favourite

Mr Gay World 2019, Janjep Carlos (centre), flanked by Oliver Pusztai (left) and Francisco Alvarado (Pic by Neil Coulson)

Janjep Carlos, the Filipino delegate who won Mr Gay World 2019 on Saturday, will use his title to highlight mental health issues faced by the LGBTIQ community.

Carlos, 41, scored the coveted title at a glamorous event held at the Cape Town City Hall in South Africa, after competing against 21 other delegates from around the world.

He also took home the awards for Best in National Costume and Best in Written Exam. The Philippines previously won the Mr Gay World title with John Fernandez Raspado in 2017.

The 2019 top three included Spain’s Francisco Alvarado (1st runner-up) and Hungary’s Oliver Pusztai (2nd runner-up). The top five was rounded off by Thailand’s Cjayudhom Samibat and Belgium’s Nick Van Vooren. Africa was this year represented by South Africa’s Chris Emmanuel and Namibia’s Rivelino Ronald Reinecke.

(Pic by Neil Coulson)

Carlos, who lives in General Trias, south of Manilla, was a clear favourite from the start, drawing great applause and response from the crowd. He was also supported by an enthusiastic group of friends and family who flew to Cape Town to support him.

The real estate businessman was clear in his vision to help members of the LGBTIQ community with regard to mental illness and suicide risk that are substantially higher in the LGBTIQ community compared to the rest of society.

“I want to promote my advocacy on a global scale, which is ‘illness to wellness, that centres on depression, which is very timely and relevant,” the excited winner told MambaOnline after he was crowned.

Asked if he had a message for young LGBTIQ people, Carlos said: “What I can say is to be yourself and, as much as possible, don’t be alone, be with your friends, as this helps [one] to feel better.”

Other than starting an hour late, the Mr Gay World show itself was a well-produced event and was hosted by former Expresso presenter Ewan Strydom. The crowd was treated to performances by up and coming American boy band 5West and South Africa’s very own diva, Tamara Dey.

Saturday’s grand finale was the culmination of a week’s worth of tests for the delegates, which included a written evaluation on LGBTIQ issues, a photo challenge, a sports challenge and a swimsuit challenge.

This was the fourth time that South Africa hosted the Mr Gay World contest. “This is not a pageant but a leadership programme where we educate the delegates and the delegates educate us,” said Eric Butter, President and Founder of Mr Gay World. “It’s about enabling each other. It is about removing stigmas, it’s about diversity, breaking barriers, inclusion and sensitisation. It is an opportunity for all 22 countries to share their projects and to network.”

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