Louw Breytenbach is Mr Gay World 2021 (Photos: Rudi du Toit Photography)
Louw Breytenbach from South Africa has been crowned Mr Gay World 2021, making the country a third-time winner of the coveted international title.
Breytenbach, 32, was named the victor in the contest after competing against nine other delegates from Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the competition was held as a virtual event and streamed around the globe via the Mr Gay World YouTube channel in two segments, each a week apart. The stunning finale was streamed on Saturday night.
The show included pre-recorded pieces from all the delegates as well as visuals from areas across the host country, South Africa. The delegates were assessed by a judging panel with their scores augmented by a round of public voting.
In addition to taking the crown itself, Breytenbach also scooped the Personal Interview 2021, Mr Photogenic 2021 and Viewers Choice 2021 awards. Joel Rey Carcasona from Philippines was announced as the 1st Runner-up while Joshuan Aponte from Puerto Rico was named the 2nd Runner-up.
Breytenbach, from Boksburg in Johannesburg, is a model, author, theatre educator, entrepreneur and mental health and LGBTQ+ campaigner who is passionate about equality and inclusion in his homeland, continent and beyond. Fittingly, his achievement comes as South Africa marks the end of its annual Pride Month celebrations.
“If there was ever a time for the LGBTQ+ community to come together, it is now. The rise in hate crimes in South Africa against the community and the tightening of restrictions on the LGBTQ+ community on the African continent is something which should concern all of us,” Breytenbach said.
“Winning Mr Gay World 2021, is such a huge honour. I am ready to work for our community and look forward to the difference I can help make in the LGBTIQA+ Community”,” he added.
South Africa is now tied with the Philippines as the nation to have produced the most winners in the 13-year history of Mr Gay World. South Africa took the title in in 2010 with Charl van den Berg and 2011 with Francois Nel.
Breytenbach’s reign will run concurrently with that of Kodie Macayan from the Philippines who was named Mr Gay World 2020 earlier this month. (The 2020 edition was postponed to this year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.)
The annual Mr Gay World competition aims to find an ambassador for the international LGBTQ+ community from a diverse range of delegates who represent the spirit of their nation and embody qualities such as confidence, charisma, and natural leadership.