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Interview: Samuel Kneen – Mr Gay UK

What made you enter Mr Gay UK this year?

My friends persuaded me, and I thought it might help with my confidence. I’ve been going to the gym a lot for the past year.

How did you feel when you won the heat?

Ecstatic, I couldn’t believe it! It was a huge surge to my confidence, which I’ve had a bit of trouble with in the past.

Why do you think people voted for you?

I’d like to think that they could see my potential and saw that I really wanted to get through, and hopefully they liked me.

What did you do to get votes?

I did a photoshoot with a photographer and he put me on his blog. I did a radio interview with Radio Cardiff which was fun. I was constantly pledging on Facebook and Twitter and making sure to post new pictures and information to keep people interested. I went to the university and asked the students if they would vote for me. I also volunteered to do some work for them too. I spoke to clients at work and although I was ill at the beginning of the voting, I asked friends to put up posters that I had printed in the gay clubs around Cardiff.

How did it feel when they called your name out as the winner of the competition?

I didn’t believe it at first. I started to get quite emotional, because some really close friends were standing near me and I could see them getting emotional. It was a great sense of achievement because I really worked so hard to get here, and a huge burst in confidence

What are you planning to do next?

Well I’ve got a party at Pulse in Cardiff, I’ve got some interviews coming up and I’m planning to enjoy my Christmas. I’m going to give money to Terrence Higgins Trust like I promised and do some volunteer work for them. I just want to make sure to work really hard at every opportunity

What’s the best thing about being Mr Gay UK

Well it’s a bit early to say at the moment, but it’s just made me feel like a new person, like this could be a new chapter in my life, with new opportunities and new doors opening for me. It’s like having all my Christmases come at once. I can’t wait to see what there is to come

Apart from winning, what has been the best part of the contest

Wow, so much. The most enjoyable past was the photo-shoot I think and getting to meet the other finalists. It’s been really exciting travelling about and meeting cool people. Of course going on Loose Women was really fun and seeing simply red and the Ladies. Having Bet Lynch sprawled out over me was fun – not your average Friday afternoon

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