In its five years of running, Mister Supranational, an annual male pageant held in Poland, has welcomed Giuseppe Santagata as the contest’s first openly gay contestant. The pageant will be held on July 15 in Nowy Sącz, Poland, with other candidates from countries such as Indonesia, Greece, France, and the Dominican Republic.
Giuseppe is also Italy’s first representative. Having grown up in the small town of Alife, Giuseppe was secretive about his identity as a gay man until he moved to Dublin. He currently works as a financial analyst and strives to be a role model for younger people, as well as spreading awareness about mental health and eco-friendly gardening.
We talked with Giuseppe about his experiences in pageantry, self-acceptance, and living in Dublin.
Firstly, congrats on representing Mister Italy! How does it feel to be the first openly gay man to compete in this contest?
To be the first openly gay man to compete in the Mister Supranational is an honour for me as I would like to be an inspiration for young men who are still working on their own acceptance. For me it has been a long process to accept myself for who I am and I want to inspire people to find their way.
I want to use this platform of the Mister Supranational to help people, because there are many people that need to be heard and I would like to hear them and guide them to make the best choices through their journey that for sure is not easy, especially when you are alone.
What drew you towards Mister Supranational in particular?
In my life, I never thought I would be representing my country in a male pageant, but last year many people were encouraging me to try and so I said “why not?” I quickly discovered that I really love what I am doing and I will be forever grateful to the people who encouraged me.
I am also surprised about how many people follow male pageants, I thought was more about female pageants such as Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Supranational, but you would be very surprised to know the number of people passionate about male pageants too.
How have you been preparing for it?
In a contest like the Mister Supranational, you are expected to be prepared in all aspects. Not only on the side of modelling or the catwalk but also culturally. In fact, I am keeping myself updated with everything that is happening right now in the world as if I manage to be in the top 5, I will have to answer a general question that can be both personal or actuality-related.
My partner is a coach and he prepares Misses and Misters for pageants (he has been a mister too), his last alum was Viviana Vizzini, Miss Universe Italy for the Miss Universe competition in 2020. So I can say that I am in good hands, as he is really passionate and he has a big knowledge about preparation for pageants. He is Venezuelan and Venezuelans are really passionate about pageants!
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Why did you decide to move to Dublin?
I moved to Dublin right after I finished my studies in 2017. I came to Dublin for the first time in 2014 to study English and I quickly fell in love with this beautiful city. I love how people are open-minded here, this city helped me a lot to accept who I am. I think Dublin is the best place for LGBTQ+ people because here everyone accepts you for who you really are. Also in the workplace, you are protected here, I never felt discriminated at all. I will be forever grateful to this city.
What were the reactions from your family and friends when you were announced as Italy’s candidate for Mister Supranational?
They were all super happy! Me and my friends used to watch many pageants such as Miss Universe, Miss Supranational, and Miss World, and in the past years we got our interest also in the Mister Supranational, so when I told them I was going to be part of it they were all so excited. This contest is one of the most important male pageants at the moment and I invite you all to watch the final on July 16th, 2022, you won’t regret it!
You’ve recently launched a new project called the Supra Garden. What can you tell us about it and how are you connecting it to your cause?
The Supra Garden is a project that will be part of the “From the Ground Up” movement organised by the Mister Supranational organisation. Each of the contestants of the pageant has to prepare a special project and mine is the Supra Garden. In my hometown, me and my family have a garden where we produce our own vegetables, fruits, oil, wine, and food. It is a little corner of the world where we take care of the planet Earth. Everything we do over there is done with love for nature. We do not use any kind of pesticides, medicines, or materials that can damage the planet, so I decided to create an Instagram account where I show people how we take care of nature and give tips on how to preserve the Earth.
What other aspirations do you have for the future, and what are your next moves after Mister Supranational?
I would love to join the modelling industry as it is something I am really passionate about, I have just joined a model agency in Italy and there are a few projects we will be working on soon. Definitely, the Mister Supranational opened many doors for me and I am sure after the final I will have even more opportunities, it is a really good platform to start your career in the fashion industry. However, my goal is also to tell my story and be a role model for young people. I know with my story I can inspire young people to be proud of who they are.
You can’t imagine how many messages I receive daily from people who feel identified with me and they are always so kind telling me I am an inspiration to them. This is so beautiful because when I was younger I was never confident about myself, and now knowing that I can inspire people makes me feel proud of what I became.
Thank you for your insightful answers Giuseppe, and good luck with the pageant!
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