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GNI mag

THE LOCAL HOMOCULTURAL MAGAZINE Issue 28 October / November 2017 £3.95 / €4.95

PVRIS

Lynn talks about the new album and being and LGBT role model

ANDREW CHRISTIAN Our Icon

RACHEL TUCKER

She’s more than Elphaba

STUDENT ESSENTIALS The things you need in your life

Courtney Act CELEBS / FASHION / MUSIC / NEWS / REVIEWS / MOVIES / FITNESS / HOME / TRAVEL / FOOD / CARS / MONEY


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contents

GNI mag DISCOUNT What does your student discount get you these days?

LIFE & STYLE

52 START

RECOMMENDED
 Marty tells us about the best entertainment over the next month or so. GEMMA HUTTON Babies and culture night. GREG MCCAW Making new friends. ALICIA V PERRY Unsocial media. MEET THE STAR We meet Onya Becks. SCENE OUT We’ve been out and about with our camera. ANDREW CHRISTIAN - ICON Worldwide fashion designer and LGBT Icon. COURTNEY ACT Has she been caught in the act? RACHEL TUCKER Our home-grown songbird. BRENDA SHANKEY Talking Mindfulness. NATHAN ADAMS He’s come a long way since being crowned Mr Cork.

THE STUDENT ISSUE PVRIS Lynn takes time out to talk to us. STUFF Essentials for you freshers. CLIFF CARTER Reminding us of our ABC’s

SWISH EMBASSY The latest tees. FITNESS Getting started with your routine. REAL MAN Stuart bares all for us. HOMES What’s going on in your boudoir? FOOD Checking out the Brasserie at Malmaison in Belfast. GROOMING We try out makeup for men. MEET THE ARTIST Some erotic paintings from Spain. TRAVEL We do a one nighter in Cardiff. DATING Eamon is back helping out lovers. GNI MAG WEDDING Paul and Michael share their big day. COMING OUT Anthony tells his story. LGBT FAMILIES Feeling guilty for the wife.

MANAGING DIRECTOR Tony Day tony@lambpromotions.com OPERATIONS & DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Daniel May daniel@gnimag.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE / CELEBRITY EDITOR Gary Campion gary@gnimag.com EVENTS MANAGER Roisin Starkey Roisin@gnimag.com SPECIAL THANKS TO Martin Kearney / Gemma Hutton / Greg McCaw / Alicia V Perry / Onya Becks /Andrew Christian / Rachel Tucker / Gordon Crawford / Brenda Shankey / Nathan Adams / Pvris / Cliff Carter / John Man / Nathan Jones / Christopher Jones / Casey Houston / Stuart Harper / Malmaison / Swish Embassy / MMUK Man / Artfarboys / Eamon McAuley / Paul & Michael / Anthony Rice / Greg Bailey / Brad McClenaghan COVER IMAGE CREDIT: Greg Baily, Brighton

GNI MAG is published by: Lamb Promotions Ltd 339 Albertbridge Road Belfast, BT5 4GY Telephone | 028 9045 5690 Website | gnimag.com

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 ac-

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curate. 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

@gnimag

@ gni@lambpromotions.com @GNImag #TeamGNI

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ANDREW CHRISTIAN:

PHOTO CREDIT: GREG BAILY, BRIGHTON

International fashion designer and our Icon in this issue. PAGE 34

COURTNEY ACT:

Sure doesn’t everyone just pure love her!

PAGE 37

RACHEL TUCKER:

Local lass and worldwide stage star talks Elphaba and a whole lot more. PAGE 41

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Recommended Marty Kearney

HATERS BACK OFF S2

JUSTICE LEAGUE

The Justice League is a team of the world’s most fantastic super heroes, sorry Avengers. I am really on the fence with this one. It will definitely be a financial success but was Wonder Woman a fluke or will DC have its second critical success story? Don’t get me wrong the trailer looks awesome and it features mostly Wonder Woman a smart move considering the success of her first solo movie earlier this year, but like all Zac Snyder movies it looks dark and over the top so I’m hoping Joss Whedon can bring his lighter tone and humor seen in his Avenger movies and give us another DC movie that will make Marvel start to quiver in their super hero boots. The Justice League takes place not long after the events of Superman’s (Henry Cavill) death. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) assemble other meta-humans such as Aquaman ( Jason Mona) The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to save the world from an apocalyptic treat in the form of Steppenwolf played by our very own fellow Belfast man Ciaran Hinds. Justice League will be in cinemas 17th November.

If you were to ask me what has been your highlight of 2017 my automatic answer would be Miranda Sings. I love her that much am doing her for Halloween. I discovered her at the very tale end of last year when it was recommended that I watch a Netflix show called Haters Back Off. I was hooked from the very first episode. I even wrote a piece on her book in a previous issue. Just a quick reminder, Miranda Sings is a YouTube sensation with over 8 million subscribers created and played by the gorgeous Colleen Ballinger. Ballinger portrays Miranda Sings as a deluded, talentless, and egotistical fame hungry wana be super star (I see traits of myself in her). I have watched at least one Miranda sings video a day this year and most nights and Sunday mornings I lay up in bed re watching videos and laughing. In fact I’ve even been known to wake a few people up from their sleep due to my laughing. Sometimes the videos are just not enough for us #MIRFANDAS (the word used to describe Miranda Sings fans) so we have a Netflix show to show us what it’s like for a day in the life of Miranda Sings. In the show we get a taste of Miranda’s home life, we get to see her relationships with her Uncle Jim and her “annoying mom” Bethany, who are occasionally spoke about on her YouTube videos but nowhere to be seen. As well as her quest to find fame much to dismay and cost of other people. And in this second season we are going to be introduced to Miranda’s absentee dad. Maybe we will find out why Miranda is the way she is and why her sister is the normal one in the family. I have watched the first season of Haters Back off three times already and it can be watched easily in two binges. If you haven’t already watched it once go watch it this weekend before the second season is released on Netflix 20th October.

12 | GNIMAG.COM

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WILL & GRACE Will and Grace is back 12 years after it originally ended. We are promised nothing has changed apart from the writers have come up with a clever way to erase the final episode as if it never happened. Many fans myself included where disappointed on how the show ended. It saw Will and Grace estranged for years only to be reunited when their kids met in college and fell in love. Rubbish! The show will use the setup it did when it was in its prime. Will and Grace will live together, Jack will live across the hall and Karen will be stinking rich. This was the best formula of the show and when it worked best. Harry Connnick Jr as Leo and Bobby Cannavale as Vince, Will and Graces husbands are set to return but in what capacity I don’t know, as the fag and his hag are living together in this new season. I really hope fan favorites such as Beverley Leslie “ Karen walker as I live and breathe”(Leslie Jordan) Karen’s arch “Nemesissy” and Psycho kleptomania neighbor Val played Molly Shannon return as those two where my favorite recurring guest stars. Minnie Diver who played Karen’s scheming stepdaughter Lorraine finster is set to return. And Glees Sue Sylvester ( Jayne Lynch) has been cast in the new season. Bought back to life after a onetime special was recorded to urge fans to vote against Donald Trump.It didn’t succeed but the special was so popular that executives at NBC decided to bring the show back. Originally meant to be a one of limited series with 12 episodes it has now got an additional 4 episodes added to the new series and has also been renewed for a second new season although technically it will be the tenth season. Will and Grace really was a milestone back in the day it was the first show on prime time TV to have a gay character as a lead in a series. It introduced main stream audiences to real gay people not the ones originally portrayed on TV such as camp, sex mad and over the top annoying best friend type. The show definitely helped me come to terms with my sexuality and to come out as it showed me that it was ok to be gay. I used to watch it with my family and they would laugh and I knew if they loved these fictional charters then they will definitely still love me.

A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS I really can’t stand Christmas countdowns. I’m not a scrooge or anything I enjoy Christmas but I’m patient, it will get here when it gets here. Just enjoy the lead up to it, but for those who start the Christmas countdown from their beds nursing a Halloween hangover you now have a genuine reason to get excited early. A Bad Mom’s Christmas, the sequel to 2016’s very funny Bad Moms. Amy (Mila Kunis) Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) return as the bad moms along with their bad moms. Fresh from the set of the Good Wife’s spin off show The Good Fight and next to be seen in the Mama Mia sequel out next year is Christine Baranski playing Amy’s Mom. Cheryl Hines is Kiki’s Mom and living legend Susan Sarandon will play Carla’s very bad mom. #GENIUSCASTING. Although not coming back is the all ways amazing Christina Applegate which is very disappointing and a shame as she was very funny in the last one, and I do love me some Christina Applegate Juice. I did LOL at the trailer and it looks really fun so I’m sure if, and it’s a big IF, if I start my Christmas shopping early I’ll probably go into town with the best intentions but more than likely go see a matinee showing of this instead followed by drinks at the Christmas market. A Bad Moms Christmas is out the 3rd of November.

GNIMAG.COM | 13

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COLUMN__ GEMMA HUTTON

BUZZ of the month

Le Tour De La Queer Graffiti in Queertopia

Gemma Hutton

TAYTAY Look what you made her do Taylor Swift “Look What You Made Me Do” from her upcoming sixth studio album, Reputation (2017). The song was released on August 24, 2017. Swift wrote the song with Jack Antonoff. The song contains an interpolation of the 1991 song “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred, therefore the band are credited as songwriters. The music video was directed by Joseph Kahn, and became the mostwatched music video within 24 hours. The song broke a string of records, including the record for the most plays in a single day on Spotify. The song topped various charts, including in the United States where it became her fifth chart-topping single on the Billboard Hot 100, and in the United Kingdom, where it became her first number one single on the UK Singles Chart. The video begins with a zombie Swift crawling out of a grave, where the headstone reads “Here Lies Taylor Swift’s reputation”, and digging another grave for herself. The next scene shows Swift in a bathtub filled with diamonds. She is then seen seated on a throne while snakes surround her and serve tea. Swift later crashes her car on a post and sings the song’s chorus holding a Grammy as the paparazzi take photos. She is also seen swinging inside a cage, robbing a bank, and leading a motorcycle gang. Afterwards, she gathers a group of women at “Squad U” and dances with a group of men in another room. At the end of the video, various iterations of Swift’s public image bicker with one another, describing each other as “so fake” and “playing the victim”, ending with one saying “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative” after which the other iterations yell at her to “shut up!” in unison, while the version of Swift in the background watches in silence. This tune is very much a grower and once its in your head you will have trouble shifting it, which isn’t being helped by the copious amounts of airplay.

WELL THIS IS A BIT of a turn up for the book. I had planned this year to discuss the different trials and tribulations of becoming pregnant in a same sex couple. I expected far more awkward turtle donor stories... perhaps a few tears... but looks like we hit the jackpot third time lucky. Turns out...that pregnancy’s like the ones shown in father of the bride... ARE A LIE. They failed to mention the weeks of boking, blind rages, sleepless nights pre-baby and how everything was infact my fault. Now don’t get me wrong I am delighted Stacy is pregnant, and all things considered she has been totally awesome and an absolute hero. But yes... it’s scary. We are 18 weeks in and all is well with our little girl so no matter how much boke n sleepless nights there are, both my girls are healthy and that’s all that matters. So for Culture night we did Le Tour De La Queer Graffiti in Queertopia. We generally walked round discussing bits of Queer art on walls. We accidentally met some of the anonymous artists which was amazing. We held a crowd of young people whilst discussing the piece of graffiti saying ‘love your trans kids’. I became a bit soap boxy but when do you get an audience like that? Personally my favourite mural was one of Arlene as a giant dinosaur with a

Nama mobile and text asking did anyone need a score of pellets. She wore a Fuck Equality badge it was perfect. It’s in a car park in North St. You’re welcome. My favourite part of this month has to be reading to kids on drag in Central library alongside Electra and lady Portia Di’Monte. I read Tiger in a Tutu, a book about a tiger who wants to be a ballerina but isn’t allowed because he is a tiger. Now I can appreciate the argument as to why they did not let a giant fucking tiger into a kids ballet class. I can. Honest. But what was interesting was the kids did not give a shit that Max the tiger was a tiger... but they understood he couldn’t do ballet because he is a boy tiger. I... dawned in a tiger leotard and neon pink tutu explained to the kids anyone can dance. Anyone can be a ballerina. I’ll be honest a few looked sceptical so I made everyone do some ballet with the fat drag tiger in the library. And just like that, the kids decided it was ok for boy tigers to dance. Amazing. Imagine if I dressed as a fat drag Tiger in a tutu and went to Stormont. Think of the minds I could change. Really gives you ‘paws’ for thought eh? Paws? No? K. I’m done.

I, dawned in a tiger leotard and neon pink tutu explained to the kids anyone can dance. Anyone can be a ballerina... Imagine if I dressed as a fat drag Tiger in a tutu and went to Stormont. Think of the minds I could change.

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

GNIMAG.COM | 15


COLUMN__ GREG McCAW

WHAT’S NEW

There’s an app for that...

Greg McCaw You’re looking cool AF, you’ve got that student look nailed, you’ve probably got a plain Adidas tee ready to wear under a checked shirt and I’m also going to bet you own something oversized and if anyone asks you’ve always loved shopping vintage.

BALLS!! Let’s face it, we men have always been badly designed downstairs. And yet life is now even faster, whether commuting , cycling, going to the gym or just generally running around. But where are the products specifically designed to make life for modern men more comfortable? Below the Belt Grooming have developed a range with our real needs and daily irritations in mind. Surely we deserve a choice. WHAT? Their company offers a range of products which are specifically designed to address the issues men face below the belt, and to provide easy to use solutions that fit with men’s busy lifestyles. HOW? They offer three main products: Fresh & Dry Balls, Instant Clean Balls & Sports Lubricant. Both Fresh & Dry Balls and Instant Clean Balls are available in Cool, Active, Fresh & Fragrance Free options. Available at Boots and Boots.com

The experiences you’re about to get at University will shape you and that includes the people you share those experiences with. We’re living in the digital age. However, my observation is that we’ve never been more disconnected because what you present is an idealised version of yourself through your camera lens, this faux you who is constantly under pressure to snap, check-in and post is slowly withdrawing from being capable of making meaningful connections.

first week and has the next 3-5 years sorted. Here are three of the best apps to help you meet new people: Meetup Meetup brings people together in thousands of cities who share similar interests, whether it’s a cinema club, running, hiking there’s so much opportunity to meet new people who like doing what you do.

There’s salad on the menu at McDonald’s but 99% of us are probably in there for a burger.

CitySocializer It’s free to download and use however there is a more premium version. The premium version is great however I’ve met some awesome people without upgrading. The concept is simple, there are hosts who set up events for people of similar interests and there are also groups for people who are brand new to the city.

‘My picture got 75 likes, I’ve gone viral’ – That’s great but put down your phone and ask yourself what you’ve got outside of seeking some validation and a small selfesteem boost, if those were the reasons you’ve posted something then sadly these could be signs of mental health issues, the fact that we crave validation through how many likes we receive should be concerning to us but somehow it isn’t.

Skout Skout is global network for meeting new people, whether you want to meet someone to grab a drink with, or your next fellow scifi geek, you can meet some great like-minded people on here.

Social media is great for keeping in touch but it’s about time we accepted the profound impact it’s having on our mental wellbeing and if you suffer from anxiety or depression, the combination of looking at how great everyone else’s life is, is a recipe for unhappiness.

You’re in a new city creating some of the best memories of your life and you should have no shortage of opportunity to be happy, so do not spend it enviously looking at other people’s lives through social media, lose your inhibitions and meet new people to share those experiences with.

How can you use social media in the right way at University and avoid anhedonia?

If you’re reading this and you find yourself saying ‘I wish I had a more eventful social life’, harsh as it may sound but only boring people get bored, the only person that can fix that is you. Start off slow and maybe join the ‘LGBT dog walking club for dogs who have as much sass as their owner and like to regularly strut their stuff.’ (This isn’t a club but totally should be). Whatever you do spend your time at University making memories not a fake show reel of your life.

Dating Apps Dating apps are for dating, relationships and hook-ups they are not a substitute for the void in your social life. The instant gratification from harmless flirting and a quick date can become an all too easy escape from your loneliness but it’s not a permanent fix. Just because there’s an option to select ‘mates’ or ‘new friends’ doesn’t mean it’s the most appropriate place to meet new people. There’s salad on the menu at McDonald’s but 99% of us are probably in there for a burger. I’m not saying that you should avoid dating, get out there and date but don’t confuse it for socialising, plus don’t be that housemate who meets someone on their

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

GNIMAG.COM | 17


COLUMN__ ALICIA V PERRY

Unsocial media.

Alicia V Perry EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY it is estimated

but more so, it is changing the way we relate to

making us feel more isolated. Moreover it is that

uploaded onto Facebook yet the more connected we

determination. We are steadily dependent on social

of what we currently experience in our daily lives

that 6,000 tweets are sent and 41,000 posts are

are, the lonelier we can feel. In a recent study of over 1,700 young adults, scientists from the University of

Pittsburgh in the US found that only TWO HOURS of social media use per day DOUBLES our chances of experiencing social isolation. Conversely, the

increasing amount of time we spend on social media, decreases the time we would spend on real-world

interactions in our quest for meaningful relationships. Undeniably loneliness can be the hardest thing to communicate to someone, even with the existing plethora of social media apps and that is because

technology has taken the place of human interaction in our lives. It seems apparent that we have come to

expect more from our social media and less from each other.

We are inherently social creatures so this

technological trend in modern life tends to

compartmentalise us instead of uniting us and

bringing us together; depriving us of our societal pre-requisite. We rely more and more on social

media to keep in touch with each other however it

is important to remember that social media is one-

ourselves, in our capacity for self-reflection and selfmedia as a viable means of communication but with

that, the art of conversation is at risk of being a ‘thing of the past.’

Human relationships and life itself is complex, ugly, and depressing. But online we get to edit, airbrush and manufacture a life that looks appealing, inspiring and successful to others, however our intentions.

sided. By that I mean, you will only ever see the one side of someone’s life, the side they want you to see.

Human relationships and life itself is complex, ugly,

than your own. This in turn can lead to feelings of

manufacture a life that looks appealing, inspiring

meagreness, inadequacy and loneliness. When you remove social media, when was the last time you

actually spoke to your loved ones? When was the last time you held someone’s undivided attention for a considerable period?

Texting, posting, tweeting and private messages are quite often the last thing a person does before they go to sleep at night and again the first thing they

do when they wake up in the morning; social media

never stops. We are becoming more and more reliant on our phones and laptops for this virtual reality of social media and it is changing our lives and

changing how we form relationships. It is changing

the way in which we relate to our family and friends

that disappoints us; creating a void which we try to

fill by using social media. However, on social media we are flooded with pictures and videos of events we weren’t invited to or celebrations we were left

out of and extravagant use of words revelling in how wonderful people’s lives are (or how they would like

us to perceive them). For someone who is lonely this

exaggerates those feelings of seclusion and separation, making them re-evaluate the short-comings in their own lives. Undoubtedly, this can have a profound,

adverse effect on the mental health of that individual. Loneliness is not about being alone but more

importantly it’s about the feeling you are on your

own and no one cares. Loneliness is not about how

many friends you have or if you are married, or your age, or whatever, it doesn’t discriminate. You can be in a crowded room but still feel like the loneliest

person there. Scientists have suggested that given all the drastic ways in which loneliness can impact our

bodies, it represents as great a risk for our long-term health as smoking cigarettes. Indeed, studies have

concluded that chronic loneliness increases our risk of an early death by 14%. It is a bizarre but true fact that

This can result in distorted realisations that other

people’s lives are much more rewarding and fulfilling

desire for social interaction as opposed to the level

depressing but online we get to edit, airbrush and

and successful to others, however our intentions. We fail to realise that while in our quest to be happy and celebrate, we are leaving others that we love

and care about behind. Social media has created a

disconnection from real-life human connections with those whom we hold dear and as such we are taking our eye off the ball. We are missing signs and clues to how a person is really feeling on the inside. We

are not seeing each other face-to-face as much as we should.

Loneliness can be described as that gap between our own expectations of what we want to feel versus the reality of what we actually feel. It is that gap that

manifests an emotional state of emptiness inside us

in a world of over 7.5 billion people, some of those people are still lonely.

Life is too short to be anything but happy, so let’s bring everyone along for the ride, let’s not forget

anyone! Make more time for your loved ones, go visit your relatives, pick-up that phone and call your mate before the day comes when it is too late. Be more

present in the precious moments of life, cherish and

value each other. Be more kind to each other because the saddest moments in life come when the person

who gave you the best memories becomes a memory themselves.

In Memory of Meon.

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

GNIMAG.COM | 19


MEET THE STAR__ ONYA BECKS

MEET THE STAR Onya Becks has been a regular on the Belfast Scene for a few years now, we find out how it all started... How did you first get into drag? I started Drag back in November 2012 by doing a small Charity Drag Competition Lurgan. After the comp I was advised to try out for Opportunity Frocks 2013, and advised to message Belfast local Queens about doing a few guest spots to help build my act/trade up. After doing a few free gigs (which is kind of a rite of passage for most Drag Queen/ Performers), I was able to hone my skills better as both a drag queen and performer by taking the advice from some of the amazing people I’ve had a chance to work with. This lead to me being asked to do more gigs/shows on the Belfast scene as well as getting bookings outside of the “scene” with my Onya Becks Show which is a night of cabaret, great banter and games! Where have you worked? I have worked in a crazy amount of places in the last five years. On a regular basis you can find me in the Maverick bar on a Friday and Saturday with Rusty Hinges at F**k Yeah it’s Friday and Lady Portia Di Monti at Portia Presents Hijinx on a Saturday! As well as the Glitzy Show on a Friday with Glitzy Glamore and occasionally the Sunday Bingo show in Union Street! Outside of the scene I have done shows in Essex, Liverpool and Leeds with Bella Berserks Leading ladies tour based in England. Sparkles show bar in Gran Canaria. I’ve also brought my solo show (The Onya Becks Show) up and down Ireland. Who have been the best people to work with? I personally admire and have nothing but pure respect for Lady Portia Di Monti, she has been an amazing friend and has helped me so much! From helping me come out of my shell and giving me advice to generally making me feel welcome, as someone who’s Autistic I can sometimes feel socially awkward around other Queens. Glitzy Glamour is just pure camp and fun! I actually think I’m like a mini version of her as our styles are very similar! Contact: Facebook: Onya Becks Instagram: Mistressonyabecks Twitter: @Missyonyabecks!

20 | GNIMAG.COM


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SCENE OUT__ UNION STREET BAR

Just a typical Friday night in Union Street Bar, Belfast.

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SCENE OUT__ KREMLIN

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SCENE OUT__ MAVERICK

Maverick was buzzing when we popped along.

26 | GNIMAG.COM


October

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Friday 6th


OPINION__ MY BIG NAIL ADVENTURE

That time I wore nail polish... I’m forty years old so maybe in gay years I’m almost extinct - but I don’t feel it. I’ve gone through my life very content with my look, my style, and I’m certainly not lacking in self confidence. I’m not comfortable with labels but I’d say I’m fairly “masc”. So, this turn of events came as much of a surprise to me as it probably will to you. About a year or so ago my husbear and myself were invited to a milestone birthday party and as with all good parties there was a theme and that was “gold”. The other half got in there first with the gold sparkly beard so I had to get thinking about how to possibly upstage him (I’m like that you see). What would people at this party not be expecting from a fairly masculine guy approaching his forties? I stopped short of going in a dress - I didn’t want to steal the thunder from the birthday gurl. Then like a bolt out of the blue one night it came to me... NAILS. As a lifelong nail biter my nails were rubbish so not only was I going to paint my nails but I was going to get on some stick on extensions. The day of the event arrived and I got my nails on and the party went well. I didn’t feel particularly comfortable in nails, and the gold sparkly glittery ones were a tad embarrasing to me. I think I spent most of the night with my fists clenched so as not to show off my brilliant nail idea. So that was it for me and painted nails, I felt like they weren’t my friends! When the new year rolled in one of my resolutions was to stop the prolific nail biting, I was determined to not be embarrassed by my hands anymore. I went out and got my wee bottle of Stop N Grow and applied it religiously. I never got used to that horrible taste each time I habitually went to nosh down on one of my nails, and over the weeks nail actually grew out of what was once a nail stump. As the next few months went on my friend showed me how to file and care for my new talons and they were looking pretty sharp to be fair. I was able for the first time in my life to scratch myself properly, open a keyring, pick spinach from my teeth, and get those hard to grab bogies out of my nostril! Around late spring time we went on a wee weekend break and it was when walking through the airport on the way home that my man presented me with a gift. It’s a running joke with my mates that this big hairy bloke has a thing for the current unicorn craze - I

think I might actually be obsessed. But anyway the gift was a bottle of nail polish - unicorn nail polish. I looked at him, laughed, said thanks, put the bottle in my bag and expected never to look at it again. Unpacking the bag at home I came across this bottle, complete with unicorn head on the top, and put it out on my dresser. For a few weeks it sat there looking at me, twinkling away in the dim light of my bedrooom. One night lying in bed alone, watching a particularily crappy tv show the wee bottle caught my eye. It was like one of those cartoon situations where there’s an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. One voice was saying grab the bottle and do it, and the other voice was saying no, you tried nail polish before and it was sh*t. The devil won. I got out of bed and went and picked up that bottle. Sitting in my bed I unscrewed the lid and gingerly started to paint my nails. The polish itself was clear with lots of sparkly and bright coloured circles in it - so it wasn’t subtle. That was it done, I’d painted my nails, looked at them and had a wee chuckle to myself and rolled over and went to sleep. Waking up the next morning I’d forgotten all about my nails until I was in the shower, and there they were twinkling up at me. Downstairs the fella was already at breakfast, I sat down beside him and tucked into mine. “Fu*k me, what’s that on your fingers” was his reaction. And at that moment the decision was made, I was going to leave the polish on my nails. I wasn’t going to have other peoples reaction determine my appearance. We live in a society where we’re told what the latest fashions are, how our hair should look, how we should act and behave. I suppose for most of my life I’ve conformed. But here I was almost forty and I was rebelling, it may only have been in a very small way but I felt I was rebelling none the less. That day leaving the house in my sparkly nails I was nervous. Nervous because I know what my reaction would have been in the past to a bloke wearing nail varnish – I’d have looked, probably sniggered, and maybe even muttered something under my breath just loud enough that he’d hear it. I could literally as well as been naked, I didn’t care what I was wearing that day – it was all about my nails. Getting on the bus I reached into my pocket for some change and put it on the tray. My heart was beating in my chest and I was pretty terrified, but why? It was only nails! I’ve never shied away from my

sexuality but I don’t think I’ve ever really wore it on my sleeve (or nails), and I felt this is what I was doing by wearing this nail polish. It was the exact change so I grabbed my change and hurried up the bus to my seat. The walk from the bus to the office I sauntered with my hands proudly flayling at my sides, thinking I was brave but knowing nobody could really see them. In work I settled at my desk. I work at a computer all day, so there was going to be no hiding my pretty unicorn inspired nails. The first colleague to notice was a girl, so that was a fairly easy one, she complimented me on my choice, we had a chuckle and she went off. Throughout the day the lads pointed it out, some had a laugh, some said “good on ya big lad” but by the afternoon it was a non-event. This in itself gave me the confidence to go further with my nail journey. As the days went on I grew in confidence I’d proudly put my money on the counters in shops – stretching out my fingers so my nails would be noticed. Looking up at the people serving me to wait for a reaction. People didn’t expect to see these sparkly tips, and I did get some looks. And I’m sure behind my back there were some comments made. But I didn’t care. These ten little individual statements on my very visible hands gave me massive confidence. They were like my fu*k you to everyone who thought I gave a fiddlers about their opinions. Even at work meetings, I shook hands with pride – I didn’t care what people thought. Who says nail varnish is just for girls? Why can’t guys wear it confidently? Look I know this seems like a long story about painting my nails, but it’s more than that. It’s a story about a guy growing up in 80s Northern Ireland, conforming to how men behave, but stepping out and being different. Us older men sometimes look at the younger generation, growing their hair, maybe wearing their sisters clothes, or putting on some guyliner, and we scorn, usually internally, but most of us do it. But instead of scorning, why not take a leaf out of their books? Live your life and use your body as a blank canvas. Decorate it how you want, who cares what people think? Stepping outside of my self-formed box and doing something as small as wearing nail polish for a couple of weeks gave me an understanding of myself and a confidence that I’d never felt before. We get one crack at this thing called life – add a little sparkle!

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GNI NEWS__ OUR BIG MOVE

Team GNI are on the move... It’s all change at GNI MAG Towers. Ok so towers is a massive exaggeration, but we did pack up our boxes and find ourselves a new home. Daniel and his team found a great new spot in the spring time and all through the summer the builders were in making the place perfect. Located in East Belfast the office offers us a great creative space to work in. To celebrate our big move we got Ben from Rolld Ice Cream to come along and serve our guests tasty rolled ice cream in a choice of three

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delicious flavours; mint Aero, Oreos, or Kinder Beuno. Guest including GNI MAG columnists, and our friends and family enjoyed the rolled ice cream along with copious glasses of bubbly, tasty nibbles and great banter. Our Operations Manager Daniel May is thrilled with the new move saying “At last we have an office that’s purpose designed just for us and how we work to produce GNI MAG, our last office was not designed with magazine production in

mind. In our new space we can all work together as one, giving us the opportunity to brainstorm and be a more cohesive creative team.” The open plan office means that editorial, events, design, and sales staff now all work together as one team. This should be great as long as we all get along ;-)


GNI NEWS__ OUR BIG MOVE

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KEEP UP__ OCTOBER / NOVEMBER

THIS PIC: DOLLYWOULD: THE MAC BELFAST: 12TH & 13TH OCTOBER

OCTOBER THE ADDAMS FAMILY: Grand Opera House Belfast: 3rd - 7th MISS SIAGON: Bord Gรกis Energy Theatre Dublin: 4th Oct - 18th Nov JOHN BISHOP: SSE Arena Belfast: 4th & 5th / 3 Arena Dublin: 6th - 8th LADY ANTEBELLUM: 3 Arena Dublin: 5th LUSH CLASSICAL: SSE Arena Belfast: 7th NEIL DIAMOND: SSE Arena Belfast: 8th JOSS STONE IN CONCERT WITH LIVE ORCHESTERA: Ulster Hall Belfast: 10th DOLLYWOULD: The Mac Belfast: 12th & 13th MONTY PYTHONS SPAMALOT: Grand Opera House Belfast: 10th - 14th IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: 3 Arena Dublin: 15th

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ZARA LARSSON: Waterfront Belfast: 15th / Olympia Theatre Dublin: 16th SHANE FILAN: Olympia Theatre Dublin: 19th / Waterfront Belfast: 22nd BEAUTIFUL - THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL: Grand Opera House Belfast: 24th - 28th THE WATERBOYS: 3 Arena Dublin: 26th

NOVEMBER LONDON GRAMMAR: Olympia Theatre Dublin: 1st / Waterfront Belfast: 2nd BECKETT WOMEN: Ceremonies of Departure: The Mac Belfast: 2nd - 12th BOYCE AVENUE: Ulster Hall Belfast: 3rd / Olympia Theatre Dublin: 4th

THE KILLERS: 3 Arena Dublin: 16th / SSE Arena Belfast: 17th THE MAN IN THE WOMANS SHOES: The Mac Belfast: 21st -23rd SUNSET BOULEVARD: Bord Gรกis Energy Theatre Dublin: 21st - 25th NELLY: Ulster Hall Belfast: 22nd

EMELI SANDร‰: 3 Arena Dublin: 27th

LITTLE MIX: 3 Arena Dublin: 6th / SSE Arena Belfast: 7th & 8th

QUEEN & ADAM LAMBERT: 3 Arena Dublin: 25th / SSE Arena Belfast: 26th

BEN NICKY: SSE Arena Belfast: 28th

ROMEO & JULIETTE: The Lyric Belfast: 8th - 11th

ROYAL BLOOD: 3 Arena Dublin: 26th

ALISON MOYET: Olympia Theatre Dublin: 28th / Ulster Hall Belfast: 29th

BANANARAMA: SSE Arena Belfast: 9th

WOLF ALICE: Ulster Hall Belfast: 27th / Olympia Theatre: 28th

BARBRA DIXON: The Lyric Belfast, 29th LIAM GALLAGHER: SSE Arena Belfast: 30th HAIRSPRAY: Grand Opera House Belfast: 30th Oct - 4th Nov

SWAN LAKE: Grand Opera House Belfast: 9th - 11th STEPS: SSE Arena Belfast: 12th & 14th / 3 Arena Dublin: 13th DEPECHE MODE: 3 Arena Dublin: 15th RAG AND BONE MAN: Olympia Theatre: 15th

JAMES BLUNT: 3 Arena Dublin: 27th KASABIAN: 3 Arena Dublin: 28th CABARET: Bord Gรกis Energy Theatre Dublin: 28th Nov 2nd Dec


Make a difference The Police Service of Northern Ireland will be recruiting from 23rd October 2017. If you want a career that’s challenging, interesting, and makes a difference in your community, we want you to apply. Applications close at noon on 10th November 2017.

Have you got what it takes? Find out at joinpsni.co.uk


ICON INTERVIEW__ ANDREW CHRISTIAN

ICON Andrew Christian

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ICON INTERVIEW__ ANDREW CHRISTIAN

Andrew Christian began designing his own clothes as a teenager as a way to overcome the fact that he was a poor kid whose family couldn’t afford the designer clothes his friends were wearing. At 19 he moved to Los Angeles with $500 in his pocket to go to fashion school. Selling his work in local boutiques helped fund his college life, but once underwear ranges were introduced that’s when things really took off for Andrew. Since those early days Andrew has used his fame and notoriety to become an activist for the LGBT community on a worldwide stage. Andrew Christian, our Icon! You’ve said that you were bullied during your school years, was it physical, emotional or both? And how do you think the other kids knew from an early age that you were gay – did you even really know you were? The bullying I experience as a child was emotional and pretty traumatic. At the time I really didn’t understand why the other kids were making fun of me. I didn’t fully realize that I was gay or what gay was and why I was being called gay. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that being gay could be a positive thing. If I were not gay I would not be the success I am today...but it took years to figure that out. As an incredibly dedicated and ambitious guy, you started your company in 1997, hand-sewing your first range yourself. Was there a sense of having to work harder to prove yourself more as a gay guy due to the feeling of worthlessness that bullying can cause? My drive, determination, starting my company and working so hard didn’t come from being bullied as a young adult. Rather it came from the fact that it’s really difficult and competitive in the clothing industry. Apparel is probably one of the toughest of all realms to start a company. Even today I still work relentlessly to evolve the brand and innovate into different products and markets. But one thing I learned from being bullied as a child was that to be successful I had to be more innovative and more “thick-skinned” to criticism and to persevere to matter what. So the Andrew Christian brand, the underwear is a staple in most gay guys top drawers. The look, the fit and the feel, they tick all the boxes, and then there’s the Andrew Christian models and branding.

Many of your models are porn stars and the tongue in cheek “banana cursor” on your website shows that sex sells, tell us about your rise to becoming a gay superbrand… I’m a big believer in positive thinking. One day I decided I wanted to be a gay super brand, at the time I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I put it out into the universe. It was really when I started making sexy underwear and producing videos featuring my underwear designs and my models when the company really took off and became the success you see today. Everyone said that I was going to fail because I only marketed to gay males but by being true to my goal and passion and segmenting the market into something I understood and appreciated I was able to succeed. Sex = Power = Freedom, an empowering book of stunning and often thought provoking images with a message that sex is power and ultimately can lead to political freedom. Tell us about this… I thought is was important that I lend my voice to LGBT empowerment. I host many gay pride events all over the world, and not all of them are celebrations like they are here in the USA. I wanted to let our LGBT bothers and sisters around the world know they are not alone. Also I wanted to let LGBT people here in the USA realize that we cant take our accomplishments for granted and there is still more work to do to become equal in the eyes of the law. But Arad’s journey to becoming an Andrew Christian model in my book is the most important story from Sex = Power = Freedom. If Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” had been in place during the last 8 years, Arad would surely be dead today. Arad deserted the Iranian military at the age of 22 and walked on foot through snowy mountains for three days and two

nights to escape to Turkey, because he wanted freedom and knew he would be killed by the Iranian police state if he was discovered to be gay. Upon escaping into Turkey, Arad was held in a Turkish prison for six months for having a forged passport. Eventually after another 3 years of paperwork, Arad was rescued by the United Nations and resettled in Dallas, Texas as a refugee. Today, under Trumps “extreme vetting” program Arad would not have been allowed to resettle as a refugee in the USA and he would have been sent back to Iran where he would have been hanged for being a military deserter. I hope creating the SEX = POWER = FREEDOM book helps get Arad’s story out. For me freedom and happiness are contagious and I want to help spread hope to other LGBT people who must live in oppressive environments whether it is a small town in the U.S, or with a family that isn’t accepting or in a country like Iran where people aren’t allowed even basic freedoms. I also want to raise awareness for the plight of those who live in hostile oppressive countries and help make Americans understand that most people from the Middle East are just like you and me...they want to live in peace and freedom and many good people just like Arad look to the United States for assistance. You’re an out and proud man, having travelled the world you’ve seen the inequalities that the LGBT community can face. Where have you visited where you were genuinely shocked or appalled at LGBT discrimination? I was actually shocked in the process of publishing my book Sex=Power=Freedom. I had a publisher who laughed in my face about printing the book just because of the LGBT content and that I was gay. It had been a long time since I had faced open discrimination like that and it was a real eye opener. After this happened I actually re-wrote part of my book because it affected me so much. Being so high profile gives you the opportunity to be vocal to the masses on LGBT issues, what projects have you been involved with in the past that you’re proud of (and what was achieved), and are there any you’re currently working on? In the past year I have personally volunteered with Project Angel Food in Los Angels. They provide daily meals for people that have debilitating conditions and are home bound. The sense of accomplishment you feel from volunteer work is amazing, You really feel like you are making a difference in someones life. I would recommend everyone volunteer in some shape or form in their local community. My next project is super secret...so all I can say is think pink!

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INTERVIEW__ COURTNEY ACT

COURTNEY ACT Spililng the tea, the shade and the pink lemonade

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PHOTO CREDIT: GREG BAILY, BRIGHTON

INTERVIEW__ COURTNEY ACT

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INTERVIEW__ COURTNEY ACT to be gay. The beauty of being a minority is that we can understand and hopefully help other minorities who are being oppressed to be more visible and in the open. Even within the queer community there are further minorities: look at trans people, people with disabilities, etc, they are still fighting to be afforded those same rights. Pride is so necessary across the board. Drag Race has done a lot for visibility in that regard. Half my followers are female - I’m not sure how many of them identify as queer - but Drag Race is putting us into people’s living rooms and showing them that drag is an art. It’s not simply men wanting to be women; its people wanting to be entertainers, to make other people happy and to push boundaries. I’ve noticed big changes even in the queer safe places.

become supportive of their success. I know I couldn’t have done it without the support of Bianca, Adore and Darrienne, and our friendship still remains strong via our group chats. I think my worst lessons lead to my best lessons here - it’s more the aftermath of Drag Race that changes things, rather than the process itself. And really these girls are the only ones that can relate, going as far as I did and further. You go from being relatively unknown to everyone knowing everything about you and you know nothing about them, which is strange. It comes extremely suddenly and nothing can prepare you for that. My hardest lesson came from watching it all back: I thought I came across as seeking perfection and trying to be too polished. Too many things that I said and did throughout the show, I watch it at times cringing and willing

SOUNDS MESSY! ON THE TOPIC OF VISIBILITY AND LABELS THOUGH, WE’VE JUST CELEBRATED THE BELFAST AND DUBLIN PRIDE FESTIVALS. WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD AND WHAT DOES PRIDE MEAN TO YOU? Pride... as we gain more and more equality in the world as queer people, is pride still relevant? Yes, definitely because we are only starting to see acceptance... but is acceptance even full equality… I’m not so sure... In the UK, USA and Australia we are afforded so many wonderful rights but many people in the world are not. Look at Chechnya, where they have gay concentration camps - gay men are taken to these camps by authorities and tortured. Thankfully there are some wonderful organisations out there like the Rainbow Railroad that are helping gay men escape countries like this to get to better places of safety. It’s 2017 and there are still countries where it is illegal

They used to be tourist hotspots for hen parties and the like, whereas now it seems to be a mix. An integration of young people, gay and straight, who are just invigorating the club scene - it’s healthy: the young the old, the queer, the straight, all integrating. I am proud to have been and to be part of this invigoration.

myself to shut up. Anything I said or did was never meant in malice it was done from the view point of trying to strive to be the polished, put together and professional which I always thought was the objective in my work and the competition. From watching this back I have learned there is a lot to be said for being humble; humility isn’t a weakness, asking for help isn’t a weakness, and you can do this and still be a polished perfect professional and be vulnerable at the same time. There is something very valuable in being vulnerable.

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PHOTO CREDIT: GREG BAILY, BRIGHTON

YOU IDENTIFY AS A PRIUS DRIVING, VEGAN, PANSEXUAL, POLYAMOROUS, GENDERFLUID, BURNER HIPPY CHILD ON YOUR WEBSITE. QUITE THE LIST, BUT AN IMPORTANT ONE REGARDING VISIBILITY NONETHELESS. FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW, AND CAR CHOICES ASIDE, COULD YOU EXPLAIN WHAT THESE MEAN? I actually forgot to put atheist in there - I must get that added in at some point! But let’s break it down: Pansexual means that I am attracted to many genders, not just the obvious men, which everyone knows about but also women and other people of other genders too. Polyamorous means that I don’t think love is finite; I can love more than one person but can still love person A and person B equally. Genderfluid is there due to the fact that I don’t subscribe to the standard binary of male or female. I can be a feminine male or a masculine female - I was brought up in a very masculine environment and it took long time for me to realise that I didn’t need to conform to the labels of what a man should be, I could be who I wanted to be when I wanted to be. And that can change, depending on the environment I am in. So fluidity is about me being comfortable with myself outside the standard labels of male and female. Burner hippy child refers to my love of the Burning Man festival - I just love it; there are no expectations at Burning Man, you can wear as many clothes or as little clothes as possible out in the desert, taking mushrooms, experiencing and exploring with other humans on different mental and physical levels. I am disappointed I am not going this year as I always have such an amazing time at it but also glad as I can’t be bothered with the aftermath of having to clean all the dirt from my clothes, my body and hair it just gets everywhere when you are in the desert and I mean Everywhere!

IN MARCH OF THIS YEAR YOU WROTE A VERY HEARTFELT INSTAGRAM POST ON LADY GAGA’S APPEARANCE ON SEASON 9 AND THE QUEENS WHO PARTICIPATED. IT MAKES DRAG RACE SOUND LIKE A MILITARY OPERATION THOUGH! IS IT REALLY THAT GRUELLING? WHAT IS THE BEST AND WORST LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM DOING IT? It is very easy to let the competition take you over and make you jealous but, at the same time, you do form strong bonds with your fellow competitors and

FOR ALL THE ASPIRING DRAG ARTISTS AMONG OUR READERS TAKE US THROUGH HOW YOU EMBODY COURTNEY, STEP BY STEP, ANY RITUALS OR RIDER REQUESTS? NO RED M&MS WE ASSUME! Nope I am not the red M&M girl I feel like I dodged a bullet by default with being vegan - I don’t eat standard M&M’s! There really isn’t much to my


INTERVIEW__ ASTON MERRYGOLD INTERVIEW__ COURTNEY ACT rider, just bottles of water, to keep my throat and vocal chords prepared for my show. There really isn’t anything out of the ordinary in getting ready for a show; I wash, shower, shave, I sit down to do my make-up and warm up my vocals which takes about an hour. But my one absolute must is that I have to have music when I am getting ready. The other night I was getting ready and I had Lorde’s new album on and it just made me start to cry and my make-up was running everywhere so I quickly switched over to the Spice Girls from “Wannabe” right through to “Viva Forever” and all was good to go. YOU RECENTLY WERE PART OF MTV’S SINGLE AF AS COURTNEY. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT AND WHAT WAS IT LIKE GOING ON DATES AS COURTNEY? IS IT A NORM FOR YOU RATHER THAN DATING SHANE OR WAS IT A NEW EXPERIENCE IN YOUR GENDER JOURNEY? It came around from MTV contacting me and asking me to be on the show, basically. It’s not the first time I’ve went on dates as Courtney but it is the first time I’ve went on dates with guys that identify as gay as Courtney. Normally when I’ve went on dates as Courtney it’s been with guys that identify as straight/ bi/pansexual so this was a new experience for me in my dating life as usually gay men are normally only interested in gay men, but I managed to make out with all of my dates and one of those was even a girl. It was all a very empowering experience going from asking people on my social media “Who wants to date me for this show?” I got an amazing response to my cry for dates….. actually I must see if the producers will give me the details of the ones I didn’t get to date…….it could be like my Rolodex of Love, the flipside to Bianca’s Rolodex of Hate! YOU SEEM TO LOVE COOKING FROM YOUR “COOKING WITH COURTNEY” VIDEOS. NO ONE HERE AT GNI IS EVEN REMOTELY VEGAN BUT WE THINK THE DISHES LOOK AMAZING! WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH TO MAKE AND HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT DOING A VEGAN COOK BOOK? I actually can’t remember the name of the favourite dish that I made but it was one of my first. It was like a Japanese-inspired sushi-rice-ball-type-thing and it was my favourite because it was so easy to make, looked great and tasted amazing! I was like wow this cooking thing isn’t that hard! I haven’t really thought about a cook book as such but I have recently recorded 3 videos on a proper camera (rather than my iPhone) with Gia Gunn, another with Willam. And there’s a final one with a Youtube blogger. The one with Willam involved ears of corn so you can just imagine how that went! (Unfortunately we can, all too clearly.)

YOU’VE GATHERED AN ENVIABLE LIST OF CELEBRITY MATES, ALTHOUGH WE’RE NOT SURE WILLAM COUNTS HERE...IF YOU COULD DUET WITH ANY FAMOUS MUSICIAN WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU SING TOGETHER? Without a doubt it would be Lady Gaga. I think people forget how much she had changed the world for the queer community: she pushed boundaries, wasn’t afraid to speak up in the mainstream at a time when others within the industry really weren’t interested; it was positively inspiring to have such an ally. It would have to be an original recording to suit both our voices as she puts such a stamp on anything she does so I would want it to be an original piece for

“...but I managed to make out with all of my dates and one of those was even a girl.” “OUR” stamp. SPEAKING OF CELEBRITY MATES, WE’RE SO JEALOUS THAT YOU GOT TO WORK WITH LITTLE MIX ON THE POWER! YOU LOOK SENSATIONAL IN THE VIDEO BY THE WAY! WE KNOW YOU, LIKE US, ARE A BIG SPICE GIRLS FAN AND AS YOU’VE MENTIONED THEM ALREADY, AND THAT GINGER WAS ALWAYS YOUR FAVOURITE. SO IF YOU HAD TO GIVE EACH OF THE LITTLE MIX GIRLS A SPICE GIRLS TYPE NICKNAME, WHAT WOULD IT BE, AND WHAT’S THE REASONING FOR IT: Ooooh that is such a difficult question I don’t know if I can really answer that - they are all so adorable! I remember them coming to one of our AAA shows in the Eagle in London. Thanks to the guy I know who does their hair, they hung out backstage before the show. They’re all super lovely but Jade is such a Drag

Race superfan that the next thing I knew we were being asked to be in the video for Power! SPEAKING OF HAIR, WIGS BY VANITY SEEM TO BE FAST BECOMING THE GO TO FOR DRAG QUEENS AROUND THE WORLD. TELL US ABOUT THE BUSINESS ASPECTS OF DRAG AND HOW YOU THINK THEY’RE CHANGING THE ART? Wigs by Vanity started back in 2003 mainly because we were so envious of Ru Pauls hairlines! So myself and my friend Vanity thought let’s do this ourselves. We are very hands on and travelled to China to be involved through the whole process. Vanity herself is a wig master and is self-taught on how to hand-tie each strand of hair. Flash forward to 2013 and Ru Paul is now wearing Wigs by Vanity, along with other members of the drag race alumni! Flash forward to today and it has even stretched beyond drag queens as even Jade from Little Mix wears our wigs at times. Drag is can definitely become your business and you need to be savvy about it. Look at how mainstream it has become, with various queens now taking on the mainstream. You are seeing queens in glossy fashion magazines, being brand ambassadors for high end designers and spokes people for make-up brands. MAC’s Viva Glam range is a great example; look at how they have turned it into a way of supporting the queer community with all profits going to their AIDs Foundation and pulling in big names from both drag and mainstream pop culture to act as ambassador. That was Ru Paul’s gig first out of everyone! YOU ARE APPEARING WITH THE “AAA GIRLS,” ALASKA AND WILLAM, IN DUBLIN IN OCTOBER WITH THE HEELS OF HELL TOUR WHICH FEATURES QUEEN OF HALLOWEEN SHARON NEEDLES, JINXKY AND TRIXIE MATTEL TOO. WHAT SHOULD FANS EXPECT? HAVE REHEARSALS STARTED YET OR ARE YOU GIRLS JUST GOING TO WING IT? WHO’S GOING TO BE THE FIRST TO LOSE A WIG? It’s going to be like a Battle of the Seasons I think. There aren’t really any group rehearsals - it’s more just a big spooky Halloween party with each of us doing our thing. Speaking of which I am really going to have to get my thinking cap on what to wear as I am up against the Queen of Halloween herself, Sharon Needles. It is going to be very exciting and spectacular, but I must remember not to wear my Marilyn wig as Willam will just rip it straight off my head along with my scalp too no doubt. (So that’s what happened in “A Lacefront like This” then!) Trixie will have the biggest hair out of all of us but she always has it secured very well, so for simplicity and not to embarrass any of the other Queens let’s say it could very well be me that loses my wig! Something to look forward to, then!

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INTERVIEW__ RACHEL TUCKER

Rachel Tucker GNIMAG.COM | 41


INTERVIEW__ RACHEL TUCKER

Queen of the Westend and Broadway, local lass Rachel Tucker takes some time out to talk to GNI MAG. We talk Wicked, her new TV roll, equality, and what it’s like to be Rachel Tucker. YOU'VE BEEN AN EXTREMELY BUSY GIRL SINCE I'D DO ANYTHING BACK IN 2008, WITH NOTABLY "WE WILL ROCK YOU", "WICKED" AND YOUR "ON THE ROAD TOUR" WHATS NEXT FOR NORTHERN IRELAND'S MUSICAL THEATRE STARLET? Well I’ve got a bit of an exclusive for you guys at GNI, I just got news today that I got my first TV job with the BBC in a 6 part thriller drama called Informer. I am playing a Yorkshire lass who is a karaoke singing barmaid. I start rehearsals for that next week, I’ll have to brush up with my voice coach on the accent but I am very excited about my first big TV role, I feel like I’ve ticked a lot of my boxes in the theatre world so this will be another box I will be able to tick off now as I’ve always wanted to branch out into TV and film work. I also have a big band gig happening in Shoreditch Townhall in London on the 17th November that I’m really excited but also nervous about as it will be just me with a big full band in an amazing venue, it’s going to be very similar in the music sense to my solo tour there only with a big band for my accompaniment IT’S A KNOWN FACT YOU SAID GOOD BYE TO THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD FOR THE LAST TIME, BUT WERE ASKED BACK TO A LIMITED RUN FOR THE 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY, IS THIS NOW THE END FOR YOU AND ELPHABA? WOULD THERE BE ANYTHING THAT COULD CHANGE THE MIND OF OUR FAVOURITE ELPHABA? Oh my goodness Elphaba is so dear to my heart and has been such massive part of my life, there so much has happened because of the part and I am forever grateful for that. I am so glad these two guys got together and came up with Wicked, it has totally changed my life, getting this opportunity really did push me onto the global stage with the success the show has had and for that I can’t thank them enough but with all roles you have to know when to bow out and bow out on a high. If I could I would play Elphaba until I die or they push me off the stage but that wouldn’t challenge me and push me further, as an actress you have to take into account age of the character and my own age too physically and vocally too. Maybe I could be the first person to play both Elphana and Madam Morrible? SO WE COULDN’T CHANGE YOUR MIND ON THE ELPHABA FRONT NOT EVEN WITH SAY A BIG BAR OF DAIRY MILK OR SOMETHING? Haha! It would take a bit more than that... maybe a lifetime supply or Tayto cheese and onion crisps, they just don’t taste the same when you get them over here!

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WHILE WE ARE ON THE SUBJECT OF WICKED, TELL US WHO YOUR FAVOURITE ELPHABA IS\WAS (NOT COUNTING YOU OBVIOUSLY) AND WHO WAS THE BEST GLINDA TO WORK WITH? DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY REAL WITCHES BACKSTAGE DURING YOUR TIME WITH THE SHOW? (WE WON’T TELL HONEST LOL!) Oooh this is a tough one, the first time I saw wicked was on Broadway and I was gutted Idina wasn’t on and can understand why people get annoyed if they’ve flown to London to see me and I’m off sick or on holiday but anyways when I went Kirsten was still in the role of Glinda so that kind of consoled me but Idina’s understudy Shoshana Bean was just phenomenal and I can honestly say that’s the first time I was blown away by the role but then everyone says the first time you see Wicked is always your best. It’s really hard to pick the best Glinda because they have all been brilliant in their own way but again I suppose I would have to say without really wanting to single anyone out it would be my partner in crime from when I first took the role Louise Dearman. We had to rehearse for six weeks together beforehand and we just bonded and had a laugh together and that’s just special. There are definitely a few real witches in theatre and believe it or not they aren’t always the women some of the men can be the worst. You can get some real dramaqueens backstage and you just have to deal with it as professionally as you can and get on with it, lines often get blurred in the theatre industry because it’s not like your average 9 to 5 office job if you get what I mean. There have been times where I have had to take my hat off and go a little Belfast on them and put my foot down, I find the older I get the less I suffer fools gladly, but you are always learning in this industry and sometimes it pays to just take a deep breath walk away from it, go home and think about it and deal with the witches next day. DANIEL IN THE OFFICE HERE IS ALWAYS SINGING MUSICAL THEATRE LIKE THE LEAD TO A HIT SHOW, IT’S LIKE HAVING OUR OWN RESIDENT WEST-END DIVA IN THE OFFICE LOL! ARE THERE ANY SHOWS YOU SEE CURRENTLY ON THE WEST END THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO TAKE THE LEAD ON? PLUS ANY VOCAL TIPS FOR OUR DANIEL? Oh there are so many things on the Westend at the minute let me think… I would have really loved to have got my teeth into Funny Girl which I think has just become a touring production, I just love that show. I mean when you’re in a Westend show you don’t get much time to see other productions but there is a Bob Dylan Musical which starts next week I think I would love to do something like that which is a bit kooky and quirky and not so mainstream, to really challenge myself a bit further rather than just big commercial shows all the time it doesn’t necessarily have to be off Westend but just something where I can originate a role and put my own stamp on it before anyone else does. AND ANY TIPS FOR OUR DANIEL? Sing quietly haha only joking! Humming and chewing for a good 20 mins before a show, get those vocal cords warmed up and lubricated and lots of lip vibrations so then you won’t hurt your voice when you are on stage. WE ARE SURE YOU HAVE SOME AMAZING FANATICAL FANS, WHAT IS YOUR STRANGEST EXPERIENCE WITH A FAN? I was asked to fly out for a week to Dubai for the wedding of an extremely rich Arab’s son, they offered to pay for everything for me and my family to come out for a week and live the life of luxury so that I would sing for their first dance, which was really touching and could have been very lucrative but unfortunately it was during the Christmas period. Getting time off from the Westend during the Christmas period is just unheard of and not allowed. Being bought really extravagant gifts you know like DKNY watches and Fendi scarves is thing that I still find strange I always feel like I am almost being bought for my time and then they almost feel like they own you by giving you these gifts. WHEN YOU LAST CAME HOME YOU BECAME AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE JAMES HUISH THEATRE ACADEMY HOW AND WHY DID THAT


INTERVIEW__ RACHEL TUCKER

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INTERVIEW__ RACHEL TUCKER COME ABOUT? I’ve known James from the “I’d do anything” days and we’ve done a few gigs together, he came to me in my first year in Wicked and was like I’m setting up this theatre group back home and we would love you to be patron. At the time it was a big thing for me putting my name to it as I wasn’t sure how good it was going to be or how serious James was about it all, but I can say hand on heart it is one of the best decisions I have made. I am so proud and amazed at what James has achieved and accomplished with it all, he’s just gone from strength to strength and it is just exactly what the children of Northern Ireland need, that springboard to give them their start in the world of theatre with experience, exams and coaching and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of it and support it right from the early days of it starting. SPEAKING OF HOME, WHEN NOT BEING A WESTEND SUPER STAR WHAT DOES A NORMAL DAY CONSISTS OF FOR RACHEL TUCKER? I’m like any working mum, I’ll tell you about what I’ve done today. I got up and got my son off to school, it’s only his 2nd day at big school now so it was all very emotional but I didn’t cry because he has just taken to it all so easily which has made it so easy for me as I thought I was going to be a crying mess. I came home and learned some lines for an audition I have to tomorrow with my husband, hit the gym, back to pick my son up from school had a quick salad and now I’m having this interview with you so all pretty normal really. Though I am just about to book flights to New York for us all as I’ve been booked for some gigs at 54 Below in New York which is a beautiful cabaret venue there so it’s all very exciting. HALLOWEEN IS FAST APPROACHING WHAT DOES THE ULTIMATE WITCH WEAR TO A FANCY DRESS PARTY? (DON'T COP OUT WITH A WITCH COSTUME LOL!) I know Ben (my son) said mummy you have to be a witch this Halloween and I was like no son I’ve been a witch most of my life is there something else I can be. He’s now told me that he is going to be a zombie and I can be a mummy “mummy” so expect to see me wandering around London dressed head to toe in bandages. TELL US YOUR FUNNIEST BLOOPER FROM YOUR WEST END CAREER. My goodness there are definitely a few but you’ve put me on the spot haha! Let me think… oh the bubble juice for Elphaba’s entrance were I have to run onto the stage, while I was in Broadway I ran on forgetting the stage isn’t as long as in London and I literally fell a*se over tit about three foot in the air in the middle of a Broadway show and had to just get up, take a big breath in and carry on as if it didn’t happen which wasn’t the easiest thing to do when you’ve taken a bump. I’m sure there are plenty of other better ones from what we call last matinee gags which are a regular thing among casts within the Westend but you’ve kind of put me on the spot. THIS SUMMER YOU WERE PART OF WEST-END LIVE, YOU NOT ONLY GOT TO SHOW OFF YOUR SOLO SKILLS BUT YOU ALSO DUET-TED WITH MARISHA WALLACE HOW WAS THIS EXPERIENCE AND HOW DID IT DIFFER TO PERFORMING IN A WEST-END THEATRE? I love doing Westend live I’ve done it every year with Wicked and stuff, the audience attitude towards it all is always amazing and the amount the audience give back to you is so much more than when you are in the theatre. It’s a very different experience with having to use a radio mic and not getting the perfect sound quality that you get when performing in a grand theatre and stuff but the atmosphere is just amazing and everyone just wants to party. I got to do a lot of songs from my own album this time which was great being able to see how it was being received from the audience reactions and then getting to do it with Marisha is just incredible. We have a really great friendship both on and off stage and I just love singing with her and have done many times, she’s also one of the Westend Diva’s from the forth coming shows I am part of and it’s just great having these sort of people as your friends and being able to share and do what you love with them, it’s just great and I love it! IT’S KNOWN THAT YOU ARE GREAT FRIENDS WITH ONE OF BELFAST'S FAVOURITE DRAG QUEENS TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS, IF YOU COULD BE A DRAG QUEEN WHAT WOULD YOUR DRAG NAME BE AND WHAT STYLE OF DRAG WOULD YOU CREATE? Oh yes I adore Trudy (Gordon) we grew up together, I’ve known Gordon since he was

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13 he is phenomenal at what he does with Trudy I am really proud of how far he has come with the drag act. Oh my god I would love to do drag, I just love drag queens, could you imagine me all done up and lip syncing for a change rather than singing at the top of my voice it would be so much fun! I’m not sure what I would call myself though, but it would definitely have to have a nod towards wicked someway and towards Gordon’s drag character Trudy, maybe I could be Trudy’s sister or something. Maybe The Green Queen because the rest aren’t PG13. GROWING UP A WEE GIRL IN BELFAST IN THE 80S LGBT PROBABLY WASN’T REALLY ON YOUR RADAR, BACK IN THOSE DAYS WE WERE MORE USED TO THE POLITICAL GOINGS ON. FAST FORWARD THIRTY YEARS, AND EQUALITY ISSUES ARE A VERY REAL THING HERE ALONGSIDE THE POLITICAL GOINGS ON. HOWEVER, NOW IT SEEMS THE TWO HAVE BECOME INTERTWINED WITH OUR EQUALITY RIGHTS CONSTANTLY BEING REJECTED. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS? I’m going to have to give you the short answer on this one because if I start I would really end up rattling some cages as all this makes my blood boil; my stomach is already starting to churn just at the thought of this as it just gets me so angry and frustrated about it. ALL people should be treated equally across the board no matter of their gender, sexuality or race in my opinion and everyone should be afforded the same rights no matter of any of these. I am not a religious person so I just can’t understand how religion is allowed to keep creeping into politics and politicians views, surely the two should be respected but kept separate, it’s just so unfair, you still see it even here in London its rife. It really saddens mean that this is how people think and that it is all based around religion, we are all born equal as far as I am concerned. I do try and keep my powder dry when it comes to these things on twitter and stuff for obvious reasons, but really I am screaming inside for equality for everyone, we should all be helping each other out no matter what your race, colour or creed we are all human after all. NEXT PART OF THIS INTERVIEW IS QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS SAY THE 1ST THING THAT COMES INTO YOUR MIND: WHAT WOULD BE THE THEME SONG TO YOUR LIFE? #sings# Forver young I want to be forever young – that just came into my head there so that’s my answer. WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN THE FILM OF YOUR LIFE STORY? I’d want it to be me so it could be my first movie but I guess I would have to say Sheridan Smith she’s so talented. WHAT THE UGLIEST VEGETABLE AND WHY? I think all vegetable are lovely I just love them… but lets go with Parsnip because its like a wrinkly old - can I say the word? - *Cackle of laughter* PENIS! Haha! WHEN IS LYING OK? When you are trying to make your story sound bigger and better than it is, adding a wee extra thing in here and there lol! WHAT CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? My Son and my husband without a doubt. YOU OPEN A RESTAURANT TOMORROW... WHAT DO YOU CALL IT? Tuck in at Tuckers or the Tuck shop! YOU’VE GIVEN THIS ONE SOME THOUGHT THEN? Well actually it runs in the family both my Dad and brother both run food businesses up in Glengormley. One is called Puttini's on the Hightown Road it’s got the best food in Glengormley as far as I’m concerned. RACHEL TUCKERS NEW ALBUM “ON THE ROAD” IS AVAILABLE FROM WWW.RACHELTUCKER.CO.UK NOW!


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Brenda Shankey explains what it means... I’m sure you’ve heard the word by now and most of us don’t really know what it means, and to be truthfully honest it took me ages to understand it and even still I have to keep a good check on myself. In a nut shell it means living in the present moment without judgment! Now try that in the LGBT community with the general public .... big ask as we know! But let me make it simple, in Brenda’s language . My story is after years of depression, anxiety, fear of acceptance, panic attacks, isolation, addiction (food, drink, drugs (prescription), shopping, Botox, hair, beauty extreme diets) you know anything that will make us feel happy outside of ourselves so that in return people would love and respect us. So ask this lady who seemed glamorous, had successful business’s, a stunning husband and kids did she have it all? No! None of that stuff gave me that ‘thing’ I was looking for. So the search continued, I became a workaholic, a socialite, a party animal, all the designer labels you dreamed of. Did this lady still get what she was looking for? No! So seven years ago the little power house collapsed with mental exhaustion, but now I know it was mental torture! All I wanted were the two basic human needs to loved, and to be respected. They were my wealth and then I began to look for what would make me internally happy! You see life’s all about the inside out, you need to look after your thoughts, your brain, your heart, your soul, you’re self esteem and your self worth and that this the gold at the end of the rainbow! But guess what; it’s easy to find. You need two things you need to want to change, and you need to be sick of the way you are living and feeling daily! You need to be sick of being sick! Then you have the power to change whatever you want and to be whom ever you want to be! For best results I recommend one to one sessions for six weeks and I guarantee you exceptional changes! Otherwise I’ve groups weekly and I’ll come to you if you need! Finally download my book Be Fabulous from Amazon or cdbaby.com and coach yourself with my voice! Please don’t waste anymore time, you are amazing, go smash your goals and more importantly love who you are! All my love Lady bee Bshankey@gmail.com

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FRESH__ NATHAN ADAMS

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FRESH__ NATHAN ADAMS

NATHAN ADAMS Model, Agent, Promotions Manager, and former Mr Cork - sounds like he has it all! So Nathan you are a model, DJ agent, Model and Promotion Manager and Former Mr Cork 2015 tell us how these all came around and which you like doing best. Firstly I was scouted by a modelling agency whilst working at a charity fashion show. This opened a lot of doors for me which led me to starting a promotions company. After running numerous events, local acts became interested in my business and as a result of this I found potential music artists which I now Manage. I really do love the various roles but the one I enjoy most is event promotions. I love the way music brings people from all walks of life together and also getting to meet lots of people who share the same passion for music. You came out quite publicly what made you decide to do it this way and any advice for any of our readers struggling to come out? I suppose I was struggling mentally with bottling such a large part of my life up. The only way I could describe it as was that I was living one big lie and I wasn’t being myself. I hate that anyone could be experiencing what I went through privately and if coming out so publicly helped anyone, then it was worth it. I would say just be yourself. Speak to someone close to you about how you are feeling, a friend can always be a great support and guide to you. At the end of the day, peoples opinions don’t make a difference to your life. You do. When casting for your model agency what do you look for in a model and what advice would you give to any aspiring models out there? When I am casting for models I always look for confidence. Someone who carries themselves well and believes in themselves. Natural beauty is a huge thing for me. In terms of aspiring models, I would really recommend collaborating with as many people as possible and to build your portfolio. This can be a great way for you to gain experience in the industry. You are very active across all the social media platforms, where do you find the time and any advice for budding bloggers? I have an extremely flexible schedule because I am self employed. Social media is a huge part of my business’s success rate and I would strongly recommend to any entrepreneur, blogger, model or business person to put a good majority of their time into social media as it is a massive platform that is allows a lot of entrepreneurs to grow. You are very into your fitness and seem to spend a lot of time in the gym or with your top off, what is your fitness / diet regime?

The lads at Exceed Fitness look after my diet plan and I try to follow this as much as possible. As you can probably tell from my snapchat I eat Roosters a lot. The great thing about Roosters is that its very healthy and great for gym goers. When it comes to fitness I go to the gym 7 times a week and try to stay as active as possible. I find the gym is a great way to take your mind off things and refresh. Your partner is a bit older than you, what is it that attracts a young successful lad like yourself to an older man? What do you guys do to make your relationship work? To be honest, the way that he’s older doesn’t really make a difference, it’s the fact that we are very similar and share many of the same interests. Also the fact that he is beautiful is a bonus. The two of us live really busy lifestyles but when we’re not working or travelling we like to spend a lot of time together and just chill out. You are stranded on a desert island name three things you cant live without and why you would need them on the island? Firstly I need my phone. I find I use it a lot for my business and I think things would be a lot harder without it. Secondly I’d have to say my boyfriend, he keeps me sane. And lastly Roosters because it would keep me alive and I’m addicted! You do a lot of promotion and management with Irish DJ Welshy and we have seen you travel around Ireland and the rest of Europe with him in your videos, how did you get into management? Are you taking on anymore clients? What’s next for Welshy? Welshy and I met each other online and I saw potential. From there on things were pretty much history. His music started going viral which made it easy for me to find him gigs. When it comes to talent they need to be exclusive and have something special. The plan for Welshy is to play at most festivals next summer and a lot of European tours. If you could do one thing over again in your life so far what would it be and for what reasons? Probably head to on my first lads holiday! The excitement and enjoyment was great. Growing up you rarely see your friends due to work commitments and I will greatly appreciate the good times we have together. How do our readers find you on social media? My snapchat, twitter and Instagram are all nathanadams95

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PVRIS:

Lynn talks about the new album and being an LGBT role model. PAGE 52

GENDER FLUID:

Cliff clears things up for us and reminds us of our abc’s.. PAGE 59

THE

ESSENTIALS:

Freshers guide to what you’ll need in your life this term.. PAGE 56

FRESHERS ISSUE


THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ PVRIS

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THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ PVRIS LYNN CHATTED WITH OUR GARY ABOUT THE NEW PVRIS ALBUM, BEING AN LGBT ROLE MODEL AND WHAT SHE’D BLOW FIVE MILLION QUID ON... RISE RECORDS IS VERY MUCH A METALCORE LABEL, WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE THE FIRST FEMALE FRONTED ACT SIGNED TO THEM? HOW DID THAT COME AROUND? It doesn’t seem like it we are treated any different from the other bands on their rosta, but then again we are very different in our sound to the rest of our label and what we bring to the fans. In general we are treated as well as any other acts on the label there definitely isn’t any different or special treatment. We actually were on the eve of signing to another label after Rise had initially brushed us aside, but in the last few hours before we signed to another label, which I can’t talk about for legal reasons Rise came in and signed us up, as they were our 1st preference how could we say no. From there it has all been very fast moving. THE ALBUM TITLE CAME FROM AN EMILY DICKENSON POEM, WHAT ABOUT THE PHRASE “ALL WE KNOW OF HEAVEN, ALL WE KNOW OF HELL” STOOD OUT TO YOU? When it comes to a higher power everything is subjective depending on a person’s personal beliefs. I think the phrase shows the importance of duality, this is what I interpreted but I am not sure if that is what she intended but that is certainly what I took from it. THE NEW ALBUM WAS RECORDED IN A HAUNTED CHURCH, YOU’RE BOUND TO HAVE SOME SPOOKY STORIES FROM IT, TELL US ABOUT THEM. WOULD YOU BE A BELIEVER IN THE SUPERNATURAL? I do... nothing happened directly to us but, our producer who was working from the basement of the church on like an editing suite type thing, which was kind of also like a games room with a chess table and stuff kept hearing noises as if there were people coming down the stairs and would look up thinking it was us and there would be nobody there, the lights would turn on and off and there were a lot of cold spots. I believe in everything and anything there is a lot we can’t see, understand or comprehend, but things like Karma, energy and spirits it’s all energies it’s all about what we put out and what we take from it and believe ourselves.

WHO IS THE BEST BAND YOU’VE TOURED WITH SO FAR IN TERMS OF THE EXPERIENCE AND ANYTHING YOU’VE LEARNED FROM THEM AND WHY? We’ve been very lucky to tour with a lot of amazing bands but, I have to say the tour that I felt I gained the most from, learnt from and felt comforted and supported on would be touring with Tonight Alive, we were just like a little baby band at the time just starting out, they gave us so much encouragement and support in our early days and it was nice that there was another female around for the feminine energy while on the road.

“...in the end up I am just a weird 23 year old girl trying to navigate life like everyone else.”

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR NEW ALBUM AND WHITE NOISE? I think we have stripped away a lot of metaphors and imagery and kind of like taken the subject matter head on with this new album. The subject matter isn’t lost in the mix or in translation.

journey.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START A BAND AND WHAT WAS BEHIND YOUR CHANGE FROM THE METALCORE SOUND TO WHAT YOU DO NOW? I don’t even really associate with the metalcore music anymore it was just a teenage angst kind of phase and it was never really something I felt a connection with like I do with our current sound, I was just a teenager wanting to mess around in a band but we have now grown and developed into what we are today, it’s been an exciting

IF YOU COULD ONLY LISTEN TO ONE SONG FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? I can only pick one? YES ONLY ONE I’d have to pick Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine she is simple amazing, other worldly I love her style, her vocal and her energy. Maybe you could tour with her next? Oh my god that would be amazing, let’s put that out there into the universe in the hope that it will happen…Florence if your reading this give Lynn a call! WHAT SONG FROM THE NEW ALBUM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING THE AUDIENCE REACTION TO? Oh that’s a tough one, I dunno there’s a lot of tracks I think would be interesting to watch for different reasons, cause like one of my favourite songs on the record I’m not sure how it would translate live or to the audience or how they would react to it live but, one of the tracks we have been getting a lot of request for on the this tour is “No mercy” so I can’t wait to see how that turns out. SPEAKING OF AUDIENCES AND PERFORMING LIVE, WHAT IS THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO YOU ON STAGE? There isn’t one show in particular I can think of but there is one thing that is kind of being navigated through right now for such a busy tour schedule and it’s keeping

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THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ PVRIS my vocals strong. I am human and I always want to give my best but doing so many shows in such a short space of time your vocals can get weak or shakey and you have to try and pretend nothing is wrong even though your voice is being projected through a massive PA system not at its best, unfortunately this can happen quite a bit on the road which is embarrassing for me as I feel that I am not giving the fan the best of me when it happens but I just have to roll with it. YOU WIN $5MILLION FROM THE PUBLISHER’S SWEEPSTAKES, AND THE SAME DAY THAT BIG ED GIVEVS YOU THE CHEQUE ALIENS LAND ON THE EARTH AND SAY THEY’RE GOING TO BLOW UP THE WORLD IN 2 DAYS... WHAT DO YOU DO? Five million or billion? Five Million... I don’t know what that would equal out to in alien currency but I would try to bribe the aliens not to destroy the world but, I feel that it might not be enough to get them to change their mind as I don’t think they would be too focused on money so I would try and build some sort of device to stop them from being able to destroy the planet. WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST CELEBRITY CRUSH GROWING UP? See this is a bit of a difficult one as I wasn’t sure about my feelings growing up as I am now and even if I think about my crush for now I could really only get it down to a top 3. OK then give us your top 3 for now… Aubrey Plaza cause I think she’s hilarious, Kirsten Stewart just because and the girl who plays wonder woman... what’s her name again? Gal Gadot? Yeah cause she looks sensational in the movie and off screen… actually she would be my current number one out of the three. YOU’VE BEEN LINKED TO A RELATIONSHIP WITH QUITE A HIGH PROFILE CELEBRITY IN THE PAST. IS IT DIFFICULT DATING IN THE SPOTLIGHT AND IS THERE ANYONE IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT? There isn’t anyone in my life right now mainly because I believe that if you are in a relationship you have to make time to spend with them and unfortunately my work schedule is so hectic right now that it wouldn’t be fair on them or me to start something right now so I am just focusing on my music and the tour. In the past I was pretty open and public about my relationship from the moment we started out but now looking at it, people started to think and feel a sense of entitlement to both my personal and private life and that’s not what I want my relationship to be about, I would definitely be a lot more guarded with my future relationship. It’s been learning curve; it’s a touchy subject and is something I will have to try navigate should something come along in the future I guess. WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING A ROLE MODEL FOR LGBT TEENAGERS ALL OVER THE WORLD? It’s very intimating and at times I don’t feel like I am the best role model for them as in the end up I am just a weird 23 year old girl trying to navigate life like everyone else is but I think that’s what people kind of pick up on. I won’t lie it can be so intimating but it is great to have that platform and using it for good. We are

currently teaming with “The Ally Coalition” who are an organisation that work in promoting LGBT equality with celebrities and people who tour, they are showing us what we are capable of doing by using our platform, it’s all in very early stages but other than that I think being visible and representative of our community is really important, being out and being seen to be happy and normal in your life is really important. I think in the last 5-10years visibility and emancipation within the LGBT community has been growing so much thanks to the media and the internet and being able to be at people’s fingertips has been a really powerful tool for a lot of people questioning their identities and sexuality, I have a lot of hope for the future and the LGBT community, we are excited to be able to just keep doing our thing and hopefully help the community further. SPEAKING OF FINDING YOUR WAY DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE STRUGGLING TO COME TO TERMS WITH THE SEXUALITY? I don’t think I am necessarily the best person to ask cause I think everyone’s experience is subjective and everyone’s circumstances are different but I think the biggest thing in navigating your identity or sexuality is to not rush it, don’t be hard on yourself, be easy and kind to yourself and as far as coming out or being able to pinpoint your identity there’s no rush and there’s no pressure it’s all about when the time feels right for you and when is comfortable for you. The world at the minute is a very scary place but the good people outweigh the bad and I think the next generation especially are going to be so much more welcomed, understood and knowledgeable on these subjects, so I have a lot of hope and faith in this. It does get better and it is the most freeing and liberating thing when you do come out or even pinpoint your identity there is such a sense of freedom in that and you have some much power when you do. Basically you are a human being don’t rush it, do it when you are comfortable and happy with you identity and your situation those that love you will stick by you. YOU’RE PLAYING BELFAST ON THE 25TH NOVEMBER THIS YEAR, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN BEFORE AND WHAT CAN YOUR IRISH FANS EXPECT FROM YOUR SHOW? We have never been so I am excited to go in general, I no idea what to expect so I am kind of excited about the unknown. For what our fans should expect I can’t really say anything because we want them to be curious and come find out about the show by actually coming to the gig but it will be lots of energy, lots of fun and full of surprises. You do realise that a lot of artists say that the Irish fans are always the loudest what do you think to that? I totally believe it from what I’ve heard, I’ve heard that some amazing bands have played the venue we are doing and I do find the whole thought of it a little intimidating but exciting at the same time, I can’t wait to see how the Irish fans react to us live. PVRIS PLAY MANDELLA HALL ON SATURDAY 25/11/17 TICKETS AT WWW.TICKETMASTER.CO.UK AND ALL USUAL TICKET OUTLETS. PVRIS’ SOPHOMORE ALBUM, ALL WE KNOW OF HEAVEN, ALL WE NEED OF HELL, IS OUT AUG. 4 ON RISE RECORDS.

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THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ PVRIS

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STUFF

THE FRESHERS__ STUFF

Our essentials for freshers...

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THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ STUFF

WHAT YOU NEED

MEMORY STICK - YOU’LL DEFINATELY NEED ONE! SANDISK 16 GB ULTRA USB 3.0 MEMORY STICK - WWW.PCWORLD. CO.UK - £6.49 EAR PLUGS WILL HELP YOU GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP HTTP://WWW.CLASOHLSON.COM - £5.99 HIGHLIGHTERS FOR ALL THE THINGS YOU’LL WANT TO BE HIGHLIGHTING IN YOUR LIFE - STABILO SWING® COOL HIGHLIGHTER ASSORTED FLUORESCENT COLOURS IN A PLASTIC WALLET CHISEL TIP WWW.STAPLES.CO.UK - £7.79 CONDOMS, WELL YOU KNOW WHY YOU’LL NEED THESE PRINT E-MAIL PLEASURE PACK ASSORTED CONDOMS - WWW.BIOVEA.NET £11.40 PLAYING CARDS - TO WILE AWAY THOSE HOURS WHEN YOU’RE SKINT AND HAVE NOTHING TO DO - PICK UP A PACK FOR ABOUT A QUID SUPER NOODLES - KEEP SOME OF THESE HANDY FOR EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLY - BATCHELORS SUPER NOODLES - WWW.TESCO. COM - £0.81 SAVE YOUR TEETH AND GET A BOTTLE OPENER - GENWARE BOTTLE OPENER FLAT - WWW. BERTIESDIRECT.CO.UK - £0.48 MINI SPEAKER TO BRING THE PARTY WHERE YOU ARE - MINI BUDDY BLACK WIRED SPEAKER WWW.BOOTS.COM - £10 DESK LAMP FOR ALL THAT LATE NIGHT STUDYING YOU’LL BE DOING - WWW.DUNELM.COM - £10 WASHI TAPE, WELL FOR DECORATING EVERYTHING WASHI TAPE MIX - GEOMETRIC PRINT - 5 ROLLS - WWW.THEBEADSHOP.CO.UK - £4 DOOR WEDGE TO HOLD OPEN THE DOOR WHEN YOU’RE MOVING YOUR STUFF IN - WILKO DOOR WEDGE - WWW.WILCO.COM - £2 STORAGE CONTAINERS FOR ALL YOUR PRE-PREPARED MEALS AND LEFTOVERS - HOME PLASTIC FOOD STORAGE SET - 7 PIECE WWW.ARGOS.CO.UK - £8.49 FLIP FLOPS TO KEEP YER FEET CLEAN IN THOSE MANKY COMMUNAL SHOWERS - ALL OVER PRINT FLIP FLOPS - WWW. SUPERDRY.COM - £14.99 TOILET ROLL, WELL YOU’LL WANT TO HAVE YOUR OWN, AND KEEP IT HANDY - CUSHELLE XXL WHITE TOILET ROLL - WWW. ASDA.COM - £10

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THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ CLIFF CARTER

GENDER FLUID CLIFF CARTER

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THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ CLIFF CARTER

Back to school again? Best brush up on yours ABC’s:

Look I get it, we keep hearing “They keep adding letters to LGBT… it’s ridiculous.” But is it really ridiculous to want to be represented in the media and on a world stage in the same way that straight cis people are seen or even how gay cis men are represented?

A is for... Androgynous... and Asexual, and Aromantic, Allosexual, Ally.

Is it too much to ask for people to respect the labels you choose to self-identify, or lack thereof, when said same people are those who obsessively question us about our gender, genitalia and with whom we sleep?

B is for... Bisexual, Biromantic, Binary gendered. C is for... Cisgendered, D is for... Demisexual, E is for... Emotional Attraction, F is for... Femme, G is for... Genderfluid – At’s me nai, as they say in Belfast. 60 | GNIMAG.COM

In our student issue, we’re studying up on our terminology and if you’re here, you’re probably queer, and whether you’re going to Sixth Form, College or University you’ll be entering social spheres where you’ll be meeting a wider range of people whose genders and attractions may be totally new to you. Take me for example – what’s a day in the life of a pink-haired, genderfluid, tattooed and queer student in Belfast, Northern Ireland actually like? Well, for a start I don’t wake up with a definite notion of fitting an established mould of gender and sexuality each day. Usually I wake up and either admire or abhor my nail varnish. Sounds totally trite right? Sure, but honestly when your gender identity isn’t fixed in the terms of other

people sometimes even nail varnish can pose a problem – do I want to be judged by the train conductor today or do I just not give a fuck about how other people categorise themselves and think they can categorise me? The Queer Question – A daily struggle: The same thing goes for my clothes; hair; appearance in general. Am I feeling secure in my identity today and therefore uncaring of how I look to others or am I feeling politically motivated, angry and vehemently queer today and consequently willing to make a point of visible divergence from fixed norms? Am I feeling vulnerable and anxiously picking off that aforementioned nail varnish (Barry M Copper Mine today, by the way) in a way that


THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ CLIFF CARTER

any LGBTQ+ person can feel all too visible sometimes? Honestly it depends as much on Facebook posts, the Daily Mail, Piers Morgan being an asshole, and the phases of the moon as it does anything else. I’m sure you’re still curious though – does this change over the course of the day, do I want to transition, do I want breasts one minute and a beard the next, or both, or none? And how the hell does that all work when it comes to attraction? Well the truth of the matter is that just as my gender is fluid, so is everything else – but that doesn’t invalidate any of what or who I am when contradictions rear their ugly heads. I can be all those things, and none of them, because I’ve accepted it and can deal with it – when you just stop caring, the worries

and constant dysphoria seem to just drift away and you live all those little moments, hoping that everyone else can just let you live them too. Yes, that makes dating, and even friendships, hard because we live in a world of labels, ABC’s and LGBTTQQIIAA+’S - but that’s okay. Respect my lack of putting importance in labels in my life and I’ll respect however you choose to implement labels in yours. My lack of constant dysphoria and lack of belief in fixed genders in no way invalidates the dysphoria of others and their beliefs and knowledge of their own genders - it’s just that it’s about the only fixed notion of identity I maintain.

people for it. And if the letters seem too much to remember you’ve got two options: recall your first year at primary school where you set 26 letters to a simple tune and held onto it for life, or just follow that other early-learned lesson and treat others as you’d want to be treated; ask respectfully, listen empathically, then promptly mind your business and down another shot. Happy Freshers!

So be open to new worlds of weird and wonderful this coming semester and may your life be blessed with a great spectrum of beautiful

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THE OUTING DOES

EUROVISION L.G.B.T. Music & Matchmaking Festival October Weekend 6th - 8th 2017 Niamh Kavanagh "In Your Eyes" Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" And Guest

E KI SS BE MIN ME 4EVER

GIRL MEETS GIRL

GIRL MEETS BOY

BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW

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THE FRESHERS ISSUE__ STUDENT DISCOUNT

The (almost) A-Z of Student Discount When you are a student you have so many outgoings... rent, travel, food and the all important drinking sessions. Our Gary in the office has done the legwork for you and sussed out what your student discount gets you...

A Accessorize: 20% off

B Burton: 10% off

C Cath Kidston: 10% off Claire’s Accessories: 15% off with NUS Extra card, 10% without. Coast: 20% off with NUS Extra.

D Dominos: Spend over £25 and get 25% off with NUS Extra card. £5 off when you spend over £20 with UCAS card.

G GAP: 10% off.

K Karen Millen: 20% off.

O Oasis: 10% off with NUS

V

Extra. Odeon Cinema: Student price tickets and a further 25% off that with NUS Extra, Check cinema for T&C and Prices. Office: 20% off.

Vodafone: 10% off line rental when you upgrade/get a new plan.

P

Wallis: 10% off. Warehouse: 10% with NUS extra. Waterstones: 10% off.

Pizza Hut: 20% off full price menu with NUS Extra card, Sunday – Thursday.

S Schuh: 20% off Spotify: £4.99 for students. Superdrug: 10% off.

T Topman \ Topshop: 10% discount all year round on the production of a valid dated student card

U Urban Outfitters: 10% off with NUS Extra, apart from London’s Oxford St store.

W

Y YoSushi!: 25% off with NUS Extra.

Z Zavvi - 10% with a valid Unidays card

Information correct as of 28/09/17 offers/discounts should be checked/ confirmed before trying to claim check out their T&Cs. Some of these discounts only apply on or until certain dates, and please check which student cards or websites you need to register with for discounts to apply.

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SWISH EMBASSY:

Looking at some of the freshest tees from Swish Embassy. PAGE 66

WELSH WONDERS:

Team GNI took a trip to Cardiff and tried it out just for you. PAGE 82

COMING OUT:

Anthony shares his story and how his parents already knew. PAGE 95

LIFE & STYLE GNIMAG.COM | 65


FASHION__

SWISH EMBASSY

TEE AVAILABLE FROM WWW.SWISHEMBASSY.COM MODEL: CASEY HOUSTON PHOTO: EPIC JOURNAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAKEUP: CHLOE REEVES 66 | GNIMAG.COM


FASHION__

SWISH EMBASSY

SWISH SWISH SWISH Freshers style from Swish Embassy.

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FASHION__

SWISH EMBASSY

TEE AVAILABLE FROM WWW.SWISHEMBASSY.COM MODEL: CHRISTOPHER JONES PHOTO: EPIC JOURNAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAKEUP: CHLOE REEVES

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FASHION__

SWISH EMBASSY

TEE AVAILABLE FROM WWW.SWISHEMBASSY.COM MODELS: NATHAN & CHRISTOPHER JONES PHOTO: EPIC JOURNAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAKEUP: CHLOE REEVES

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FASHION__

SWISH EMBASSY

TEE AVAILABLE FROM WWW.SWISHEMBASSY.COM MODEL: CHRISTOPHER JONES PHOTO: EPIC JOURNAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAKEUP: CHLOE REEVES

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FASHION__

SWISH EMBASSY

TEE AVAILABLE FROM WWW.SWISHEMBASSY.COM MODEL: CHRISTOPHER JONES PHOTO: EPIC JOURNAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAKEUP: CHLOE REEVES

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FOOD__ THE BRASSERIE, MALMAISON

The Brasserie at Malmaison, Belfast (more than just a hotel) WORDS/REVIEW BY DANIEL MAY

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THIS EDITIONS REVIEW TAKES TEAM GNI to the much loved Malmaison Hotel in Belfast, those who aren’t familiar (shame on you) it is situated on Victoria Street less than 1 minute from the Albert Clock. The Hotel boasts 62 rooms and suites, the stunning Malbar and the Brasserie where we were invited to dine. The Brasserie comfortably seats 60 guests, seats vary from small tables to large booths at the head and foot of the room. On arrival I was immediately struck by the ambience and decor, lightning is clearly of importance, the dimmed glows gave the perfect feel for those wanting to enjoy some private couples time, although you are in a room with the other dinners the lighting gave a private feel. In terms of decor the room has a Nordic theme perfect for an establishment located so close to the Lagan. We arrived around 7.30pm, the restaurant was relatively quiet, we were greeted at the door and shown to our table in the middle of the room. On the evening there was a Special Summer Menu available which we decided to order from, while browsing the delights we ordered some wine, I opted for a beautiful rose and my guest ordered the a red, the wine was served in quaint decanter . To start I decided to go with something light, The summer Minestrone Soup was the perfect choice, so far removed from your typical thick tomato based soup one would expect this dish was light and had a real Mediterranean feel, reminded me of a dish I’d eaten while living abroad, the pasta in the dish was perfectly cooked and the basil pesto really added to the flavour. My guest being a fish lover choose the smoked mackerel pate, this may not be to everyone’s taste though I was assured it was to die for, served is a colourful array of pickled beets, toasted sourdough as thin as a crisp and a horseradish crème fraiche. One course down and so far so good, after having a quick chat with Paul the brasserie manager (who was lovely and so knowledgeable) we ordered our mains. For me I had to go for something far from the norm, USDA Slow roast beef brisket, all I can say is WOW, I have honestly never tasted anything like it, the Beef was so

tender, served on a bed of Succotash (spicy corn to you and me) with blackened sweet potatoes and a chimichurri sauce (writing this review is having me salivating, I shall be approaching the chef to pinch the recipe). My guest sticking to a fish theme ordered the fresh poached salmon, this dish was definitely summer on a plate, beautiful pink salmon with mint green watercress and vivid purple shallots. With our tummies filled with our mains and being onto our 2nd glass of vino the protocol is unbutton our belts to attempt to create space for dessert, personally I have a sweet tooth and my guest is more a savoury gal so we decided to order dishes to share, my choice was fresh red berries and vanilla mascarpone served with a beautiful shortbread crumb, easiest way to describe this is a super light version of a cheesecake, my guest settled for the artisan cheese board, the combo was perfect to finish what was a great meal. The autumn seasonal menu is currently on offer, guests can choose from either 2 or 3 courses, the chef has put together a collection of dishes that showcase this seasons finest ingredients. Each course comes with four choice dishes, here are a few that have caught my eye... starters; warm poached salmon, cumbria chicken & ham hock terrine, mains; british rare breed pork mixed grill, comfit barbary duck, and from the dessert menu for me it would have to be either apple pie crumble or steamed chocolate sponge, on an autumn/winter night out you need something comforting to complete a meal. Available daily to 7pm (excluding Sunday) 2 course £19.95 or 3 for only £24.95 though at all times the exquisite a-la-carte is available. Our experience this evening was wonderful, the staff and manager where so friendly and helpful we are looking forward to returning to sample the new autumn/winter menu, I would highly recommend visiting the Malmaison for dinner, minutes away from the Mac and Waterfront, the pre-theatre offering is ideal for those out at a show. Thanks to Paul the Manager and his staff for a lovely time.


creating memories Environmental lifetsyle shoots that tell your story the way you live it. 07921 239279 | insta/FB @epicjournalphotography


LIFESTYLE__ HOMES

Gettin’ your zzzzzzzz’s on

THE PERFECT BED FOR THE NETFLIX BINGES KAYDIAN MAXIMUS TV BED - SUPERKING WWW.ELECTROSHOPIK.INFO £2132.99

LETS EVEN THE SHORTIES HANG STUFF UP HIGHER RELAX PULL DOWN HANGER BAR SPACE PRO WWW.WAYFAIR.CO.UK £53.61

We probably spend more time in our bedroom than any other room in the house, it should be somewhere we want to be. I’M GUILTY OF IT myself, there’ve been times when my bedroom has been nothing more than a dumping ground for my clothes, and a place to crawl into an unmade bed. But now I see my bedroom as one of the most important rooms in my home, it serves so many purposes; it’s the place I get dressed and ready to face the world, it’s the room I chill in for an hour before I go to sleep, it’s the room where most of my “intimate” moments take place, and of course it’s the room that I sleep in. So for me there are a few key elements when designing the layout and style of my bedroom... 1. Colour Scheme You want to go to sleep relaxed and not wake up screaming when you open your eyes, so choose a colour scheme that makes you feel pretty chilled. Add a splash of colour with your soft furnishings and maybe a feature wall. At the minute I’m loving the combination of grey with accents of teal. 2. The Bed Take your time choosing a bed, and if the wallet allows don’t just go for the cheapest. I’ve done it myself, I’ve bought the cheapest frame along with the cheapest mattress, and to be honest it done the job - I slept. But, recently I

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YOU’RE NEVER ALONE WHEN ALEXA IS IN THE ROOM WITH YOU AMAZON ECHO DOT SMART SPEAKER WWW.AMAZON.CO.UK £49.99

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invested in a nice bedframe to match my decor and a more pricy matress - you won’t believe the difference it makes. When I’m away from home I actually can’t wait to get back home to my own bed, it’s that good. 3. Storage Good and organised storage is vital, otherwise your bedroom will become a dumping ground. Have a place for everything, decent sized wardrobes to hang your clothes, a good chest of drawers for the pants, socks and bits and pieces. Your bedside cabinet is personal choice, with or without drawers (I find one with drawers is handy for those bedside “essentials”). 4. Lighting Get the look of your “big light” right, it could really set off the whole look for your room. Personally I only ever have this light on when I’m getting ready, so make sure it lights up the area in your room where your big mirror is. Choose besdide lamps that serve their purpose, if it’s purely for some ambient lighting a lamp with a nice shade will suit, if you’re a bedtime reader you will want to look at a lamp with a directional light.


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LIFESTYLE__

FITNESS

Everyday Fitness Daniel tells us his everyday fitness tips. WEIGHT AND FITNESS ARE MORE IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE NOW THAN EVER THANKS TO SOCIAL MEDIA AND P ​OPULAR CULTURE, THIS PIECE IS ​ MY​BASIC GUIDE TO EVERYDAY FITNESS... GETTING STARTED The first step to fitness is to figure out what you want to achieve through exercise; Weight loss? Better health? Stamina? Once you make this decision it’s easy to tailor a routine. Weight loss – the 80/20 rule is not a well known fact, your overall results are predominately related to what you eat, 80% in fact the other 20% is exercise. Cardio is key to shift those extra lbs, do at least 3 x 45 minute sessions of high intensity cardio per week and you’ll be a new person in no time. Anything from a simple spin class to playing a game of squash. In addition do some core and strength work to keep everything tight, this only needs to be 5 minutes in the morning and evening. For me its push ups, for the arms & chest, squats for the butt & legs and plank for the mid section. The aim should be 50 of each and a 1 minute plank to start, in the middle at the end. 50 may seem allot though make this your goal, start with 20 and build your way up and 5 or so a day GET MOVING Before you start exercising, be sure to get the go-ahead from your health care provider, everyone is different, what works for one won’t necessarily work or be recommended for another, have a chat with your GP tell them your aspirations then on their go ahead you can get stuck in STAY MOTIVATED One way to stay motivated is to set modest fitness goals. Don’t make it impossible because you will simply put yourself off and/or have a blowout (though if it happens don’t beat yourself up, we are only human, wash it off and get bk on plan) Personally I like to mix It up in terms of exercise , usually Body Pump and Circuits, a 5k run, Spin class and a session or 2 on the weights IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH Regular exercise can help you manage stress, keep your weight under control and prevent certain diseases. Life is tough, exercise can help you vent, get the earphone in and just forget about the world :) . It is so easy to gain weight, I know I’m a serial yo-yoer am forever gaining/losing 10-14 lbs, eating an extra 100 calories above your recommended allowance and you’ll easily put on a whopping 14 lbs in a year. What works for me is the 250 rule, that’s the calorie goal on my cardio days, thankfully most cross trainers, running machines and spinning bikes

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all do the calorie counting for you, remember to type in your current weight to get an accurate count. If your exercising at home or your machine can’t count for you I’d recommend downloading an app, I use to use my fitness pal, its free and can count both your food intake calories and the calories you lose from each exercise. CHILDREN AND TEENS Encourage your children to get regular exercise. They don’t have to be on a sports team to stay fit. Make exercise fun, do things together like old fashioned cycling or go swimming, no matter where you live I guarantee your less than 10 minutes from a great cycle route or park. Children these days get rewarded far to often with sweets, crisps and chocolate, my parents are the worst for it feeding my nephews and nieces when they do something normal like finish their homework or dinner, it drives me insane, when I was young a treat really was a treat, once a week in fact we were allowed to pick our favorite chocolate and crisps, I miss those days we really appreciated it and were so excited for a Tuesday treat night. The magic word is NO, as a parent it’s your job to say no and to educate your kids, starting it when they are young is key then it becomes the norm, if your kids currently eating allot of junk I certainly wouldn’t recommend going cold turkey, limit what they are having, make gradual reductions then every other day and goal should be on special occasions or on movie night THE BOOZE A really important thing to remember is the booze, some beers and wines are calorific a few glasses/pints can ruin your regime, count the calories if you are having a few or go for a spirit. I must confess Lurgan champagne (Buckfast) was my tipple of choice for years until I found out there was a shocking 750 calories in a bottle, I soon knocked that on the head, only have it on the odd occasion, my Saturday night slurp is now G+T, although Gin is said to make you sin lol its calories free, have slimline tonic as your mixer and you’re on to a winner, not a calorie in sight It’s not rocket science folks, get yourself into a routine and the rest will follow, good luck smashing those goals WORDS MY DANIEL MAY NOTE: Before embarking on any diet or exercise regime please consult your gp for advice. The information given is the opionion of the writer only.


LIFESTYLE__ REAL MAN

NAME: STUART HARPER AGE: 40 HEIGHT: 5’ 11” WEIGHT: 12st 5lb TRIMMED OR NATURAL? I’m pretty smooth in general but where there is hair I like to keep it trimmed. BOXERS/BRIEFS? 4 inch leg trunk for me, most comfortable and give the best support. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE GROOMING PRODUCT? Clinique Men’s Facial Scrub, even after one use you can feel the difference. WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? Coke, I love it and could literally drink it by the bucket. WHAT ONE PRODUCT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? Lip balm, there’s nothing worse than dry cracked lips. I use either Molton Brown or Carmac.

& I have always been into sport and keeping fit, as an ex-gymnast core and muscle tone has consistently been a major part in my daily routine. I do a core conditioning workout 4 or 5 times a week, along with this I try to hith the gym 3-4 times a week. GNIMAG.COM | 77


LIFESTYLE__ GROOMING

TIPS PICK THE RIGHT COLOUR

You need to make sure you choose the right colour or it will look ridiculous we’ve all made fun of the people with the orange face. MMUK MAN have a colour matching service through their website - you send them a recent photo and one of their trained consultants will advise you on which colour to go for.

BE PREPARED

Most of us have a bit of a skin care routine going on anyway, but it’s best to work off a good canvas when using foundation; clean well and use your daily moisturiser.

TAKE YOUR TIME

Don’t go overboard. Build up your foundation gradually. If you feel there’s a spot missing don’t be afraid to go back and touch up. Small sweeping applications work much better than slapping a lot onto one area.

NOT JUST YOUR HANDS

Made Up! Wearing makeup was a new frontier for me. I SWARE I COULD BATE my da for the blotchy skin I’ve inherrited from him (I jest, I wouldn’t really bate him - I love him really). But, my skin complexion is and has been terrible for most of my adult life. Being a redhead my skin is fairly pale, and thanks to my dad its colour is not consistent there are freckles and red patches to deal with. This was something I thought I’d just have to live with. I was lying in bed one night when an ad for mens makeup popped up on my FB and to be honest I ignored it. As often happens with social media the same ad kept appearing - it feels like they can read my mind sometimes. So, intrigued I clicked through and checked out some of the info on the products. Long story made short I decided to try out a few of the products on the QT. I’m going to tell you about my experience with the Hi-Def Foundation from MMUK MAN, sure it even sounds macho doesn’t it. It arrived packaged in a nice wee black box - very unassuminand the product itself is in a bottle that could sit on your dresser without anyone asking questions. I say that because I was nervous about wearing makeup but also of people knowing I was doing it. I have to admit that I had to get help with

78 | GNIMAG.COM

using it the first time. I called on my Hag, she was like a pig in sh*t, finally she could show me how to do something. She explained that basically a foundation does what it says on the tin, it’s there to create an even surface on the skin - which is exactly what I wanted. So she showed me how to do it and we washed it off and I tried it myself. The application was easy, very very small amounts was all that was needed (if I’d have been left to my own devices I’d have been putting it on with a trowel). I rubbed it in and spread it out and I was good to go. I used it on a night when I was heading to the bar - I was obviously feeling brave. Walking up to my mates I was actually pretty nervous, expecting an uproar of “WTF have you got on your face”. They said nothing. As the night went on they and some other friends I bumped into in the bar commented on how refreshed I was looking or how smooth my skin was looking. Not one person asked was I wearing makeup. This was a result in my books. It’s definitely worth giving this a go boys! CHECK OUT THE RANGE AT: WWW.MENSMAKE-UP.CO.UK

There are tools out there to help you get the perfect finish. Have a look at investing in a good quality mens foundation brush or application sponges.

LIGHTING IS KEY

Obviously you want to apply your foundation in good lighting, a natural daylight is best - especially if you’re going outside in daylight - this will give you the best idea of how it will look when you do go out. but good indoor lighting works well if you’re heading out for a night as you’ll probably be in similar lighting while you’re out.


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MEET THE ARTIST__ ARTFARBOYS

ARTFARBOYS

MEET THE ARTIST

80 | GNIMAG.COM

GNI MAG CAUGHT UP WITH PACO, 40 FROM MADRID TO TAKE A LOOK AT HIS WORK AND TALK ABOUT WHAT MOTIVATES HIM.

some male and female nudes. The response was so great that I decided to continue with this style.

WHAT SORT OF ART DO YOU CREATE?

I love painting Greek mythology. Male nudes. I like to look at the body, the muscles, the details of the faces, the looks... everything that has to do with the body and tell a story.

Erotic art and even a little pornographic. I come from creating Romanesque art and Japanese style. It’s always acrylic on canvas. HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO THIS, WAS IT A JOURNEY THROUGH DIFFERENT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES? Indeed, after more than ten years of painting medieval and Romanesque art, I decided to paint

WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY CREATING?

WHAT ARE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS? Instagram: new_artfarboys


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TRAVEL__ CARDIFF

one night stand

CARDIFF Team GNI were invited to fly over to Cardiff and stay at the central Sleeperz Hotel. This was what our Daniel and Gary got up to...

GETTING THERE We flew direct with Flybe from George Best Belfast City Airport to Cardiff airport on a

Q400 Dash 8, the flight took a quick 50mins. Upon arrival we took the shuttle bus into

Cardiff city centre. The stop was located just a stones throw away from our hotel and we

discovered that all bus travel at the weekend in Cardiff were being piloted for free so we only

had to pay one way which only cost us​ a pocket pleasing​ £5.

ACCOMODATION ​T he Sleeperz hotel​, a brilliant new concept

in compact city centre lifestyle hotels for the business and leisure traveller. They believe in friendly service, stylish design and a

comfortable night’s sleep all at great value

prices and they certainly did not disappoint.

We stayed in a cabin room which was kitted out in bright colours with a bunk bed and ensuite compact toilet\shower room combined. The hotel itself was ideally located​, metres away

from the central train station and bus links​ ​a nd

82 | GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL__ CARDIFF more importantly the main shopping, clubbing

soap store “Miss Patisserie” offering vegan

all easily reached on foot within a matter of

creams and candles. While we were out

friendly bath salts and bombs, soaps, scrubs,

and restaurant areas of the city centre we​r e minutes.

you are part of a younger crowd and The Kings for the slightly older hipster crowd.

While we were there we also found time to

attend a theatre show at the New Theatre in

ENTERTAINMENT Cardiff is a lively city with copious amounts of bars and clubs to enjoy, all of which are fairly LGBT inclusive but there are several LGBT

bars \ clubs all located ​c lose to each other, our

the city centre. We saw Around the World

in 80 Days which was an amazing production with a cast of just 8 people playing over 100 characters and improvising with the use of

things like a sheet for an elephants head, it was a thoroughly enjoyable production for both adults and children alike.

SHOPPING Cardiff like any city has a vast amount of your usual chain stores located in the St. David

shopping our socks off we also discovered

that Cardiff had been populated by Snowdogs designed by local artists for charity dotted

all around the city centre so we made it our

mission to get pics with as many as we could while in the city.

FOOD We decided to eat at No.10 which came highly recommended for both food and

accommodation as an independently run

restaurant and boutique hotel. They change

their menu of locally sourced produce daily and is very reasonably priced​, 2​ courses for £16.95

and 3 courses for £19.95. Jordan and his staff

two favourites being Mary’s were the music was

were incredibly warm and knowledgeable​,​ if

pumping and the drinks flowing, and Minsky’s

you get the chance we recommend that you try

Show Bar which is hosted by the delightful Dr

the Roast Welsh Lamb Rump​, it​ melted in our

Beverley Ballcrusher who is always up for a bit

mouths.

of banter and audience interaction. Minsky’s

While we were on our Snowdog hunt we also

seems to be firm favourite with not just the

came across the most amazing Ice Cream

parlour called Creams which produces the most amazing range of ice creams, crepes and coffees in the style of an american diner.​

Dewi Sant Centre, our personal favourites

were the little independent stores found in the connecting arcades that run between the two

LGBT community but also ​t hose on ​s tag and hen do’s​,​ beware as Dr Beverley is more than

So would we recommend Cardiff. Definitely!

capable of handling any hecklers so do so at

your own Risk.​ ​O ther bars include WOW bar

where there ​a re​ live performers and drag acts ​ who preform each evening​, Pulse Nightclub​​ if

main shopping streets. It was in one of these

Iechyd da as they’d say in Welsh.

arcades that we found a delightful independent

GNIMAG.COM | 83


Music CEREMONY MUSIC FOR YOUR BIG DAY DB MUSIC: 07712 209 163


LIFESTYLE | DATING

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

Eamon I’ve recently come out to my friends and family, and everything is good there. I’ve a great group of friends and a busy social life. But I’m not really one for going onto the Scene, if I’m honest it scares me a bit. I worry that I’ll never meet a man though if I’m not out there. I’ve tried the apps too and all I’ve got on there are offers of one night stands. Help.

that special guy and the feelings you once had for your friend will disappear. If you are finding it hard to cope with coming out of the closet there are loads of support LBGT networks who will be happy to help you come to terms with your sexuality. Hope all works out for the best

Hi Curtis

Eoghin, Derrymacash

Eamon

Hi Eoghin

Hi Eamon

How old are you ? Most people worry that they won’t meet anyone this is just a natural feeling, it’s great news that you have had the courage to be open and honest about your sexuality and you have a great support network. You don’t need to have be on the gay scene to meet someone. Everywere is so gay friendly nowadays that it is possible to meet Mr right anywhere at any time. It will probably happen when you least expect it! If gay dating apps are not for you, you don’t need to use them and if you do please stay safe as you never know who is at the other end of the app for sure. Always remember to tell a friend if your meeting someone from an app.

My girlfriend and I have been together for about 4 years, we live together and have a great life. The other week she told me that she’d like to have a baby. I’ve never really been maternal, I think it’s because I never really saw having a baby as something that would ever happen to me. I know that since she told me I’ve been distant to her. I’m nervous about having a chat with her about it incase she wants a baby more than she wants me.

If I’m honest I really don’t feel I can give advice on how you are feeling. I would suggest you contact one of the LBGT organisations in Belfast who can help people in your quandary. I’m sure they will be delighted to get your call and help you on your journey of your own personal discovery.

Have fun finding Mr Right Eamon Hello Eamon

Rachel, Derry Hi Rachel Babies are becoming more common in many gay relationships. Although you need to be honest with your girlfriend about how you feel about this matter, as this decision decides your future life. Speaking from experience children are a big responsibility physically, emotionally and financially they are just not for Christmas!

I’m 18 and still in the closet. I’ve had the same friend since I was in primary school, we literally do everything together. Recently I’ve started looking at him differently. I have really strong feelings for him and I want to tell him, but I know he’s straight and I’m afraid I’ll scare him off. What should I do for the best?

Sit down have an honest and candid chat with your girlfriend and what is meant to be will be

Callum, Warrenpoint

Eamon

Hi Callum

I’m having a problem with my identity, and with that I find it hard to know who I want to be in a relationship with. I’ve never felt like a boy, even when I was younger – things just didn’t seem to fit for me. I don’t feel like I’m a girl either though. I’ve heard terms like genderfluid, or asexual but I don’t really know what they mean or if they apply to me. Should I just stay clear of relationships until I figure myself out?

It is difficult for people when they develop sexual feelings towards a close friend. In most cases it would destroy the friendship especially when you know the other person is straight and you’re in the closet . There will never be a future. My advice would be to keep your feelings to yourself and when you are ready to come out of the closet your friend will be there for you. You will find

Hope all works out for the best either way Eamon

Curtis, Antrim

Best wishes Eamon Eamon I’m having a problem with my identity, and with that I find it hard to know who I want to be in a relationship with. I’ve never felt like a boy, even when I was younger – things just didn’t seem to fit for me. I don’t feel like I’m a girl either though. I’ve heard terms like genderfluid, or asexual but I don’t really know what they mean or if they apply to me. Should I just stay clear of relationships until I figure myself out? Curtis, Antrim Hi Curtis If I’m honest I really don’t feel I can give advice on how you are feeling. I would suggest you contact one of the LBGT organisations in Belfast who can help people in your quandary. I’m sure they will be delighted to get your call and help you on your journey of your own personal discovery. Best wishes 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

GNIMAG.COM | 85


Spring Wedding Sensation

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GNI MAG Weddings


After meeting in a Belfast nightclub, it took Michael 11 years to pop the question. A beautiful wedding in The Merchant was followed by an exciting honeymoon starting in Miami... 88 | GNIMAG.COM

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING? MICHAEL Paul and I met when I was just 19 (December 2004), I was working for Jägermeister part time to get some extra cash and that night I was working in the Bamboo Beach club. We both acknowledged that there was an attraction. PAUL Michael and I met in December 2004, I had been single for six months and was on a night out at Belfast’s Bamboo Beach club. Michael was working, doing a drinks promotion on behalf of Jagermeister. Our eyes met across a busy bar and the rest is history. HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES? MICHAEL We were together for 11 years before I decided to ask Paul. I had pre-booked the Plaza Hotel in New York for a meal as we would soon be going on holiday to the city. I was very nervous, but eventually after several drinks I plucked up the courage and asked the question, it felt like forever for Paul to respond but thankfully it was a yes. We celebrated that night with American friends we met

on the trip. PAUL We got engaged in New York city in 2015, 11 years after we first met. I had no idea Michael was going to ask me to become engaged, he had discussed it with my friends Victoria and Walter but I was clueless. The answer was an immediate yes and celebrated with our recently acquainted American friends over several bottles of champagne in a New York nightclub. TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY… MICHAEL Our wedding day was on the 7th May 2016, I had been planning everything for a year. Our venue for the reception was The Merchant Hotel and we checked in the night before to help us unwind. Our ceremony was in the City Hall with family and friends then onto Café Vaudeville for some champagne and canapes prior to arriving at The Merchant hotel for the reception. Paul and I both decided we wanted our day to be our own not following any traditions. We did not want a top table or cutting a cake or first dance -we had our own ideas! I love female entertainers so when I was planning my entertainment I opted for Jackie Rainey, a female duo acoustic band for our drinks reception which really impressed the guests, they even learned our favourite


GNI MAG WEDDINGS__

PAUL & MICHAEL

songs. We had Lady Portia for our entertainment following our meal who gave a fab performance followed by a game show with some of the guests, finally the Collective Band alongside Aneta Moran a female saxophone player who had travelled up from Dublin, the music was amazing! The entertainment was very important to me, I wanted all of our guests to enjoy themselves and listen to the type of music that I would listen to. The day was even better than I had expected and we knew from the moment we checked to the Merchant Hotel we had made the right choice, the staff were so attentive and could not do enough for us. I wish I could do it all again!!! PAUL Our wedding day was the most fantastic day imaginable. We were so fortunate to have friends travel from all over GB and Ireland to share our day. Michael and I had chosen Belfast City Hall for our nuptials and it is an amazing place with fantastic staff. Michael had done the bulk of the organising, he loves his spreadsheets and had each element of the day planned to precision, he did a wonderful job. The main reception was handled by Lynn Beggs and her team at the Merchant, we could not have asked for a more professional and fun team to deliver our big day, it went like clockwork. The entertainment of our guests was very

90 | GNIMAG.COM

important to us, we were lucky to book the amazing Jackie Rainey (she can be found performing at St George’s Market) for our drinks reception. During the meal we had arranged for Lady Portia to inject a bit of glamour into the proceedings with a fabulous reporta, the room loved her! The Collective Band performed after the main meal and continued live until the very end of the evening, the dance floor was packed all night, our surprise was an Ibiza style saxophone solo by Anita Moran from Dublin. Michael and I had been to so many weddings where the couple are separated from their guests for half the day to get photos taken, we didn’t want that and we found the perfect match in Gabrielle and Dearbhla from Pop Photography who made us so relaxed and got amazing results. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK… MICHAEL For our drinks reception, we decided on our favourite drinks. Veuve Clicquot champagne and Peroni beers, we also had a selection of canapes served to our guests. For the main meal we had three courses, the meal was beautiful. We had Spiced Parsnip & Celeriac soup as the starter, for the main course, a roast chicken dish with potato dauphinoise served alongside a selection of fresh vegetables, finally for dessert we had the Merchant

signature selection, these went down a treat with the guests especially the choux pastry swan, stunning!! We did not opt for a wedding cake, instead I arranged for a Cheese tower with figs, grapes, crackers and chutney’s. The Merchant Hotel decorated this beautifully, I was very impressed and the guests also seemed to enjoy it as there was nothing left by the end of the evening. Our evening food consisted of Fish & Chip cones, buttermilk chicken goujons, sliders and a selection of sandwiches. PAUL The food and drink flowed all day, while Michael looked after the food I engaged my many years of practice into organising the alcohol element of the day, I was in my element. To set the tone for the day we opted for Veuve Clicquot Yellow label champagne for our guests upon arrival, to the delight of Stuart Bell! and Peroni beers for the girls. I love wine and selected the Côtes du Rhône rogue and a Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc 2011 to complement the main meal. It was a very boozy day and oiled the guests nicely for all the dancing and activities throughout the day. DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON? MICHAEL


GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ PAUL & MICHAEL

Yes, for our honeymoon we spent a week in Miami, I was very impressed such a great city, we also hired a Mustang and drove down to Key West, the drive and scenery was out of this world, something I will never forget. Finally, we had a week-long cruise around the Caribbean visiting the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. We were so impressed we have since been on another four cruises. We met some amazing friends that we are still in contact with so it was a great way to round of the whole wedding celebration. PAUL The honeymoon was planned, again, by Michael even before we had agreed on a wedding venue. We love travelling and holiday when we can, we had always wanted to visit Miami and opted to spend a week lapping up the sites of Miami staying in the Mondrian South Beach followed by a weeklong cruise on board the NCL Escape around the Caribbean. We loved the Caribbean and did everything from waterfall diving to drinking mojitos with a famous EastEnders actor, who’s not out! ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT? MICHAEL

92 | GNIMAG.COM

This is an easy question. NO! Paul and I are very different, chalk and cheese but then opposites attract. Paul is very much into his history and art, and his latest venture of learning to fly, where as I know absolutely nothing about history which drives Paul up the walls, my passion is music, anyone that knows me will know my obsession with The Spice Girls and Eurovision!! Pretty much all interests are different other than socialising with friends and entertaining at our home. I enjoy going to the gym, climbing the Mourne mountains, music and dancing, I recently competed a Strictly come dancing event for Cancer Focus NI, dancing to the Jive, another amazing experience. Paul, however is the complete opposite and I could not imagine doing any of the above. Instead Paul’s interests include Cars, DIY, reading, history and is obsessed with cleaning!!! PAUL No, LOL! Michael loves the Spice Girls, Steps, fashion and campery in general, he recently completed a Strictly Come Dancing competition for Cancer Focus NI and I loved his enthusiasm and was so proud of him on his big night. My interests are the total opposite, I love reading, history, cars and pubs. We love the fact we inform each other of different things and it works, we are blessed with an

amazing group of friends and family, it is true what they say opposites really do attract. DO YOU DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER OR DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP INDEPENDENT? MICHAEL Paul and I will do a lot together, I think more so since we got married last year. We do still like to do things separate as I think it is nice to give each other some space. We are quite lucky that we share a lot of our friends but we both agree on letting us have our own nights out or weekend’s away with our close friends.


GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ PAUL & MICHAEL

GNIMAG.COM | 93


If you're in crisis or despair or know someone who is, call Lifeline 24/7 on 0808 808 8000 Calls to Lifeline are answered by qualified crisis counsellors who can provide immediate support. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles

(Textphone: 18001 0808 808 8000)


COMING OUT__

ANTHONY

COMING OUT Anthony Rice, 28 year old designer from Lurgan tells us his story.

I then removed everything from our fireplace hearth and used it as the ‘stage’ for my big announcement. WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALISE YOU WERE ATTRACTED TO SAME SEX PEOPLE? It was in the summer of 2009 before I started my degree at the University of Ulster in Belfast. I had just finished a two year relationship with my girlfriend. It was after this that I noticed myself becoming more and more physically attracted to men. I was noticing details about them I never noticed before, their build, the style and their bums! DID YOU TELL ANYONE AT THE TIME? No before I started university I didn’t tell anyone, I still was in the ‘confused’ stage and I had the fear of rejection from my mates - would they accept the new me? All my mates were straight and never really knew of anyone being gay. It was during 1st semester of university when I had the courage – provided by Sambuca that I experienced Kremlin for first time. WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY COME OUT? In 2010 I moved into Elms Student Accommodation at Queens. It was my first time ever living away from home, it was exciting times. It was during this time that I really had the freedom and confidence to start to explore the feelings that I had towards other men. It wasn’t long after this that I found myself confiding my new lifestyle to my twin sister and then the rest of my family. I was invited to a party after the Kremlin one night and someone else who was there had facebooked my twin sister to tell her that I was at a ‘gay’ party – so this prompted a lot questions from my sister as to why I was there. In the end it was easier to come clean as to come up with any lies or try to deny it. And the story of how I told my parents... After a night out in my hometown of Lurgan and drinking a lot of shots – I came home to my parents house, completely steaming. I proceeded to switch on all the

lights in the house, stride into my parents room with pride and invited them to join me in the living as I had very important news. In my intoxicated state I then removed everything from our fireplace hearth and used it as the ‘stage’ for my big announcement. As they settled comfortably on the sofa awaiting this big news… I quickly shouted “I’m gay and going to bed” – got off the hearth and pranced off to my room leaving my parents alone in the living room with all the house lights on. WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF YOUR FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS? After I made my great gay exit from the living room I could hear my mum begin to cry and the next day when the inevitable hangover kicked in I came downstairs to my dad, as my mum left on holidays early in the morning. Straight away my dad hugged me and told me he loved me more for telling him the truth and my mum phoned me to reassure me that nothing has changed and everything is going to be ok. ANY NEGATIVE REACTIONS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THESE? After my mum returned from her trip and we were alone in the kitchen, she warily handed me a letter that my parents had received months before I came out to them. This letter was from a male friend who I had kissed on a few occasions while at university. In the letter addressed to my parents it revealed a lot personal information about me – how I was gay, the details of how he developed strong feelings towards me but as I was not out I could never reciprocate these feelings. When my mum handed me the letter and I read it, I was so hurt, it was up to me to tell my parents in my time and it was a strange feeling

to know that they already knew but they made the decision to keep this letter from me to allow me to come to them and confide in them when I was ready. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS THINKING ABOUT COMING OUT? You don’t have to tell anyone you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans if you don’t want to. It’s up to you who you tell, and if you’re lucky someone has already sent your parents a letter (LOL)! The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone; there are support organisations out there to offer a helping hand, a friendly ear, and who have vast experience of helping people just like us. ANY FUNNY STORIES ABOUT WHEN YOU CAME OUT TO SOMEONE? I don’t really have any funny stories about coming out – everyone was so accepting and nice towards me. Anyone who wasn’t got a boot in the balls from my twin sister – she laid hands on them! Ha ha. However one of the best ever coming out stories I ever heard while I was at university was from a fella who wasn’t out to his some of his family. They were a traditional family with strong religious beliefs and while attending a family wedding the conversations of homosexuality arose and one of his cousins at the table said “all those gays are going to hell sure anyway” and not wanting to start any rows or confrontation at the wedding he got up from the table to walk away when another cousin asked where he was going and he smugly shouted back – hell apparently and sacheted away! - He became my new hero!

GNIMAG.COM | 95

If you’re in distress or despair call Lifeline 0808 808 8000


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Belfast – 028 9066 7784 799 Lisburn Road, Belfast 330 Woodstock Road, Belfast Crymbleandsons.com info@crymbleandsons.com ‘Our God will take care of everything you need Phil 4:19’

We have installed an automated external defibrillator (AED) at the front of the premises on Woodstock Road for the use of the local community.


LGBT FAMILIES__

THE MODERN FAMILY

LGBT FAMILIES What happens when you feel guilty for being married to your wife? I MET MY WIFE TO be when I was 19 and instantly I fell in love with her. This sounds strange even to me because I’d known since my very early teens that I was attracted to guys. But I’d resigned myself to the fact that being gay wouldn’t really be an option to me. And anyway, I’d always wanted a family. Growing up I’d pictured my life; very suburban, beautiful wife, good job, nice house and 2.4 kids running about in the garden. So we married within two years of meeting, we were soul mates - and even through everything that has happened between there and now I think we still are. Life pretty much went as I’d dreamed, the wife, the kids, the house, the job, and even the flashy cars in the drive. But underneath it all there was always the niggling doubt. Questioning myself, and questioning whether I was being fair on my wife. About nine years into our marriage we started bickering a lot, I genuinely think this was my fault, my guilt at how I was feeling and hiding it from the one person I told everything to. We decided to separate and I took myself off for a few days to clear my head. While I was away we talked on the phone and agreed that we just needed a fresh start. I came home and we re-decorated the house and tried to make a few changes to how we behaved together. Of course this worked for a while, but the cracks soon started to appear again for me. I wasn’t a tortured soul living a lie, but I’m a guy who likes to think I do

the right thing - and me being there was not the right thing for her. It all came to a head one night when we were with friends and we had a bit of a barney, next day I suggested we call it a day on our marriage. She was devastated, and so was I but I felt I needed to stay strong for her, and for the kids. She was the first person I came out to, and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. It was like

She was the first person I came out to, and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. It was like I was breaking her heart all over again. I was breaking her heart all over again. Apparently she had a suspicion years earlier, and had asked me, but I denied it and she believed me. She always believed in me. We had a common

goal for our lives and the kids were the centre of it. Together we stared to look for somewhere for me to live. It had to be somewhere that both she and the kids would be comfortable - our marriage may have been over but I was adamant that our family wasn’t. I slowly and gradually moved out of our home and into my new place. We told the kids I was house sitting for a friend and gradually introduced them to it. My daughter was nine at the time and took it all very much in her stride, until the day she found a photo of herself in one of the rooms. She came to me in the kitchen screaming that my friend had a picture of her in his house. My wife was there at the time and we decided that it was time to tell her a bit of what was going on. She took in all the information, the most of which was explaining that nothing had changed in our family except that I would be living in a different house. Life seemed to continue on with a sense of normality, we spent a lot of time together as a family, and the kids adjusted well. After a few months I began to date guys and my ex-wife was very supportive - going as far as ironing my shirts for me so I looked well presented to my potential suitors. After a while I’d met a guy who I fell for. I again felt guilty, I actually felt like I was cheating on my wife - but she encouraged me to be who I was. After a few months I introduced the new guy to the kids. My son was two at the time so he just loved this new

big goofball who rolled about in the grass with him. My daughter was older and bit more cautious, but he’s a great guy and he won her round. On that initial meeting I didn’t tell my kids that he was my boyfriend, in fact I’ve never told them that. It all just flowed, they enjoyed spending time with him, my wife liked him, and I fell in love with him. Fast-forward almost a decade, my kids, and our family as a five piece (exwife, kids, my partner, and me) have enjoyed some amazing experiences that I know we may not have had if things had gone on as they had with my ex-wife. My children have grown up with acceptance for everyone, not prejudging or basing opinions on what others tell them - mum, dad and step - dad couldn’t be prouder of them. Nothing in the world is nicer than when your son comes in on a Sunday morning for cuddles, or when your teenage daughter remembers who you are (teen years are heartbreaking lol), gives you a hug and tells you she loves you - she will always be daddy’s girl. To round it all up, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m lucky I found a lady who loved me, she gave me the two most precious things in my life - and I’m sure she’d say the same. Of course things didn’t go as she’d have thought when we took our vows. But we have a great life and a great family - as unconventional as others may see it.

GNIMAG.COM | 97


Positive Life is the only charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to supporting people living with or affected by HIV. Positive Life exists to promote a positive future for people living with or affected by HIV. We work to remove stigma by raising awareness of the impact of HIV. We work to educate and challenge the myths that surround HIV.

2017 F I AT 5 0 0 FROM

We engage with service users to ensure they have a voice in the policy arena.

£8,995

We respond to people’s support needs in a way that creates independence Positive Life services include: • Rapid HIV Testing • Drop-in Service • Counselling • Complementary Therapies • Information Evenings • Social Events • Family Support Telephone: 028 9024 9268

Email:

info@positivelifeni.com

Call in:

20 Derryvolgie Avenue, Belfast BT9 6FN

DELIVERY MILES

DONNELLYGROUP.CO.UK DONNELLY BROS

DONNELLY BROS

028 9590 0219

028 8744 0703

MALLUSK WAY, NEWTOWNABBEY, CO. ANTRIM

DONNELLY M1 COMPLEX, 181 BALLYGAWLEY ROAD, DUNGANNON

DONNELLY BROS

DONNELLY & TAGGART

028 6633 0378

028 7122 9372

101 IRVINESTOWN ROAD, ENNISKILLEN, CO. FERMANAGH

CAMPSIE IND EST., EGLINTON, CO. L/DERRY

Fuel consumption in mpg (l/100km) and CO2 emissions for 500 range: Urban 49.6 (5.7) - 64.2 (4.4) Extra Urban 65.7 (4.3) - 78.5 (3.6), and Combined 58.9 (4.8) - 72.4 (3.9). CO2 emissions 113 - 90g/km. Fuel consumption and CO2 figures based on standard EU tests for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results. Vehicle for illustration purposes only. Price correct at time of going to press.


Profile for GNI MAG

GNI MAG ISSUE 28  

Courtney Act is our cover-gurl on our freshers issue. We catch up with her and get all the goss, Lynn from PVRIS chats to our Gary about th...

GNI MAG ISSUE 28  

Courtney Act is our cover-gurl on our freshers issue. We catch up with her and get all the goss, Lynn from PVRIS chats to our Gary about th...

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