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Thursday 21 August 2014


"It's been quite a crazy night" - Chris Olwage

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By GayNZ.com Daily News staff - 5th August 2013

Chris_and_Tom.jpg
Olwage with Tom Linn, who helped him get to Antwerp through sponsorship from his company Wireless Nation.
“It’s been quite a crazy night,” is the verdict of New Zealand’s new Mr Gay World Chris Olwage from outside a bar in Antwerp, where he is headed for the celebration party.

The 27-year-old has beaten impressive competition from across the globe to claim the Mr Gay World title. It’s the second year in a row New Zealand’s entrant has taken it out.

“I’m feeling amazing,” Olwage tells GayNZ.com Daily News, adding the reality that he has won is only just beginning to sink in: “The abject fear of what I’ve just taken on is becoming quite apparent,” he laughs.

Olwage couldn’t believe it when he was announced as the winner, “It’s very hard to describe … I have so many adjectives to describe what I was feeling but none of them would actually do it justice.”

While the clear perfectionist was incredibly nervous heading into the competition, he says it quickly felt like he was a part of a family as he got to know the other competitors in sports challenges, photo shoots and nights out.

“I had no idea it would be so full on,” he says. “But it’s just been overwhelming, and the love and support has been amazing.”

New Zealand’s 2012 Mr Gay World Andy Derleth was among the seven members of the judging panel, and says while the judges were not able to discuss their scores, the result speaks for itself.

“He’s done very, very well,” Derleth tells GayNZ.com Daily News from Antwerp. “He won three challenges; the swimwear, the art project and national costume – he carried that one out very well. It was a Maori-inspired outfit and he threw in some dancing and a bit of haka moves. It was impressive, it was amazing.”

Derleth says Olwage was also impressive in the panel interview and on-stage questions.

As being with Mr Gay World comes with plenty of demands, Derleth says he will help Olwage in any way he can, with advice, or whatever he needs.

New Zealand has had a solid run in Mr Gay World in the past three years, with back-to-back wins preceded by Christchurch’s Aaron Comis finishing fifth and picking up Mr Gay Photogenic in Manilla in 2011. Comis is full of congratulations for Olwage, saying his hard work and effort has now paid off.

As well as a dancer and personal trainer, Olwage has been a regular model for safe-sex campaign Get It On!

Get it On! spokesman Joe Rich has congratulated him on his win and acknowledged the work he does in New Zealand.

“What an amazing achievement and it couldn’t have gone to a better gay ambassador,” Rich says. “Chris is a dedicated ‘Love Your Condom’ champion and is completely committed to the health and wellbeing of the New Zealand LGBTI community, so he truly deserves this. We’re stoked for him!”

While there is plenty ahead for Olwage, for now he is winding down at the after-party in Antwerp. He heads back to New Zealand on 18 August, and will be at Queenstown’s Gay Ski Week at the end of the month. Organisers Sally and Mandy Whitewoods say they can’t wait to celebrate with him.

 
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