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GNI mag

THE LOCAL HOMOCULTURAL MAGAZINE Issue 26 April / May 2017 £3.95 / €4.95

STEPS THE

FITNESS ISSUE

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CHaRLIE HIDES OLLY PIK E JAIMIE W ILSON

LUCY SPRAGGAN MARRIAGE, MUSIC AND MAYBE MOTHERHOOD

AUSTIN ARMACOST BIG BROTHER, PANTO & EQUAL MARRIAGE

RAY QUINN TELLS US ALL ABOUT THAT BODY


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GNI mag MANAGING DIRECTOR Tony Day tony@lambpromotions.com OPERATIONS & DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Daniel May daniel@gnimag.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE / CELEBRITY EDITOR Gary Campion mark@gnimag.com AWARDS CO-ORDINATOR Gavin Rennick gavin@gnimag.com

SPECIAL THANKS TO Martin Kearney / Gemma Hutton / Greg McCaw / Alicia V Perry / Victoria Secret / Steps / Austin Armacost / Olly Pike / Charlie Hides / Jaimie Wilson / Lucy Spraggan / Patrick Cash / Ray Quinn / Daniel May / Chris Flannagan / And_I+ / Samuel Matthews / Souls Restaurant / Euro Hostel / Stena Line / Eamon McAuley / Alan & John / Conor Douglas / Geraldine Jackson / Brad McClenaghan

GNI MAG is published by: Lamb Promotions Ltd 145 Holywood Road Belfast, BT4 3BE Telephone | 028 90654314 Website | gnimag.com

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All submissions to GNI are made on the basis of permission to publish the submission in GNI and its licensed editions worldwide. In the case of a picture selection, the editor’s decision is final. Any material sent is at the owner’s risk and although every care is taken neither Lamb Promotions or its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. We take great care to make sure all elements of GNI are accurate. However we accept no liabilty for any misprints that appear in this magazine. You should seek professional advice prior to following any advice offered in this publication. Any opions expressed are those of the writers and not those of GNI MAG or Lamb Promotions Ltd. Lamb Promotions Ltd 2015

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contents FITNESS GADGETS We all want the bike balls. TRANSFORMATION Daniel shares his story. MASSAGE Chris explains deep tissue massage.

35 START

RECOMMENDED
 Marty takes a look at the best of entertainment over the next month or so. GEMMA HUTTON That aul baby making. GREG MCCAW Body confidence. ALICIA V PERRY The correct way to address a lady. MEET THE STAR We meet Victoria Secret. STEPS A new album and tour on the way. AUSTIN ARMACOST Fitness, campaigning, and life in general. OLLY PIKE Educating our youth and our politicans. CHARLIE HIDES Drag race, and life on the circuit. JAIMIE WILSON You’ve seen her all over your social media. LUCY SPRAGGAN Marriage, touring, and new music. PATRICK CASH Queers, his new play.

LIFE & STYLE

DENIM The latest designer jeans from And_I+ MEET THE ARTIST ADRIAN+SHANE tell us all about their art. GROOMING We have a look at what’s good out there. FASHION Accessible fashion for you. FITNESS
 Some tips on working towards that beach body. REAL MAN Samuel talks about his routine. HOMES Get those green fingers out. FOOD Daniel tries out Souls Restaurant in Belfast. TRAVEL Team GNI took a trip to Glasgow. DATING Eamon is back with more answers. GNI MAG WEDDINGS John and Alan open the doors to their fabulous wedding. COMING OUT Conor tells his tale. LGBT FAMILIES Geraldine tells us about when her son came out.. HEALTH Scabies - what you need to know.

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THE FITNESS ISSUE RAY QUINN Tells us about his fitness routines and how he got started.

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STEPS:

THEY’RE BACK WITH A BRAND NEW ALBUM, GET THOSE ARMS UP! PAGE 20

AUSTIN ARMACOST:

BIG BROTHER VETERAN & EQUALITY ADVOCATE PAGE 26

LUCY SPRAGGAN:

MARRIAGE, TOURS, NEW ALBUM, AND MAYBE THE PATTER OF TINY FEET. PAGE 38

START! 8 | GNIMAG.COM


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Recommended Marty Kearney

WONDER WOMAN At last, the DC movie we’ve all been waiting for!!!

BIG LITTLE LIES Resse, Nicole & Shailene star in this Desperate Housewives meets Broadchurch one off limited series created by Ally McBeal’s David E Kelly. If you are not watching Big Little lies you should be. It’s one of my new favourite shows to come out this year. It has an all-star cast Resse Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley from the Divergent movies, True Bloods Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern who doesn’t seem to age but yet gets better looking with it, if you know what I mean! Big Little Lies is a 7 part one off limited series. Created by Ally McBeal creator and Mr Michelle Phiffer David E.Kelly and based on the novel of the same name by laine Moriarty. To me its Desperate Housewives meets Broadchurch and it tells the story of 4 mothers who seem to have perfect lives bat are revealed to be involved in a murder. The performances are stellar and if you’re anything like me watching it will make you want to have a Resse Withespoon movie marathon. Even the young cast members can be scene stealers in fact Lian Armitage who plays one of the mothers sons has been cast as a young Sheldon Copper in an upcoming show about the Big Bang Theory’s awkward genius as a child. I just have one episode to go and I can’t wait to see how it turns out, it’s just a pity that this is a limited series and there will be no second season. You can catch up on Sky Atlantic Now.

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Excited for this movie is not the word. Mention Wonder Woman to most people and they automaticity think of Lynda Carter and that camp theme tune from the 70s TV series, and be honest who else as a kid tucked their vest into their tightie whiteies, put on their mothers bracelets, had a tiara made out of tinfoil and spun around the house singing that camp theme tune? … No one? … Just me? Ok then. Finally a Wonder Woman movie, it only took 75 years. Although not through lack of trying, Joss Weadon had written a script and was set to direct but that never saw the light of day due to creative differences from him and the studio. He dropped out and went on to make a little movie called Avengers Assemble, that said it’s recently been announced that Mr Weadon has been lured back to the DC franchise and will direct, write and produce a Batgirl movie. If I was a casting director I would cast Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Hailee Steinfield star of Pitch Perfect 2 and The Edge of Seventeen, anyway back to Wonder Woman. This summer Wonder Woman will get her very own big screen live adventure. Following Man of Steel, Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman is the next movie in the DC extended cinematic universe. I will admit that I think DC movies don’t have a patch on the Marvel movies, but that could all change with Wonder Woman. Although we all thought that with Batman V Superman and again with Suicide Squad, but maybe just maybe Wonder Woman could save the day and bring DC on par with Marvel. They would still have a long way to go but it would be a start. I personally think Wonder Woman AKA Diana Prince played by the gorgeous Gal Godot stole the show in Batman v Superman and could be DCs dark horse, who cares if it’s a woman, look at the Hunger Games franchise. Even Marot Robbie was a scene stealer in Suicide Squad and with a planned movie based on her character Harley Quinn, Gotham Sirens that will include Catwoman and Poison Ivy a super heroine franchise might not be the worst thing to come out of Hollywood. With Batgirl movies, Supergirl movies and Birds of Prey movies the world is their oyster. Wonder Woman will take place 100 years before the events of Batman V Superman in WW1 time and is described as a coming of age story in fact it’s a very different Diana from the one that we were introduced to in Batman V Superman. Also starring Chris Pine as Diana’s love interest Steve Trevor, Connie Neilson as Diana mother Queen Hippolyta and taking a break from playing mega bitch Claire Underwood from Netflix’s House of Cards is Robin Wright playing General Antiope Wonder Woman’s Aunt and trainer. Patty Jenkins director of one of my favourite movies Monster has took on the reigns as director and I believe she will give us the best movie of the DC franchise yet. I really hope I’m right. Please DC don’t disappoint me again.


BAYWATCH Sure you know you’re going to go watch this one, don’t let on you’re not.

Let’s call a spade a spade, Zac Efron is never going to be Oscar worthy but he’s one of my favourite actors. I’ll be honest, I’m not loving the sun kissed blonde streaks look he’s got going on in this movie but I still wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crisps. Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon directs the reboot and it does look quite funny, full of that inappropriate humour I love. Dwayne Johnston takes on the Role of Mitch Buchannan once played by vomit maker David Hasselhoff who will have a cameo. Rounding up the cast are Alexandra Daddario as Summer Quinn, Kelly Rohrbach as C.J Parker, made famous by has been Pamela Anderson who will also have a cameo and TVs Quantico Priyanka Chopra will play Villain Victoria Leeds. Based on the hugely popular TV show from the 90’s Baywatch could be the sleeper hit this summer I’m definitely going to see it with all those muscles and torsos sure it would be rude not to. Baywatch will be slow motion running into theatres 29th May.

TWIN PEAKS 25 Years later the town’s folk are returning.

Who watched Twin Peaks when it was first out? It’s a head scratcher. I’m on my second attempt of giving it a go and it’s not going well at all, I stated a last month in research for this article and all I got to was episode 3 out of 30, but I’m still sticking with it and hope to caught up by the time the new series comes out later in May. It’s an aquired taste which I find weird, confusing, transparent and back in the day it was a must see and today it’s a cult phenomenon. It was a murder mystery drama about the murder of home coming queen Laura Palmer in the sleepy town of Twin Peaks. It was a huge hit in its first season and was the winner of Golden Globe and Emmy awards but towards the end of the second season ratings declined drastically and it was cancelled. A prequel movie came out Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, but I was told that to was just as wired-up and as confusing as the TV series. I think the audience are just supposed to take it for what is. It is created by David Lynch after all, and all his work in movies and television is of an obscure and odd nature. Taking place 25 years later most of the original cast are returning including Kyle McLaughlin as Detective Dale Copper, Madchen Amick and Sheryl Lee as the murdered Laura Palmer along with a whole bunch on new cast members including Laura Dern, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Amanda Seyfried. You can see what’s been happening it the strange town of Twin Peaks from the 22nd May.

GNIMAG.COM | 11


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COLUMN__ GEMMA HUTTON

BUZZ of the month

The aul baby making...

Gemma Hutton SO A LOT HAS HAPPENED since my last blog!

checks and screenings we agreed to arrange ‘the drop

there for three years. I realised I just wasn’t happy

intermittent panick attacks of excitement and nerves.

I decided to leave Maverick last month after being with what I as doing anymore, and I had got into a rut of being uncreative or using my voice for things I really want to discuss, so I

had to give myself a shake.

It is so interesting how this has reshaped everything I

have been doing, and will be

doing this year. I am working

SEASON NINE

a fabulous Queer project

Dragging our asses back to the race!!!!

as well as writing for the

This year’s show has been aligned alongside VH1, it’s a sure sign that this upbeat programme is on its way from cult classic to mainstream gold. If you haven’t seen RuPauls drag Race, everything you see in this show is high camp, high drama and death dropping (google it if you don’t know what that means) fun with a clear message of love, “if you cant love yourself, then how the hell are you gonna love somebody else”. This Season sees 14 handpicked Drag Queens compete to win $100,000.00… with each episode bringing you mini challenges, celebrity guest judges, and yes even the mother monster graced the silver screen for the GAGA GAGGING OPENING, It was pretty special and with next day viewing available every Saturday here in the UK & Ireland on Netflicks. You can even catch the stars of the show at a draggedup.net venue, so take the weight off those heels hunnies, or just laze the day away caught up in this world of wonderful fantasy uniqueness, nerve and talent. get up, switch on and dive in…

at the minute, which I am incredibly excited about,

Mac, working on a filmed

documentary and I am back into the writing seat again.

Ironically I thought I would

have more time on my hands by leaving, but it has turned out quite the opposite, for which I am secretly very greatful.

So I also promised on

my return to print that I

would discuss the aul baby

making with the Mrs. We

have found a suitable donor

through a website call www. prideangel.com. Now

this isn’t for everyone, and I would always suggest

contacting organisations such as HereNI who are

brilliant at giving advice on

these matters. We also chose someone not in Northern Ireland, again, this made

off ’. I booked him a hotel room in amidst small

The skype meeting was like an interview, awkward,

“The skype meeting was like an interview, awkward, bumbling and with a time delay it was like those dodgy moments on Eurovision where Ukraine keeps talking over the host. But he was very understanding of our nerves and simply took it as a good sign, we were serious about having a child...”

chatted, and then skyped with the donor, discussed terms and conditions, contracts etc. We have been incredibly lucky this person was on exactly the

same page as us on all these matters. After health

delay it was like those dodgy moments on Eurovision

where Ukraine keeps talking over the host. But he was

very understanding of our nerves and simply took it as a good sign, we were

serious about having a child. We agreed on him staying over due to travel and it

meant we had two shots…

quite literally. Meeting him was like a weird first date

gone wrong. We met in the hotel lobby where I said

hello in four non sensical

languages and then gave him his room key. He looked

a bit dazed but obliged as we sat downstairs for 20

minutes getting odd looks from reception. (By the

second visit I was convinced the reception thought we were the world’s worst

escort service that waited until the client had left

the hotel room.) So as the

Mrs lay with legs in the air like ya just don’t care….of

course this was the moment housekeeping decided to

try and come in to clean the

room. I have never bolted to a door so fast. Thankfully, it all went as smooth as could

it a bit simpler for us as

Belfast is a small place. We

bumbling and with a time

be expected for all involved,

and we await the answer in a week as to whether I scored a goal.

This is an opinon piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG/Lamb Promotions Ltd.

GNIMAG.COM | 13


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COLUMN__ GREG McCAW

LONGER DAYS

We are pure loving the change in the days, longer to spend on the roof terrace! Although I want that hour back come autumn. MEL C - HOLD ON

This is the latest single featuring rising star Alex Francis - go listen, it’s amazing.

Body confidence...

Greg McCaw

BOYS WITH THEIR TOPS OFF

One glimmer of that big yellow thing in the sky and the Belfast boys have thier tops off. EMERALD CITY

About half way through this now and we can’t get enough of this twist on Dorothy’s story. JAMES BLUNT

Don’t mock, it’s not all about his twitter feed. His latest album The Afterlove is the dogs balls, bitterly honest songs of love..

LOVE HATE STILL BEING SKINT

We were only supposed to be broke for January!! STORIES

Seriously, where will it end. Every social media has a story along the top. I’ll never get any work done watching them all. MAN BUNS

Maybe I’m just old and uncool, but what the actual f**k. If you don’t want your hair in your face just cut it off. BREXIT

I know it’s important, but to be honest I’m sick of hearing about it. If it’s happening just get on with it.

WE’RE APPARENTLY HAVING ONE OF the worst obesity epidemics in NHS history, take that and run it alongside a world where we have the perfect body image thrusted in our face, every single day, whether we like it or not and it’s hard to understand what good looks like. I’ve sat on both sides of the fence from being 42 inches at one point to slashing that down to the 30 inches I am today. To be clear, we’re talking waist here, I am never going to say NO to inches down there. ‘Oh I can’t eat chocolate; it goes straight to my penis’ – SAID NO ONE NEVER. I was this skinny 5-year-old and from 6 onwards it just started going on and it didn’t stop. I don’t know what to blame but I’ve a pretty good idea that food provided comfort, escapism from an abusive alcoholic Father who compounded how over weight I was at every opportunity and that this abusive environment created an introvert who didn’t want to participate in sport, who felt no self-worth and had no confidence to push himself. There was no escape from the bullying, I’d get bullied at High School for being overweight and come home to abuse.

you’re making a conscious decision to change your relationship with food, for good. You want to get to your ideal body shape and stay there so I’m going to say if your goal is to fit into something for a special event, you’ve already failed because this is for you not an event. When people are constantly in the cycle of getting ‘beach ready’ this suggests there may be more underlying issues. Eat Less. Move More. ‘Lose weight fast, with minimal effort’ - Once again, there’s no temporary fix to a permanent issue. If you believe that you’re going to achieve your goals by picking up the next minimal effort fad diet you’re naive. I tried everything that the internet had to offer but the real fix was building up to an exercise routine I was comfortable with. I was terrified at the thought of buying running shoes and everything in my head said ‘When you buy those running shoes, everyone around you will be laughing at you’ but I did it and many years later, running is now my place to escape, connect with the mind, as well exercise.

“Oh I can’t eat chocolate; it goes straight to my penis”

My Mum did her best to help me eat healthily but this turned into an even unhealthier relationship with food. I was programmed to believe that the ‘Diet’ was a temporary thing and the horror of clean eating would come to an end when I just got myself skinny again. I’m not an expert but there are three key things that I have continued to realise were the reasons I lost weight and continued to keep it off. Stop saying: I’m going on a diet. Start saying: This is my diet. When people say diet 99% of the time they are implying that it’s a temporary measure, everyone has a diet, whether it’s healthy or not. I can tell you first hand there’s no temporary fix to a permanent issue. You’re changing more than what you eat,

Mindfulness You need to confront what has led to you having the relationship with food or the impact your body confidence is having on you now. When you pick up a chocolate bar, you’re masking something and that little bit of pleasure doesn’t fix what’s hidden, that little bit of pleasure and that learnt habit quickly subside and the real issues are at the forefront of your mind. I attended counselling and that helped me purge and confront the real issues, again it’s not about doing something and stopping it, I continue to practice mindfulness by using apps like Head Space, I’d also recommend looking at Mindful Eating to understand more about the relationship between the body and the mind.

This is an opinon piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG/Lamb Promotions Ltd.

GNIMAG.COM | 15


COLUMN__ ALICIA V PERRY

The correct way to address a lady...

Alicia V Perry JUST THE OTHER WEEK I was cleaning away one afternoon in my new home, listening to the radio I cleaned, laughed and sang away. Come the evening when the sun set low, the next presenter took the proverbial rug out from under my feet. Introducing his show he addressed the recent, infamous Dame Jenni Murray comments “that men who undergo sex change operations cannot be real women” arguing many model themselves on a male view of what a woman should be. She went on to say that “men who had grown up with all the privileges that entails did not have the shared experience of growing up female.” As if this wasn’t offensive enough to be given valuable airtime, given the political instability and huge public uncertainty in the North, the Presenter’s lame and unarticulated postulation ‘can a man really be a woman?’ made me choke on my freshly-brewed Italian coffee. Are we really having this conversation, still, never mind having it announced as a misogynistic hypothesis? Let me take this opportunity to address this subject right now, Trans women ARE real women. The End. However, for those looking a more detailed analysis let me break it down for you real quick. Her comments are of controversial nature but it is only when we challenge these can we begin to comprehend. Do not judge or show prejudice against any of the topics raised by the media but question your own feelings to them, seek out the truth of your own soul and express yourself. By mutual compromising you can achieve a reciprocated peace between what is out there and what is inside of you. Moving on then;“that men who undergo sex change operations cannot be real women” I’m assuming that by ‘real women’ Jenni means cis-women [women born with female genitalia] so with that in mind the problem with this comment is that she speaks in biological terms; with unsubstantial evidence or official medical foundation in which to justify such an outlandish and flippant comment. I know many people who are born intersexed so it would be interesting to hear what Jenni had to say about their community – on second thoughts, nah you’re alright, I have a life! Another flaw is the backward, uneducated use of ‘sex change’ suggesting we woke up one day and thought ‘today I’d like to be woman.’ The appropriate and respectful term is GRS (gender reassignment surgery) hence we are recast to how we should have been born; conversely being a woman trapped inside since birth. To call that woman a

man is the penultimate insult you could possibly bestow upon her and, we are definitely NOT worth it! Here comes the science;The development of biological-sexual differences begins with the XY sex-determination system that is present in all conceived human beings. Composite mechanisms are responsible for the development of the phenotypic differences between male and female humans from an undifferentiated zygote. Females have two X chromosomes while males have a Y chromosome and an X chromosome. At an early stage in embryonic development both sexes possess correspondent internal structures. These are the mesonephric ducts and paramesonephric ducts. The presence of the SRY gene on the Y chromosome causes the development of the testes in males, and the subsequent release of hormones which cause the paramesonephric ducts to revert. In females, the mesonephric ducts regress. Sexual differentiation includes development of different genitalia and the internal genital tracts, breasts, body hair and plays a role in gender identification. Noticed I said ‘a’ role and not ‘the’ role. In conclusion, don’t blame us, blame the hormones! What Jenni has completely over-looked is the fact that our human biology would be non-existent without the intelligence manifested by our brain, the morals and principles of our soul but more importantly, it would be nothing without the permanent beat of our heart. In light of this quadruplet representation then, is it really fair to say someone is not a woman just because of biology? My advice - if you think with your mind and feel with your heart that you are a woman, then it is your moral and civil right to believe in your soul that you are that woman; regardless of the biology. ‘many model themselves on a male view of what a woman should be’ First off, the word ‘many’- how does she know? Statistics? Bitch Please! Then ‘a male view of what a woman should be.’ Since when did perceptions have a gender? Next she will be telling us that our thoughts

and feelings are gendered. I may be wrong but no one has ever said to me ‘that’s a very male perception’ or ‘that’s a very female thought.’ Like you couldn’t make this stuff up! Furthermore the very fact this lady has said that we ‘model ourselves’ is quite significant. We all ‘model ourselves’ on what we think WE are but that decision has no gender prerequisite. During childhood and adolescent socialisation we learn to respect successful adults as prime examples of role models; igniting inspirational ‘modelling’ of what we should become – regardless of gender! “men who had grown up with all the privileges that entails did not have the shared experience of growing up female.” Where do I start! No sh*t Sherlock! But that’s not something to be laughed at or underestimated. Just because someone has ANY privileges on offer in life doesn’t predominately conclude the utilisation of the said privileges. Moreover, the way we grow up as a child certainly does not define the enthusiastic young adult and mature wise-owl we become. They say ‘with age comes wisdom’ but I say, in light of Jenni’s remarks, sometimes age comes alone! We could continue to debate, disagree and beat the same big drum over and over, or, we could get the discussion going by taking a more sensitive approach when contemplating the correct way to address a lady.

“...if you think with your mind and feel with your heart that you are a woman, then it is your moral and civil right to believe in your soul that you are that woman; regardless of the biology.”

In summary, it is certainly not by making flippant, unfounded and quite frankly offensive statements in the media. Instead, ask her for her name and call her by that. That name is her identity and identity is diverse, not gendered. In closing, a little bit of advice for those of you on the radio; be aware of your use of language especially in topics you have limited knowledge on. For some ladies, like myself, that radio keeps us motivated when we’re doing the cleaning. This is an opinon piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG/Lamb Promotions Ltd.

GNIMAG.COM | 17


MEET THE STAR__ VICTORIA SECRET

MEET THE STAR Christened Victoria Secret in college, 13 years later she’s still the queen of the Dublin Scene. Finding the courage to burst out of the closet in the diverse environment of her college pushed Victoria to be more daring with her own identity. She quickly became involved in the LGBT society and organised the college drag show where she performed Britney Spears Toxic - a performance she partly blames on Britney’s 2007 breakdown! Having a steady base working in the George in Dublin for Shirleys Bingo, Victoria has worked the length and breadth of Ireland as well as up and down the UK, over in Gran Canaria and also the odd cruise ship. She’s worked with all the best Irish Queens but as part of her club night Dragged Up she’s had the opportunity to work alongside the likes of Adore Delano and Bianca Del Rio. Working on the side as an “accidental promoter” Victoria has gigs coming up with a host of RPDR stars as well as bringing Trixie Mattel’s show “Ages 3 and Up” to the Tivoli Theatre in May. Facebook: facebook.com/victoriasecretdublin Twitter : @Victoria_Secret Instagram: @VictoriaSecretDublin Snapchat: @Vicapedia Web: www.draggedup.net

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EPS They’re back and setting our pop-loving hearts all a-flutter with their brand new tracks. Team GNI talked to Faye and Lee about what we can expect...

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INTERVIEW__ STEPS TWENTY YEARS, A WEE BIT OF TIME OFF IN THE MIDDLE, WOULD YOU HAVE THOUGHT PEOPLE WOULD STILL WANT STEPS AFTER ALL THIS TIME? FAYE – I think we are one of the lucky ones, our music seems to hang on in the parties and weddings and so we’ve always kind of been there in the background. I think we were hoping that the new music would bring a breath of fresh air to Steps, but I don’t think we expected this sort of response, we didn’t expect it to be so huge. But I think the fans have been asking for more stuff for years so we kind of wanted to give them what they were asking for. THERE’S NO DENYING THAT YOU HAVE AN AWESOME LGBT FOLLOWING, IT CAN’T ALL BE ABOUT THE CHEESE AND SEQUINS, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS ABOUT STEPS THAT OUR COMMUNITY LOVE SO MUCH? LEE - We didn’t start out to try and be a gay band or anything, we came out and we went; this is what we do, we’re fun and we don’t really care. Like us or not, this is what we do and we’re having a good time, wearing our outfits and our stage costumes. What’s happened is over the years things have changed and it’s become a little bit easier to be who you are and not worry so much about coming out or whatever it may be. The feedback I‘ve had, even through social media is, Steps music helped people through certain parts of their lives and it seems to be a massive thing. I think with Steps that’s what is a draw, that is what brings people in from the LGBT community itself, and it’s having that freedom, that expression to be yourself, I think that’s a massive thing in todays world. I’m glad that we’ve helped people, and I think we are out there, with sparkles and all, and if that’s what it takes…. THE NEW ALBUM AS BEEN QUOTED AS THE ONE YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO MAKE, TELL US ABOUT IT… FAYE – The album for us was really incredible for us to make. It was the first album that we’ve had pretty much complete control over. We had some amazing songs that we had to push away because they didn’t sound like Steps, and others that we just knew would be the right ones. It’s been really exciting just to have that control over what we love and to choose how we express ourselves. The new album has that bittersweet taste that Steps albums have always had. The production of it has just brought it right into the now, the sound is incredible, we are so proud. THE UPCOMING TOUR SOLD OUT SO QUICKLY, HOW SMUG ARE YOU FEELING RIGHT NOW… LEE - I don’t think smug is the right word, maybe shocked. We did it in 2011/2012 and we were quite scared to do it again, but it’s our 20 year reunion, so it’s either do it now or don’t do it at all. It’s worth celebrating 20 years! I think we were very nervous, I think it sold out in three days which is phenominal, and we started at 15 dates and now we are at 22, people are embracing it, they want it – we’ll be there for them and give them a great show, and hopefully they have a great time. HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO GET BACK ON THE POP TREADMILL AGAIN AFTER A BIT OF TIME OFF, IT MUST HAVE BEEN PHYSICALLY DRAINING IF NOTHING ELSE… FAYE – Actually I think all of us are probably more mentally and physically ready for this, we know what we have to do to get in there and do it and deliver. Everyone is really fit, healthy and supportive for each other. We are in a really good place, it’s not

daunting or scary, I think we can pace ourselves a little bit, and we have a bit more say and control so we are ready for this. STEPS MUSIC IS PURE POP POSITIVITY, BUT THERE MUST BE DAYS WHEN YOUR SMILES NEED PAINTED ON AND EVERYONE JUST GETS ON YOUR NERVES, HOW DO YOU GET PAST THAT? LEE - We’re very lucky that we always help each other out, we’re always there for each other. If one of us is having a down day, we’ll help and pick them up. FAYE – Back in the day it was more difficult because we were literally in each others pockets, travelling together, staying in the same places etc etc, we were all stuck like glue. These days we do a couple of weeks on, and then a couple of weeks off, we have our families to go back to and it’s much more balanced. OVER 25 MILLION RECORDS SOLD IN A CAREER SPANNING 20 YEARS, LEND US A FIVER WOULD YA? SERIOUSLY, YOU CAN’T BE IN IT JUST FOR THE MONEY, WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVATION? FAYE – [Laughs], well we all have lives outside of Steps. It’s always been the fans that come back and keep asking for more, and this was just the right timing. We are just really lucky that we have the chance to come back for the third time. It’s not the norm for a pop band to survive this long, especially from our genre, so yes, we’re just grateful. YOU’RE ALL 20 YEARS OLDER NOW, 20 YEARS FROM NOW WILL WE STILL SEE STEPS PERFORM – MAYBE WITH ZIMMER FRAMES AND MOBILITY SCOOTERS? LEE - As long as there’s still a demand, and as long as people still want it I think we’ll always do stuff. I don’t think we’ll fall away to the wayside and do little things here and there. I think with steps it’s always do big things or do nothing at all. That’s part of the legacy of what it’s about, and like I said, this 20 years was a bit of a risk, but it’s a celebration and it’s fantastic that the fans want it and love it. We’re overwhelmed and shocked, we can’t believe it’s happening. FAYE, DURING THE BREAKS BETWEEN STEPS YOU’VE BEEN TREADING THE BOARDS. BEGINNING ALL THOSE YEARS AGO WITH TELL ME ON A SUNDAY, A SAD LOVE STORY ABOUT A BRITISH GIRL TRYING TO FIND LOVE IN AMERICA AND BEING CHEATED ON. BEING A ONE WOMAN SHOW HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM PERFORMING WITH FOUR OTHERS ON STAGE TO BEING THE ONLY ONE THERE? It was the most frightening thing I’ve probably ever done! Going head first into a career that I wasn’t sure about – I knew I’d have the critics come after me, but it was something I’d wanted to do actually before I was in Steps. Sometimes you just have to be brave and grab those opportunities when they come to you. I thoughoughly loved it, I learned a new skill and carved a new career. It was incredible. FAYE, YOU’RE A MUM NOW AND BENJAMIN IS OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE AN IDEA WHAT MUMMY WORKS AT, HOW DOES HE COPE WITH IT, DOES HE COME HOME WITH ANY FUNNY STORIES FROM HIS FRIENDS AT SCHOOL ABOUT YOU? About three years ago they had a Christmas party at the end of the school term and they were playing some music videos. 5678 came up and Benjamin came home absolutely

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INTERVIEW__ STEPS

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INTERVIEW__ STEPS motified because mummy was dancing in a bra on telly. FAYE, YOU’RE PATRON OF JOSIE’S DRAGONFLY TRUST, A CHARITY THAT SUPPORTS YOUNG CANCER PATIENTS WITH VERY LIMITED TIME, HOW’D YOU GET INVOLVED IN IT? I’m also patron for the Charlie Cookson Foundation which supports parents of poorly children who can’t financially look after themselves. As a parent myself now I appreciate how very short and how precious life is. I’m proud that I’m able to support these charities. FAYE, YOU PERFORMED AT BELFAST’S GRAND OPERA HOUSE A YEAR OR SO AGO, AND YOU SET THE BELFAST GAY SCENE ALIVE WITH “SELFIES WITH FAYE” AT OUR GAY VENUES, YOU WERE ALMOST A LOCAL. DID YOU FIND IT EASIER AS A GIRL TRAVELLING WITHOUT HER PARTNER TO PARTY IN THE GAY VENUES? I had such a laugh in Belfast. I’m still in touch with quite a few of the people I met over there, I can’t wait to go back. But yeah, absolutely, I feel very safe in the Gay clubs, I love the music , I love the energy, everyone’s happy and they just want to dance. THERE WERE STORIES AFTER THE STEPS SPLIT THAT ALL WASN’T ROSY IN THE GARDEN. IS TIME THE GREAT HEALER OR WAS THERE A MUD FIGHT TO GET OVER IT ALL? FAYE - Obvously everyone knows now how the band split because of the television show that we done – it got it all out in the open. It was really tricky to start with, we were five people who’d been stuck together for five years and then suddenly nothing – it was difficult. But, in hindsight it was the best way that it could have ended. There weren’t any big fights, and I think that’s why the television programme was important, because we actually asked each other, and were able to talk to each other. There’d always been an elephant in the room, there was not big fight – just silence. TELL OUR READERS SOMETHING THEY WOULDN’T HAVE HEARD ANYWERE ELSE ABOUT FAYE TOZER… I can play the spoons. LEE, LETS GET THIS OUT OF THE WAY AT THE START. WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE STEPS, THE CAMPNESS, THE CHEESY LYRICS AND THE FLAMBOYANT DANCING – HOW’S THAT WORK FOR A STRAIGHT DUDE LOL? Yeah, again it’s a strange one, I do a lot of martial arts and enjoy a drink down the pub with my mates, I’m very much a man’s man I suppose you could say, but then I love performing, I love showing off in front of people and I think it grew from there really. I spent years at stage school coving a wide range of disciplines, and I just wanted to be somebody, who in life in general wanted to try new things. I have a lot of gay friends and female friends, and it’s just not that unusual for me to be honest. That might seem strange for a straight guy to the outside world, but for me it’s absolutely fine. LEE, HOW DO YOU COPE WITH ALL THE MALE ATTENTION, WE AREN’T EXACTLY SHY AT COMING FORWARD? I don’t mind it at all, it’s a massive compliment. For me it doesn’t matter if you’re man, woman, gay, straight – if someone likes you it’s just nice. It’s nice to be liked. It’s no

big deal, just let it happen, it’s just nice. LEE, APART FROM YOUR TALENT, YOU’RE POPULAR IN OUR COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF THAT BODY! YOU’RE A TRAINED PERSONAL TRAINER, HOW’D THAT ALL COME ABOUT AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OUR READERS WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO GET THAT BODY READY FOR THE SUMMER? I’ve always been physical from a very early age, with the martial arts and stuff. I bought a little bench when I was fourteen and started weights, so it’s always been in me to be fit and active and I think it always will be. To take it to the next level was just the next step for me. When I was growing up I was considering a career as a sports therapist, I was always interested in how the body works. It goes hand in hand with what we do in Steps because we have to be physically fit to do what we do. Advice, don’t worry too much. Opening all these magazines and seeing the perfection that’s out there, the people in the magazines have been airbrushed. Just do it for yourself, don’t try and be somebody else. Look at the time you have and what you can do within it, even if it’s just running up and down the stairs, and then try and change your diet slightly, don’t try and change it all over night. If you eat lots of sugar, try and cut down on it, if you drink lots of fizzy drinks, try and half it. Start with little things and then over time your body will get used to that and it’ll get easier and easier. For people out there that are obese, it probably took years to get like that so it’s probably going to take a while to get back into shape, you have to accept that for yourself – do it slowly and and do it the right way, and that’ll be the healthy way. LEE ANSWERS SOME OF OUR READERS QUESTIONS... IF YOU HAD TO PICK ANY ALBUM TRACK TO RELEASE TODAY WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? ANDREW MOLLOY (HIS WOULD BE PARADISE LOST) We are actually getting quite a lot of tweets about Paradise lost – I’m shocked about that. But erm, ohhh, I’m going to go with Neon Blue off the new one, no one’s heard it yet, and I don’t know if it’s going to be a single but there’s something about that song. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE SONG TO PERFORM AS A GROUP? SUSAN MCPEAKE (HER FAVOURITE TO WATCH IS ONE FOR SORROW) Tragedy is the obvious one that people join in and love, but Deeper Shade of Blue just seems to have that little bit of edge to it, that coolness. It gave us a big crossover, and yea it’s quite a nice one to perform. IF YOU COULD ADD A 6TH CELEBRITY MEMBER TO THE GROUP WHO WOULD IT BE? CONOR DOUGLAS Can I say J-Lo? WHO OR WHAT FROM YOUR LIFE IS BETTER BEST FORGOTTEN? SABRINA DAY Erm… everything in life happens for a reason, after horrible or bad thinks happen, you look back and think; that has made me stronger. So as bad as it seems, there’s always light around the corner. So, I don’t think anything is really better best forgotten.

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INTERVIEW__ aUSTIN ARMACOST

“Some people strive for perfection, but perfection is not achievable.”

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INTERVIEW__ AUSTIN ARMACOST

AUSTIN

ARMACOST

WE WANTED SOMEONE WE ADMIRED, SOMEONE WHO WE KNEW WOULD ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS WITH INTEGRITY AND HONESTY, SOMEONE WHO IS (LETS FACE IT) EASY ON THE EYE. STEP FORWARD BIG BROTHER VETERAN, EQUAL MARRIAGE AND PETA CAMPAIGNER, AND HOLDER OF OUR HEARTS, MR AUSTIN ARMACOST...

THIS IS OUR FITNESS EDITION, YOU ARE KNOWN FOR BEING A FITNESS MODEL, WHAT’S YOUR DAILY FITNESS AND DIET REGIME? Well firstly I would like to point out (as many people and the press have questioned) that I have never used steroids. My father was an all natural bodybuilder, so yes I do work very hard in the gym and in my kitchen… But genetically I was quite lucky as well. I wake up every morning at 05:30 and make Darren (partner) our coffee and breakfast. Breakfast consist of a bowl of Greek yogurt, sliced banana or blueberries, and granola. Our breakfast never changes. I have found that meal is the best way to start your day. Then we are in the gym by 06:30 for resistance/ weight training. I have several small meals throughout the day and usually return to the gym around 17:00 for 40min of cardio. My diet doesn’t vary much. Salmon, Chicken, vegetables, sweet potatoes, cous cous in some variation. My snack is carrot batons dipped in humus. The key to keeping fit & healthy is not to lock yourself into a diet… have a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits all the time. I DO NOT believe in dieting. However, on the weekend all that goes out the window. I let myself eat a few “bad” meals like a cheeseburger or curry and drink a little more than I should. YOU’RE KNOWN FOR TAKING THE ODD NAKED AND SEMI NAKED UNDERWEAR SELFIE (WE’VE BEEN CREEPING), AND ARE NO STRANGER TO MODELING FOR UNDERWEAR BRANDS, WHAT MAKES YOU SO CONFIDENT TO DO THIS?

encourage people to stay as healthy as they can… this doesn’t always mean having a ripped 8 pack of abs and less than 4 percent body fat. Also, with today’s technology (snapped, facetune, picture editing) a lot of what you see online is not real. Also, I recognize that there are several different body types that people find “sexy.” Outside the stereotypical jock you’ve got: bears, otters, twinks, boy next door, etc… everyone has different taste and I know that my audience appreciates my look. I have always been a confident person and hold that confidence whether I am in the best shape of my life, or am 10 pounds heavier from a week off the gym. YOU HAVE JUST HAD YOUR 2ND STINT IN THE CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER HOUSE AND THIS YEAR PROVED TO BE ONE OF THE MOST FIERY YET, HOW WAS IT BEING IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL A 2ND TIME, AND ANY ADVICE FOR ANY OF OUR READERS CONSIDERING GOING INTO THE STANDARD BIG BROTHER HOUSE THIS YEAR? How was my experience, this time around I absolutely hated it. I did not like most of the contestants, I did not enjoy the format as everybody was thirsty for that CBB “ALL STAR” crown, and it was winter. The opposite from my experience the first time in the house. Also, as viewers know I was in a brand new relationship and had not acclimated from being away from him at all, let alone total isolation. It all just got to be too much and I was on the verge of walking out. My advice would be: - prepared to be bored. It is a lot of sitting around and doing nothing. - be ready to open up about your life and dish every detail. Because most of the time you are just talking about your life experiences, people get to know one another very well. -DON’T fall for somebody. Realize that you are in a parallel reality and the feelings and emotions you have ARE NOT REAL. Once you are back in the real world, all that dissipates. I have not seen one successful relationship come from the BB house. -know who you are. Your character will be ripped apart, examined, scrutinized, and tested. Make sure your re strong enough and confident enough to go through that. DESCRIBE EACH OF YOUR HOUSEMATES IN ONLY ONE WORD:

Acceptance. I learned a long time ago that being happy in your own skin is key. Some people strive for perfection, but perfection is not achievable. I always

Stacy: loud, Coleen: lovely, James C: humble, James J: lad, Ray: warm, Jasmine: fit,

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INTERVIEW__ aUSTIN ARMACOST

Calum: reserved, Jedward: immature, Jamie: unsure, Bianca: heart, Angie: informed, Brandon: motivated, Speidi: callous. YOU WERE A BIG ACTIVIST FOR LGBT EQUALITY AND MARRIAGE IN YOUR HOME STATE OF INDIANA AND MAY HAVE HEARD THAT SAME SEX MARRIAGE IS STILL NOT LEGAL HERE IN NORTHERN IRELAND UNLIKE THE REST OF THE UK AND IRELAND. ANY ADVICE FOR US HERE IN NORTHERN IRELAND FOR OUR CAMPAIGN FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY? STAY VISIBLE! It is important now more than ever as Northern Ireland is one of the few Western countries who has not made that major step in acceptance. But the more people know our community, our brothers, our sisters, the less likely they are to continue to rail against us. The fight is long, hard, arduous, emotional BUT the feeling of triumph tastes all the better for it. Don’t worry, it will soon come. WE’VE SEEN YOU BELFAST A COUPLE OF TIMES AT CLUB PROMOTIONS. DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO SEE ANY OF OUR CITY WHILE YOU WERE HERE? I have seen a little of the city and love it. Of course as an American I am a sucker for an accent and the Irish tongue is a beautiful one. Other than that I have not had much time when I am in the country because I am usually working. I do however look forward to spending a lot more time in Ireland now that I am back in the UK full time. YOU HAVE BEEN VERY OPEN ABOUT YOUR TIME IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH LOUIS VUITTON AND FASHION DESIGNER MARC JACOBS HOW DID THAT WORK WITH YOUR BEING A PETA SPOKESMAN AND REAL FUR STILL BEING USED IN HIGH END FASHION? First and foremost I am completely against the use of fur. I find it appalling and unnecessary. Secondly, I learned about animal abuse in the fashion industry only after our relationship. I did not know how cruel and heinous the fur business was. When I did become informed, I had a conversation with Marc about the use of fur but it was a moot point. He found nothing wrong with it so I left it. That is when I decided to do my part, however big or small, to fight against the use of fur in fashion.

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INTERVIEW__ AUSTIN ARMACOST EARLIER THIS YEAR YOU “CAME OUT” AS ASEXUAL, THAT’S QUITE A BIG STATEMENT, AND EVEN SLIGHTLY TABOO TO ANNOUNCE IN OUR COMMUNITY. WHAT HAS THE RESPONSE BEEN LIKE, ANY NEGATIVITY? No negativity at all as when you read specifically what I said I did not personally make that exact announcement. I said I was a bit asexual in my past relationship because I was unhappy and did not think that sex was very important. I have since however completely changed my opinion. Having just past the 7 month mark with my new fella, my sex life has made a 180 degree turn & I could not be happier I love sex now! YOU HAVE BEEN IN PANTO TWICE NOW HERE IN THE UK AND PLAYED PRINCE CHARMING, HOW DID YOU FIND THE PANTO CULTURE AND ARE THERE ANY OTHER ACTING ROLES IN THE PIPELINE FOR YOU? I have completely fallen in love with Pantomime. Having been born and raised in the states, we never knew of it. But the first time I took that stage and was able to interact with the audience, ad lib, & improv it stole my heart. It is such a wonderful thing as well for families during the holidays to take a break from the real world and get lost in a fun, carefree fantasy land. Although it has now been two years running, I don’t know if I can sacrifice another Christmas with the family for work. Darren (my boyfriend) does not want me to either so Panto 2017 is completely 50/50 at the moment. WHAT’S NEXT FOR AUSTIN ARMACOST? TELL US A SECRET OF YOURS THAT YOU HAVE NEVER TOLD IN ANY OTHER INTERVIEW. I want to go back to school. I see myself returning to university later this year to obtain my degree. Education and schooling has always been a passion of mine and I would like to further my studies. Having the opportunity now to go to university in a foreign country is also a rare opportunity for people like me, where I come from – a small southern Indiana town. I have recently signed with a new TV/film agent and hope to return to on camera scripted work very soon. Keep up with me on INSTAGRAM, I love to push the boundaries on there! WORDS: Gary Campion

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INTERVIEW__ OLLY PIKE

OLLY PIKE We caught up with Olly Pike, the creator of Pop n Olly and an advocate for LGBT+ and equality education. He’s been noted as one to watch on the Independent on Sunday’s “Rainbow List” and he’s spoken in Parliament regarding Children’s Rights and Mental Health in relation to LGBT+ Education. Olly produces child friendly videos on YouTube, books, and resources for schools all centred around LGBT+ Education believing the best way to battle discrimination for future generations is to start with children.

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OLLY, THANKS FOR TAKING SOME TIME OUT WITH US. TAKE US BACK TO THE START, WHAT WAS THE TRIGGER THAT SWITCHED IN YOUR HEAD TO CREATE POP N OLLY?

Being an openly gay man, casual homophobia is not something new to me. Whether it’s a sly comment from a complete stranger in public, or a very targeted abusive message from someone online. It so happened I was holding the hand of another boy in public, when we were approached by a group of young men who began verbally harassing us. It was an unpleasant moment, we weren’t hurt

physically, but it did make me think ‘why are some people like this?’ ‘Who has taught them to act like this?’ or rather ‘Who has not taught taught them, not to act like this’. That’s probably when a little seed was planted in me, that something has to be done regarding LGBT+ and equality education. YOU’VE CREATED SOME AMAZING CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOKS, WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE AND WHY? The ‘Normals’ I created are super cute, I kinda wish I had a real one. However my favourite character has to be Prince Henry. He was my


first fairytale character. He is kind and open. Respectful of all and, despite his royal status, he see’s everyone as equal. I wish there were more people in the world like him. WE OBVIOUSLY THINK THE WORK YOU DO IS AMAZING, BUT SPEAKING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, NOT ALL EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES ARE WELCOME TO INTRODUCING LGBT ISSUES. HOW’VE YOU FOUND THE WHOLE PROCESS? A lot of our work is introduced to schools and teachers via a wonderful charity called ‘Educate & Celebrate’. This charity goes into schools and trains teachers in how to be inclusive in the classroom and how to cover LGBT+ topics in an age appropriate way, so that cohesive communities can be built. Also a number of times it’s been parent’s of children that have introduced our work to their child’s school or teacher. Sometimes our videos can really help, not only a child who is perhaps (for example) gender non-conforming or has same-sex parents, but can also help this child’s friends and classmates understand too. Hopefully making a better school life experience for all and reducing the risk of discrimination or bullying towards this child. WHAT SORT OF FEED BACK DO YOU GET FROM SCHOOLS AND PARENTS? The feedback we’ve received from schools, teachers and parent’s have been incredibly positive, with many asking for more stories and videos. ‘Can you do a story about *this, as it would really help’ is a phrase I often hear. It’s clear more representation is needed for many different children, and this is what we are aiming to do. Having spoken to groups of teachers myself and delivered a number of lessons based on my books, I’ve learnt that many schools desperately want and need these sort of resources.

LGBT RIGHTS VARY ACROSS THE WORLD, ARE THERE ANY AREAS YOUR VIDEOS ARE WATCHED, OR BOOKS DELIVERED TO, THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE EXPECTED? Our books are sent out worldwide, the furthest being Australia. Looking at the demographics on my channel I’m sometimes surprised to see where the views are coming from, but it’s nice to think that my work is even reaching places where being LGBT+ is considered criminal. YOU’VE SPOKEN IN PARLIAMENT, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT AND HOW WAS THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE? Having had a good relationship with Social Change Company ‘Shape History’, I was put in touch with a number of people who were organising various events and talks based on children’s well being, mental health and their rights. I was asked to speak on these subjects in regards to LGBT+ education and how educating now could help these children in the future. The experience was quite surreal. Here I am talking in parliament and City Hall, about something I started myself for fun, but what is now being considered important if not vital. My work keeps growing and it’s really exciting to see where it is going to take me next. RECENTLY YOU WERE THE VICTIM OF SOME ONLINE TROLLING/BULLYING. TELL US WHAT HAPPENED… It was my first major experience of being targeted online by a number of Youtube channels/ personalities who didn’t agree with my work. I had quite a few videos made about me, some were just criticising, however some were very abusive and did nothing but try to degrade me and my work. This event sent a torrent of hate and abuse my way. It was incredibly intense.

HOW’D THAT MAKE YOU FEEL? It was more of a shock than anything. I had no idea channels/people like this existed. I’d always believed there were more good in the world then bad… this event really made me question that. HOW WAS THE SITUATION RESOLVED? Like everything online, it kind of blew over… but unfortunately now I still regularly receive lots of hate comments messages which is a shame, as it stopped me looking altogether for a while, meaning I missed the positive messages too. HAS IT MADE YOU THINK TWICE ABOUT THE WORK YOU DO, OR MADE YOU MORE DETERMINED TO PUSH FORWARD? If anything… it’s just showed me how much my work is needed. TAKE US THROUGH A DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLY PIKE… Well everyday is incredibly different! Usually every day will involve me doodling or sketching a new character into my notebook or iPad. I always carry a notebook with me so I can write down any story/video ideas that might abruptly come to me. Sometimes I’ll be writing or even shooting a new video in our home studio. Then I’ll typically start right away editing it together. I get very carried away when I’m editing and sometimes forget to eat and sleep as I’m so excited about completing it! Almost every day I’m speaking with a new contact online, someone who has heard about our videos who just wants to say thank you for making them, or sometimes it’s a bit more of an exciting meeting which can lead to future projects/collaborations. A lot of the time I’m going through book orders and contacting the shipping department (my mum) who very kindly packages them up and sends them out.

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CHARLIE HIDES INTERVIEW__ CHARLIE HIDES

“I’m afraid if I stop moving I might die, or my parole officer might find me. Either is highly likely.”

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INTERVIEW__ CHARLIE HIDES CHARLIE, IT’S BEEN A WHILE, AND, OH HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED! HOW ARE YOU? I’m fantabulous darling! At present I’m living my dream, so things couldn’t be better. YOU’RE CURRENTLY TOURING BETWEEN AIRINGS, IS THAT RIGHT? ANY UK APPEARANCES PLANNED, AS IT IS YOUR SECOND LOVING HOME AFTER ALL: For the past three weeks, I’ve been touring in the USA but for the next fortnight I’m this side of the pond, today I’m in Dublin, tomorrow Cardiff, Friday the Vauxhall Tavern in London, Saturday Birmingham and Sunday Leeds. I’m afraid if I stop moving I might die, or my parole officer might find me. Either is highly likely. DRAG RACE SOUNDS LIKE IT COULD BE JUST THAT; A DRAG! JUST HOW DIFFICULT IS IT? It looks a lot easier from the comfort of your sofa. It was grueling at times but a lot of fun. Getting to hang out with people who are as passionate about this art form as I am made up for the LONG days, crappy food and very little sleep. IF YOU HAD TO, WITHOUT SPOILERS OF COURSE, CAN YOU SUM IT UP IN THREE WORDS FOR US? Exhausting, exhilarating, transformative. YOU’VE HAD RESPONSES FROM CHER, LANA DEL REY AND NOW LADY GAGA, WHO, AS YOU’VE TOLD US ON YOUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ABOUT EPISODE ONE, SHARED REAL LOVE FOR YOU. WHO’S SOMEONE ELSE YOU’D

REALLY LOVE TO HEAR FROM? Cleopatra, she stole my eye liner tips and we fell out over a boyfriend. I miss her. YOU PLAY CHAMELEON A LOT ON YOUR YOUTUBE. WHEN YOU’RE NOT IMPERSONATING DIVAS, WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOUR DRAG AS THE PERFORMER CHARLIE HIDES? Fashion, current events, the zeitgeist, my navel. SPEAKING OF CHAMELEONS AND CHARACTERS, ARE WE GOING TO MEET ANYONE NEW SOON? I’m enjoying focusing on myself right now, as an impersonator you can only ever hope to be a second rate somebody else. I have the potential to be the best me. I’m enjoying performing my own standup comedy these days and speaking to my audience without the filter of a diva impression. OH AND THERE’S THAT “O” WORD, AND NOT THE ONE WE ALL ENJOY. “OLD” WERE YOU INTIMIDATED TO SET THAT AGE RECORD ON DRAG RACE? Not at all, one of the joys and luxuries of growing older is that fewer things intimidate me. Aging is a privilege that was not afforded to most of the friends I had in my 20’s. Remember, I survived an epidemic which decimated my peer group. After buying almost everyone in my address book, very little scares me. I’m PROUD to be representing seasoned queens from big cities and small towns all over the world. SPEAKING OF...OTHER...LONG TIMES, YOU’VE BEEN WITH YOUR PARTNER FOR HOW MANY YEARS NOW? James and I celebrated our twentieth anniversary in December. He’s my best friend, creative partner, harshest critic and biggest fan. He’s also the funniest person I have ever met. AND YOU MARRIED HIM FOR THE CHANCE TO STEAL MADONNA’S ACCENT? WE KID, WE KID. OUR 2017 WEDDING DIRECTORY IS COMING OUT SOON - WOULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURS AND IF YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR THE LGBTQ+ PERSONS WHO ARE PLANNING THEIR OWN? Don’t feel the need to follow “rules,” make the celebration your own. We got married in Provincetown, Massachusetts on Labor Day week-end, 2004. It was informal, on a dock in the middle of a lily pond in a beech forest and was attended by a small group of our closest friends and family. Afterwards we had a barbecue. Later that night James performed on stage with Eartha Kitt at the Town Hall and at the end of the show she congratulated us on our wedding. It was a perfect, special day of our own design and we didn’t feel the need to mimic traditional weddings. But if you want to go all traditional, don’t listen to a word I’ve said.

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INTERVIEW__ JAIMIE WILSON

JAIMIE

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INTERVIEW__ JAIMIE WILSON

COMING OUT AS A TRANS TEENAGER ISN’T EASY FOR ANYONE, THROW INTO THE MIX THAT YOU’VE BEEN RAISED ON A FARM WITH A FAMILY WHO’S DAILY LIFE IS INFLUIENCED BY RELIGION. JAIMIE, WHO HAS DOCUMENTED HIS TRANSITION THROUGH HIS INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT (@ TBOY61915), LEFT HOME WHEN HE DECIDED TO PRESENT AS THE MAN HE ALWAY WAS. SINCE THEN THIS 21 YEAR OLD HAS CARVED A SUCCESSFUL CAREER, STARTING IN COUNTRY MUSIC HE’S NOW LIVING IN FLORIDA PURSUING A DJING CAREER AS WELL ON TOP OF HIS SINGING/SONGWRITING... JAIMIE, I DON’T THINK YOU COULD HAVE GROWN UP IN A MORE MASCULINE ENVIRONMENT, SURROUNDED BY COUNTRY MUSIC AND WORKING ON THE HOME FARM. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR UPBRINGING AND HOW LIFE WAS. I truly believe that someone’s upbringing does not effect who they are as a person or who they will end up becoming in life. I say this because I was born into a very religious and conservative household. I was taught from a young age exactly how a young woman should talk, walk, and present to the public. Although I was never verbally pressured to be “girly” I was praised when I looked or acted a certain way which resulted in me feeling obligated to make my family proud and play the American girl role. I was taught from a young age that anything LGBTQ+ related was negative and never aloud in my household. I did what I needed to put a smile on my family’s face. Although, as I grew older, I felt like my smile started to fade. I found myself dressing in my brothers old clothes when everyone would leave the house, and tucking my long hair under a hat. It came to the point where I would secretly go shopping and buy men’s clothing just so I could put them on when I was alone. I didn’t ever think I would be able to face my fear and come out as the man I am to my family. I knew what the repercussions were going to be and I decided I would never tell anyone. But on February 4th 2015 I woke up and said “today is the day” and I never looked back. MUSIC WASN’T YOUR FIRST PASSION, YOU ARE AN AWARD-WINNING EQUESTRIAN. WE’VE READ THAT THINGS CHANGED WHEN YOUR MUM HANDED YOU AN OLD GUITAR, IS THAT RIGHT?

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When I was 16 my mom was going to throw away her old guitar, but first offered it to me. I had tried learning guitar many times when I was younger but always gave up. But this time was different than the rest. I gladly accepted the guitar and worked diligently until I was able to create the music I’ve always had inside of me but could never express.

so much support that when I receive hate I just let it go, I think that if someone is going out of their way to hate on me they may be dealing with their own struggles. Because let’s face it, a happy person doesn’t need to put others down. And honestly it just feeds the haters more when you give them attention. It pisses them off when they don’t phase you.

DID YOU FIND MUSIC QUITE THERAPEUTIC AT A TIME WHEN YOUR BODY WAS CHANGING IN A WAY THAT MAYBE YOU DIDN’T WANT IT TO GO?

OBVIOUSLY WITH THE TRANSITIONING PROCESS YOUR VOICE HAS CHANGED, HAS THIS CHANGED THE MUSIC YOU WRITE?

Music quickly became my outlet, a place where I could let my thoughts be heard. It was my escape and when I would play and sing I would forget about my problems in that moment. Looking back now, most of the songs I wrote back before my transition were quite depressing honestly. I can see the dark place I was in and how unhappy I was. I didn’t even realize it at the time but I can see it now. WHEN DID YOU FEEL THE TIME WAS RIGHT TO COME OUT AS TRANS, AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT IT? When I realized that I was “different” I decided I would never come out. It just wasn’t an option for me because I knew how my family would react. It was something I was just going to have to bury deep and deal with. But I woke up one morning (Feburary 4, 2015 to be exact) and decided I was done living a lie. A few days earlier I had watched a viral video by Ruby Rose titled “Break Free” and it was like a light bulb went off. I needed to break free. So I called a nearby salon and made the earliest appointment I could. I cut my long flowing locks. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. I just came home that day with short hair and dressed in men’s clothing. HOW WAS THE REACTION FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS? My mom and dad did not react well. There was a lot of crying and confusion. A lot of ridicule. They made it impossible for me to stay with them. Still in high school I was forced to move out and fend for myself. One of my brothers initially was supportive but his opinion changed shortly after I came out. My family (mom, dad and brothers) have progressively just gotten worse about my transition and we no longer have a relationship. YOU’VE DOCUMENTED YOUR TRANSITION ON YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT, HAS THE FEEDBACK FROM THE PUBLIC BEEN MAINLY POSITIVE, AND HOW’VE YOU DEALT WITH ANY HATERS? I would say that most of the feedback on my Instagram account has been positive! It bothered me when I first started my transition but now I receive

I still enjoy writing country songs and pop songs. The style hasn’t changed, just the deeper voice. THE COUNTRY MUSIC SCENE ISN’T WELL KNOWN FOR ITS INCLUSIVENESS, HOW HAVE YOU FOUND IT? So far I have had both positive and negative feedback from the country music scene. I actually had a music account on instagram where I would post singing videos and photos but never let on that I was transgender. A talent agency reached out to me and wanted to work with me and get me into the country music scene but when I told them I was transgender they tried to persuade me to conform to a different genre other than country. I think that it’s uncharted territory, and I’m excited to break new ground! TELL US ABOUT THE MUSIC YOU’RE WORKING ON AT THE MINUTE, WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION AND WHEN CAN WE HEAR IT? I’m currently writing pop, country, and exploring my DJing. My writing mostly comes from my emotions or the things going on around me. I still use music as my outlet, sometimes my songs are sad, sometimes happy it just really depends on where I’m at and what I’m going through that very day. I’m currently booking events and gigs for different gay pride festivals, charity benefits, and at gay bars. I always update and promote my different events on my Instagram page. SO, NOT CONTENT WITH BEING INCREDIBLY HANDSOME, A SUPERB MUSICIAN AND ALL ROUND GOOD GUY, WE HEAR THAT YOU ARE ALSO ACTIVE IN GIVING BACK TO THE TRANS COMMUNITY… I enjoy being active in the trans community! I strongly believe that spreading awareness will also spread acceptance. In the past I’ve done monthly binder giveaways to help fellow brothers in need. I also do other contests to give back to the community. Recently here in the United States a law that once protected transgender youth in schools was revoked. So I’ve created a campaign that fights for their rights and inclusion. I’m honored to have a huge support system and I believe it’s my part to be an advocate. And to be visible for those who cannot be.


INTERVIEW__ ASTON MERRYGOLD INTERVIEW__ JAIMIE WILSON

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INTERVIEW__ LUCY SPRAGGAN

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LUCY

INTERVIEW__ LUCY SPRAGGAN

SPRAGGAN LUCY SPRAGGAN BECAME THE NATIONS SWEETHEART WHEN SHE APPEARED ON THE X FACTOR BACK IN 2012, SINGING HER SELFPENNED SONG LAST NIGHT. QUITTING THE SHOW DUE TO ILLNESS SHE FINISHED IN 9TH PLACE. SINCE THEN THERE HAVE BEEN ALBUMS, TOURS, AND A BEAUTIFUL WEDDING TO HER NOW WIFE GEORGINA. LUCY CATCHES UP WITH GNI MAG AHEAD OF HER PERFORMANCE AT KREMLIN BELFAST IN MAY.

LUCY, 2017 HAS BEEN A GOOD YEAR FOR YOU SO FAR, TELL US ABOUT IT… Well, I released my 4th album in January and spent the whole of March on tour throughout Europe and the UK, so it’s been a mad one so far. I feel super lucky to be able to do this and love every minute of touring. THE PHOTOS WE’VE ALL SEEN OF YOUR WEDDING LOOK BEAUTIFUL. WHERE’D YOU MEET GEROGINA, WHO DONE THE PROPOSING, AND WHICH ONE OF YOU TURNED INTO BRIDEZILLA IN THE LEAD UP TO THE WEDDING? We met in a bar in Clapham. G had been living in Thailand so she hadn’t seen the X Factor stuff. I genuinely think it was love at first sight *pukes*, which is mad because I never believed in it. I proposed to her, on a boat on the Thames under Albert Bridge – just round the corner from where we met. I was super chilled about the wedding all the way up to the day but as soon as we got to the venue I couldn’t stop crying. G was the other way around; she was AWFUL on the run up and got so, so stressed about the day. On the day she was super composed and it all went so well. Weddings are stressful, man. AND I’M SURE WE AREN’T THE FIRST TO ASK, MARRIAGE HAPPENS AND THEN WE WAIT FOR THE PATTER OF TINY FEET… That is totally how it goes! It’s all in the not so distant future. I hope! RIGHT FROM THE START, YOU’VE NEVER HIDDEN YOUR SEXUALITY. WAS THERE EVER ANY PRESSURE FROM WITHIN THE INDUSTRY TO BE SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT? Not at all. My Mum had written an article about having a gay kid which was published in the Guardian a couple of years before I went on the show. So, in essence I was kind of outed anyway! But, no, there was never any pressure and I never considered being anyone other than myself. YOU’RE AN INSPIRATION TO YOUNG GAY GIRLS (AND GUYS), GROWING UP AND LISTENING TO YOU EXPRESS THE NORMALITY

OF YOUR LIFE THROUGH YOUR SONGS. THERE’S A DEFINITE SHIFT IN OPINIONS TOWARDS THE PERCEPTION OF LGBT LIFE FROM THE WORLD AROUND US, WHICH ON THE WHOLE IS A GOOD THING. WHO WAS YOUR INSPIRATION GROWING UP, AND IS YOUR LIFE HOW YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE? My Mum was always very inspiring when I was growing up. She was always trying to better our lives despite not having much to give materially. She was a single parent and did a degree while we were quite young; I think that’s pretty cool. She always taught us that we could do anything, so that’s what I still believe. She would take us to pride events every year and had a massively diverse group of friends; I never really came out to my family, it was just a fact. I’m very happy with my life. Who knows what I thought it was gonna be like, but I’ll settle for this one! WE ARE PURE LOVING YOUR NEW ALBUM “I HOPE YOU DON’T MIND ME WRITING”, AND A PERSONAL FAVOURITE IS “FREDDOS AREN’T 10P”; A BEAUTIFUL REFLECTION BACK TO WHEN THINGS WERE SIMPLER. BUT THAT ASIDE, DO YOU THINK FREDDO HAS A MORTGAGE AND TWO KIDS NOW AND THAT’S WHY HE’S STINGING US FOR 25P THESE DAYS? BUT SERIOUSLY, YOUR ALBUM IS A TREAT ON THE EARS, WHAT WERE YOUR INSPIRATIONS THIS TIME AROUND? I used everyday life for this album, I wanted to observe what is going on in my world and see if other people feel the same. I wanted to make this album something to really think about, so I covered mental health, dementia and the all important Freddo scandal. SO WHAT DOES THE REST OF THIS YEAR HOLD FOR YOU? We have another big tour coming up in Sept/Oct (soon to be announced) and some massive festivals! I’ve started writing album no. 5 and I think we’re going to be going back to Germany for a few shows at the end of year. I just intend to work my arse off!

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INTERVIEW__ PATRICK CASH

From the comfort of the closet to a drag queen at a job centre, Queers explores how far LGBTQ people have come in the fight against prejudice. Writer Patrick Cash (The HIV Monologues) and director Peter Darney (5 Guys Chillin’) are bringing Queers to Dublin, an exhilarating play about LGBTQ empowerment in 2017. Ahead of they play at the Players Theatre in Dublin in May, Patrick talked to GNI MAG about the play… SO PATRICK, HOW WAS IT WRITING THIS PLAY FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS OF THE HIV MONOLOGUES? Queers was actually written before The HIV Monologues, but I’ve heavily revised the script for Dublin. We’ve moved away from monologue format, and it’s been exciting to work with Peter (Darney) in dynamising the stories. It’s very funny, but also a play about fighting prejudice, which I think we’ll all understand still in 2017. I wanted to write a piece celebrating the strength of LGBTQ people who have grown up feeling a bit queer from the mainstream. THE PLAY CENTRES AROUND SIX CHARACTERS LINKED THROUGH THE EVENTS

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OF ONE SUMMERS NIGHT, TELL US ABOUT THE CHARACTERS AND WHAT PEOPLE CAN EXPECT… Larry is 25, on a real straight stag-do looking out for the ‘laydeez’... And perhaps a lad. Trashbag Trish is a tawdry drag queen, returning to her rural after her Irish father’s death. Carol is a schoolteacher during the time of Section 28. Young Soho barman Danny is being bored by drunk Old Tom, before he listens to a story of queer liberation. Rob’s a gay Muslim snorting meph at work. And Sapphire dares to be black and trans on the streets of Dalston IS THERE A CHARACTER IN THERE THAT’S MOST LIKE YOU, WHICH ONE AND WHY? I think possibly the Larry character is most personal to me. I grew up quite repressed, from an Irish Catholic family and went to a patriarchal school. I adopted a masculine persona to fit in and not get bullied. It was only in my late teens that I found the right friendship group to come out about my sexuality, and I didn’t actually tell my parents until I was 23. So Larry explores, in a humorous but poignant way, what might have happened if I’d gone on hiding myself. DO YOU THINK MOST PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE WILL BE ABLE TO RELATE TO ONE OF THE CHARACTERS? I hope so! That’s why I wrote the play, to reflect different areas of the LGBTQ experience. Of course, they’re fictional people. I don’t expect the trans character, for instance, to be archetypal of all trans feminine people’s experience but I researched the piece and consulted a respected trans woman in London, on making sure I got her story right. Likewise, I wanted to make sure there’s that element of emotional truth in all the stories, to connect with audiences. AS THE WRITER, OBVIOUSLY YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THE WHOLE PLAY, BUT IF YOU HAD TO PICK A STAND OUT SCENE WHAT WOULD IT BE? There’s a scene where Trashbag Trish goes to her rural home town’s job centre in full drag regalia. The

microaggressions she endures from her assessor will be familiar to many people. But Trish didn’t go through three years of musical theatre training for nothing, and the way she responds is quite magnificent and, I hope, empowering to anybody who’s felt oppressed. THEATRE OFTEN LEAVES AUDIENCE MEMBERS WITH MIXED EMOTIONS, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE TO FEEL AFTER WATCHING QUEERS? A stronger sense of connected community. Sometimes the LGBTQ community seems fractured rather than united and there are many debates of whether there is a LGBTQ community at all. I started off my theatre writing as part of the Arcola Queer Collective, adapting A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the stories shared in our development process confirmed that whether L, G, B, T or Q, we have so much common experience. That’s what makes a strong community. THE NAME ITSELF IS QUITE PROVOCATIVE, IT’S ONE OF THOSE WORDS THAT IS ASSUMED OK TO USE WITHIN OUR OWN COMMUNITY BUT FROWNED UPON WHEN USED BY THOSE OUTSIDE OF IT. WAS THE PLAY ALWAYS CALLED QUEERS OR HAS IT EVOLVED INTO THAT? The title Queers was chosen for the play’s first run at the King’s Head Theatre, Autumn 2015. Before that the play was represented in shorter form under other titles. However, as the work had developed to become a more kaleidoscopic representation of LGBTQ experience, we felt we needed an all-encompassing name. I’m also interested in the reclamation of language by communities: taking back a word used to insult us, and presenting it visibly without fear. THANKS FOR CHATTING TO US, TELL OUR READERS WHEN AND WHERE THEY CAN SEE QUEERS… We run from 8th - 13th May at 9pm (Sat matinee 4pm) at the Player’s Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin. Tickets are 15 euros, 13 euro concessions, and can be booked at www.gaytheatre.ie


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DANIEL’S STORY:

CHANGING YOUR BODY SHAPE TAKES DETERMINATION PAGE 49

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FITNESS ISSUE


THE FITNESS ISSUE__ RAY QUINN

Ray Quinn The cheeky wee child actor from Brookside back in the day grew up and went on to surprise us all in the X Factor finishing second place to Leona Lewis, and then winning Dancing on Ice. Ray has carved out a hugely successful career treading the boards and has starred in Sleeping Beauty, Dirty Dancing, Legally Blonde, and is currently touring with The Wedding Singer. Performing daily takes a lot of endurance, something Ray is no stranger too. Keeping his body in shape and his mind focussed is essential, here he tells us how he fits it all in... 44 | GNIMAG.COM

Ray, it must have been a bit of a whirlwind being a child star in one of the most controversial soaps on British TV at the time. Like all children you carried a bit of “puppy fat”, did being on screen in front of millions make you more aware of this? Hahah no, I was eight when I got the job! I didn’t care at all.. as long as I had my PlayStation games and a bag of Pringles!! By the time you were back on our screens in X Factor, you’d matured to a young man. At the time did you have any fitness or eating regime that you embarked on to help you through the shows gruelling schedule? Not on X Factor no. I was still only 18 and I didn’t care much for fitness then either. It was only really the last few years I’ve gotten into it. Tell us what your relationship with food and exercise was like back then... My relationship with food back then was eat when your hungry. Whatever I could get my hands on, I lived for Dominos and a good takeaway! Watching what I ate didn’t seem to be an issue to me back then..I left college to do X Factor so I was pretty much doing the same food thing as I was dancing all the time burning it off. I didn’t realise once you stopped dancing or exercising the weight would pile on! Fast forward to 2016, all of a sudden you appeared with the body of a GOD. What was your trigger to begin on your fitness journey? I guess I needed a focus, and once I’d started I couldn’t stop. It was an addiction for me at one point. You can really get obsessed. But it helped focus my mind and even with work, I had a more positive vibes all round. What were your first steps? Joining a gym and asking about. Sponging information to tailor my own regime that fitted me. How long was it before you noticed visible results, and did this spur you on to keep going? After about 6-8 months really of trying different avenues of fitness, then once you had some sort of shape, it was just a case of keeping on top of it really. I never set out to be the next body builder! Which product was your “lifesaver” in those early days? I never really had one. I tried many of these processed protein products but I

believe now just a healthy food intake and good workout plans maintain a decent physique. What did your routine become with regards to food and exercise? Just eating small portions, but eating regularly. Mixing your protein with good carbs and good essential fats as well. And when it comes to exercise, just at least 40 minutes a day will do, and give yourself a day off. Do you still follow this routine or has that become difficult because of your work? I try my best with being on tour, but yes, it’s more difficult sticking to a routine. I try to accommodate myself to whatever the situation. For example I won’t eat cakes and not go the gym! They say, healthy body, healthy mind, do you find this true? Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more What is your favourite “bad food” and do you let yourself have it? Can’t beat a good roast dinner and loads of gravy.. all the trimmings.. and a few cold ones on a Sunday at ya local!! Is there a lot of pressure on you now to keep your body in shape? Only on myself.. I keep the pressure on as I like to feel good and look good especially in the industry I work in. It’s one of the things (in some cases) that can be the difference of you getting a job or not. What would you say has been your “push” on days when you feel you just can’t motivate yourself to get to the gym? I dunno really, but I guess I’d feel guilty if I didn’t go, so the thought of seeing your body decrease and change over time after all your hard work. You’d have wasted your time if you didn’t continue what you started. What advice would you give to someone who’s wanting to make the change with their body but are stuck in a cycle of fad diets and half arsed after work jogs? It depends on the individual. If you have a get up and go mind-set you can achieve what you want. If you work hard enough and believe it will happen, it will! But some people need to be pushed by others to help assist there mind set, everyone is different. So whatever you think will work for you. Go with that and stick that plan.


THE FITNESS ISSUE__ RAY QUINN

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THE FITNESS ISSUE__ GADGETS

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THE FITNESS ISSUE__ DANIEL’S Story

TRANSFORMATION GNI’S OWN DANIEL MAY WENT TO DEDICATED FITNESS TO WORK ON GETTING INTO TOP SHAPE. ALTHOUGH ALWAYS SOMEWHAT ACTIVE, HE HAD NEVER PUT MUCH FOCUS TO GETTING INTO PHYSICALLY GOOD SHAPE.

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THE FITNESS ISSUE__ DANIEL’S STORY

FoOD!!! HERE ARE THE BASIC BONES OF WHAT I HAD TO REMEMBER... NO Bread, NO white carbs, NO Sweets, NO Chocolate except dark only a piece or two, NO Crisps, NO processed meats, Only milk to drink is skimmed. Protein with every meal - chicken, eggs, salmon, tuna, steak, lean mince or red meat, and protein shakes. Carb choices - vegetables, brown rice (whole grain), brown pasta (whole grain), sweet potatoes, porridge oats, broccoli, asparagus, rice cakes, and fruit. Eat 5-6 small meals each day every 2/3 hours. Use roughly fist sized portions carbohydrate and palm sized portions of protein in each meal if you are unable to weigh grams. Eat “healthy” fat in your diet (fats found in fish, olive oil etc -non-saturated). Saturated fats turn solid at room temperature, healthy fats stay oily. Chose unprocessed foods (i.e if it didn’t exist 10,000 years ago in roughly its current form, don’t eat it) Don’t become obsessed and pedantic about precise ratios of macronutrients, counting grams etc.

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WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I used to have some issues with weight, at my heaviest I weighed around 13 stone 2lbs. I know for some people this isn’t much but I am only 5’7 so for me puts me in the obese range when based on BMI. Around 8 years ago things changed, I made a conscious choice to try to lose weight, strangely I found a few minor tweaks made a big difference and I quickly went down to around 10 stone. Over the last few years my weight has fluctuated between 10 & 11 stone and most likely due to age. Being and ole boy of 33 I find was finding it harder to stay in shape. From coming home from holidays last September 16, I literally done no exercise until February 17 when I decided enough was enough, I needed to get my ass in gear, I was rehearsing for All Shook Up a comedy musical and I was playing the lead role Chad, I wanted to look and feel the part. Previously I would do my own thing if/when I got to the gym which always consisted of 90% cardio it always worked for me and kept me lean though this time I really wanted to tone up, here is where Dedicated Fitness came in, for a few weeks I had been seeing people’s results pictures online who had done transformations, they always seemed too good to be true so I usually scrolled on past posts and done nothing, though this one day I was feeling particularly motived so I bit the bullet, messaged an instructor and within a few days I was in for a meeting with the Manager and signed up from one of their transformation programs. With my show looming we agreed to a 6 week course which would conclude with a professional photo shoot. Initially the idea was toyed with that I would work with various personal trainers then it was decided that I would work with Paddy Mc Vicker one of the PT’s 1on1. At this stage I had

honestly no idea what was in store, though I knew things would really have to change to get results. The Programme would consist of 4 morning workouts per week and a food plan to follow; I optimistically thought wee buns how hard could this be, how wrong was I! 80% of body transformation results are related to food, this is not a fact well known. Up to this point I had always eaten pretty good, 5-7 portions of veg throughout the day, soups/ salads for lunch and typical dinners of meat and veg, occasionally I enjoyed the odd cheat The real education for me came along with my new diet. I didn’t think about the difference between protein and carbohydrate; I used to look at the amount of calories in things and try and count, this is so wrong as something may be 100 calories and have 60grams of carbs. I’d be work at 8.30am, then I’d have a breakfast at 10am and then a snack of fruit at 11am, looking back it makes real sense that breakfast is the most important meal of the day if you don’t kick start your body it doesn’t burn it stores fat. You don’t need to over indulge, stay away from the fry’s, bread and cereals and have eggs and/or porridge

THE FITNESS Having a PT really made all the difference, I had no previous knowledge of what exercises I should be doing, what techniques to use or not in most instances, training with Paddy McVicker was intensive, tough, but good fun, each session we would

BEFOR


RE

THE FITNESS ISSUE__ DANIEL’S STORY focus on a different area of the body, legs, back/chest and arms, then the last session each week would be conditioning or interval training. I loved the workouts most days, legs I always found tougher than the rest, most likely because the muscles are so big and in normal day to day life we don’t use them for more than walking. Training intensified as the weeks progressed, e.g when I began I would struggle doing 20-25 minutes, weight were around 25kg, I now comfortably do 45 minutes of strength work and lift more than double what I could have. Another thing Paddy taught me is the importance of cardio pre/post workout, interval sprints are really important and get your metabolism going, 15/20 minutes – 30 second sprints and 15 second rest, so simple and you feel great after. Food and fitness is like a jig-saw you need to piece everything together to make it work, adding in core work at home was another great tip I got from Paddy. Each morning and night spend a

few minutes doing core work, press ups, squats, sit ups and plank, start out with 10 of each, and add on a few every day, when I finished my 6 weeks I was up to 60.

My Confession Chocolate and sweet things are my weakness, at least 3 times a week after rehearsals I had chocolate and tea (sometimes it was 2 bars or more - don’t tell Paddy).

CONCLUSION I have had a week off after my show though, have done no exercise and pigged out all week on meals out and frys, but mostly chocolate - it truly is my demon. When I get the taste for it the cupboards get emptied. From Monday I intend to hit the ground running, my new goal

is my holiday in 6 weeks. I will never be as regimental in regards to food, though I will stick to the things I really like and now know are good for you. More Fish, less carbs, always eat a decent breakfast and try to exercise 30 minutes each day, and remember allow yourself a weekly day off to indulge on food, or maybe a blow out once a week with pizza, Chinese or Indian. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in. To anyone thinking of changing their own lifestyle, my advice is simple: Don’t be afraid of the challenge. The hardest bit is the first couple of weeks. Then it keeps getting better... Thanks to Paddy mcVicker, Dediticated Fitness for great trainning and support and to Martin Irvine photography for the professional shoot after my transformation Contact dedicated fitness and Martin Irvine via there facebook page

THIS IS DANIEL’S STORY. BEFORE EMBARKING ON ANY FITNESS/DIET CHANGE YOU SHOULD CHECK WITH YOUR GP TO MAKE SURE IT IS SAFE FOR YOU AND YOUR PARTICULAR REQUIREMENTS/BODY TYPE.

MENU... THIS IS A SAMPLE OF MY FOOD FOR ONE DAY... Breakfast – 4 Egg whites, 2 yolks 11am – Chicken & Sweet Potato Lunch – Cod and Asparagus 3pm – Chicken & Broccoli Diner – Salmon & Sweet Potato Supper – Steak and Egg The Diet is strict though can be tailored to suit you, its not necessary to stop your daily routine. Oh and don’t forget it is a 6 day food programme then CHEAT DAY - did someone say Chinese !

AFTER

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r u o It’s Birthday


THE FITNESS ISSUE__ MASSAGE

Photo Credit: www.123rf.com/profile_aleksandrgudenko

Hands on... You’ve done the exercise and you’re feeling it with stiff muscle pain, Chris talks us through deep tissue massage. DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE Deep tissue is a type of massage therapy used to treat chronic tension and injuries from muscle overuse and mis-use. No euphemisms you lot, this is important. Whilst some of the strokes (I mean it, behave!) are the same as in classic Swedish massage, the pace tends to be slower and pressure is applied in concentrated problem areas. This works to realign the different layers of tissue, treating the tendons, ligaments and fascia (the protective layer of tissues which surrounds the bones, joints and muscles) as well as the muscles in order to release tension and provide pain relief. IS IT FOR ME? For those who threw away those New Year’s resolutions with the baby, the bath water, and the body goals in favour of the Bacardi, in a word, no. But, if like us, you’re fearing the impending Beach Body season and ready to hit the gym again, or on a much less flippant note, you’re suffering chronic pain issues, keep reading; Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as chronic pain conditions and injury rehabilitation, but the list of conditions that can be effectively treated is extensive and includes: whiplash and repetitive strain, postural problems and sciatica, recovery from falls and muscle tension or spasm in the lower and upper back to name but a few. Furthermore, the benefits aren’t just muscle and pain-related - deep tissue massage treatment can lower blood pressure,

heart rate, and, stress hormone levels – that nasty cortisol that we hear about and all suffer from. Massage is therefore as good for the mind as it is the body, boosting mood and helping you relax. (This is your last warning!) DOES IT HURT? Well this all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it. A good rubdown and you’ll be up and at it again like you’ve lost ten years of partying and deadlines. You’re no doubt wondering if there’s a catch. Does deep tissue massage hurt? Is the gain worth the pain? At certain points in the treatment most people do experience some discomfort. That’s to be expected when the pressure is deep and directed to painful or injured areas. Scar tissue is being loosed and muscles lengthened, knots are being undone and sub-layers of muscle moved back into the right place. Trust us when we say, you can deal with it for the outcome. If you need some tips, we suggest taking a deep breath when especially tense areas are tackled to be helpful; in until your lungs and diaphragm fully expand, and out until you’re having flashbacks to the sauna that day they set it too high. Seriously, continue to monitor your breathing while your massage therapist works, and your overall experience will be more effective and simultaneously relaxed. Further to breathing, note that it is important to tell your massage therapist which areas are painful and if the soreness becomes too much

as they can easily dial it down. Finally, don’t just pack it in after one treatment when you’re feeling like a new born babe – there are real benefits in having multiple treatments and giving your body a chance to adjust properly and recondition itself better than it could with sporadic treatments. Before long you’ll wonder how you ever coped without it (you can thank us later). ABOUT CHRIS “I trained with the Belfast Institute and I always continue to further develop and enhance my treatment skills to create a totally different massage routine for each client. I like to incorporate a mixture of Swedish, Deep Tissue and Thai massage movements into each client’s treatment so as to really get to the heart of the issue and make sure you leave the session feeling refreshed, re-energised and totally relaxed. If you are suffering pain or discomfort due to a hectic work life, been over doing it in the gym or sitting at a computer all day then drop me a message and we can get to work on getting that pain sorted. Anyone can benefit from the range of massage therapies that I have trained in, so I am able to offer you an individual treatment tailor made for your specific needs.”

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‘Perfect in just about every way’  THE TIMES


ADRIAN+SHANE:

WE CATCH UP WITH THIS ARTISTIC IRISH DUO PAGE 64

REAL MAN:

SAMUEL POSES IN HIS PANTS & TALKS ABOUT HIS LOVE FOR HARIBO. PAGE 75

TRAVEL:

TEAM GNI TOOK A TRIP TO GLASGOW, ACK AYE THE NOOOO. PAGE 80

LIFE & STYLE GNI MAG | 35

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CRUMLIN ROAD 838-840 Crumlin Road Tel: 028 90714477 BALLYSILLAN 254 Ballysillan Road Tel: 028 90714444

LIVE MUSIC 6 NIGHTS A WEEK 16 DIFFERENT BEERS ON DRAUGHT LUNCHES SERVED: Monday - Saturday, 12pm - 3pm MONTHLY ART EXHIBITIONS Located in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, The John Hewitt first opened its doors in December 1999. The bar is unique in its ownership as it is owned by The Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. The Resource Centre’s managers had always relied on various grants to fund its work, when in the mid-nineties, they came up with the idea of generating some of their own funds by going into business... And why not a pub! John Hewitt, the late poet, socialist and Freeman of Belfast officially opened the Resource Centre on Mayday 1983, hence the name of the bar.

Queen’s Café Bar

Queens Arcade Belfast BT15FF

Meal Deal for 2 Food Served

BRADBURY 46 Bradbury Place Tel: 028 90222444

Porterhouse Steaks 22Porterhouse Steaks with sides with sauce sauce and and sides Includes a bottle Includes a bottle of of redor or white red white £29.95 for 2 for 2 £29.95 Thurs - Sat from Thurs– Sat from 5.00pm 5.00pm

CASTLEREAGH STREET 94 Castlereagh Street Tel: 028 90451989 DUNDONALD 1003 Upper N/ards Road Tel: 028 90483240 LISBURN 46 Longstone Street Tel: 028 92634444 DONAGHADEE 55-57 High Street Tel: 028 91882572 NORTHCOTT 106 Ballyclare Road, G/gormley Tel: 028 90838899 BALLYMENA 38 Broughshane Street Tel: 028 25652144

Secure a sparkling smile 51 Donegall Street, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast 028 90233768

Food Served Food Served

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MEET THE ARTIST__ ADRIAN+SHANE

ADRIAN+SHANE WHAT SORT OF ART DO YOU CREATE?

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST CREATING?

Over the years, the type of work we make has changed. We started off using collage and acrylic paint on paper. Then we moved on to stencilling and spray paints on canvas. A bit of street art. After that we got into photographic self-portraits. Currently we’ve been mostly concentrating on screen printing on paper. Many people have described our work as ‘pop art’ and we’re happy with that.

We generally enjoy the creative process regardless of what we’re making. Both of us together in the studio, screen printing for hours can be blissful. It’s also incredibly satisfying to see our finished artwork hanging in a gallery.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO THIS, WAS IT A JOURNEY THROUGH DIFFERENT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?

MEET THE ARTIST

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Shane was studying at the Glasgow School Of Art and I was living in Ireland when we met. One cold February weekend, I flew to Glasgow to visit him and we got VERY drunk on vodka and began painting. We didn’t discuss what we were doing, we just raised the volume on the stereo and did it. Over that weekend we made 10 artworks (painting, drawing, collage) in a pad. Those works have never been exhibited, in fact very few people have seen them at all. A year later we had our first Adrian+Shane exhibition at the Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda. It ran for a month in the summer of 1999 and was one of the most successful shows the gallery has ever done. Since then we have exhibited in galleries throughout Europe and America. We never planned on becoming an art duo, it just kind of happened.

WHAT HAVE YOU LINED UP IN THE FUTURE? As soon as we’re finished this interview we’re gonna start working on a new screen print. We recently made some new work that will be exhibited at the Solomon Gallery (Dublin) in April for The Jack and Jill Foundation. And we’re currently putting together a collection of paintings for a major new Adrian+Shane exhibition happening in Barcelona in August. More details on that soon. Follow us on Facebook, twitter, instagram to keep up to date with everything we’re doing. CONTACT LINKS ... Website: http://www.adrianandshane.com Shop: http://adrianandshane.bigcartel.com FB: http://www.facebook.com/ adrianandshaneART TW: http://www.twitter.com/adrianandshane IG: http://instagram.com/adrianandshane


MEET THE ARTIST__ ADRIAN+SHANE

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Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER: XT23768 PIPS Charity delivers Suicide Prevention and Bereavement Support Services, Counselling and Therapies across Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland.

PIPS offer a range of high quality services which include: Counselling & Alternative Therapies Crisis Suppor t Befriending OCN Accredited Training Outreach counselling for over 65’s Family suppor t group PIPS OPENING HOURS Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 9am-9pm Tuesday & Thursday: 9am-5pm | Saturday & Sunday: 2pm-6pm IF YOU WOULD LIKE ANY FURTHER INFORMATION ON OUR SERVICE PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US AT: PIPS Char i t y, 281 Antr im Road, B elfas t BT15 2HE Tel: 02890805850 | Freephone: 080 0 088 6042 w w w.pipschar i t y.com | Email: info@pipschar i t y.com

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LIFESTYLE__ GROOMING

WOODY’S BEARD OIL 30ML WWW.BOOTS.COM £5.99

Beardy boy. Love them or hate them, beards are still here. DEPENDING ON WHO YOU LISTEN to or where you read it, beards are either the best thing since sliced bread, or they are so last season. So, quit listening to everyone else; if you have a beard and you like it then keep it, if you don’t - then don’t. For those of you that do have a bit of a furry face, either stubble or beardy, here are a few tips on keeping it looking and feeling fabulous...

Buzzzzzzz If your beard or stubble is a long term look then you really should invest in a good trimmer. These will vary in price from under twenty quid to as much as you really want to spend. The more expensive ones might have digital displays for the height of the grill etc, so really it’s horses for courses.

In the beginning

Train it Regular grooming will help train your beard into the shape you want. Use a comb or beard brush to help those stubborn stick out hairs learn where to go.

If this is your first foray into growing a beard you’ll need to be patient. It can take around 4-6 weeks of no shaving or trimming to get your beard to a good length so that it’s ready for shaping. Keep it clean Nobody want’s to see the remnants of your lunch in your beard so keep that beauty fresh and clean. Trapped food and skin cells can make your beard feel itchy, give it a good scrub a couple of times a week with a good beard scrub, and be careful when drying - scrub too hard with the towel and you’ll have split ends (yes, that’s actually true).

Lube it up Beard oil is another thing you really should have on your bathroom shelf. There are literally thousands of options on them, try a few before settling, or even have a few to choose from. The oil will tame your beard, condition it, leave it with a nice shine and smelling lovely.

TREVOR SORBIE STAY SHARP 5 IN 1 BEARD AND GROOMING KIT WWW.ARGOS.CO.UK £39.99

MURDOCK BEARD BRUSH WWW.MURDOCKLONDON.COM £12.00

Enjoy the pulling power of the beard!

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SPRIN SEASO STYLE 68 | GNIMAG.COM


NG ON E

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FASHION__ SPRING SEASON STYLE

REMUS UOMO SS17 AVAILABLE FROM JR MCMAHON, LURGAN & ARMAGH AND STOCKISTS NATIONWIDE SHORT SLEEVE TROPICAL PRINT SHIRT WITH CUBAN COLLAR £55.00 70 | GNIMAG.COM


FASHION__ SPRING SEASON STYLE

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FASHION__ SPRING SEASON STYLE

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FASHION__ SPRING SEASON STYLE

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LIFESTYLE__ FITNESS

Seven ways to get that beach body rockin’... Summer is just around the corner, before you know it your social media will be filled with sausage legs. SUMMER IS JUST AROUND THE corner. The

change in season means that — along with thinking about vacation plans, picnics, family outings and

a week, incorporate a great class like Zumba or

Insanity to allow for faster, more apparent results.

without the harsh effects of traditional plastic

surgery, making your beach body a reality quickly, without effort.

other fun — you’re probably dreading pulling the

3 - TRY A CLEANSE

cold of winter can keep you from staying in the

nothing dramatic – can help to jumpstart weight

Not all workouts are created equally just like no two

for cleanses online that allow you to eat, but work

appeals to one person might not be right for you.

speedo’s or bikini out of storage. It’s normal. The

Sometimes taking part in a cleanse – 1-3 days,

6 - FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE

shape you desire and the holiday eating can add a

loss and toning efforts before hitting the gym. Look

people are created equally. Because of this, what

few extra pounds. Don’t sweat it, your beach body is in there somewhere. Here are seven tips to get you and your body in gear...

to rid your body of unnecessary toxins. You’ll feel

great and be invigorated to start your new regimen.

1 - SET A SCHEDULE

4 - FIND A BUDDY

The best intentions will never get results without

Working out alone can get tiresome. It’s more

daily activities, where could you add in some

Not only will you have someone to share in the

a concrete plan of action. Look over your current exercise? Are you a morning person? Maybe setting a schedule to put in an hour at the gym before work would work. Perhaps scheduling a sweat

session after you get off for the day would be better.

effective to start a new program with a friend.

experience, you’ll have more motivation. It’s easy to cancel a workout or to decide to have a cheat meal on your own, but, if someone else is depending on

you and holding you accountable, you’re more likely

Don’t worry about trends and crazes. Not into

running? Signing up for all the 5ks in the world

probably won’t motivate you to run. Not into group classes? Zumba probably won’t make you get out of bed in the morning.

Find what you like – playing tennis outside,

running, swimming a few laps, going on bike rides or any other activity – and incorporate it into your routine. Look for something you enjoy that raises your heart rate and motivates you to keep going.

to stick it through.

7 - SET A GOAL

see results.

5 - TRY SOMETHING MEDICAL

goal isn’t quantifiable. Do you want to drop a

2 - MIX IT UP

sometimes something more is required for best

Whatever you decide, write it down, hang it up and stick to it. You’ll be glad you did when you start to

Yes, you want to look good for summer, but that

Sometimes solo efforts to get in shape fall flat and

Doing the same thing over and over allows your body to adapt. Instead of running every day, or

spending 30 minutes each day on the cross trainer, mix it up. Add some strength training 2-3 days

results. Techniques like Smartlipo are minimally

invasive, using lasers to target problem areas while removing excess fat through thermal energy.

Techniques like this allow for skin tightening

certain number of pounds? Looking to fit into an

old swim suit? Want to be able to do 5 pull ups? Set a goal, no matter how crazy it sounds, and post it

everywhere. Use it as motivation on days where it’s hard to stick to the routine and push through, no matter what.

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MOLTON BROWNN ULTRALIGHT BAI JI HYDRATOR WWW.MOLTONBROWN.CO.UK £26.00

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LIFESTYLE__ REAL MAN

& I train five times a week, Monday to Friday, rest weekends. My training sessions tend to last between 40/50 minutes and consisting of high volume one week, high intensity the following to keep the body guessing. Summer and Pride season is near so it’s time to knuckle down on the diet. I’ve been using a Paleo diet for the last three months. It’s worked great for me. Consists of high protein meals and plenty of vegetables, plenty of vitamin C and Omega 3 and plenty of water. I’ve lost a stone since then. I’m still guilty of a few cheat meals a week for my own sanity, love Chinese/Indian food, pizza being my favourite. Love haribo.

NAME: SAMUEL MATTHEWS AGE: 34 HEIGHT: 5’ 10” WEIGHT: 12st 7lb

TRIMMED OR NATURAL? Oh, natural . BOXERS/BRIEFS? Briefs DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE GROOMING PRODUCT? Molton Brown Ultra Lite Hydrator WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? Haribo sweets WHAT ONE PRODUCT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? My beard trimmer

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LIFESTYLE__ HOMES

Get those green fingers out. Whether you’ve a window box or a huge plot, with the sun apparently just around the corner, now is the time to get it spruced up...

WILKO HAND PUSH MOWER WWW.WILKO.COM £35.00

V&A WILLIAM MORRIS POTTING GLOVES WWW.INKOO.CO.UK £15.99

MOST OF US AREN’T LUCKY enough to have Jesse Metcalfe to come do our gardens like lucky aul Gabrielle Solice did. So get yer sleeves rolled up and let those green fingers loose. Here we have a few tips for you to keep your bushes in shape... HANDS Apparently hands that do dishes are as soft as your face, this isn’t the fact with gardening. Hands that do gardening are as rough as yer bunions. So hit the pound shop, or go posh and go online and get yourself a pair of good gardening gloves - your nails will thank me for it later. POTS If you’ve only a wee yard, or just a window sill, there’s no excuse for not having it looking like Alan Titchmarsh has done a makeover on it. Think pots, colour, and smells. Pots can be bought as cheeply or as expensively as you like, starting from just a couple of quid, and seasonal plants like pansies for example are dirt cheap too. They will look great in your tiny space and will give it an instant facelift. SOCIAL Your outside space is an extension of your

house so make the most of it. The party doesn’t have to end up in the kitchen when the sun’s out. Get down to the shops and sort yourself out with some outdoor seating and maybe a wee table. Outdoor lighting is cheap as chips these days too, from experience, if it’s just some ambient lighting you are looking for then go for some solar LEDs. To keep the party going into the wee small hours you might want to invest in a firepit or gas patio heater - or raid yer grannies hotpress for some blankets. GRASS No, not the kind ya roll, that lovely green stuff you lie on when the sun’s out. Keep it trimmed, if your patch isn’t that big why not invest in a push mower (non electric or petrol), you’ll not only be keeping the lawn lovely but sure the wee bit of exercise will do you the world of good. RECYCLE We’re all trying to do our bit for the environment around us, so why not use your kitchen food scraps to make your own fertilser. And, when decorating the garden, the most random of objects can be used for planters - fill up those old wellies with compost and top off with a plant or two.

FESTOON OUTDOOR LIGHTS WWW.CONRANSHOP.CO.UK £85.00

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_hannamariah

LA HACIENDA MODA RED FIREPIT WWW.INTERNETGARDENER.CO.UK £71.99

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LIFE & STYLE__ FOOD & DRINK

Souls Restaurant Daniel tries out Souls Restaruant on Belfast’s Dublin Road... DUBLIN ROAD IS LITERALLY A stone’s throw from the City Centre. Lately I had been hearing a bit of buzz about Souls Restaurant, it only opened last year and already has been nominated and shortlisted for an abundance of industry awards for Food, Service and much more. Once you enter the restaurant a warm welcome and décor with art from local artists on display invites you in and immediately makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. The lighting was just right for an intimate evening, which would be perfect for a dating couple, but not so intimate as to be off-putting for a group to enjoy. Downstairs can accommodate around 30 guests and upstairs there is a larger room which could hold 50+, we were given the option of where to sit but we opted to stay downstairs and enjoy the Amboise with the other diners. When seated and browsing the a la carte menu the first thing that caught my attention was the music, I happened to quiz the Manager Maria who explained it was a playlist she pieced together, a mixture of well-known and current chart hits preformed acoustically by lesser known artists, most versions I actually preferred, they made a great talking point. Ok on to the food; the menu had a good selection of starters, from the traditional soup through to sharing platters, with enough variety to suit all tastes. I was out to sample the best and due to recommendation I opted for the Seared Scallops, these were cooked perfectly and served along with Black pudding, carrot purée, watercress, not things I would be brave enough to plate up myself though every mouthful was immense, also the plate itself was a thing of beauty a treat to the eye as much as the pallet. The mains were split between traditional options such as fish, poultry and various steaks, and the Tandoor selection. This separation works really well to clearly identify tastes and styles and made food selection very easy. It also clearly defines the restaurant’s identity as a fusion contemporary dining experience. Another thing that stood out to me was the amount of Glutton free options on the menu, it shows a lot of thought had

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went into each dish to make all guests feel equally catered for. The 10 oz. Dry Aged Sirloin screamed out for me (aged for a whopping 35 days) it was such a tasty piece of meat, on further analysis of the menu I discovered it had been dry aged in Himalayan salt, served with cherry tomato compote, rocket, parmesan, green pepper corn cream. Such a gratifying dish though with a difference from the norm of peas and a tomato, I was impressed. To finish we were presented with the dessert menu, both my guest and I were extremely full by this point though decided to split a dessert between us, the menu had 5/6 different choices including an Irish cheese board which tempted me though thinking about the figure (wink wink) we settled for the Sticky Toffee Pudding, this was so moreish and the portion size was simply perfect to follow a meal. The taste had hints of familiarity and notes of something new being that is was served with orange infused toffee sauce and Glastry Farm vanilla ice-cream. Simply divine. The price of the dishes is around about in line for what you would expect for a 3-course meal, but the food is above what I was expecting. Each meal was prepared with delicate execution and exquisite presentation. The flavours were dynamic and bold, exciting the palette at every mouthful. The restaurant pride themselves is using the best locally sourced products. The service, food and surroundings at Souls was faultless. If you’re looking for somewhere new to try, we couldn’t recommend it more. Whether it be for meeting with family/friends or treating someone special this restaurant will impress on every level. Also, it is worth noting there are set lunch and pre-theatre menu’s available, full details are on their website www.soulsrestaurant.co.uk Thanks again to the Chef, Manager and Servers on a wonderful evening it is clear why your moto is Gratify your soul as ours certainly were. Soul’s Restaurant 89 Dublin Road, Belfast, 028 9508 5917


LIFE & STYLE__ FOOD & DRINK

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TRAVEL__ GLASGOW

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1. Outside the Euro Hostel 2. Tasty pasta dish in in Via Italia 3. The massive hottub in the Pipeworks 4.The Pure Nordic Spa onboard the Stena Superfast ferry 5. Our private living room in our VIP Suite in the Euro Hostel 6. The Stena Superfast VII ferry 7. Downstairs at Polo Lounge 8. Our bedroom in the VIP Suite in Euro Hostel 9. Outside the Pipeworks


TRAVEL__ GLASGOW

HASTE YE BACK

GLASGOW

A milestone birthday seemed the perfect opportunity for Team GNI to take a trip across the Irish Sea and spend a few days with our Scottish neighbours. So our task was to find travel, accommodation, entertainment, food, and fun that would suit us all, and all on a pretty tight budget. We set Gary in the office to work to plan our wee city-break... TRAVEL We decided early on that we all wanted to travel together, with the emphasis on a mini-road trip type get away. Our obvious route to get to Scotland from Northern Ireland was then the Stena Superfast VII ferry. Rolling onto the ferry for the 11:30am sailing we parked the Jeep and took the stairs to the upper decks. Needing food in our bellies we went to the “Taste Restaurant”, the food was reasonably priced and just like it says in the name - tasty. It helped that Grant the crew member serving was easy on the eye in his ship’s uniform <sly wink>. After eating we decided to treat ourself to some time in the onboard “Pure Nordic Spa”. We were not expecting this to be so good, but it was. Cathy at Tailor Made Treatments in the spa was an excellent masseuse, and then the relaxation time spent in the sauna and hot tub was amazing. By the time we’d finished it was pretty much time to disembark the boat in Cairnryan and take the two hour drive to Glasgow. For more information on Stena Line go to www.stenaline.co.uk ACCOMMODATION Arriving in Glasgow we’d booked a VIP Suite in the Euro Hostel which is literally in the heart of the city, overlooking the river Clyde. Walking into reception the atmosphere was vibrant, almost party like with very helpful and enthusiastic reception staff. Off reception we could see the adjoining “Mint and Lime Bar”, we gave each other the knowing look that we’d be starting the night there later. Walking into our suite we were very pleasantly surprised. Clean, fresh, modern and spacious. We had what was just like our very own apartment, a stylish and contemporary lounge room with trendy bench seating, a large flat-screen Samsung TV, fridge, and wall hung bar for our drinks. The sleeping room had loads of hanging space on the walls, a big mirror for us to get our hair and faces sorted for the night, and a full length mirror for that final check before heading out. There were three sets of comfortable bunks, each bed with their own power socket and light. There was a separate toilet and shower room meaning we weren’t queuing for the bog. The shower was lovely, a ceiling mounted rain shower in a huge wetroom. Then for the smokers in the room we also had access to a private rooftop garden (only available to VIP suites). Breakfast was included and was served late enough that even with our hangovers we were able to make it down.

FOOD The selection to eat is brilliant, here are the two that stood out for us. We had a lovely casual lunch in an Via Italia (Italian Street Food), affordably priced, quick, and tasty. For our big meal on the Saturday night we went for NY American Grill in the opulent surroundings of Princes Square, the food was great and the service was second to none. DRINK We were in Glasgow to party, and it didn’t disappoint. After leaving the Mint and Lime Bar at the hostel we headed to the Speakeasy, it was Friday night and the Karaoke was on - I’ll not say who embarrassed themselves the most. After that we moved down next door to Underground. There was a definite “bear” vibe going on here which we loved, an extremely comfortable bar to be in. Then heading round the corner we had a couple of drinks in Delmonicas - this place is great fun, our favourite tunes and lots of dancing. Our obvious next stop was Polo Lounge, this place is gorgeous; opulent, classic decor upstairs with great tunes and lots of casual seating, and downstairs the club was bouncing. We stayed here for a while before finishing the night at the club AXM - I think we were all dancing on the stage at one point. ACTIVITIES While we were here we all went on a city bus tour. It lasted about an hour and twenty minutes and took in all of the Glasgow sights - and it was great to be somewhere dry while the rain was pelting off the windows. A couple of us also took the opportunity to try out the local gay sauna - The Pipeworks, the facilities were great, very modern, clean, and spread over a few floors - so plenty of options, including a great big hot tub!! SHOPPING Just like any major city Glasgow has all of the chain stores you’d expect along with some amazing high end stores around the city’s Merchant Quarter. Again, if the weather isn’t great there are a few shopping centers in the city to keep you out of the rain. GLASGOW, RECOMMENDED!!

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LIFESTYLE | DATING

Ask Eamon! Our resident dating expert Eamon McAuley is ready to solve your shameful dating mishaps

Hello Eamon I’ve been with my girlfriend for about seven months now and I feel the time is right for us to take the next step and move in together. But, I’m not sure she’s in the same place as me as she won’t leave any more than a toothbrush in my apartment right now. I just feel that if we don’t make the move and try it, then it’ll drag on and we’ll never know if it’ll work long term. Help please. Siobhan, Ballybofey Hi Siobhan That’s great that you feel you are at the stage in your relationship where you want to take it to the next step. Although I do feel that after 7 months it’s too soon for that step and your girlfriend obviously feels the same if she is only leaving a toothbrush. My advice would be to to have good times and make good memories without the added pressures that living together may bring.

Eamon I’m in my early 40s and I’m in a wheelchair due to an accident as a child. This hasn’t stopped me living my life to the full but it seems to have stopped me finding the love of my life. Guys say to me that it doesn’t matter that I’m in the chair, but I can see their looks and I can tell what’s on their minds when I go on dates. We usually get to date three or four and then things just fizzle out. Any tips or advice for me? Tony, Newry Hi Tony That’s great that your accident has not prevented you from living your life to the full. Life is far too short!!! I would say the guys you go on a

date with can see past your wheelchair and it’s not your disability but a lack of that “spark”. My advice would be to keep trying as you clearly have confidence, try different groups for men of your own age and with hobbies in common. Good luck! Hello Eamon Life for me is good. I’ve a great girlfriend who I’ve been living with for about 4 years now. My problem is that I’ve always felt different, like I’m in the wrong body and I feel that now is the time to stop hiding this, but I don’t want to ruin the good life that I have. I’m worried that my girlfriend won’t want me as a guy. Jodie, Newcastle

for breakfast. Date two never happens. Any advice? Sam, Ballykelly Hi Sam Dates are nervous for most people. You are still young and have loads of time to find mr right. My advice would be; try to not to talk about yourself, take an interest in your date by asking them questions but nothing too personal. If you are nervous about dating try group dating or double dating. This will take the pressure of you.

Hi Jodie I am not an expert in transgender issues although even though you are happy with your girlfriend there is part of you missing making you unhappy. My advice would be to sit down with your girlfriend have the discussion and take it from there. Although if she does not stand by you this will be easier to get over than you living your life in the wrong body. As you are aware there any many transgender support groups who can help. Give them a call! Your happiness is most important!!!

Hi Eamon Spring’s here and I’m still single, what’s happening??? I’m 28, have a good job, I’m in decent shape, and I’m told I’m funny. But, and I think this is the problem; I arrange to meet guys for dates, turn up, and then I go to jelly. I become a blubbering mess of the verbal diarrhoea type. By the time the date is over they know everything about my childhood, my family circle and what I had

IF YOU WANT EAMON TO ANSWER YOUR DATING PROBLEMS EMAIL GNI@LAMBPROMOTIONS.COM

GNI MAG HAS THE RIGHT TO PUBLISH SUBMITTED MATERIAL IN WHOLE OR IN PART FOR A DATING AGENCY WITH A TWIST VISIT UNIQUEDATINGAGENCY.COM

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GNI MAG Weddings


They met back in 2010 and tied the knot in 2016 in Belfast City Centre. John tells us all about his and Alanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s big day...

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING? We met in 2010 in a Bar called Dubarrys where I was introduced to Alan by a mutual friend , Alan was out with his friend Nick Mc Mullen . I was chatting to the 2 guys and after a while our mutual friend left me standing alone with Alan and Nick and we chatted for a while but the conversation died so we departed company. A year later I was in Belfast and our paths crossed again and I called to Alans work with a Hot Chocolate one Sunday afternoon and we chatted and decided to go for an official Date, we decided to go to Whitehead and go for a walk down to the Lighthouse and we sat and chatted in one of the shelters for hours and then our romance started from there. I was singe for around 4 years before I started seeing Alan. I was married previously and had 3 wonderful

children from the marriage one son and 2 daughters ( Young Adults now ). HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES? We dated for a while and decided to move in together as I was looking for a new place to live in Belfast and Alan suggested that I move in with him in Carrickfergus. We went on holiday to one of our favourite places , Sitges just outside Barcelona with some friends and we went out for dinner and drinks one evening with my good friend Declan Coffey from Kildare and we ended up drinking in the beautiful El Piano Bar . I had a few drinks and decided to get down on one knee and asked Alan to marry me. He thought I was messing and my friend was all excited and shocked. I asked again the next day and Alan said YES. He thought I would not

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GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ JOHN AND ALAN

“I had a few drinks and decided to get down on one knee and asked Alan to marry me...”

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GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ remember. We decided to wait till Christmas to get our Engagement rings and we decided to go to Dublin Powerscourt Centre and have our rings made. We both chose the same ring and officially announced our engagement at Christmas that year TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY... Our Wedding Day back in 2015 was so special , We got married in the late evening at City Hall in Belfast. We had around 70 guests to include family and friends. It was a great day , we met with the photographer Paul Smyth at 1pm at the Hotel and we went to Titanic Belfast and other focal points to get our Wedding Pictures done. This meant that our main pictures were done and over with then we could relax and enjoy our special day. My son Shane was my Best Man and my Daughters Niamh and Aoife we our Bridesmaids, We had two friends Nick Mc Mullen and Lawerence Breslin arrive fully dressed in Kilts and they were our Groomsmen. We had our closed people witness our Special Day. We walked down the aisle together in City hall to a selection of beautiful music we chose to have played. After the service was over we had more photographs taken in City Hall before heading by foot to our wedding reception. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK...

JOHN AND ALAN

Our wedding reception was at the Beautiful CafĂŠ Vaudeville, where Karl and Anne and the staff looked after us so well. We were joined by around 70 guests who were wined and fed well, we had a choice of three starters and three mains to choose from, and our dessert was our wedding cake and a selection of personalised cupcakes . We had a beautiful champagne reception which went on for four hours and the wine was free flowing for nearly two hours. We had a lovely evening reception with additional friends who even got up on stage and danced the night away till late. The fantastic Songbirds were singing away during our meal and made the entire atmosphere so special for everybody. People have said to us they have never enjoyed a wedding so much . DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON? It was Alans Birthday the next day after our wedding (not telling which special one it was) so we had party number two with friends from North and South at the Maverick with the Beautiful Lady Portia. We had a great night and stayed at the Malmaison Hotel, and the next day we headed off to Prague for our Honeymoon. We arrived to be greeted by our chauffer who took us to our hotel a beautiful 5* All Suite Hotel overlooking the City of Prague. We got a beautiful room with

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GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ JOHN AND ALAN

fantastic views. We did the usual tourist things around the City, put our lock on the Charles Bridge and had a very romantic dinner cruise down the river taking in the beautiful sights the city has to offer ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT? I am a florist an Event Planner working with clients here in Northern Ireland and Sitges in Spain, We organise weddings for happy couples in both locations. Both Alan and myself work together to do this and work form our Flower Studio on Castlereagh Street in Belfast called Castle Flowers & Gifts and Sitges Weddings . We also run together our apartment letting business in Sitges where we have been living for the past 8 months. We also have our own interests also and get to spend time with friends and family when ever we can. We both like going to the cinema and spending as much time as we can with my three children when free to do so . We both do independent things still and its important to have individually in a relationship.

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COMING OUT__

CONOR

COMING OUT Conor Douglas, 30 year old retail manager from Portadown tells us his story.

Dad was the only one to struggle with it... twelve years later and he couldn’t be prouder. SOMETIMES IT CAN BE A SIMPLE FLIPPANT COMMENT FROM A WORK COLLEGUE THAT CAN TRIGGER A CHANGE THAT WILL AFFECT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO CONNOR. SINCE THEN HE’S MOVED TO BELFAST AND HAS BEEN WITH HIS FIANCE FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS. HE IS ALSO ACTIVE IN THE UPBRINGING OF HIS SON FROM A PREVIOUS RELATIONSHIP - ANYONE WHO FOLLOWS HIM ON SOCIAL MEDIA WILL SEE HOW CLOSE THEIR FATHER/SON BOND IS. SO CONOR... WHEN DID YOU FRIST REALISE YOU WERE ATTRACTED TO SAME SEX PEOPLE? My earliest memory is back in P3 in school, I’d a weird crush on my teacher. I would remember going up to his desk and holding my stomach in (a weight concious 6/7 year old), and dreamt I’d marry him one day. DID YOU TELL ANYONE AT THE TIME? WHY? No, I knew then I was different, I almost felt crazy or alien. Like there was nobody else like me. I was called a pansy and gayboy from P1, and the bullying would only get worse. WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY COME OUT? When I was 18 or 19. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO DO IT?

I’d gone through so long living a lie, I’d had a girlfriend from I was 15 and we ended up having a kid together when we were 17. I knew in my head that I wasn’t happy and I think because I was the only boy in the family I felt I had to respect my father and not be ‘this way’. The prompt was that a guy had approached me in work and asked me out, when I declined my assistant manager at the time joked ‘why don’t you just come out of the closet’, those words triggered something in me... HOW DID YOU DO IT? That night I had a few drinks, sat my girlfriend down and told her... I love you, but I can’t do this anymore, I’m gay! WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF YOUR FAMILY & CLOSE FRIENDS? I told my familiy the next evening, it all happened so quickly. Mum had always loved the gay celebrities (Stephen Gately, Brian from Big Brother etc) so I think she was over the moon. My sister Carleen said she knew long ago and my other two sisters Louise and Andrea were very supportive. ANY NEGATIVE REACTIONS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THESE? Dad was the only one to struggle with it. I guess he never knew anyone who was gay, but he told me that I was his son and he’d love me no matter what. Twelve years later and he couldn’t be prouder.

into telling the world. That’s a part of me I regret. I almost turned nasty, all the hatred from being bullied in school had turned me into some sort of Qurreasaraus Rex that just wanted to attack anyone who bullied me in school. A year or so after, I calmed down a lot, finally began to date properly and well, it all made me a better person the calm after the storm. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS THINKING ABOUT COMING OUT? Do it in your own time, don’t feel pressurised. Talk to someone that you trust, someone who will understand. There is so much more help these days with the likes of GLYNI and other LGBT organisations that can help you through all you’re struggling with. ANY FUNNY STORIES ABOUT WHEN YOU CAME OUT TO SOMEONE? I was the first in my family to come out, since then a few cousins would follow... it wsa like a bug or virus had spread haha! ALSO... Since I came out it took me quite a while to find myself. But I got there eventually. I’m now settled down, moving in with my fiance and focussing on my work and drag career. I believe I was miserable until I came out, so until you’re able to let go of all the crap in the past, then you can’t truely be yourself.

HOW HAS COMING OUT AFFECTED YOU? When I came out I was one of those ‘OMG I’m gay” types, I’d hidden it for so long and I just burst

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LGBT FAMILIES__

GERALDINE’S STORY

LGBT FAMILIES Geraldine tells her story...

“...our family was quite broken, we were definitely a bonded unit of people that cohabited along side each other but certainly did not know everything about one another.”

LOOKING BACK NEARLY 14 YEARS our family was quite broken, we were definitely a bonded unit of people that cohabited along side each other but certainly did not know everything about one another. Being a mother of a gay son who had experienced every negative emotion that most kids grow up with who dont quite fit the normal mould for example, confusion, rebelling against house rules, hating school, not too many friends, bullying at school the list goes on... it was definitely a hard time as Gavin went through his teenage years. I always looked back and thought, have I done enough or have I worked hard enough to give him what he needed? Or were my examples as a single parent good enough to make him become a great example of a human being? We can always look back and judge ourselves as parents and question weather we have made the right or wrong moves in this great game of chess we call life. But I really couldn’t have done any better in my efforts to provide for my son. It was hard as I didn’t really get to spend much time with him at home as I worked three jobs to buy the house we lived in, to pay for the car I used to commute to work in, but really I think it was a move that had to be made as I look at the head strong young man (30) that has everything to give. I believe it’s because of the sacrifices he has seen me made as he has grown up along side me. It was a tough time for me personally when Gavin came out because I always knew like most mother’s do. They knew their son or daughter seen the world in a different light, without barriers and with a can do attitude (mostly that attitude is “I can do whatever I want” or maybe this was just Gavin)”, but he told me after going AWOL over night as he rebeled one weekend in Belfast, and eventually answered the phone and asked me for a lift home. I knew in my heart that him doing this overnight disapearing stunt was leading to a break in the silence about who Gavin really was,

so I picked him up and the silent drive home began. We drove in the car back toward his grandparents home in Belfast and nothing was spoken between us, I did try asking what was wrong but got nothing in return. As most parents would do, I turned up the heat of the conversation to try and get answers, and I got what I was looking for... Gavin erupted with “I’m gay ok” and he broke down crying. At this point I stopped the car and said to him “And what, is that it? Because it’s not a big deal Gavin, you are my son and I love you.” I don’t think you can ever be prepared for the day your child tells you he or she is gay. There wasn’t a book to follow back then as it was a touch and go time in society. But I stayed the course of the conversation let him speak, he told me he was sorry. I reassured him that he has nothing to be sorry for. Time moved on from this point and we as a family pushed through the pain and hurt that had been caused by feelings that simply weren’t talked about. Today I still find it hard to get to terms with the changes in the world and the continual pushing of boundaries, there is simply to much to grasp at times, but our core values as a family remain; honesty, love and respect. I think it’s amazing to look back at the history of any family to see where they started and to see where they are now. I’m certainly a stronger woman because of my son and all that he does for me, he keeps me young so to speak. But the love we have for him as a family always wins (although not all the times we see eye to eye). I hope that he can go forward and take the love and the sacrifices that I have made in my life and make his own family, with a loving husband and kids to call me granny. Sometimes you have to take a big step back and think; life is for loving, always love and always care, make everything count whether it be a fail it - makes you who you are. I love all my kids no matter what journey life gives them I am and always will be there for them.

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ITCHY? HEALTH__

SCABIES

I’m going to warn you that you will probably start to subconsciously itch while reading this. But this is an infestation that can present itself to any of us, no matter how careful or “clean” we think we are. You might have heard scabies referred to as the clubbers disease, that’s maybe a bit far fetched but here are some facts and information snippets you should be aware of...

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WHAT EXACT Y IS SCABIES?

It ’s a skin condition caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin. A scabies infestation

• •

a prolonged period of time

having sex with an infected person

sharing clothing, towels and bedding with an infected person (although this is rare)

starts when a female mite burrows into your

It’s unlikely that scabies will be transmitted

different burrow sites looking to mate. After

hands or hugging.

begins to lay eggs, which hatch around three

Scabies mites can survive outside the human

mites move to the surface of the skin, where

coming into contact with contaminated clothes,

Male mites stay on the surface of the skin,

rare for someone to be infected in this way.

to create a new burrow. The life cycle is then

Scabies infestations can spread quickly because

skin and then male mites move between

mating, the male mite dies and the female

through brief physical contact, such as shaking

to four days later. After hatching, the young

body for 24 to 36 hours, making infection by

they mature into adults after 10 to 15 days.

towels or bed linen a possibility. However, it’s

while female mites burrow back into the skin repeated.

people are usually unaware they have the

Without effective treatment, the life cycle

initial infection.

Scabies mites are resistant to soap and hot

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

IS IT CONTAGIOUS?

The main symptoms of scabies are intense

Yes, and it might be easier to pick up than you

the mites have burrowed.

of the scabies mite can continue indefinitely. water and can’t be scrubbed out of the skin.

think.

HOW WOULD I GET IT? Scabies mites can’t fly or jump, which means

condition until two to three weeks after the

itching and a rash in areas of the body where

The itching is often worse at night, when your skin is warmer. It may take four to six weeks before the itching starts because this is how long it takes for the body to react to mite

they can only move from one human body to

droppings.

physical contact.

Symptoms will start within one to two days

by:

This is because your immune system will have

another if two people have direct and prolonged For example, scabies mites can be transmitted

if you’ve had a scabies infection in the past.

learned to respond to a scabies infection.

holding hands with an infected person for


HEALTH__

The Rash The scabies rash consists of tiny red spots.

Scratching the rash may cause crusty sores to develop.

Burrow marks can be found anywhere on the

body. They’re short (1cm or less), wavy, silvercoloured lines on the skin, with a black dot at one end that can be seen with a magnifying glass.

In adults, burrow marks often appear in the

SCABIES

Your GP will also want to rule out other skin

If you apply it when your body is hot, it will

such as eczema or impetigo (a highly contagious

remain on the area where the scabies burrows

conditions that may be causing your symptoms, bacterial skin infection). Ink test

The burrows of scabies mites can be identified by using an ink test. Ink is rubbed around an

area of itchy skin before being wiped off with an alcohol pad.

If scabies burrows are present, some of the

ink will remain and will have tracked into the burrows, showing up as a dark line.

quickly be absorbed into your skin and won’t are.

Read the patient leaflet that comes with the

cream or lotion for details of where to apply it.

Some products need to be applied to the whole body, including the scalp and face, whereas

others must only be applied from the neck down. Pay particular attention to difficult-to-reach

areas, such as your back, the soles of your feet, in between your fingers and toes, under fingernails, and on your genitals.

following areas:

Visit your GP if you think you have scabies.

partner has been diagnosed with it, visit your

Leave the treatment on your skin for 8 to 24

examined and, if necessary, treated.

before washing it off thoroughly. Follow the

the folds of skin between fingers and toes

the soles and sides of the feet

• • • •

the palms of the hands the wrists

the elbows

around the nipples (in women)

around the genital area (in men)

The rash usually affects the whole body, apart from the head. The following areas can be particularly affected: •

the underarm area

the inside of the elbow

• • • • • • • • •

around the waist

If you think you have genital scabies or your nearest sexual health clinic, where you’ll be

To prevent reinfection, it’s important that all

members of your household are treated, as well

as any sexual partners you’ve had over the last six weeks (in the case of genital scabies). If you’ve had genital scabies in the past, anyone you’ve

had sex with in the previous 48 hours will need to be treated.

the lower legs

SO IF I HAVE SCABIES, HOW DO I GET RID OF THEM?

the knees

If you have scabies, your partner will also need

the female genital area

have any symptoms. This is because it’s highly

the lower buttocks

the soles of the feet the shoulder blades the groin

around the ankles

Elderly people, young children and those with a

low immune system (immunocompromised) may also develop a rash on their head and neck.

Men usually have one or more very itchy, lumpy, 3 to 10mm spots on the skin of the genitals (on the penis and scrotum).

Scabies mites leave small red blotches and

silver-coloured lines on the skin. These marks

to be treated regardless of whether or not they

contact, such as holding hands, until both you

and your partner have completed the full course of treatment.

first application.

Repeat the treatment process seven days after

the first application to ensure it’s successful. The

second application will ensure any mites hatched from existing eggs are killed. Contact your GP

if the itching hasn’t improved after two weeks of treatment and you notice new burrows on your skin.

general itching to subside completely, and longer may recommend repeating the treatment or they may prescribe a different lotion. You should also speak to your GP or pharmacist if you experience any persistent side effects.

You may continue to experience itchiness for a

scabies. Your GP, pharmacist or nurse will be

completed. This is because your immune system

Lotions and creams are commonly used to treat able to advise you about which treatment to use.

recent sexual partners, should be treated at the

symptoms.

Wash bed linen, nightwear and towels after the

Lotions and creams

Your GP should be able to diagnose scabies from

if more than one family member has the same

that are washed during the period of application.

for the lumpy genital lesions to resolve. Your GP

sex and other forms of prolonged close bodily

To prevent reinfection, all members of your

often possible to make a confident diagnosis

cream or lotion immediately to any areas of skin

To reduce the risk of reinfection, avoid having

through close bodily contact, such as during sex.

HOW CAN I BE SURE?

However, as scabies is spread very easily, it’s

to leave the cream or lotion on for. Reapply the

It can take a month after treatment for the

Applying the cream or lotion

the burrow marks of the Sarcoptes scabiei mite.

manufacturer’s instructions regarding how long

likely that scabies will have been transmitted

are caused by the mites burrowing into the skin.

the appearance of your skin, and by looking for

hours (depending on the preparation used)

household and any close contacts, including

same time as you, even if they don’t have any symptoms.

The cream or lotion should be applied to the

skin of all of your body, except your head. Before you apply it, make sure your skin is cool and dry. Don’t apply it after having a hot bath.

couple of weeks after your treatment has been will still be reacting to the presence of dead mites and their droppings.

Visit your GP if you’re still experiencing

itchiness six weeks after completing your treatment.

ALL INFORMATION GAINED FROM NHS CHOICES, CHECK OUT HTTP://WWW.NHS.UK/ CONDITIONS/SCABIES FOR FULL DETAILS AND FURTHER INFORMATION.

GNIMAG.COM | 97


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GNI MAG ISSUE 26  

One word: STEPS!!! We were beyond excited when we found out Steps would be chatting to us - read about life, the new album, and the big to...

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