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GNIMAG y o u r

l o c a l

h o m o c u l t u r a l

m a g a z i n e

Issue 45 Feb / Mar 21 £3.95 / €3.95

Una

She was part of The Saturdays, one of the biggest pop groups of it’s time. Now she’s a solo country artist in her own right, Local girl Una Healy talks family, life, and her new single.

Life’s a Drag

Showcasing some of the best drag artists from across the province.

Support Local

Great products from amazing local businesses, we see what’s out there.

Tim Chadwick

Irish LGBT singer / songwriter Tim tells all about his rise to success.

CELEBS / FASHION / MUSIC / NEWS / REVIEWS / MOVIES / FITNESS / HOME / TRAVEL / REAL LIFE / SPORT


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THE EDITOR // OPEN LETTER

Hi Readers,

GARY CAMPION Guest Editor Having many years of working the fashion, beauty and celebrity industries under his belt, along with his tenure in various positions over the years helping GNI become what we know and love today there isn’t a better person experienced to guest edit our magazine.

Guess who’s back and guest editing your favourite LGBTQ+ lifestyle magazine after 3 years away…..only little old me the former Celebrity Editor. Daniel took himself off to South Africa to visit family at Christmas and got stuck there for a bit of an extended trip due to the ever changing Covid situation (lucky him eh?) so I was asked to take the reins for the 1st issue of 2021. I hope this issue finds you, your family and friends all safe, healthy and well in what is a challenging time for us all. I forgot just how much work goes into producing an issue, but here we are done and dusted! For this issue I wanted to try and focus on local and put the covid situation to the back of our minds, because let’s face it none of us thought this would still be ongoing a year later FFS! We have a great mix of content from The Saturdays turned country pop star Una Healy to new pop starlet Becky Hill, Aussie pop festival sensations Sheppard to local talents of up and coming Dublin singer songwriter Tim Chadwick and our own Qradio breakfast presenter Jordan Humphries. Add to that a sizzling fashion feature from new aussie brand Rude Rainbow, a support local feature and the usual reviews and contributor pieces, you may get into your comfies, put the kettle and curl up and have a good read. All that’s left for me to say is I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have done putting it all together and in the words of a certain Mrs Beckham…... kisses Gary x

OPEN FOR TAKEAWAY BARISTA COFFEE Finaghy Crossroads, BT10 0JA FB: @thefrontlounge


CONTENTS //

CREDITS //

WHAT’S INSIDE

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Daniel May

Photo Credit: Sean Donnegan

[ 8 ]

UNA HEALY

[ 12 ]

CALLUM SKEFFINGTON

[ 14 ]

SHEPPARD

[ 18 ]

DAMIEN ELLIS

[ 20 ]

LIFE’S A DRAG

[ 26 ]

CARL CONNIELINGUS

[ 28 ]

BECKY HILL

[ 30 ]

MICKY MURRAY

[ 32 ]

TIM CHADWICK

[ 35 ]

TITANIC HONOUR

[ 36 ]

FOSTERING

[ 38 ]

JORDAN HUMPHRIES

[ 42 ]

MARTIN MURRAY

[ 44 ]

ANOTHER WORLD

[ 46 ]

FASHION - RUDE RAINBOW

[ 54 ]

FEMALE MASTERBATION

[ 57 ]

SUPPORT LOCAL

[ 62 ]

DMK SKINCARE

[ 64 ]

BOXED OFF BELFAST

[ 66 ]

THE MEN OF CINAVA

[ 68 ]

THE GOURMET BOYS

[ 71 ]

TRAVEL NATES

[ 74 ]

COCKTAIL KEG COMPANY

[ 76 ]

RECOMMENDED

[ 78 ]

PIZZA PUNKS

[ 80 ]

FITNESS WITH ANTHONY

[ 82 ]

LGBT+ HOUSING SUPPORT

GUEST EDITOR Gary Campion SALES Pauline Fitzpatrick DESIGN Tony Day

SPECIAL THANKS TO... Una Healy / Sheppard / Becky Hill / Tim Chadwick / Damien Ellis / Jordan Humphries / Paul Hutnick / Jules Boyle / Sean McKee / Wayne Davis / Anthony Coole / Callum Skeffington / Micky Murray / Martin Murray / Marty Kearney / Carl Connielingus / Gavyn Andrews / Gourmet Boys / Halestorm PR / Chuff Media / Another World / Rude Rainbow / Feel Fully You / The Rainbow Project / Project Publicity / DMK / Boxed Off Belfast / Cocktail Keg / Pizza Punks

GNI MAG IS PUBLISHED BY... Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 13 Union Street Belfast BT1 2JF www.gnimag.com daniel@gnimag.com All submissions to GNI MAG are made on the basis of permission to publish the submission in GNI MAG 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 Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd or its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. We take great care to make sure all elements of GNI MAG are accurate. However we accept no liability for any misprints that appear in this magazine. You should seek professional advice prior to following any advice offered in this publication. Any opinions expressed are those of the writers and not those of GNI MAG or Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd. Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 2020


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CELEBRITY, COLUMNISTS, FEATURES, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE


INTERVIEW // UNA HEALY

EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // UNA HEALY

UNA INTERVIEW: GARY CAMPION

BEST KNOWN AS ONE FIFTH OF FIVE-PIECE GIRL GROUP THE SATURDAYS SELLING OVER 8 MILLION RECORDS, NOW A POP COUNTRY SOLO ARTIST, RADIO PRESENTER AND SUCCESSFUL SHOE DESIGNER IN HER OWN RIGHT. UNA TAKES TIME OUT OF HER BUSY SCHEDULE TO TALK TO US ABOUT HER NEW SINGLE, LOCKDOWN, A POTENTIAL SATURDAYS REUNION AND BEING A PARENT DURING LOCKDOWN.

HI UNA IT’S BEEN OVER 3.5 YEARS SINCE WE LAST INTERVIEWED YOU FOR THE MAGAZINE AND WE THEN MET YOU AND REVIEWED YOUR GIG IN LARNE AT THE GOODWILL FESTIVAL (WHICH INCIDENTALLY TURNED INTO ONE OF MY FIRST DATES WITH MY PARTNER OF 3.5YEARS NOW). HOW HAVE YOU BEEN KEEPING? Wow how time flies! And how times have changed. So good to hear it was the beginning of a blossoming relationship. I am keeping well thank you. I moved back to Ireland last Summer to be close to my parents as I found the first lockdown on my own with the two kids in the UK extremely difficult. So I am really happy to be back home. I THINK YOU’LL AGREE WITH US WHEN WE SAY THE LAST YEAR HAS BEEN A REAL SH*T SHOW WHAT WITH THE WHOLE COVID-19 VIRUS DESTROYING

EVERYTHING NORMAL ABOUT LIFE THAT WE ALL LOVE. HERE IN THE OFFICE WE HAVE ALL BEEN TAKING UP NEW HOBBIES / LEARNING NEW SKILLS TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE TIME. WHAT NEW HOBBY OR SKILL HAVE YOU TAKEN UP DURING LOCKDOWN AND WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO THAT? WILL YOU CONTINUE IT ONCE THIS PANDEMIC IS ALL OVER? Well I stepped my fitness regime up a few notches. I work out most days now whereas before I used to just do 2-3 days a week. I have really gotten into my cooking too and experimenting with new recipes. I listen to audiobooks and try to take time to meditate when I can at least once a day. These are all new ways of de-stressing when it all feels a little overwhelming. OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE A MUM TO TWO GORGEOUS CHILDREN AOIFE AND

NINE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // UNA HEALY

TADHG WHO ARE GROWING UP SO FAST, AND IF YOU DON’T MIND US SAYING AOIFE IS YOUR DOUBLE FROM YOUR POSTS ON INSTAGRAM. YOU HAVE BEEN HOMESCHOOLING LIKE SO MANY OF US HAVE HAD TO DURING LOCKDOWN, HOW HAVE YOU MANAGED TO DO THAT AND STILL DO EVERYTHING ELSE YOU HAVE DONE DURING THIS PAST YEAR? WHAT PROBLEMS, IF ANY HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED WHILE HOMESCHOOLING? IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE A SUBJECT TO TEACH AS A CAREER WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? Aoife and Tadhg are now going to the school I went to as a child. It’s such a pity they are back homeschooling again and not getting to see their friends or so the activities we all enjoyed as kids. I am happy to homeschool them as both of their teachers set work each day and put videos up so I just have to sit with Tadhg to help him and Aoife who is 8 gets on with her own work and I then go over it to make sure it’s right. The teachers are still doing such a great job so it really isn’t as bad as I first thought it would be. We always do schooling in the morning so I have the afternoon free to do everything else I need to do and they get downtime for themselves. If I am really busy my parents live close by so they come to help out when I need them. I would teach Music as a career as it was always my favourite subject in school and I have a huge passion for it. LAST YEAR YOU WERE PART OF THE “IRISH WOMEN IN HARMONY” COLLECTIVE THAT RELEASED A STUNNING COVER OF THE CRANBERRIES DREAMS. THE RECORDING WENT VIRAL ALL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA AND WAS IN AID OF A GREAT CAUSE “SAFEIRELAND” THAT DEALS WITH DOMESTIC ABUSE WHICH HAS REPORTEDLY BEEN ON THE RISE DURING COVID. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO ANY OF OUR READERS WHO HAVE MAYBE FOUND THEMSELVES IN ABUSE SITUATIONS DUE TO THIS PANDEMIC? It is really sad and shocking to hear of anyone going through any form of domestic abuse. It is not acceptable and must be reported. There are lots of amazing charities out there to help so I would encourage anyone who is experiencing this to speak to someone and never suffer in silence. MOTHER, SINGER, SONG WRITER, RADIO

TEN // GNIMAG.COM

PRESENTER, TV STAR, SHOE DESIGNER, CHAMPION SWIMMER IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN’T DO OR WANT TO ADD TO YOUR LONG LIST OF TALENTS? I am very lucky to say I can do what I love for a living but in these uncertain times the entertainment industry has taken a serious knock. I can’t really see myself doing anything else as it’s all I’ve known for so many years. I just can’t wait to get back out performing live again. I miss it so much! RETROSPECTIVELY KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW AND HAVE EXPERIENCED OVER THE YEARS, IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONLY ONE OF YOUR MANY CAREER PATHS WHICH WOULD IT BE AND WHY? I like to keep busy and can never sit down for more than 5 mins and start to feel anxious so that is why I like to keep a few irons in the fire to keep me going. As I said the music industry has taken a serious knock but I will never stop songwriting and recording and releasing music no matter what. ON THE SAME NOTE ARE THERE ANY OF THE PATHS YOU REGRET OR WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY? Not at all. I tried so many before I dedicated my time fully to music so I feel I have experienced so much and have no regrets. I went to Uni to study both Nursing and Primary school teaching but I dropped out of both to pursue my music but I am so glad I gave them a try. SPEAKING OF SHOE DESIGNING, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE UNA HEALY EMPIRE? I have always had a huge passion for fashion and shoes in particular. I just wanted to do something different and spoke to my Management about seeing up a meeting with the right people to make it happen and lucky it did! We are now in our 5th release (Spring/ Summer 21) and the collection is growing all the time. I am so proud of it and it makes me so happy to see women wear them so well and to hear how much they love them. OVER THE YEARS YOU’VE MADE NO SECRET OF YOUR PASSION FOR COUNTRY MUSIC AND HAVE BECOME THE HOST OF THE WEEKEND BREAKFAST SHOW ON THE UK’S FIRST NATIONAL COUNTRY MUSIC STATION COUNTRY HITS, HOW

DOES PRESENTING ON THE RADIO COMPARE TO BEING INTERVIEWED\ PERFORMING ON RADIO? HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO LEARN WHAT ALL THE KNOBS AND BUTTONS DO OR DO YOU HAVE A PRODUCER THAT DOES THE TECHNICAL SIDE OF THINGS FOR YOU? I love presenting on radio and it was something I wanted to do even as a child. I used to record pretend radio shows on my tape recorder with my friend who went on to be an actress herself. I have an amazing producer Pete at Country Hits radio who I work really closely with and he has shown me the ropes and trained me in. We have managed to keep the show on the road working from home through the power of modern technology but we are always chatting/planning shows and doing our zooms meetings. OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS THERE HAVE BEEN MANY MASSIVE BAND REUNIONS SPICE GIRLS, STEPS AND THERE’S TALK OF AN SCLUB7 REUNION…..HAVE YOU BEEN KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THE OTHER GIRLS DURING COVID AND WILL WE EVER GET A SATURDAYS REUNION? We have a group chat on whatsapp and we were just chatting on there this morning actually! We all keep in touch and I say “Never say never”. HAVING BEEN A FAN OF YOURS SINCE YOUR DAYS IN “THE SATURDAYS”, AND NOW AS A SOLO ARTIST IT HAS BEEN GREAT WATCHING YOUR STYLE, SOUND, CONFIDENCE AND PERSONA GROW AND DEVELOP. WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE AND DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ANY BUDDING GIRL BAND OR COUNTRY STAR WANNABES? There have been so many highlights over the years. When I was starting out winning the Glinsk National Song Contest really gave me the inspiration and confidence to follow my dreams. It didn’t come easy at all and I put many years of hard graft in before I found my way into The Saturdays and rest followed. I would say to never give up on your dreams and be prepared for many knocks along the way. Hard work is key. WE KNOW YOU HAVE LOADS OF NEW MUSIC DUE FOR RELEASE SOON, BUT HERE AT GNI YOUR BEAUTIFUL DEBUT SINGLE “STAY MY LOVE” WITH THE


INTERVIEW // UNA HEALY

TA L E N T E D NASHVILLE STAR SAM PALLADIO IS STILL A FIRM FAVOURITE AND WILL D E F I N I T E LY FEATURE ON MY WEDDING DAY SHOULD I EVER GET M A R R I E D . LOL! AT THE TIME WERE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT MAKING THE CHANGE FROM DANCE/ POP STARLET TO COUNTRY MUSIC? Aw thank you! It would be an honour if you played it at your wedding! I guess it’s not too far removed from the genre of music I was pursuing as a singer/Songwriter pre Saturdays so it felt very authentic to me. I have a good mix of ballads and uptempo as well. YOUR NEW SINGLE IS OUT MARCH 5TH, WE HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET A SNEAKY LISTEN TO IT AND I PERSONALLY THINK YOU HAVE REALLY KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. YOUR SOUND HAS DEFINITELY GROWN AND IS NOW EDGING BACK TO THE MAINSTREAM AND IS UP THERE WITH THE LIKES OF SHERYL CROW AND KELLY CLARKSON. TELL US ABOUT THE WRITING PROCESS FOR THE SONG, WHO WAS INVOLVED AND WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Sheryl Crow is my number one idol so thank

SO WITH A NEW SINGLE DUE OUT CAN WE EXPECT A NEW ALBUM SOON? CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT IT? WILL IT BE A CONTINUATION OF THE NEW U P T E M P O MAINSTREAM P O P / C O U N T RY SOUND? ANY COLLABORATIONS\DUETS WE NEED TO LOOK FORWARD TO? I am continuing to write and record so I will be putting out more music later this year. I would love to write a country banger! ARE THERE ANY PLANS FOR A TOUR TO PROMOTE THE NEW SINGLE\ ALBUM? Well sadly plans are all on hold but I did hope to tour again so we will just have to hold tight and wait for the green light to make any future plans in that department. you very much for that comparison! Its definitely more rocky than my more recent releases. I have that side of me that I love to bring out every now and again. Get my Rock on! I co wrote this song with a very talented singer/songwriter called Rachel Furner. I had the melody idea in my head but we came up with the lyric and the rest of the melody together. It has a very deep meaning to it and can work for anyone listening to it, either side of a relationship that isn’t really going well… but you want to save it at the same time.

FINALLY WITH THIS BEING THE FIRST ISSUE OF THE MAGAZINE FOR 2021 WHAT ARE YOUR WISHES AND DREAMS FOR 2021? Firstly, I wish for the brighter days ahead and end to the pandemic… but most importantly for everyone to keep safe and healthy and work together to get through it the best we can x

ELEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


OPINION // CALLUM SKEFFINGTON

CALLUM SKEFFINGTON I’M NOT YOUR GAY BEST FRIEND! EVERY STRAIGHT GIRL WANTS A gay best friend, right? Us gays are considered to be sassy shopaholics, style gurus and insightful advisers to help our straight sisters overcome their man-troubles. On the surface maybe I’m a stereotypical gay; I like drag, I’m sassy and, not to suck my own dick, but I think I am quite stylish. But no offence love, if the only way that you are going to class me as your friend is to categorise me by my sexuality, you’re no friend of mine. Over the years I have heard many girls referring to their friend, who just so happens to be gay, as their ‘gay best friend’. Back in my first year of university, at a pre-drinks party in the students halls, a girl I barely knew walked in with her friend, loudly and abruptly announcing him as her ‘gay best friend’. I sat there wondering why she needed to alert us to his sexuality the moment he walked through the door, before he even had a chance to open his mouth, or his bottle of vodka. This was before I had even come out myself, and even then the phrase made my blood boil. What is the obsession with straight girls wanting a ‘gay best friend’? This obsession seems to stem from the media, where, in the past, the LGBT+ community are usually only represented on screen as side characters to the overall plot. TV shows like ‘Sex and the City’ or ‘Will and Grace’ may have given us a place in the public eye, but were quick to stereotype us in the role of gay best friend to the lead female, categorising us all as

TWELVE // GNIMAG.COM

simply bitchy bystanders to the straight girl and all her love life drama. It’s bad enough that the movie industry gave us this role, without y’all making it our reality. Nowadays the LGBT+ community has gained a surplus of representation in larger roles on screen, with movies like Love, Simon and Call Me By Your Name paving the way for gay men to be at the centre of the storyline. Tv shows like Orange is the New Black, Sex Education and Euphoria have portrayed many sexualities and gender identities to the general public. Yet still, oftentimes it is straight actors cast in these roles. This year, James Corden has been nominated for an Oscar for his performance as an overused stereotype in The Prom. Am I mad that he played a camp gay guy in a highschool musical? No. It was fitting for the movie genre. Am I annoyed that a straight man played the role. Yes. Although he good in the role he had, there are many great gay actors who could have been equally as good if not better. Was her performance Oscar worthy? Hell no! But I guess this just shows how stuck for nominations the Academy was after the movie-less year of 2020. Anyway, why do people need a ‘gay best friend? Some say “gays are the best in terms of giving advice.” Are we? I mean maybe I’m a little biased, but I do think that I am pretty good when it comes to advice. In saying that we gay people, like everyone else and myself included, are known to be somewhat melodramatic at times, so aren’t we just as likely to hype you up to clap back at your boyfriend rather than help you understand his point of view. Yes, we can be very straight-to-the-point, so we may not beat about the bush when telling you that your outfit isn’t flattering in a way that lacks the delicate nature you would expect from your other gal pals; maybe ask them next time if all you’re after is my fashion advice. By no means am I reluctant to provide my advice to any of my friends, but then again none of my friends would categorise me as their ‘gay best friend’. Partially because they know how much I dislike this term, mostly because there is literally no need for it; I am their friend, regardless of my sexuality. They don’t have to alert others to the fact that they have a gay best friend to show off how diverse their friend group is, and they put me in higher regard than to use such a patronising and degrading phrase that portrays me as nothing more than an accessory, like a handbag or a scarf.

Clearly the entirety of the gay male population is not rightfully represented, never mind the rest of LGBT+ community. What about the fashionbackward gays, the dishonest, disloyal queer men, the ones that have no sense of humour whatsoever? Gay men, like every other human being, have a diverse array of personality traits that can’t be neatly summed up in one “type.” The real thing to think about here is: would you introduce you friend of a different race in the same way as you are introducing your ‘gay best friend’. Absolutely not! Why? Simply put, because it would be racist, so by that logic this is homophobic, right? I’m not saying that I believe these girls’ intentions to be a form of homophobia, but still, just stop! And if you are one of these people who is being referred to as someones ‘gay best friend,’ tell them to stop. Setting your boundaries counts for the big things, and the small, and personally I don’t like to think of any gay person being an accessory to the straight female lead. Or male lead, but straight white cis-men are a topic for another day. Most of us are proud of who we are and make no attempts to hide it, so people are more than likely going to work it out for themselves without your help, and some may not be as loud and proud, and definitely wouldn’t appreciate you outing them to strangers. If you are a gay person who doesn’t see a problem with this, fair enough. You’re entitled to your opinion just as much as I am, but I hate this phrase almost, but not quite, as much as I hate the F word. It’s a losey label, and an unnecessary one at that. It sends out the wrong message about the quality of our friendship, and in a time when equality is at the forefront of a lot of our minds, this dated and reductive stereotype ultimately does more harm than good; how about you replace the phrase “Gay Best Friend” with a more accurate term: friend.

Follow me online: Instagram: @catchingupwithcallum

This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.


INTERVIEW // SHEPPARD

SHEPPARD BY: GARY CAMPION

FOURTEEN// GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // SHEPPARD

YOU WILL CERTAINLY KNOW THEIR BIGGEST HIT “GERONIMO” WHICH WAS A MASSIVE FESTIVAL BANGER. SHEPPARD ARE A CERTIFIED 5X PLATINUM AUSTRALIAN INDIE POP GROUP THAT WERE THE HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT AT THE 2020 AFL GRAND FINAL. THEY TAKE TIME TALK TO US ON THE EVE OF THE RELEASE OF THEIR 3RD STUDIO ALBUM KALEIDOSCOPE EYES HI SHEPPARD, WELCOME TO YOUR FIRST INTERVIEW WITH GNI MAGAZINE, FOR THOSE READERS THAT DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE (WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN UNDER A ROCK? #GERONIMO) INTRODUCE YOURSELVES AND DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC FOR THEM. Hey guys! Nice to be here :) So we’re a pop band from Brisbane, Australia. We specialise in writing big, euphoric, singalong anthems that you can’t get out of your head! We had a worldwide hit in 2014 with a song called ‘Geronimo’ which has afforded us the opportunity to tour the world and experience some pretty incredible moments. We’re also a family band. I’m George Sheppard, and my two sisters Amy and Emma are also in the band with me, hence the band name. We’ve been making music together with our good friend Jason for about 9 years, and we’re on the cusp of releasing our third (and personal favourite) album “Kaleidoscope Eyes”, on the 26th of Feb. YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY SINCE YOUR FORMATION AS A DUO BACK IN 2009 WHEN WORKING ON AN ASSIGNMENT FOR AMY TOGETHER. YOU ACHIEVED A NUMBER 2 DEBUT ALBUM, A NUMBER 1 SINGLE WITH “GERONIMO” THAT WENT 5 TIMES PLATINUM, BEEN NOMINATED AND WON VARIOUS AWARDS AND EVEN

PLAYED HALFTIME AT THE AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL FINAL. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? There’s definitely been a few highlights! For me personally, the AFL Grand Final in our home town of Brisbane was a massive highlight. It’s the most watched televised event in Australia and because of Covid, the game (which is always held in Melbourne) was moved to our home town of Brisbane and we landed the opportunity of a lifetime. It was the first time we got to showcase the band the way we’d always envisioned - in a stadium, with full concert production; lights, fireworks, pyrotechnics, 200 dancers on field, LED wristbands for the crowd - we essentially got to pretend to be Coldplay for 10 mins. It was a real spectacle! Amazingly, it also happened to fall on my birthday, so that weekend will be a hard one to top in the story of my life. You can check out the performance on YouTube if you type in “Sheppard AFL Grand Final”. We were probably one of the only bands to play an actual stadium show in 2020! YOUR 2ND SINGLE “GERONIMO” WAS A MASSIVE FESTIVAL BOP AND GOT TONNES OF AIRPLAY HERE IN THE UK AND IRELAND AND BY ALL ACCOUNTS THE WORLD, WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TO WRITING SUCH A FESTIVAL AND RADIO HIT?

Hahaha I wish we knew what the ‘hit’ formula was - we’d do it with every song we release! There’s definitely an infectious energy to a song like ‘Geronimo’. The pulsing beat, the catchy chant of the chorus, the progressive nature of the song as a whole, the structure, etc... it all just worked for some reason. Whenever we write a song, we always do it with the live show in mind - we try to visualise the audience and imagine how they might react to a certain section or hook. We want to make music that people can’t help but move and sing along to. But at the end of the day, the most important person you’re trying to impress is yourself. There’s nothing like that magic feeling of writing something and going, “oh wow, I love this. This is a FUN song!” We’ve discovered over time that our fans are subscribed to us not only for our music, but for our TASTE in music. So as long as the music we write feels good to us, we know our fans are going to come along for the ride. EIGHTY SEVEN MILLION STREAMS, 15.3MILLION LISTENERS IN 92 COUNTRIES ON SPOTIFY (OTHER STREAMING PLATFORMS ARE AVAILABLE HEHE!)….WOW! TELL US WHO EACH OF YOU HAVE BEEN STREAMING THE MOST LAST YEAR…. NO CHEATING YOU CAN’T SAY SHEPPARD LOL! Hahaha. Ok, so there’s another Brisbane

FIFTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // SHEPPARD band who are legitimately one of my favourite bands of all time, they’re called ‘Ball Park Music’ and they deserve to be heard on a much bigger stage. Check out their song “Cherub” - one of the best songs of 2020 in my opinion. I’ve also been vibing on this song called “Juice” by a DJ named ‘Young Franco’ and I recently found out he was from Brisbane too! Some great music comes out of this city! :) YOU ARE WELL ON YOUR WAY TO CRAZY LEVELS OF INTERNATIONAL FAME AND HAVE SUPPORTED SOME OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN MUSIC INCLUDING JUSTIN BIEBER, LITTLE MIX, MEGAN TRAINOR. WE KNOW THE OLD SAYING “WHAT HAPPENS ON TOUR STAYS ON TOUR” BUT JUST BETWEEN US (WE WON’T TELL ANYONE PROMISE LOL!) DO YOU HAVE ANY FUNNY STORIES FROM YOUR TIME ON TOUR WITH THEM? Well, we didn’t really get to meet Justin or Little Mix on their tours, so no stories there unfortunately - but Meghan Trainor was awesome! She’s such a lovely person. We hung out with her quite a bit on that tour. She’s very family oriented like us, she had her mum, dad and brother with her for most of the run and we all got along really well. Our mums still message each other! It’s been so nice to see Meghan go from strength to strength. Funny story though... the “US” tour actually started in Vancouver (one of two Canadian dates on the run). I totally embarrassed myself on stage after the first song by saying “We’re so excited to be doing our first ever tour of the United States!” And the entire audience groaned... I immediately realised my mistake and tried to save it, but I’d lost them. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. It STILL keeps me up at night. Haha. WE READ SOMEWHERE THAT YOUR FIRST FESTIVAL YOU EVER PLAYED WAS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THAT THERE WAS AN INTERESTING ENCOUNTER WITH SOME RHINOS, TELL US ABOUT THE FESTIVAL AND WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED IN THE ENCOUNTER? Yeah! So the festival was called ‘Oppikoppi’ and it was our first ever international show as ‘Sheppard’. It’s held out in a dust bowl in the middle of the South African wilderness, and it’s something of an experience. Kind of reminded me of what Burning Man must be like. You have to camp, and the lengths people went to... they built entire living rooms in their campsite - tv’s, kitchens,

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fridge, the lot! It was quite incredible to witness. And the Rhino experience was a bit of a close call. On one of our days off we went on a safari tour. We were on one of those Jeep’s with the seats on the front of the car, and we were lucky enough to come across a pair of Rhinos. The guide stopped the car, and got out to grab some feed, which he sprinkled out on the road in front of us. The rhinos plodded over to munch on the goodness, and I saw an opportunity to get a good photograph, so I got out of my chair onto the road and moved a little bit too close to the rhinos... One of the rhinos reared its head up and started doing that bull “hoof drag” like he was about to charge me. It was terrifying. The guide yelled at me, “HEY! DON’T GET ANY CLOSER! GET BACK IN THE CAR!” Which I did immediately. The rhino went back to eating and thankfully the situation didn’t eventuate into anything more serious, but it was certainly a hairy moment, and a solid reminder that wild animals are not to be messed with - especially the ones that weigh 1,000 kg with a big pointy horn on their face. GEORGE YOU HAD QUITE A SERIOUS THROAT INJURY THAT REQUIRED SOME SERIOUS SURGERY, WHAT HAPPENED AND ARE YOU ALL GOOD TO PICK UP WITH YOUR QUEST FOR WORLD DOMINATION OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? Haha thanks for your concern guys. It wasn’t TOO serious, luckily. I had what’s called a ‘vocal lesion’. After a big show, your vocals cords can be inflamed and swollen, and if you don’t look after them or give them time to recover, ie, if you go and perform another show the next night, they get MORE inflamed, more swollen. Eventually, if you keep going your voice gets to the point where it’s so inflamed that the delicate skin on your vocal cords can split. This is called a lesion, which then heals over as scar tissue. This makes it harder for your vocal cords to connect in the right way. Kind of like a callous you’d get on the back of your heel from new shoes (or on the tips of your fingers, for all the guitar players out there). If it goes untreated it can keep growing and lead to what’s known as a ‘vocal nodule’. You may remember Adele having to cancel a tour because of a nodule. Sam Smith had a similar situation happen. It’s a very common problem for singers who tour extensively. Luckily we caught mine early and it was fixed with some day surgery. It takes about 6 months to fully recover though, so we had to time it well! Thankfully I’m back to full vocal capacity now and ready for that world domination!

YOU HAVE A NEW ALBUM DUE OUT THE SAME WEEK THIS ISSUE IS DUE FOR PUBLICATION, TELL US ABOUT THE LEAD SINGLE AND GIVE US A BREAKDOWN OF THE ALBUM SONGS AND WHAT TO EXPECT. We’re incredibly proud of this album. Thanks to 10 years of touring, writing, trial and error, highs and lows, it feels like we’ve finally perfected the Sheppard sound. We’ve built the album for the vinyl experience, orchestral intros and interludes included. It’s meant to be listened to from start to finish. It’s a roller coaster of beautiful sounds, euphoric anthems, and catchy melodies/ hooks. It’s just high fidelity pop music. Every song on the album is a single - we released them all in 2020, one single every month. An achievement we’re extremely proud of. All of the songs share a common theme of love and how it completely changes the way you see the world. When you’re in love, it’s


INTERVIEW // SHEPPARD like someone has turned the saturation up on life. Everything feels more vibrant and colourful - hence the title “Kaleidoscope Eyes”. The latest single, “Learning to Fly” is a song about rediscovering your inner child. As children we’re always looking for ways to have fun and view the world as a colourful place full of discovery and excitement. When and why does that disappear? Why does adult life have to become boring and monotonous? Why do we replace having fun with fear? This song explores the idea that the inner child is still in there, waiting to be rediscovered. A song about self-love, if you will. OBVIOUSLY WITH THE WHOLE INTERNATIONAL COVID PANDEMIC LIVE SHOWS STILL HAVE A MASSIVE QUESTION MARK OVER THEM, BUT DO YOU HAVE ANY LIVE DATES OR TOURS BOOKED FOR THIS YEAR THAT YOU ARE HOPING WILL GO AHEAD?

Ahhh yes, our good friend Covid has completely put a hold on touring, unfortunately. It’s incredibly frustrating. We’re not even sure if we’ll be able to do a tour of Australia at this point. It’s a shame to have been working on an album for the last 2 years, only for something like this to come along and completely prevent us from touring it. I think we’re looking ahead to 2022 for an overseas tour, hopefully the planet will be in a much better place by then! We currently have one single show booked - our ‘Kaleidoscope Eyes Album Launch’ here in Brisbane on Feb 26th, and that’s it at this stage! The good news is that we’ll be live streaming the concert on YouTube, so no matter where you are on Planet Earth, you’ll be able to tune in and experience the moment with us! We’ll be playing the album from start to finish, and then perform some of the old favourites at the end, so be sure to tune in.

FINALLY WHAT DOES THE REST OF 2021 HOLD FOR SHEPPARD AND GIVE US ALL YOUR SOCIALS FOR OUR READERS TO FOLLOW WHAT YOU ARE UP TO. At the moment, everything is touch and go with the pandemic. As we all know, everything can change at a moment’s notice but we’re holding out hope that we’ll at least be able to do a national tour, but if that all falls through - we’ll almost certainly be getting a head start on album 4! You can keep up to date on our socials - we use the handle @ wearesheppard, so we should be pretty easy to find on your favourite platform! Take care guys, fingers crossed we get to see you all at a show soon. :) ALBUM KALEIDOSCOPE EYES OUT 26TH FEB 2021

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INTERVIEW // DAMIEN ELLIS

NOT-SO-PRIVATE DAMIEN A FORMER COMBAT MEDIC FINDS FREEDOM IN ADULT FILM BY PAUL HUTNICK EIGHTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // DAMIEN ELLIS

RAISED BY A SINGLE MOTHER IN STROUDSBURG, A SMALL TOWN IN PENNSYLVANIA, ELLIS JOINED THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD WHEN HE WAS A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL. BY HIS SENIOR YEAR, HE WAS A COMBAT MEDIC AND AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, HE ATTENDED NURSING SCHOOL ON AN ARMY GRANT. WHILE IN NURSING SCHOOL, HE REALIZED A PASSION FOR FITNESS AND HE BECAME A POPULAR TRAINER IN HIS LOCAL GAY COMMUNITY. SOON AFTER, HE STARTED PRODUCING AND SELLING HIS OWN ADULT VIDEOS. THAT IS HOW HE CAME TO THE ATTENTION OF HELIX STUDIOS, WHO RECENTLY FILMED DAMIEN IN HIS FIRST STUDIO PRODUCTION. “MY MAIN FOCUS IS TO BE FREE AND AN INSPIRATION OF FREEDOM,” SAYS THE ADULT WORLD’S NEWEST STAR, DAMIEN ELLIS. HOW ARE YOU FEELING AFTER FILMING YOUR FIRST SOLO SESSION WITH HELIX? I’m feeling great! The crew made me feel comfortable. I’ve modelled for some time but the Helix team really helped me find the best angles to really show off my assets. I didn’t expect perfection for my first scene and I know it wasn’t perfect, but my job is to present my authentic self. It’s not always easy because naturally we all want to present a pictureperfect version on camera, but that’s not always what it’s about. DO YOU FEEL READY TO DO MORE SCENES? Not only do I feel ready but I can’t wait! Filming is so fun to me. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR FILM CAREER? I aim to become a popular model like Blake Mitchell. WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO FILM WITH? A lot of my fans want me to film with Alex Riley and even though I think he’s so sexy, right now, I most want to film with Riley Finch. I’ve always had a thing for him. He makes me nervous when I see him. It’s hard to take my eyes off him. He is so my type.

DOES RACISM EXIST IN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY? I know racism still exists in the LGBTQ community as it does in all communities. In my experience, the LGBTQ community has been the most inclusive but I have heard from other black men that I don’t experience racism to the extent that darker black men do. THERE USED TO BE A TIME WHEN “NO BLACKS, NO ASIANS” RAN RAMPANT ON GAY DATING PROFILES. DO YOU STILL SEE ANY OF THAT? I have never seen that and I don’t think anyone would dare put that on their profile. It would be deleted. ARE THERE BENEFITS TO BEING BLACK IN THE GAY PORN INDUSTRY? I probably do get more work because my skin color makes me stand out from all the other Helix Models. But honestly, I hope I stand out for more than just being black. My goal is to stand out for who I am beyond the physical. I would love my fans to love me for me. WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A KID? I was a bible thumper. It was my dream to be a Christian missionary because I loved going on mission trips and helping others that were less fortunate.

WHAT IS YOUR TYPE? I’m attracted to twinks. Many people on social media have been saying I fetishize white twinks but that’s not true. I simply think twinks are under appreciated and it’s what I’m into. I consider myself a bit of a jock and I’m usually not into guys that look like me.

THAT’S SWEET! Yeah, but I changed when I returned from basic training. I became really arrogant. All of a sudden, the popular kids wanted to be around me. I started getting invited to parties and having sex with girls. The party life took over. At 17, I was going to bars, using my military ID and having sex with older women who thought I was 21. I even had sex with a teacher that taught at my school. I ended up getting in trouble with a DUI. It cost me my college scholarship.

DOES THAT MEAN YOU WOULDN’T DATE A BLACK GUY? I would love to find a black man that I can relate to, but where I live there are not many minorities. I’ve never dated within my race. Maybe if I lived in a city, it would be different, but by all means I don’t care what race a guy is.

IS THAT HOW YOU FOUND YOUR WAY INTO ADULT FILM? I eventually enrolled in another college and during summer vacation, I went to Vegas and met a guy that I fell in love with. It eventually led to my work in film. I talk about it in my Helix introduction scene.

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOUR FANS WOULD BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU? I love my fans. Many porn stars are in it for themselves but I honestly put my fans first. WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO INDULGE IN WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING? (Laughing) Weed. FAVORITE TV SHOW? Ramy on Hulu. It’s about a young Muslim guy that wants to find God and kill his ego but he struggles with a porn addiction. MOVIE? Juice starring Tupac Shakur. BOOK? The Power of Your Subconscious Mind: Unlock the Secrets Within by Joseph Murphy. BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED? “Don’t change, let the world change around you.” I forget who said that to me. WOULD YOU DATE A FAN? Yes, I have some sexy fans! But if given the choice, I would probably rather date another model because we can relate to one another. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GOAL/DREAM IN LIFE? Health, Wealth and Happiness. BILLIE, CARDI, DUA, ARIANA: WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HANG OUT WITH? Ariana. She lives so effortlessly. She doesn’t let things get to her. I would sleep with her, too. (Laughing) That might sound creepy, but it’s true. PARTING MESSAGE TO FANS? I love my fans in the most genuine way. Check out my videos on Helix and find me on Onlyfans. I answer all dms on there. VISIT HELIXSTUDIOS.COM

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FEATURE // LOCAL DRAG ARTISTS

LIFE’S A DRAG

SHOWCASING SOME OF THE BEST LOCAL DRAG ARTISTS BY SEAN MCKEE

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FEATURE // LOCAL DRAG ARTISTS

AS THE SECOND SERIES OF RuPaul’s Drag Race UK sashays its way onto our screens every Thursday, we get another look at what the UK’s fabulous drag community has to offer. Except for one notable absence. This series is serving us our first featured Scottish queens in Lawrence Chaney and Ellie Diamond. We even have representation for Wales with Newport-born Tayce. But we have zero queens from the smallest part of the nation: Northern Ireland.

of over 3,500 deaths; 52% of which were civilians. During these dark times, it wasn’t safe to walk down some streets; it depended on where you were from, who was your family, and what your name was. Now, imagine throwing a loud and proud queer into the mix - safe to say it wasn’t OK to stand out at all, never mind be gay.

Despite the huge popularity of season 1 top five contestant (and unofficial miss congeniality IMO) Blu Hydrangea, we didn’t get a queen from the region this time around. Didn’t the producers want to follow up on the hard-fought-for legalisation of same sex marriage in Northern Ireland, which was extended there shortly after the series wrapped up, and was central to Blu’s story? (SPOILER: she discussed how she wouldn’t marry her bf until it was made law and equality was achieved).

@Trudyscrumptious82

One other perspective some of our NI queens could provide is how they managed to do their gigs as gender bending entertainers during one of the darkest periods of recent British history. No, not the Cameron years, or even the Thatcher years. Not Blair taking us to Iraq. Or the three economic crashes in as many decades that we’ve had to endure. I’m referring to the 30-year ethnopolitical conflict that dominated Northern Ireland until the turn of the century, affectionately known as ‘The Troubles’. These troubles were the cause

QUEENS OF ‘THE TROUBLES’ Trudy Scrumptious, one of the province’s leading queer entertainers recalls: “Definitely in the early years it wasn’t safe to be anywhere never mind gay or flamboyantly dressed, so it was important to be careful and stick with where and who you know...alas incidents did happen but strangely never in drag ... I obviously stunned them into submission with all my eleganza!”. These days, the celebrations far outweigh the bad times: “Pride will always be a special place; to watch everyone in my community get celebrated for who they are will always be an overwhelming, memorable experience”. Having just entered her 22nd year of performing as Trudy, she has one particular queer icon above the rest: “I love Kenneth Williams, he was truly authentic to himself and yet such an individual. It must not have been easy for him and yet he made so many others happy, that’s magic to me!”. As a host of everything from cabaret to karaoke, and even throwing herself her own comedy roast, Trudy is seen as a matriarch to her peers on the

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FEATURE // LOCAL DRAG ARTISTS

local scene: “I love our queer community here in Northern Ireland, as a post conflict country we have managed to create a scene with such a respect for diversity and it’s still growing stronger despite political oppression”. Another queen who remembers tougher times, and definitely stood up and made sure she was noticed, is the legendary Titti Von Tramp. She shot to international fame when Belfast got its first permanent gay club, Kremlin. Photographed standing atop a police land rover after a bomb scare, Titti looks every bit the statuesque leggy legend we still know her as today: “Picture it; me in a leather bikini... A bomb scare and several land rovers...I just climbed on top of one of the land rovers and started dancing on the roof entertaining the evacuees…Very Dame Vera Lynn. Those pictures went around the world; ‘It’s a bum scare’ and ‘It’s a bum alert’ were a few of my favourite headlines in the papers”. Her drag career has taken to her to gigs in Ibiza, Switzerland and two drag specials of The Weakest Link. These days, you can find her walking the cobbles of Belfast’s flourishing queer quarter, reeling punters in via her omnipresent megaphone. Despite her 33 years of experience, the living legend has still yet to spawn any mini mes - or drag daughters: “I have no Drag children. As it says in the bible ‘No womb in the Inn’, plus I don’t think social services or RSPCA would let me”. MOTHER OF THE HAUS

It’s not all about remembering the past in NI; in fact, the future of drag has never looked more exciting. One of the queers taking the night scene into the 21st Century is self-described ‘annoyingly stunning’ The Only Sassie. As mother of the Haus of Only (a collective of artists and performers based in Belfast) Sassie has drawn inspiration from herself when creating the perfect club night: “Basically I created a night that I wanted to go to, and there was space for that to exist in a way that I hadn’t seen before. As a regular performing queen at ones of Belfast clubs I realised I had so much more to give and to do which led to the formation of my own nights. So I picked up my heels and took a dander down the road and created the now legendary queer night Harland & Poof with fellow queer and DJ JP McGuckin. Harland & Poof is a queer safe space and monthly club night... Everyone deserves a space where they truly feel like they can let go and be themselves without any judgement. Our policy is if you’re dead on you can stay if you’re an asshole out da F***. The night gives space for all types of performers to bring it to the floor for some truly sickening performances and if you aren’t there for the floor show the disco and house soundtrack will bring you nothing but aural pleasure.” One of the only known drag families in the region, Sassie heads up the Haus alongside ‘1st born and right-hand bitch’ The Only Nina, The Only Mail Mary, Iva Snatch, The Only Sean Henry & Bob Zombie. “The Haus, just like Kelly & Ozzy, are currently going through

TWENTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

changes and will be back with a bang soon.” Covid 19 has put a stop to Harland & Poof’s monthly Kiki for now, but that hasn’t stopped Sassie pushing herself creatively: “It really helps my mental health when I’m up to something creative, gives me the good Juju. With covid and loss of work I found myself very much in a slump, feeling a huge amount of writer’s block. The first lockdown brought us out of our shells and on to zoom for live shows and quizzes and that was all well and good - I did a couple then decided it wasn’t for me.” “With that I got thinking what else I could do, and the idea sprung to mind; why not pick an artist and remake 3 of their music videos using local talent in regards to performers and technical support? I paired up with my good Judy and member of the Haus Of Only Iva Snatch / BigBadLlama to create our first series ‘The Miley Series’ which much to my surprise has went down an absolute storm. I also had the pleasure of collaborating with another local legend Trudy Scrumptious who guest starred in one of the videos Edge Of Midnight. Going into 2021 I have lots of bits in the pipeline, with more exclusive content coming soon!” As well as this, Sassie has an important message she wants to reiterate: “Support your local queens & performers!! They are the glue holding our glitter covered scene together.” KEEPIN’ IT...COUNTRY?

Of course, there’s much more to Northern Ireland than its capital Belfast. It is the main hub for queer arts in the region, but the contributors come from every part. Although she’s now a resident of Belfast city, Rusty Hinges remains a small town country girl at heart: “When I started drag I was living at home with my parents in Banbridge. I used to get ready at home and travel to the gigs. I loved going into shops for a reaction/ attention, but no one seemed to notice. They must of thought I just was a big country gurl!”. “I first debuted in drag in at the Kremlin Drag Ball in 2009 - I was only 7 years old...I’ve been booked and blessed since the beginning. I’ve DJ’d at A lister parties, been on TV, had my own regular nights in bars and clubs round the city. I’ve even worked for the gypsy community”. As a host of regular club nights in the queer quarter’s Maverick bar, Rusty has high praise for her fellow NI queens: “I love how diverse it (the drag community) is! I’m quite close with a lot of them. I love my sisters”. When asked about her queer idols, she also looks to the older queens of the scene as her queer idols: “The original queens of Belfast - Titti Von Tramp, Trudy Scrumptious, Tina Leggs, Miss Mae & Twanda”. Another country queen, hailing from Craigavon, County Armagh, Onya Becks indulges in every type of look imaginable; from cosplay of Disney, turning a Christmas look, or paying homage to her idol - Kylie Minogue: “It depends on my mood. My inspiration comes


FEATURE // LOCAL DRAG ARTISTS

@electralacnt

@mistressonyabecks

@dick_von_dyke

@tittivontramp

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FEATURE // LOCAL DRAG ARTISTS

from the fear of the challenge. If I’m afraid to try a look (in case I don’t think I can do it) I go for it. I don’t shy away from leaving my comfort zones. As for practical inspirations I’d say I’m inspired by Disney, horror, cartoons, fantasy. Blu (Hydrangea), Scarlett Mugler and Miz Tasty (fellow Belfast queens) are massive inspirations. Especially Blu, I feel she helped with my confidence at starting to do makeup looks!”

@rustyhinges_

@theonlysassie

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“I started performing in 2012. I did a small-town competition called Lurgan Drag Wars, where I came second, then entered other competitions and started building myself up”. Having only moved to Belfast recently, Onya had a lot of travelling under her belt to make it to gigs: “Routine wise I preferred getting ready at home for Belfast based gigs, but if it’s down south(Ireland) I normally get ready at the venue. Before I moved up (to Belfast) I got ready at the bars mostly”. Onya has many achievements in her almost 9-year career, but there is one highlight that stands out: “Getting to meet Kylie Minogue! She’s sweet, humble and very professional. She’s exactly how she comes across”. Although she doesn’t see it as an issue now, Onya did find it hard at first to break into the big City scene: “I think at the start not being from Belfast went against me as sometimes I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere, a bit of an outsider. Though now I generally feel comfortable with everyone. I love the Belfast scene! The Queens and performers have literally kept me inspired to push myself

further. We’re lucky to have had such icons pave the way for us! I love that we have a good variety, it inspires me to keep trying new things...I never want to stop trying to improve and better myself!”. FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS With a burgeoning community comes an ever-increasing spotlight, particularly those who are disagreeable. Some commentators in NI are unafraid to be anti-LGBTQ+ and use pride and other occasions to speak up against the ‘impact’ a visible queer community will have on mainstream society. From former Mayor of Belfast Sammy Wilson’s comments: “I don’t care if [gays] are ratepayers. As far as I am concerned, they are perverts”, to Ian Paisley Jr stating he was ‘repulsed’ bey lesbianism, there has always been a public representative never afraid to project their outright homophobia. Once such individual who put himself at loggerheads with local drag queen Electra La C*nt was former DUP Health minister, Jim Wells. During his time in that role, he continued a ban on blood donations from members of the gay community. Speaking about a Queer Ulster event held in Stormont Parliament Buildings in 2018, he said the event “was tasteless and has brought the Northern Ireland Assembly and Stormont into disrepute. Steps must be taken to prevent a similar type of event taking place in Parliament Buildings again.” Why did he target Electra specifically? It all comes back


FEATURE // LOCAL DRAG ARTISTS

to an iconic outfit she wore at Belfast Pride 2016, which was finished off with a tiara coated with dried HIV-infected blood. “Not only did it get people talking about HIV, it educated them on its transmission and that really was the meaning behind what I did. Still to this day, I get people sharing their stories about how they have been made to feel by others and the impact of what I did had upon them which is incredibly humbling and reinforces the reasoning behind it all. There is still a long way to go in eradicating the stigma surrounding HIV, and indeed with the advances in medicine even over the past couple of years we have seen great successes in terms of treatments, and preventative measures too - so it’s brilliant to see” she explains. “I find anyone that bigoted really rather sad, and he seems to thoroughly enjoy being unpleasant - I really think he owes the gay community a lot for the amount of airtime he gets spouting absolute bile about us! He should be grateful! That said, people like him, in power, are incredibly dangerous and they give credence to the ordinary bloke in the street to roll down his window and shout poof at us, because his elected representative thinks we’re all disgusting and perverted and is given a platform to say such, quite frankly, un-Christian things.” “Ever since I was 18, and heard what Iris Robinson had said about the gay community being abominations, and the fallout

of that was next to nothing, it made me realise that we are on our own and need to do the shouting ourselves to exist in this world. I imagine being gay and being apolitical must be a nice life, as you haven’t had to experience something so against your very existence that you can put your feet up and leave it to someone else to worry about. It’s a privilege that many queer people don’t get to have, because their daily lives are a constant reminder that the world views them as other, and not a part of it. Drag is political, without a doubt.” As well as highlighting issues around HIV stigma and healthcare, Electra has also spoken up for other issues the community is experiencing. “The failing healthcare system for trans individuals is appalling - the waiting list for an initial consultation is years, and the rhetoric the UK media currently spews against the trans community allows for politicians such as Liz Truss, current Minister for Women and Equalities, to declare that such issues are “fashionable” rather than legal rights. There is this incorrect assumption that people can click their fingers and suddenly have access to all the hormones or hormone blockers they like - the opposite is the case. There was a consultation on the Gender Reformation Act ignored because there were too many trans people who had responded and gave their views. If a government thinks that way - that trans people cannot speak about trans issues, then something is truly flawed in the system. It’s transphobia; and

TWENTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM

this “debate” over the erasure of women’s rights is manifesting itself into the ugliest of divisive fights, and yet again trans people are being left behind and sometimes failed by their own community.” Along with her squirrel friend, Drag King Dick Von Dyke, they run QUEERTOPIA, a night designed to nourish and give a platform to alternative queer voices: “We moved from the usual bars and nightclubs and decided that queer people had a voice that should be listened to, in an environment that nourishes something that you can only find on a stage that makes it about the performer and what they have to say. Queertopia is a safer space for developing such art, taking risks, feeling empowered to express your story and tell it through whatever medium suits you. We are forever grateful for the love and support we’ve received over the years, and without all of our brilliant contributing performers we would not be where we are.“ The duo is also involved with the 343, an Artist-Focused, Feminist-led, Queer Arts Space in the East of the City. This space offers them rehearsal space, as well as space for smaller shows, drag queen story time for families, and office space. “I was chair of the 343 for a year but now I am just a volunteer as I’m focusing on solo work. It’s been hard to navigate creativity in the lockdowns, but I think we have had some lovely outcomes and moments as a collective and the future looks exciting too for the space” Dick explains.

As a drag king, Dick admits initially people’s reactions weren’t the greatest. “Now people are more accepting. At the start it was fucking grim. Fag hags don’t want to see a drag king they want glitz. But to be fair my drag was more busted at the so...I’ll take ownership of that. He (Dick) is really an exploration of my own gender fluidity and a physicalisation of my own masculinity in a nontoxic way. Citing Hannah Gadsby and Landon Cider as inspirations, Dick isn’t afraid to lend a hand to other looking to break into the local drag scene:” A couple have evolved under my wing but I tend to float in and out as needed...like a Queer Nanny McPhee.” He is equally as passionate as bestie Electra when it comes to giving queer voices a platform: “Queer is such a complex and forgotten tribe in our mental health services, we need to keep talking about the issues faced in today’s society, especially in NI.” Drag and queer arts has never been stronger in Northern Ireland, with plenty represented, and so much more left to fight for. If the question of taking part in drag race was put to these queens, I’d safely bet they’d all smash it if given the opportunity...except Titti: “No, I wouldn’t do Drag Race if offered...one split drop and I would be off to Lourdes...These old bones are only good for making a good meat stock for soup”. Keep your eyes peeled on future series of Drag Race...the Queens of NI are coming!


OPINION // CARL CONNIELILNGUS

TRASH HITS & BITS WITH CARL CONNIELINGUS HEY

BEAUTS,

FAVOURITE

IT’S

QUIRKY

YOUR GENDER

LIFE & LOVE - CHAPTER TWO - A QUEER LOVE STORY

FLUID DRAG SPECIMEN HERE AGAIN FOR ANOTHER BITCH, MOAN AND YARN HAHA . . THIS QUARTER I’LL BE FILLING YOU

IN

ON

MY

CHRISTMAS

AND NEW YEAR AND YOU’LL BE SURPRISED SINCE I MOANED SO MUCH ABOUT THIS SEASON IN MY LAST COLUMN..OOPS LOL I’LL BE EXPLAINING WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE NON-BINARY AND THE STRUGGLES I FACED, SOME MORE “FUN FACTS” ABOUT ME AND THE CONTINUATION OF MY MINI SERIES “A QUEER LOVE STORY”, WHERE I DELVE MY VERY OWN LOVE STORY!! SO, GET YOUR ARSE ON A CHAIR, RELAX AND ENJOY

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR MIRACLE

So last time I filled you guys in on how I met Hayley and how we got together, this time I’m gonna tell you guys how we moved in together pretty much straight away, then the Pandemic hit and how we got through that in a brand-new relationship. Let me start by saying it’s not easy to live together as it is but doing it at the start and through a Pandemic is a whole new ball game. Luckily, we settled in pretty well at the start, having been friends we had already planned to live together to save money, since we spent so much time together already, ironic eh?? Haha Our first couple of months were amazing, we were just flat out gigging, working and not even an official date had been had yet (and still hasn’t..eeeek bad I know lol) then BOOM - A Worldwide Pandemic hits and everyone is bound to their homes. So there’s us just rollin’ with the punches like everyone else, doing Facebook Lives, Makeup Lives and having the best craic but after months and months and months of uncertainty, motivation and moods get low and even though we have our College Courses to occupy us, those are stressful and exhausting in themselves. We had to learn a little quicker how to balance and help, not just ourselves but each other as a partnership, and something we’re still learning to do now cause let’s face it, there’s no handbooks on how to do this shit, we just gotta do what suits and works best for us. As time goes by you get to know each other in the deepest form. Each person’s little quirks, the way they move about their day, their emotions and stresses, their dreams and aspirations, their glow and growth, their facial expressions and like anyone else, those annoying little things we’ve got going on as Human Beings that make us imperfectly perfect lol but nothing prepared me for how much I would fall in love with her more and more every day. Whether she knows it or not Hayley saved my life, unknowingly helping me want to live and love again, getting me through this crazy time and loving me for the crazy fucker I am, for that I’ll always be blessed - Next time on Chapter 3 – Hayley’s POV Q&A

Yes, that’s right I said it, A FRICKIN’ MIRACLE!! For the first time in around 6

FUN FACT

years, I actually had a very pleasant and fun Season and I’m not only shocked but absolutely grateful. It was one of those years where you realise that things can get better and the Seasons only suck if you’re not happy and I was not a happy person for a really long time but I’m slowly getting happier and Christmas 2020 proved that for me..January on the other hand, is an awful dull and down month but that moan is for next time haha . . Hayley and I did dress up like Christmas Baubles for a video project, which was totally hilarious. Here’s a pic to prove it lol

TWENTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM

As a young girl and Teenager, I was a Gymnastics Tumbling Champion, competing all over Northern Ireland and even in Wales. I unfortunately left just before my 16th Birthday cause I thought I was a big girl and partying with my friends was cooler..what a fool I was and little did I realise I was running away from some shitty life experiences haha . . I did go back a few times in my 20’s but then again in my mid 30’s and bitch could still flip, so roll on Gymnasiums opening again so I can get my flip on and flip the fuck outta here to somewhere Sunny..sorry, not sorry lol :* :*


OPINION // CARL CONNIELINGUS

WHAT IS IT TO BE NON-BINARY? Definition – A spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine Abbreviation – Enby Synonyms – Gender Queer Associated terms – Androgyny, queer, transgender, third gender, two- spirit Pronouns – They, Their, Them Dating as far back as the 11th Century and even further, the origins of NonBinary persons have been recorded and traced, but as always due to Science and Religion, Non-Binary people or anyone not conforming to these “rules” would be outcast, persecuted, prosecuted and/or even murdered. Now, in the 21st Century fellow Non-Binary folks are screaming from the rooftops and I couldn’t be prouder, and even though our fight is not over, we’re gaining ground and more respect than ever before but we still have those who don’t know or understand what being non-binary means, or even want to know and understand, so let me explain it from my perspective. Growing up on the Shankill and Ballysillan being gay wasn’t a term you would have heard very often, luckily it was the 90’s so my friends where pretty cool for the most part. My best friend Laura and I both knew we were different, and no we didn’t fancy each other but she definitely loved girls and I definitely love everyone haha unfortunately the term Pansexual wasn’t

gonna be about for years, so I would never fully understand the magnitude of my love for Human Beings in general and the true meaning of “Love is Love”. Anyway, we both came out at 15/16, her as gay and myself as Bisexual and to be honest back then, I never even questioned my gender as such but I had this innate knack for thinking like a “fella”, having loads of guys friends, having “male” traits and thoughts and with womb problems on top of that, I began to question “should I have been a boy??”, “did I eat my twin brother in the womb??” Lol yano, all the crazy things ya think?? It wasn’t really until doing Drag was brought to my attention that I really began to think about gender and what it meant to me and for the first time I struggled. I had dreams about being a man, thoughts and feelings as if I were a man, I was so confused. I started to research what this may have meant and 2 things stood out to me the most..I was either Transgender or Non-Binary, things I had never even thought of before. After a lot of reading and research then doing Drag as a Drag King, I came to the conclusion and

realisation that I was not only NonBinary but I was also comfortable and content to know that my gender knows no bounds and whether I was born with female parts and perform with male parts or vice versa, it means no difference because gender is just an illusion that you control the narrative of. It was probably one of the most empowering moments, apart from shaving my head that I’ve ever had in my life lol My only problem now is getting people to call me by my neutral name who have just met me or that I introduce myself too but they know my birth name, but that’s for the next time guys, so check in to hear the drama I have with “Neutral Naming” cause I’m sure its relatable to a lot of readers.

OUTRO

Well beauts, this is gonna be a short and sweet “Later” because I’ve ran out of word space ahhh haha..BUT, until next time you beautiful gang!! Peace & Love always, Carl ConnieLingus :* :*

MUSIC & MOVIES Guys, I finally got Hayley to watch the Sex and the City series and it’s going down a treat so far lol we have also recently been watching the Saw Series, what a fantastic piece of cinema and thrill that we recommend.

LIFE’S FUNNY

One time I got drunk as a Teenager and sobered up in time for curfew but on walking my friend home a group of fuckers threw a glass bottle and split my head open. Long story short I got caught drinking, threw up my drink in front of my Ma and had blood all over me..still have the scar to this day haha

(You can also find me on Email at carlconnielingus@gmail.com, Facebook at www.facebook. com/carlconnielingus, TikTok @cjsummer1 and Instagram @ carlconnie_lingus) This is an opinion piece from the columnist/ contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

TWENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // BECKY HILL

TWENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // BECKY HILL

BECKY HILL

THERE’S NOT MANY ARTISTS OUT THERE WHO ARE AS ADEPT AT PRODUCING CHART-TOPPING POP TUNES AS THEY ARE AT UNDERGROUND DANCE BANGERS, BUT BECKY HILL ISN’T YOUR AVERAGE ARTIST. INTERVIEW BY JULES BOYLE

SINCE FIRST GRABBING THE NATION’S attention on The Voice back in 2012, the now-26 year-old from the West Midlands has established herself as one of the brightest talents in the UK music scene. Already clocking up over 1.5 billion streams in total, she has released a string of hit singles under her own name, collaborated with iconic producers such as Tiesto, Sigala and Jonas Blue and lent her songwriting talents to the likes of Oliver Heldens, Jax Jones and MistahJam. Now, ahead of the long-awaited release of her debut album, Becky has just dropped another instant classic single, the astonishing Space. Produced by none other than Camelphat, it’s a track that stands on its own, but hints at even better things to come from this singular artist. Becky said: “This song for me is superpersonal and a really nice moment for me to step out and be an artist. It’s letting me show people that I am an artist, that I write my own songs and it all comes from me, so it’s a really lovely time for me. I wanted to show people a different side of me too, just really let them in ahead of the album. I wrote it originally with Mark Ralph (Clean Bandit/Years & Years) and Josh Record (Paloma Faith/Tom Grennan), then we sent over to Camelphat to do the production. I was really glad they were into the track and up for working their magic on it, as they really took it

to the next level. They really gave it that anthemic, big-sounding sound which was exactly what I was looking for, as it perfectly bridges the gap between dance and pop.” It’s been a long time coming, but that upcoming debut album, due to drop in March of 2021, is going to be well worth the wait and sees Becky at the very peak of her powers, both as a performer and a songwriter. She said: “I would definitely say Space kind of bridges a gap between the dance music I have been on and the pop music I want to create in the future. I will never leave dance music behind and there are definitely those kinds of tracks in the mix, but it’s more of an artist album, one that’s full of songs that show off the different sides to me as well. I’m really excited about it. I’m just excited to get more people on board who have listened to the album and to convince them that every song I’ve put out is a really good one. There’s no filler on there, the whole thing is exactly the album I wanted to make. Hopefully they trust me enough to write an album’s worth of good songs. It’s weird though, as I know I’ve written lots of songs that I would want to put out as singles, but I know wouldn’t work as they aren’t what most people would expect. I know what it takes to make a

single now, they rely on a lot more than just being a good song. So I’m really excited about all these great songs on the record to be listened to in a way that they are intended, just like the way people used to listen to albums years ago. It’s a complete album, from start to finish, with each song in a certain place and laid out to complement each other, as opposed to a collection of individual tracks.” Becky also has a reputation as a formidable live performer, but the current COVID-19 crisis has meant that she, like everyone else, has had to put live shows on hold for the time being. She said: “It’s horrible, really. I love performing every bit as much as I do writing. If I had a gun to my head, I couldn’t tell you which one I loved more. Doing one without the other just doesn’t feel right. While I have really appreciated having all the extra time to focus on writing new music, I have desperately missed performing live. I even miss spending an entire day just to perform for half an hour at the end of it. I love what I do and it’s such a shame that a big part of it has been cancelled. Just seeing people dance, I miss that terribly. Hopefully it’ll all get back up and running next year. Obviously people’s safety is paramount, but I’m counting the days until we can all get together in a live setting.” As well as her own music, Becky is one of the most in-demand songwriters in

TWENTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // BECKY HILL

the country for other artists, but on the whole, when she is writing, the song tends to come first, then she decides where it goes. She said: ”It does vary, but generally it’ll be a song written for myself that gets handed over to someone else. The Jax Jones and MistahJam tunes for e x a m p l e though, were written specifically for them. Each track is different, really. I remember doing a Little Mix session years ago and that was specifically for them, but generally these songs get cut after I’ve written them and usually they’re written for my project that don’t get used. I put the same amount of effort into each one of them though, as you want to do your best work, no matter where it’s going to end up.” As well as her relentless writing and recording schedule, Becky has been busy most of the year creating The Art Of Rave, her hit podcast on Spotify examining the history of UK dance music from the perspective of those who were there at the time. She said: “That came from an idea from my boyfriend, who suggested I start a podcast interviewing all my favourite people, as I know them all. I was getting into session with DJ Zinc, I’d already

THIRTY // GNIMAG.COM

all those old stories and new perspectives on both back in the day and the present scenes.

written a song for Andy C and so on. I always loved hearing all the old rave stories from my boyfriend and my brother, but I’d also felt that I’d missed out on the golden age of rave, especially when I first started going to Ibiza, as it felt that something magical had been on the island, but had left. I wanted to find out if that was me and my terrible fear of missing out, or whether other DJs who’d been on the scene for years and years felt the same. Interestingly, everyone’s opinion has differed on it. Some have suggested that technology and phones has played a part, others think some people just don’t enjoy it as much as they used to, or the fact that the music is so much easier to create now means that because there is so much of it, it can feel more throwaway, but others say directly because of that technology, you have so many people creating incredible, diverse new music and people sharing raves online. So it’s been fascinating for me to hear

I absolutely loved making that podcast. It’s nice for other people to hear that maybe their golden age of raving isn’t necessarily the same as s o m e o n e else’s. I have a new series just coming out, which I’m really excited about. I’ve just done Fabio & Grooverider and I’m looking to do Annie Mac. I want to do a few more female producers, as well as some rave writers too. We want to branch out into people who weren’t just DJing at raves, but get other voices and experiences in there too. I’m really looking forward to it.” With so much going on, it’s no wonder Becky is excited about what the future has in store for her and needless to say, she has a plan: “Hopefully, world domination! I want to sell millions of records, I want to travel the world, play shows to good people everywhere I can. It’s taken me eight years to get to where I am just now, so I’m up for another eight years of trying to break the rest of the world as well, so hopefully I’ll get there. That’s my dream, anyway. Whether I get there is a different story, but I’m going to do everything in my power to be able to.”


OPINION // MICKY MURRAY

MICKY MURRAY IT’S A SIN. LIKE SO MANY OTHERS, I’VE been watching It’s A Sin, don’t worry I’m not going to give you any spoilers! But realistically, if you haven’t watched It’s A Sin by now then you deserve to hear spoilers! But if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks it’s a drama set in the 1980s and follows a group of young queer people in London throughout the of the HIV/ AIDs pandemic and it’s so brilliantly done! There are so many great scenes, including one of the infamous ‘AIDs KILLS’ advert we all know – if you haven’t seen it you need to, just search ‘HIV advert 1980s’ and you’ll see for yourself the level of misinformation being broadcast on TV about HIV at the time. But this really made me think about the lack of education in schools on LGBTQ issues and myths about LGBTQ people, something which I think about quite a lot, and If you believed what society tells you about queer history then you’d believe that we somehow just arrived in the US before the Stonewall Riots and then immigrated to the UK in the 1970s, just in time for the AIDs/HIV outbreak. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to grow up as a gay man in the 1980s, I’ve read books and watched documentaries, in fact I make a point of buying a book from Gays The Word book store in London every time I visit, but I don’t think any amount of reading or viewing can really give you a

true representation of living in such an oppressive time. In the 1980s we pretty much lost a whole generation of LGBTQ people, more people were finally standing up to fight for the rights of our community and then HIV and AIDs took out such a huge proportion of LGBTQ people, that’s a whole generation of activists, of unwritten history that’s just been lost because safe sex isn’t considered something that schools should be educating our young people on. Watching It’s A Sin and witnessing the misinformation going around at the time, from not being safe to use the same cup as someone with HIV to it only effecting gay men, it’s not surprising that what little knowledge there was out there, was largely inaccurate. Many of these untruths are still believed today and still effect public policy, I’ll never forget an Assembly debate about PrEP in November 2016 when an MLA stood up and explained that he didn’t realise that HIV effected people other than gay men, a legislator in a developed country in 2016. It wasn’t until recently that gay and bisexual men could give blood in Northern Ireland, a life time ban existed right up until 2016, and the same arguments used in the 1980s were still being used then, and even then gay and bisexual men had to abstain from any sexual contact for 12 months before being eligible to give blood, until recently. The “morning after pill”, a well-known and widely used form of contraception waslegalised in the 1980s, one pill that can prevent an unwanted pregnancy, which can be taken up to 5 days after intercourse, yet instead of teaching young people that if they do end up having unprotected sex then they can go to their GP or a sexual health clinic and get a pill it’s just not discussed, so no wonder we’re still trying to teach people what undetectable = untransmittable means. This brings me onto the recent conversation about Conversion Therapy. I feel like I’ve been going on about this an awful lot, but it’s really important and relevant. When we discuss a ban to conversion therapy and what that really means it’s much more than saying “we think you shouldn’t refer people to faith-based counselling to stop them being gay” we need to make sure that the possibility is wiped out so that the organisations or individuals who are proving conversion therapy under the

disguise of “counselling” don’t exist any longer, and we need our schools to be affirming of LGBTQ young people. Following that, you’ll probably have seen the controversy over Nelson McCausland, former DUP MLA and Minister in the NI Executive, after he posted an article about a man who claims that he is no longer gay due to becoming a Christian. Mr McCausland, who has a position on the board of the Education Authority and is partly responsible for what is taught in our schools, is very vocal about his opposition to various equality legislation and supportive of various types of conversion therapy. In a time when Scotland have announced that they’re going to include LGBTQ history on their syllabus we have people who support segregated schools and conversion therapy, and oppose marriage equality and access to healthcare on the board of the organisation who control the education of our young people. How do we expect to have an education system which meets the needs of the young people availing of it if the people at the very top of that system believe that a sizable proportion of them need to be “cured”. Young people are being failed by the education system. Bit more doom and gloom than I usually like but a topic I feel very passionate about, and on that, keep yourself educated and I highly It’s a Sin, even my mother has recorded it, and she watches repeats of Midsomer Murders! -Thanks, Micky Murray

Follow me online: Instagram: @micky.p.murray Facebook.com/micky.murray.75

This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

THIRTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // TIM CHADWICK

TIM // CHADWICK TIM CHADWICK - AN IRISH LGBT SINGER / SONGWRITER YOU REALLY NEED TO CHECK OUT IF YOU’RE A FAN OF CALUM SCOTT, THE 1975 OR JAMES BAY! BY GARY CAMPION

2019 WAS A BREAKOUT YEAR FOR TIM CHADWICK, WITH HIS HIT SINGLE ‘I NEED TO KNOW’ WHICH RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM EVERY MAJOR IRISH RADIO STATION - REACHING #26 IN THE IRISH SINGLE OFFICIAL CHARTS AS WELL AS AMASSING A MILLION+ STREAMS ON SPOTIFY. THIS LED TO MANY TV APPEARANCES INCLUDING IRISH TV FAVOURITE, THE SIX O’CLOCK SHOW WITH A LIVE INTERVIEW AND PERFORMANCE TO THE NATION. SOON AFTER HE WAS SWEPT AWAY TO THE STUDIO IN LA TO WORK WITH SOME OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY’S BIGGEST PRODUCERS SUCH AS DAVID DAVIS (FRANK OCEAN, MIGUEL, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE) AND JAKE GOSLING (ED SHEERAN, 1DIRECTION) AMONG OTHERS. IN 2019 TIM SOLD OUT A NUMBER OF HEADLINE SHOWS IN 72 HOURS AND HAS PLAYED A NUMBER OF FESTIVALS SUCH AS SEA SESSIONS, HIT THE NORTH AND IRISH FAVOURITE, INDEPENDENCE. HE ALSO SUPPORTED MABEL AT HER TWO NIGHT SOLD OUT CONCERT IN DUBLIN, PLUS HAS SUPPORTED NAMES SUCH AS LYRA, HUDSON TAYLOR, BILLY LOCKETT TO NAME A FEW. 2020 HIS SONG “SORE THUMB” COINED AS A QUEER ESSENTIAL BY BILLBOARD MAGAZINE AND THE LATTER HALF OF 2020 SAW HIM RELEASE 2 FURTHER SINGLES, AGAIN REACHING THE OFFICIAL CHARTS TOP 20.

THIRTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

HI TIM, GREAT TO GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHAT TO YOU TODAY. BELIEVED IT OR NOT I ACTUALLY KNEW OF YOU FROM YOUR SONG AND VIDEO “NEVER WANTED YOU” WHICH CAME UP ON YOUTUBE AS A SUGGESTION FOR ME TO CHECK OUT. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE SONG BUT ALSO THE VIDEO AND ITS POSITIVE BODY IMAGE MESSAGE. WE’VE OBVIOUSLY GIVEN OUR READERS A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO YOU PROFESSIONALLY BUT TELL THEM A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF ON A PERSONAL LEVEL. I’m from Dublin born and raised, music wasn’t really on the cards for me professionally as following a career in music wasn’t really an option at school so I kinda kept it as a passion hobby for the longest time. Then when I finished college I started working away as a songwriter myself and doing a few shows around Dublin and stuff. I just got to the point where I was like right it’s time to throw these songs down and record them and I ended up in a studio in Exeter in England after being encouraged by some music industry people after they’d heard some of them around Dublin and then the rest is kinda history it’s become my career. I grew up on country music so a lot of my early stuff has a real folk \ country pop sound to it but I gradually developed and grew more into my current pop sound over time. Never Wanted you was my last release of my first EP and was my way of transitioning from the folk\country sound to the pop sound I create now. On a personal side I really love cooking which is weird and only came around when I decided to become a vegetarian as me mam was like I’m not doing separate meals just for you so I had to fast learn my way around the kitchen. I love watching TV series like friends over actually watching movies, I’m the worst person for movies, I need someone to just sit me down and make me watch, no matter how many accolades or awards a films has I won’t get round to watching it unless I’m sat down by somebody to watch it with. With series like friends is comfort watching and crosses the genres and has lasted the test of time which not many series do. WE READ SOMEWHERE THAT IN THE EARLY PART OF YOUR CAREER YOU WERE WORRIED ABOUT COMING OUT AND HOW IT WOULD AFFECT YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS THAT THOUGHT PATTERN BASED ON AND HOW DID YOU FINALLY COME OUT? I like so many do went on gap year style thing to Vienna and it was my first time being away from home and my parents living and hanging out with people who were effectively strangers. As time went on it started to feel like nearly every second week there was someone within the group coming out left right and centre. I am very lucky to come from a very supportive and loving family so there wasn’t a fear as such but I think I just needed the trip to make me feel comfortable in my own self and in my own skin. Europe is so open and liberal it helped me gain the courage to tell my parents, I came out to them without any issues and before I started doing music professionally so at that point it wasn’t an issue in terms of the music industry. I kinda kept it to myself for some time, out of fear of bringing it into my music and being defined by it. I think it was definitely a case internalised homophobia to the core on my part, as I was afraid nobody would take me seriously, which in hindsight is totally bonkers but again this is what goes on in your own head in this situation. I wanted to be able to talk about my feelings and relationship experiences I had gone through in my music and have as much weight as any other artist, so I started dropping in and changing the pronouns into songs gradually to bring me to where I am now with my music. Again we build these things up so much in our minds that when I actually did come out as a gay musician, nobody really cared, they were happy for me but it wasn’t a big deal and now I don’t have to worry about what pronouns I use I can just write my music the way I want to and people can just take the songs for what they are. I’ve been super lucky, pop music as a genre is super open now anyway, there’s genres such as queer pop where people are just themselves openly. At the end of the day people are there for the talent, to hear the music, to watch you perform so your orientation or sexuality isn’t really an issue like it used to be anymore, music lovers love music.


INTERVIEW // TIM CHADWICK

THIRTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // TIM CHADWICK NOW THAT YOU HAVE COME OUT DO YOU FEEL LIKE A WEIGHT HAS BEEN LIFTED AND DO YOU THINK IT GIVES YOU MORE SCOPE FOR OPENNESS CREATIVELY IN YOUR MUSIC AND VIDEOS? It definitely does you can even see it in even like my press shoots and stuff like that. As a male singer / songwriter musician here in Ireland you are put into a box in the sense of he’s a guy who plays the guitar and sings so he needs to look a certain way to be marketable and that works for many people but not for me personally. My earlier shoots and videos were kind of trying to follow that and I just felt that it just wasn’t me or a look I was comfortable with within myself. Once I told the world about being a gay man I kinda allowed myself to experiment how I present myself whether that was in my videos, my shoots or even my lyrics, it’s certainly made me feel more relaxed and comfortable with the whole process. You mentioned the I never wanted you anyway video earlier and it was my first time taking control of my style and image and the video was inspired by a dance group in the states called dancers come in all sizes and the guy that runs that inspired me in the sense that this is my art form and if you try to tick boxes for everyone else you’ll only end up hurting yourself in the long run. I just try to have fun with it all even with the clothes I wear on shoots and stuff, I’m more open to trying different things even guy-liner which I think and hope I pulled off, I just feel more like myself now with it all. 2020 MORE OR LESS SAW THE END OF LIVE SHOWS AND FESTIVALS (FOR THE TIME BEING ANYWAY) WHICH WOULD BE A BIG PART OF YOUR PROMOTION AS A RISING ARTIST. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO DURING THE PANDEMIC IN TERMS OF BOTH YOUR MUSIC CAREER AND PERSONALLY? I think I definitely took the start of the pandemic very personally as I had just sold out my biggest show to date at a place called Wheelans in Dublin. The show was supposed to happen the very day the country went into lock-down. I was so angry at the world and the pandemic firstly for not getting to do the show but also as I was supposed to go to LA for a few months to write and produce some music with some really great people which was also cancelled. So I took a few months off where I just did absolutely nothing with music, I think everyone processes things differently, I just didn’t want to think about any of it and just took things day by day really. So many artists out there hit the ground running with the pandemic and writing and producing new music, but I just wasn’t in the right headspace to do that so I just took a step back and let everyone else take the wheel as I wasn’t up for the magnifying glass that was on me expecting me to do so much with my music on the basis that I’m used to working from home with living with my parents still. It came to about June 2020 when I started to feel a bit more like myself and I started back into a bit of writing and then in the summer I met up with a friend who lives pretty much round the corner from me and he’s a producer. We had never really worked together before but decided to try do something together, I had these songs written down but wasn’t really sure where I was going with them but we started to work on them and a project came out of them I guess. I tried not to make the pandemic work for me in a sense but I think I wish I could have and have the spark that so many other artists seemed to have but I just needed to take my foot off the pedal and do it at my own speed and in my own time without the pressure. I also did a lot of non music related things like hiking, yoga and things that I probably never have done if there hadn’t been a pandemic. I still don’t think I have fully processed it all even though it’s coming up to a year since it happened, mainly because in the middle of it all when the numbers were good I was out doing things and it felt like it was under control and I was able to get the music things I wanted to do done and then I was able to just arse around like everyone else. YOUR NEW EP “TIMOTHY” IS RELEASED ON THE 12TH MARCH I’VE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET A SNEAKY LISTEN OF IT AND HAVE TO SAY MY FAVOURITE TRACK IS “IF I GOTTA RUN” IT HAS SUCH A DRIVING IN THE SUMMER WITH THE WINDOWS DOWN ALONG THE COAST SORT OF VIBE. WAS THIS EP A LOCK-DOWN PROJECT? TELL US ABOUT IT, DESCRIBE THE SOUND AND TELL US ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS AND ANY OF THE PEOPLE YOU WORKED WITH ON IT. The EP sound kinda runs from ending a relationship to being on your own and trying to differentiate between being alone and being lonely, those are the two topics that I wanted to cover. Within that you have self acceptance and being comfortable with yourself but also grieving the loss of something you had, that was something I wanted the EP to represent. The reason why it is called “Timothy” is I think when you’re lucky enough to get into a relationship that lasts a long time you can sometimes lose yourself, I came out of the relationship feeling like I had no idea who I am anymore, there was kinda like this blur of my late teens and early 20’s where in school my name went from Timothy, to Timmy to Tim and to me when I was younger Tim seemed like such an adult name. My dad’s name is Tim, he’s obviously Tim senior and I came out of this long-term relationship as Tim feeling like an adult and having no idea how I got there or who I was as a person anymore. The EP really is about rediscovering that person post relationship and getting to know the person you are now. So I shaved my head cause let’s face it that’s what anyone does when they are having a crisis, and went back to the haircut I had when I was 11 or 12 and Timothy lol! I guess I want the EP to sound refreshing and upbeat but there are also two songs on there that sound sad because when the relationship ended I was like this is great I am going to get to figure out who I am and have fun and I can travel and meet new people

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but then the pandemic hit and I was stuck at home living with Mam and dad so I was forced to sit with myself and to me that was just an uncomfortable process as you have no distractions. The EP is both light-hearted but there are also things that I would only put into a song not onto a social media post included in the lyrics. “If I gotta run” was actually written in 2019 and was written with my two friends Gary and Stephanie and we kinda just had it, we did a short production on it but I loved the song and the message behind it as I had just come out of a long term relationship so it’s quite a literal song in terms of I just need to get out of here. I then re-imagined it for the EP as we had played it at one or two live shows and the audience had been very receptive to it and I wanted it to fit in with the sound, style and message of the EP, I had a large handful of songs ready but this was one I knew and wanted to include as it just made sense. What I try to do with songs is make a happy pop production sounding song and put some harder hitting lyrics in it, so it sounds happy but it’s kinda sad if you listen to the words so I’m glad you got the visual you did when listening to it. WHAT’S ON THE CARDS FOR TIM CHADWICK FOR 2021 \22? I kind of made an agreement with myself to not make too many goals for 2021 with everything that’s been going on with the pandemic, my main goal was to get the EP out and that’s happening. I think I’m going to try and connect with people that are giving it time and sharing it like yourself and just being super receptive to it. Social Media has never been as powerful as it is now, so I have a few things up my sleeve to get as many people to experience the EP in a live setting, so a couple more well produced live streams are definitely on the cards. I’m not going to say there’s a gig happening as there’s not point, the Wheelans gig is still there it will happen I just haven’t committed to a reschedule date as I don’t want to disappoint the fans or myself by potentially having to move it again but it will happen and it will exist. It’s funny because a lot of the songs that are on the EP now were tiny ideas that I wish I could have done last year, but they weren’t ready to be out in the world, so once a show does happen there’s going to be loads of new songs that people are going to get to hear. Once we can travel and shows can be safe I will be all over the place wherever will have me, I had been planning an all Ireland tour but that obviously had to have the pause button hit. I always used to think I was more of a studio artist up until now where I’ve really realised I’m probably more of a live artist and I can’t wait to get back out there and create and do my next live show and give something for people to look forward to! If I’m going to do it, I want it right and do it justice for not just myself, but my fans so watch this space! New EP Timothy out 12th March 2021


TITANIC HOTEL // AWARDS HONOUR

THREE IN A ROW FOR TITANIC HOTEL BELFAST WITH GLOBAL TRAVEL AWARDS HONOUR

IN THE TOUGHEST OF TRADING years for the hospitality sector, Titanic Hotel Belfast has been awarded the most sought-after title of ‘Northern Ireland’s Leading Hotel’, for the third time in a row, at the World Travel Awards 2020. Every hotel in the country has these awards in their sights as they recognise the winner’s commitment to excellence on a global scale and are described by World Travel Awards as the ultimate industry accolade. Adrian McNally, General Manager, Titanic Hotel Belfast, said: “It’s such a unique honour for us to win this international award again. Given the tough year the hospitality industry has faced in 2020 and the agility with which we at Titanic Hotel Belfast have had to adapt the offering for our guests, being named ‘Northern Ireland’s Leading Hotel’ is reassuring, as it proves our guests have continued confidence in us as we navigate these challenging times. “Awards like this anchor us and motivate us in our commitment to continue to grow in our service delivery and reputation as we serve the Northern Ireland and international visitor with nothing less than first class service. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supports the hospitality industry, everyone who voted for us to win this award for the third time in a row and the employees of Titanic Hotel Belfast who make the hotel come to life every day.” Titanic Hotel Belfast is located in the former headquarters of Harland & Wolff, builders of Titanic, featuring 119 luxurious bedrooms with Art Deco nautical style. It boasts the world renowned Harland & Wolff Drawing Office which has been restored to its former glory and dates back to the 1880s when it was home to the design of many of the world’s most famous ocean liners, the creation of the ‘floating hotel’ and influenced the design of many of today’s cruise ships.

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FEATURE // FOSTERING

FOSTERING // TRANSFORMING LIVES “FOSTERING HAS TRANSFORMED OUR LIVES FOR THE BETTER”, SAYS COUPLE FROM NORTH DOWN Clare Hegarty and her partner, Beth, have been HSC Northern Ireland foster carers for the last 6 months, having recently been approved in 2020. The couple, from the North Down area, had always considered fostering but they did not know if they would be eligible. “We always wanted a big family, and so we decided to get into fostering,” Clare said. “We thought that as we are a same sex couple and rented our home we mightn’t be suitable to foster. “In December 2019 I came across a billboard for HSC Northern Ireland and it prompted us to have a chat about it. When the COVID-19 pandemic came in March last year, we then lifted the phone to explore it further. We were so nervous, but from the first phone call we were put at ease; the staff were so friendly and inviting.” The couple are currently caring for a baby and have described their experience so far as challenging but also rewarding. Clare explained, “We have had to change our daily routine to adjust to life with a baby, which has been difficult at times, but we always have the support of our supervising social worker. She has been very supportive and responsive to our needs.

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She continued, “HSC Northern Ireland also provide ongoing training, virtual support groups and more. Fostering a baby has been an amazing, fun and learning experience for us and we have such great memories to cherish.” HSC Northern Ireland Foster Care accept applications from people from all different backgrounds. If you have ever considered becoming a foster carer, Clare has this message: “Do not hesitate, contact HSC Northern Ireland Foster Care today. It is a decision you will not regret. Push the door and see if it is for you. We found the process very positive and we learnt a lot about each other and ourselves. We wouldn’t change it for the world.” HSC Northern Ireland foster carers receive 24-hour social work support, a comprehensive training programme, fostering allowances (and sometimes additional finance) and much more. If you’re feeling inspired to give a child a brighter future get in touch with HSC Northern Ireland Foster Care today. Call 0800 0720 137 or visit www.adoptionandfostercare.hscni.net. Follow them on Twitter (@HSCAdopt_Foster) and Facebook (HSC Adoption and Foster Care).


We urgently need foster carers

G3 yreaarscoled Apply now and receive; Full Training Financial Support Call 0800 0720 137 or visit adoptionandfostercare.hscni.net


FEATURE // JORDAN HUMPHRIES

BY GARY CAMPION

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Photo Credit: Collette O’Neill

JORDAN HUMPHRIES


INTERVIEW // JORDAN HUMPHRIES

FOR THOSE READERS WHO DON’T KNOW YOU \ LISTEN TO YOU ON QRADIO (SHAME ON THEM!) INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL THEM A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. My name is Jordan Humphries, I’m 29 years old and I live in Lisburn. I co-host the Q Radio Breakfast show every weekday morning from 6-10am alongside Steve Turnbull. YOU’VE BEEN THE FACE OF QRADIO BREAKFAST FOR SOME TIME NOW, DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A RADIO PRESENTER, AND WHAT TRAINING\ EXPERIENCE HAVE YOU HAD FOR THE ROLE? I always dreamed of working in the media but always thought it would just be a pipe dream that would never be realised, as not many are lucky enough to work in this industry. I didn’t have any prior formal radio training as such but from a young age I had been a confident public speaker and participated in plays and musicals which I think really helped to build my confidence. Once I joined Q I was ‘shown the ropes’ and learned the technical side of things as well as learning presenter skills and picking up new tips- and I continue to learn every day, you’re never fully ‘done learning’ as a presenter. WE IMAGINE IT CAN BE TOUGH GETTING UP SO EARLY IN THE MORNING FOR WORK AND LOOKING SO GLAMOROUS ALL THE TIME…...TELL US YOUR MORNING ROUTINE FROM GETTING UP OUT OF BED TO BEING THE GLAMOROUS RADIO PRESENTER WE SEE ON QRADIO PRESS. Oh my goodness, I couldn’t be further from glam when I rock into work in the morning (as Steve will happily tell you). I’m so low maintenance and I love my sleep so I shower at night and leave all my clothes sitting ready before I go to sleep so as soon as my alarm goes off I can bounce out of bed, throw on my clothes and go! I wash my face, moisturise, spray deoderant, brush my teeth and hide my hair under a hat then as the morning progresses I’ll gradually transform into a slightly more human state. My make up would usually take me 20 minutes for a full face but in radio we’re always very busy so I apply a tiny bit of makeup at a time in stages throughout the show when I get the chance. It’s a running

joke that I never look the same at the end of a show as I do at the start. DURING YOUR TIME SO FAR AT QRADIO YOU HAVE DONE SO MUCH WITH THE STATION AND OUTSIDE THE STATION. TO DATE WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER AT QRADIO AND WHY? This will sound really cheesy but the biggest highlight for me in my job is the job itself. I honestly can’t believe that I’m in the very fortunate position I’m in- to make a living chatting, playing music and having a laugh on the radio, it’s hard to get my head around! If I had to be more specific I’d say the Q Radio ski trip last February will forever hold some of my best memories- we did the show lives from Bulgaria and spent a week skiing and having the best craic with our listeners which was pretty unforgettable. BEFORE QRADIO YOU HAD BEEN ON TAKE ME OUT, COUNTDOWN, THE CHASE AND YOU CONTINUE TO BE PART OF THE RAGANATION CREW…..HOW DID THESE APPEARANCES COME ABOUT AND HOW WERE THEY FOR YOU? WERE THESE APPEARANCES JUST STEPPING STONES TO BECOMING A NATIONAL RADIO PRESENTER, OR DO YOU ASPIRE TO GROW AND BREAK INTO TELEVISION PRESENTING EVENTUALLY? Any gameshows I have ever appeared on I just went through the general application process online and just happened to have a number of successful auditions. I’ve always been a massive quiz show fan and the number I’ve been on is somewhat embarrassing! But they were all great fun and I had a ball, making some amazing friends along the way. I was on Take Me Out when I was 21 then got asked back to do a celebrity special of the show 4 years later (2016) so I got to see the production team again as well as meeting girls from other series. About a year later one of the producers contacted me to audition for The Ranganation, a topical comedy panel show on BBC2 and I’ve now been on every episode for the past 2 seasons, with a third airing soon. I absolutely love TV and wouldn’t rule out presenting in future but for now I’m very happy in radio, with telly as a fun sideline

INSTAGRAM STORIES AND POSTS ARE VERY ENTERTAINING BUT YOU ALSO HAVE A SERIOUS SIDE WHEN IT COMES TO GIRL TALK TUESDAYS. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR POSTS\VIDEOS FROM? I’ve always loved entertaining people and social media is just an extension of that. It’s also a chance to be creative, whether that’s writing parody songs, making funny videos or orchestrating your own at-home photoshoot. I always try to make my content relatable, that’s what is most important to me. So if I’m posting a photo that’s particularly glamorous I’ll bring things back to reality with a self-depricating caption for example. I couldn’t really pinpoint where my ideas come from, sometimes something funny will just occur to me and I’ll let my imagination run wild. There’s certainly been plenty of time for that in lockdown! TELL OUR READERS A LITTLE MORE ABOUT “GIRL TALK TUESDAYS” WHAT IS IT ABOUT AND WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO IT? I started the Girl Talk Tuesdays last year during lockdown because amidst my silly/ wacky content I wanted to use my platform to share more important messages as well, I wanted to engage with my female followers and share personal experiences and advice I thought they would relate to and the feedback I receive each week honestly makes me so happy. There’s so much strength in sharing vulnerability and uplifting others in the process- it’s all about letting people know that they aren’t alone and hopefully at times sharing some helpful advice CAN YOU SUM UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE\POSTS IN 10 WORDS. Glamorous but silly, funny but sincere, polished but chaotic...?! AND FINALLY GIVE US ALL YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES FOR OUR READERS THAT DO NOT FOLLOW YOU YET. Instagram: @jordanqradio TikTok (which I’m very new to and totally baffled by): @jordanqradio

YOU’VE JUST HIT 21K FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM AT THE START OF 2021 DO YOU THINK THIS IS A SIGN? YOUR

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FASHION, BEAUTY, HEALTH & WELLBEING, TAKING TIME FOR YOU!


HEALTH AND FITNESS // MARTIN MURRAY

HEALTH AND FITNESS // MARTIN MURRAY Fitness and Your Chosen Family The everlasting lock down continues to roll on. As an NHS employee, I have been lucky enough to continue my work through lockdown but many of my friends who work in arts sector, entertainment and fitness have been less lucky. We have all made sacrifices, I was due to go LA in February but cancelled as LA is in Lockdown and I did not want to put people at further risk. As I decided to cancel, I lost most of the money spent on the accommodation. On top of this, I can no longer see my Personal Trainer or attend my boot camps. For the first time I started to feel the Lockdown anxiety that most of us have had by now. Therefore, I had to take a breath and refocus my energies. As you may have gaged by now I am a huge believer that all LGBTQ people should be involved in sport and fitness. A healthy body can often help with a healthy mind. I also feel that Sports is often the last frontier that LGBT, specifically transgender people struggle to find acceptance and we need to get representation out there to open minds that may not have experience with LGBT people. The purpose of a team can be not only to keep in shape but you also form a family dynamic of support. I spoke to ‘Belfast Azlans’, Ulster’s all-inclusive rugby team who organised their own Pizza and Cocktails Masterclass organised by Ed Collins and hosted by Curtis Rea who guided their 14-team mates through making 14 perfect Pizzas and many cocktails. After cocktails, the team took part in a quiz to find enjoyment in what has been an isolating time for many. They also took time to give a shout out to celebrate members of the team who have been working hard to support their

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communities over lockdown. This included John, who I have had the pleasure of attending many boot camps with. He is a district nurse and vaccinator who trains with

the ‘Azlans’, ‘Belfast Blaze Inclusive Football’ and ‘Out & About Hikers’. Others include Jody who has been volunteering at North Belfast Food Bank, Karl who is an ICU Nurse, Shea who is a social worker and ‘Azlans’ wellbeing and outreach officer and many other players who work in health, education, charities or managing home schooling or caring responsibilities. ‘Azlans’ are dedicated to “developing skills, teamwork, self-confidence & creating a new environment for inclusion and participation.” They have continued to do this even through lockdown as that is what it means to be part of a team and why I would encourage you all to find your sport and if there is no inclusive team for your sport then start your own or reach out to myself if you want advice on starting a new team. Many LGBTQ people do not feel sports teams and fitness centres are safe spaces

which is why I sat down to speak to Fitness Trainer and ‘Ru Pauls Drag Race UK’ Season 1 Brit Crew member AJ Bediako to seek advice for overcoming that anxiety and opening doors of opportunity that where once closed to queer people. AJ spoke about influx of positive messages viewers sent him celebrating that there was representation of someone from the Black LGBTQ community in London on not only a BBC Programme but also a programme that distributed internationally via WOW Presents Plus. He also spoke about his joy for Bas being on the show as further representation. He mentioned the importance of the conversation between Asstina and Tayce where they mentioned not having any gay role models growing up who where people of colour and how he connected to that but how he is happy that not only is representation growing but that he is part of that movement.

Outside of Drag Race AJ has been an actor and model with roles including ‘The Huntsman: Winters War’ alongside the iconic Charlize Theron. AJ told me how his casting on drag race was validation for him after other model castings that suggested he was too dark, his bum was too big, his legs too big, he was too short or his look was not in for certain jobs. However, the Brit Crew are sex symbols at the end of the day. Many of these rejections are for things many of us strive to get. I cannot tell you how many squats I have done to try to get a larger butt. The main vibe I got from AJ was that there was a real sense of family within the Brit Crew. He spent a lot of time with them on


HEALTH AND FITNESS // MARTIN MURRAY set and through Drag Con and outside of the show and he found it quite difficult that once Drag Con was over, things started to lock down and it was a complete culture shock. One of the biggest struggles I have had through lockdown in terms of my fitness has been my relationship with food and AJ reciprocated reminding me that our relationships with food are very personal and unique. When it comes to comfort food, AJ suggests just avoiding that aisle all together by writing out a shopping list and sticking to that list because once you start its harder to stop. When working out AJ does not snack at all, which he admits sounds quite brutal apart from fruit and hearty meals because he knows if he starts snacking, he could ruin his progress. AJ started his career in fitness during the epidemic and he spoke to me about some of the challenges that he encountered. He feels lucky that when the first lockdown began, he had finished a job and then had a project to keep his mind focused through lockdown. He got some of the standard advice about moving his business online but raised the point that it is virtually impossible to move a business online when you have not yet had the opportunity to build the brand and clients. Personal training is about the personal interaction with the client especially for someone like AJ who comes from a performing background. Online creates a distance, which makes it harder to share a presence with your audience. Once positive I think will come out of

the lockdown is more of a sense of community in the gym. We spoke about the disconnect LGBTQ people have with gyms. AJ felt bullied in the first gym he attended. Experience gym members would laugh at his struggle and he felt too intimidated to ask for help. He says it is important to know when to ask for help. Trainers are happy to help and provide health and safety issue for working with gym equipment that you do not understand. I have not experienced the bullying but I do know the types that he is referring too. I find that majority of people in the gym are happy to help and this includes clients. If someone is using a machine, you are interested in using but do not understand, ask for their help, it is an ego boost for them and helps create a supporting bond where you can encourage each other. I have a feeling especially after lockdown we are all going to be happy for any social interaction. AJ mentioned that one of his favourite things about the gym is that everyone is struggling together. He encourages anyone going to the gym to sign up for classes as if you are struggling, you can look around and see others struggling alongside you, all working towards the same goal and if you see someone going for it hard then it can encourage you to push

yourself more. His favourite is Spin because as an entertainer it gives him the opportunity to turn up the music and work a crowd to get them motivated and energetic. I have to say he is correct, Spin class can feel strenuous during the class but I always leave Spin feeling a little more energetic and ready to take on the day. So, to summarise I encourage everyone to find a team or class after lockdown’s lifted. They lift your mood; keep your body in shape, support you and it means that in future lockdowns you have that support system to help each other. I do not know what I would have done if I did not have coaches and colleagues just to have someone to talk to outside my family but it’s also helped me get closer to my family as we support my niece and nephews home schooling and my father’s career change and my grandparents through health issues. The fitness classes and sports teams I have been working with helped me understand what it means to be a family and to support each other and I have even pulled these lessons through to help me in work where we are constantly dealing with new challenges due to Covid19. Let’s work together to get to the finish line as Covid numbers continue to decline and Vaccine numbers continue to rise and we might all come out of this physically, mentally and emotionally stronger. You can listen to the full interview with AJ on the “Fab, Fit & Femme” podcast on Spotify or via @AwayWithTheFairiesawtf on Instagram.

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Photo Credit: Hannah McCallum Media

FEATURE // SHOW SOME LOVE

SHOW SOME LOVE LET’S FACE IT, 2020 BROUGHT with it some incredible challenges for everyone, but Becky Bellamy and Connor Kerr - the duo behind AWB - spent the year adapting their model to fit an ever changing ‘new normal’ while also bringing us everything from digital events like ‘QueerVC’ to a ‘Tools For School’ themed run of trolley drives and street performance antics like their ‘National Elf Service’. Connor commented “When lockdown first hit In March 2020, with regular events, gatherings and protests on hold, we found ourselves both snowed under with requests for our Show Some Love Pack project whilst at the same time opportunities to bring our community together disappeared. For us its essential, end of the world or not, that we focus not only on the symptoms of inequality but also its causes. With that in mind we started to volunteer our time and skills with the amazing Service user network NI, run by Council for the Homeless NI, that stand up for the rights and needs of people who have experience of substance use. As the pandemic effectively shut down all markets and opportunities to operate the social enterprise aspect of what we did, we were grateful Becky ended up taking a maternity cover role acting as a project coordinator and somewhat ironically, lending some of the skills to help run the project that she gained working for 13 years for global drinks giant Diageo, in a poacher turned gamekeeper scenario. While I have been doing most of the heavy lifting with AWB” Becky - “We first got involved to work on

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shifting the public narrative and associated stigma around problematic substance use. The more we found out, the more we wanted to know. Finding out how the global war on drugs is one of the main drivers of inequality, and is based in racism, capitalism, and control has been a real eye opener. We’d always been fans of the Johan Hari Ted Talk ‘Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong’. Now that we are fully bought into the brilliant analysis of prohibition in his book ‘Chasing the scream’, we have been blown away by how our society today has been so thoroughly brainwashed, but many countries are finally changing how people experiencing addictions are treated, such as Switzerland and Portugal. Did you know that according to a report published by the WHO, 90% of people who use drugs do so without harm? Neither did we. Also turns out the most harmful substance of all, is readily available at your local supermarket - alcohol. Whilst trying to get our heads around these issues we have been privileged enough to meet some incredible people trying to move the dial on prohibition via education, empathy, and empowerment such as Dr Orflaith Campbell, who will soon be discussing her ground-breaking research later this year with none other than the incredible Blindboy Podcast. Those opportunities to learn and grow are invaluable”

On talking about the past year’s negative and positive impacts Connor commented “We received the incredible news in the summer that we have been shortlisted for a national diversity award in the LGBT community organisation category, which blew us away. The ceremony is understand being delayed due to COVID-19 but it gave us a much needed lift. Reading the reasons people nominated us really touched us. It has reminded us that it is vital to look after our heads and our health and helped us to keep going during the toughest times. Our work is founded on the knowledge that helping other people is the key to happiness, it has saved both of our lives, but it’s also important to look after ourselves and maintain personal and professional boundaries to remain compassionate.” Our message to SHOW SOME LOVE is increasingly the embodiment of how we work and where we find our power. As the LEGEND that is RuPaul says “if you can’t love yourself, then how the hell you gonna love someone else?” For us, that means self-care, trusting ourselves, always speaking the truth and standing up for yourself and for each other. We are stronger when we work together for a better future. When we can unite all the marginalised groups of society, and recognise each other’s experience and value, we will impact society for the better”. Join the conversation and support AWB now by following them @anotherworldbelfast on social or at www.anotherworldbelfast.com


FASHION // RUDE RAINBOW

RUDE RAINBOW RUDE RAINBOW IS A SWIMWEAR, EYEWEAR AND PARTY ACCESSORIES BRAND DESIGNED IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. DESIGNED BY AUSSIE FIANCE’S MITCH + KIERAN, RUDE RAINBOW IS A OUT AND PROUD QUEER BRAND EMBRACING THE FUN-LOVING ‘JOIE DE VIVRE’ AND DIVERSITY THAT MAKES OUR RAINBOW COMMUNITY SO WONDERFUL. RUDE RAINBOW’S DESIGNS ARE BRIGHT, POPPY AND UNAPOLOGETICALLY LOUD. YOU’LL BE SURE TO STAND OUT IN A CROWD IN ANY OF THEIR SWIMMERS, PARTY FANS, SUNNIES, HATS, BEACH BAGS, BANDANNAS OR ACCESSORIES.

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FASHION // RUDE RAINBOW

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FASHION // RUDE RAINBOW

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FASHION // RUDE RAINBOW

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FASHION // RUDE RAINBOW

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FASHION //RUDE RAINBOW

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FASHION // RUDE RAINBOW

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FASHION // RUDE RAINBOW

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FEATURE // FEMALE MASTURBATION

FEMALE MASTURBATION TIPS FOR A LOCKDOWN WWW.FEELFULLYOU.COM

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FEATURE // FEMALE MASTURBATION

THIS YEAR’S VALENTINE’S DAY WAS no doubt the loneliest in recent history, as lockdown in the UK has kept singletons away from potential partners and couples away from each other. All hope is not lost, however, as females can be satisfied in their own special way. Female masturbation, as taboo a subject as it sadly is, will be a reality for many women this romantic holiday. Here Juliette from Feel Fully You shares advice on masturbation for women during lockdown:

energy. Vary the speed and pressure and once you feel a high peak stroke downwards, taking the energy back down, continue this a few more times, making the climax so much more intense when you do let yourself go. “Knowing that it is completely ok if you don’t climax. Apply both your hands to your vulva and apply pressure. This will push the blood back into your pussy and ground you, and frankly, it feels great and gives us a sense of safety after a self-pleasure session.” MORE ON FEEL FULLY YOU

“Self-pleasure doesn’t always need to be full genital touch. For a lot of my clients, this is not the way into pleasure. Instead try moving your body, using different breath techniques to move energy which may be stuck. Emotions may arise and they too are welcome. We spend our lives bottling up our emotions, pushing them away so that when we slow down and allow ourselves to feel fully, a thawing occurs in the body. We are so used to doing things fast and harder, adding pressure, that we have numbed our bodies. “Start by giving yourself the lightest touch, or perhaps have your hand hover across your arm. Can you feel it? Now lightly touch your arm. How does that feel? Increase the pressure and stroke up and down. Which direction is more pleasurable? What about a kneading motion, does that increase or decrease your pleasure? Next is tickling and scratching, again noticing if that increases or decreases sensation. A slight slap, perhaps a bit harder. We call this body mapping. You can do this with each part of your body, getting to know it intimately.” Juliette adds “How do your breasts want to be touched? Your gentians? Do they want to be cupped? Gently stroked? Remember that the female body needs 20 minutes to warm up, to get turned on and excited, alternate with a different touch to your genitals, teasing, going around the clit yet not touching it. Feel the energy increase so that when you finally touch it you can feel the electricity between your finger and it. Light strokes upwards increase the

Juliette, the founder of Feel Fully You, is a relationship and intimacy coach. She aims to help women understand why they feel stuck and guide them through a process that restores their radiance, unlocking all the pleasure and possibilities they are capable of. Through her own life experiences, she has developed the Mid-Life Method. This is a direct coaching experience for women who have everything but feel like something is missing. Its goal is to connect them to their bodies, beliefs, senses, desires and loved ones. Juliette is certified in a variety of ways to tackle feeling in both mind and body, from NeuroLinguistic Programming to Orgasmic Meditation. All of these processes are united in order to form the Mid-Life Method. Learning to love your life at a point where you have lived a little bit more of it is a form of reawakening that is super-charged through a combination of mind and bodywork. Feel Fully You allows you to release deeply ingrained, unseen patterns in order to spark new ways of being. www.feelfullyyou.com

FIFTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


PHOTO CREDIT: GARY CAMPION REVIEWING DMK SKINCARE

LIFE!

FITNESS, LOCAL, REVIEWS, LIFE IS REAL!


FEATURE // SUPPORT LOCAL

SUPPORT LOCAL A LOOK AT THE LOCAL BUSINESSES YOU CAN SUPPORT DURING LOCK-DOWN BY GARY CAMPION

Here at GNI Magazine we love to promote and support local businesses and due to the sh*t show that has been covid a lot of them have been struggling. So we thought we would do a quick round up of some of our favourite local businesses that you can still purchase from and enjoy even in covid restrictions.

Plus keep an eye on our Facebook page as we will be running weekly competitions in support of some of these fantastic businesses......as the old saying goes “you’ve got to be in it to win it!” So what are you waiting for go over and give our Facebook page a like to be kept up to date.

PLUCK & DEVOUR Pluck & Devour is the jewellery, accessories and now interiors brand by local Belfast designer Gráinne Maher. The range includes her iconic Pegasus pendant, and the Bark at the Moon pendant which was worn by Selena Gomez at the MTV EMA’s. Other top names wearing Gráinne’s work include Alexandra Burke, and most recently The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. In 2019 Gráinne reinvented the label by adding fabric and wallpaper design to her list of talents. Her first collection called ‘LadyGarden’, depicts subtle handpainted female breasts emerging from the foliage, and was installed on the walls of Belfast’s newest boutique hotel The Harrison, in two of the top bedrooms, known as ‘The Booboirs’. This design also dons fabric lampshades, cushions, mugs and plates, in two separate colourways; dark or light Please check her work out at: Insta @pluckanddevour | FB @Pluck & Devour Web: www.grainnemaher.co.uk/product/ladygarden-mugs

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FEATURE // SUPPORT LOCAL

COMPRESSO CUPS We love these stylish keep cups by @ compressocups – a local company founded by students on the Young Enterprise programme back in 2018. The company has been invested in by local entrepreneur Cathy Martin (of Belfast Fashion Week) and their cool, collapsible alternative to single use packaging has since been spotted in the hands (and in the bags and pockets) of the most stylish ever since! £15 – available at: https://compresso-cups.myshopify.com/

SERENITY CANDLES NI At serenity candles, all their products are hand poured using 100% soy wax & premium fragrance oils. Locally sourced & produced here in Northern Ireland. They specialise in everything home fragrance related including wax melts, candles & reed diffusers. Each of their products tell a story, creating a modern fragranced piece for your home. Everything down to the individual bow is handmade by the boy which gives it that extra personal touch. Their fragrances range from designer inspired scents to their own unique blends which gives their customers a wider range to choose from. Serenity candles NI was created back in 2017 from their kitchen hob, 3 years on... they have an ever growing customer base and are always keeping their product range fresh & trendy! Why not check out their full range online at Serenitycandlesni.co.uk Instagram:@ serenitycandlesni Exclusive GNI 20% discount on all products using code “GNI20”

FIFTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // SUPPORT LOCAL

PESTLE & MORTAR Pestle & Mortar is an Irish skincare company that combines nature and science to create simple skincare solutions to make you look and feel your best. Pestle & Mortar products are free from harmful ingredients, suitable for all skin types, and highly effective. There are currently 11 individual products in the fast-growing Pestle & Mortar range, each the recipient of numerous beauty awards. The Ultimate Hydration kit is among their best selling kits. It contains a trio of their most iconic products that leave skin healthy and hydrated. Worth €69 the Ultimate Hydration Kit is priced at €50 and is available to purchase now on www.pestleandmortar.com

INNOCENT CHAOS Innocent Chaos is an international, alternative florist brand based in Northern Ireland. With more than 10 years’ experience in creating fabulous keepsake bridal bouquets and wedding flowers, Innocent Chaos now also provides stunning displays for your home and business. Innocent Chaos ships worldwide, via our website InnocentChaos.com; or our shop on Etsy; direct from their studio in a restored Linen Mill in the creative heart of Belfast. If you are looking for quality without compromise and luxury flowers that last, why not let Innocent Chaos create what you thought could only be imagined. “Tell me a story with flowers.” www.innocentchaos.co.uk Tel:07852926486

FIFTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // SUPPORT LOCAL

LIPSTICK AND LASHES Lipstick and Lashes provide a range of brow cosmetics for you to create the perfect brows, whatever the trend. From their ultra fine precision pencil for creating hair stroke effect brows and creamy pomade with fine angle brow brush for lasting definition. These products have become a staple for many over the past few of years, providing results with ease, including professional brow and makeup artists. ‘You will have seen the term ‘Soap brows’ used widely to describe a certain brushed up brow style. Brow soap is the product used to create this eyebrow grooming method.Many makeup artists prefer a soap over other products to create fuller, fluffy brows with a strong hold. At the minute with full and fluffy brows on trend, this is the perfect product to create this look! www.lipstickandlashes.me Email: Jo@lipstickandlashes.me Tel: 07917606640 Instagram: lipstkandlashes Facebook: Lipstick and Lashes

KATHRYN LOVES Kathryn is a Belfast based fashion illustrator and artist, she is always creating and designing and art has become a huge part of her life. Working in PR goes hand in hand with being creative and she finds herself using this flare on the daily- whether it’s approving artwork from designers or creating exciting content for brands and clients. Her artwork is bright, bold and funky- she is a big fan of using vivid colours and the idea is for her artwork to brighten any wall or room. She uses watercolours for her Gin and Fashion sketches and pencil for both human and animal portraits. With a background in fashion and styling she loves injecting her ideas and personality into each sketch and a copy of VOGUE is never too far away from her for inspiration- most definitely a glass of gin also! For any enquiries or to say hello you can find her on her business Instagram account ‘kathrynemma_loves’ and personal ‘thefashion_ fairypr’ Email: kathrynbigger@btinternet.com

SIXTY // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // SUPPORT LOCAL

AARON KEARNEY DESIGN Ari’s unique and award winning Edge ceramics and tableware range is now being produced in a stunning range of colours in collaboration with Portuguese based Matceramica, choosing to work with Ari as the only external designer in their portfolio alongside their in-house team. To date, Edge Ceramics have been sold to clients internationally, including America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. The tableware has already been purchased and enjoyed by a well-known Northern Irish golfer who, having recently become a father, will enjoy the fact that you can eat one handed whilst holding a baby! Woodwork commissions are fully booked until early 2021 but for orders or enquiries regarding the ceramic range please visit www. aaronkearneydesign.com or follow us on social media under aaron kearney design. Email: aaron@ aaronkearneydesign.com Tele: +44 07391580153 You can get 10% off any full priced products with our discount code: SOCIAL10%FEB

THE SALTY HERB Husband and wife duo Peter and Becky alongside their little cats (Willow & Ollie) created The Salty Herb together in 2019 as they are both passionate about people, plants and the planet. They believe in only using the very best of what nature gives us on the biggest organ in our bodies, and doing so in a way that keeps the planet clean and healthy too. They strongly advocate for self care and self love. Their tagline ‘get naked’ means two things; their products are fully transparent, using only nature’s naked natural ingredients & they also want to encourage people to get naked and spend time with themselves, looking after their skin and learning to love the skin they are in. All of their products are fully natural, vegan and eco-friendly. They use only natural plant oils, salts, clays & essential oils - natures finest ingredients! When shopping with them, you will get the finest products that are honest, handmade and cruelty free. Check out their full range of oils, scrubs, bath bombs & salts on their website www.thesaltyherb.com and instagram @thesaltyherb.’

SIXTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


REVIEW // DMK SKINCARE

REVIEW // DMK SKINCARE FOR THOSE THAT HAVEN’T HEARD of the internationally recognised DMK skincare brand, here is a quick rundown on the brand before I give you my review of their muscle banding facial. Founded by Danné Montague King A pioneer in his industry, Danné has seen the depths of depression associated with poorly functioning skin. In fact his everlasting passion was born from his dissatisfaction with his own acne (scientifically known as acneic) as a teen. Many times he has shared the story of how his parents would take him to lavish events where he would find a dark corner to hide away in, ashamed of his blemished skin. Not understanding the condition completely, and after failed attempts from top US dermatologists to cure his acne, Danné took things into his own hands and desperate for a cure, became his own guinea pig. A string of breakthroughs, trials and tribulations, and

BEFORE

SIXTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

many travels would follow, until he found his first true breakthrough in the 60’s involving vitamin C therapy. That’s all it took to spark what would be decades of developing successful treatments and products that would combine to form the iconic brand that is DMK – sold throughout 30 countries. For 50 years Danné has lived by his motto: rebuilding skin, rebuilding lives. Dedicated to his craft, his practicing therapists, and his clients, Danné is the founder of the DMK family and is responsible for rebuilding skin, and rebuilding lives all over the world. THE CONCEPT Danné Montague-King claims that the origin of any skin condition is disharmony in the natural way the skin functions. Therefore the DMK concept is simply about restoring balance and enhancing optimal skin function. Regardless of your ethnic background, gender, age or skin condition, DMK offers

DURING

you an effective skin revision program. With over 40 years of irrefutable results in 30 different countries around the world there is no denying the impact that Danné has had in the paramedical arena. DMK utilises the philosophy of Remove, Rebuild, Protect & Maintain. Remove the dead skin cell build-up, which leads to the appearance of dry skin, fine lines, congested skin or skin discolouration. DMK uses enzymatic hydrolysation, a treatment that transforms dead cell material into a weak acid and flushes it away, bringing new skin cells to the surfaces. Rebuild skin by encouraging the skin’s vital internal processes to function optimally, enabling cells to stay alive longer and perform at their highest potential, creating healthier, younger looking skin. DMK oils, serums, spritzes and crèmes work directly on the

AFTER


REVIEW // DMK SKINCARE skin cells with DMK’s unique ‘direct delivery’. These are designed to provide natural skin tone and moisture. Protect the skin from the sun, free radicals, glycation and other environmental factors that lead to premature ageing using potent natural antioxidants. Maintain beautiful skin with DMK Home Prescriptives which work to prolong the results achieved by DMK Professional Treatments. The DMK concept provides clients with lifelong skin management programs to incorporate into their daily lives.

DMK INSTANT LIFT - MUSCLE BANDING FACIAL REVIEW As a gay man over a certain age that doesn’t look it (no I’m not telling you my actual age), I often get asked what work I have had done or what my secret is….. Well here you have it…. My go to skincare product range is DMK available from 35 certified DMK Clinics dotted around Northern Ireland. Just before Christmas and Covid Lockdown 3.0 I went in for my first DMK Muscle Banding

DMK NI - BEHIND THE BRAND Whilst travelling in Australia back into 2012 Jenna was fortunate enough to have come across a job advertised for a salon manager role in a DMK Skin Clinic. It was then that she discovered how amazing the DMK Skincare range really is. Upon returning to Northern Ireland after a little over 2 years in Melbourne Jenna quickly realised that she couldn’t go back to working with your everyday run of the mill, cosmetic facial ranges and decided to source a supplier for DMK. She started her own skin clinic from a spare room in her house. Three years on from that she had opened her own premises in Lisburn City Centre and has since relocated to a 6 room clinic in the heart of the bustling Lisburn Road in Belfast. In 2018 Jenna and her business partner (and hubby) Mark realised there may be an opportunity to acquire DMK Distribution rights for Northern Ireland and so they submitted their proposal. Since then they’ve acquired 34 new DMK Clinics across Northern Ireland and have just recently acquired sole distribution rights to distribute DMK across Spain. Jenna had this to say; “As a National Trainer now I don’t get to be as hands on as much I would love to be, treating clients still holds a special place in my heart. I absolutely love all of the treatments involved with the DMK range. As it’s a results driven treatment range I always feel immense pleasure in seeing the amazing results that clients experience, both physically and mentally. Treating clients suffering with stubborn skin conditions such as Acne, post acne scarring or Rosacea there is usually as much damage done to mental wellbeing as there is to the skins physical appearance, watching their journeys unfold and seeing first-hand the change in personalities as much as skin appearance provides me with a huge amount of job satisfaction. If I were forced to choose one particular treatment as my favourite then I would have to go for the DMK Muscle Banding. After only a few treatments it can radically strengthen and tighten sagging skin, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and leave the skin healthy and glowing. Perfect for us all who simply refuse to let age take its toll.

facial, which is a highly active treatment that gave me amazing results immediately after the treatment. Muscle Banding is all about acting in advance to prevent the onset of ageing and remind your skin to function the way it did when you were younger. The term “banding” refers to the technique used during the application of the DMK masque, which is designed to act directly upon the muscles of the face and neck. Muscle Banding uses the renowned DMK signature treatment known as enzyme therapy. Enzyme therapy is an advanced skin treatment that goes deeper than your average facial. This enzyme treatment is very different to the other enzyme masks or facials I’ve had in the past, because it doesn’t only work on the surface of the skin; instead the enzymes work as messengers to go deep within the skin and communicate with the cells. The enzymes work to strengthen the structural integrity of the skin to create a healthy environment for cells to live and thrive in, and DMK is the only company in the world to utilise the beneficial effects of transfer messenger enzymes.

The enzyme goes on similar to a normal mask, however applied using a careful technique with very deliberate strokes to facilitate the muscle banding effect. Now if like me you are a talker during any beauty treatments, you may put that idea out of your head straight away, as with all the DMK enzyme treatments the mask hardens and tightens as time goes on making it virtually impossible to move your face or mouth. The tightening of the masque is an unusual, but not an unpleasant sensation and your DMK therapist is never too far away if you start to feel out of your comfort zone. As the enzymes are communicating with the cells, the hardening mask is exercising the facial muscles, increasing circulation to the skin, and draining unwanted lymphatic fluid. About 10-20 minutes in, you will start to feel a pulsating sensation on your face and neck—this is the lymphatic vessels pumping fresh blood and oxygen into the tissue; helping to stimulate collagen production and removing dead cell build up. At this point, the masque feels completely hard almost like you’re wearing a hard plastic mould over your face. DMK Muscle Banding is part of a 12 week Age Management treatment program from skin revision brand DMK that is performed weekly. Just like any physical exercise program, faster results are obtained from regular treatments because of muscle memory. Who needs botox or a facelift when you have non-invasive treatments that are as effective as this?

REVIEWED BY: GARY CAMPION Website: www.dmkni.com Telephone:028 9209 5746 Rose Lane Advanced Skin Clinic Website: www.roselaneskinclinic.com Telephone: 028 9066 6950

Muscle Banding removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, removes impurities, firms, tones and tightens, slows down the ageing process by communicating with the cells, and nourishes the skin by promoting a rich supply of nutrients. Immediately after the treatment my skin looked amazing. It was smooth, plump and really radiant, and it stayed that way for days.

SIXTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


FOOD // BOXED OFF BELFAST

BOXED OFF BELFAST WITH THE NEW CRAZE OF HOME DELIVERY BOXES SWEEPING THE NATION, WE THOUGHT WE WOULD PUT A LOCAL BOX DELIVERY COMPANY TO THE TEST WITH ONE OF THEIR DATE NIGHT BOXES, DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO MY DOOR BY THE LOVELY ANDY OWNER OF BOXED OFF BELFAST. REVIEWED BY GARY CAMPION

SIXTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM


FOOD // BOXED OFF BELFAST BEFORE I START THE REVIEW I thought I would give you a bit of information about Boxed Off Belfast and what they are about: BoxedOffBelfast Started back in Oct 2020 with 3 x main aims... 1. Support local businesses during what’s been a tough 12months+ for our local business community by incorporating their amazing products into themed and customisable boxes.

BoxedOffBelfast have also worked with corporate customers such as Energia, PowerNI, Enterprise NI to help them deliver virtual team building events or to help them with reward schemes for staff. Most recently, BoxedOffBelfast have teamed up with Hurree to bring their staff different themed boxes each week during lockdown. Looking forward there’s a lot of exciting things

2. Take the hassle out of planning for customers by delivering everything they need for a night in, special occasion or gift idea, directly to their door. No masks, no queues, no melt!

There are now 8 partners that have joined the BoxedOffBelfast family including Love&Death Belfast, Taboo Donuts, SD Bells, Berties Bakery, McAtamneys Butchers, Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory, Sahara Nuts and the latest to join... OutsideIn

Not only are BoxedOffBelfast helping local businesses they are also making a difference in the community, they reached out to SimonCommunityNI to see how they could help with the amazing work they do with the homeless issue in NI. They delivered a Christmas Movie Night experience on Friday 18th December, that seen boxes being filled with kindly donated products from their existing partners and other companies that wanted to get involved.

• • • •

2 x Top Quality McAtamney Traditional Butchers Sirloin Steaks Pre-Cooked Garlic Fries Pre-Cooked Roasted Root Vegetables Creamy Peppercorn Sauce • Tobacco Onions • Bottle of Red Wine (available at an additional cost of £11 for either red wine or Prosecco) • Bottle of Love and Death Espresso Martini Cocktail (available at an additional cost of £20) Notably included in the box is the perfect cooking and serving guide from the Belfast Undercover Chef which is foolproof, even for a complete clueless chef like myself. The sheet included handy set by step instructions, along with some pointers and tips for making the most of your fresh produce to get the optimum flavour and experience for you and your date.

3. Use BoxedOffBelfast as a platform to make a bit of a difference in the community.

So far they have launched 4 x themed boxes including the hassle free Afternoon Tea, the Movie Night Box, the Date Night Box and the Brekkie Brunch Box, which all have helped customers create fun experiences at home minus the hassle of planning. Customisable boxes have been popular too for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.

a tasty date night that will make your date or significant other feel special. Andy delivered my Date Night Box which contained:

The Steaks once cooked were so tender, tasty and juicy like something you would be served in a restaurant, I’m putting that down to my new found amazing cooking skills, but it is probably more to do with the quality of the meat used by McAtamneys Butchers. The Garlic Fries and Roasted root vegetables were quick and easy to cook through and were the perfect side to complete the meal.

to come from BoxedOffBelfast in 2021. There’s plans to launch several new boxes this year including a Paddy’s Day Box, a Mothers Day Box, an Easter Box, a Summer BBQ box, a Fathers Day box, a Pride Box and a Birthday Box DATE NIGHT BOX REVIEW: As someone who is a crap cook (I burn toast lol!) and doesn’t have loads of free time to go around various shops to put together a decent date night style meal this business ticks all my boxes. You basically message them to order which box you would like (Date Box starts at £33) and it is delivered to your door full of fresh food produce and goodies, ready to make

I was lucky enough to get to experience both the Red wine and Cocktail option for the purpose of this review, and I have to say the red wine choice was a superb match to the tasty steaks and sides and really did enhance the whole cook and dine at home experience. My other half isn’t really into cocktails, so I chilled the unopened bottle to share with my friend who is fond of both coffee and cocktails, she can personally confirm that Love and Death provide among some of the best cocktails in the city. IF YOU’D LIKE TO TRY IT ALL FOR YOURSELF, YOU CAN USE OUR DISCOUNT CODE: BOXEDOFF15 FOR 15% OFF YOUR ORDER, YOU CAN THANK US LATER.

SIXTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // THE MEN OF CINAVA

BIG SHOT // THE MEN OF CiNAVA MIX MUSCLE AND GLAM BY WAYNE DAVIS

ANGEL CINTRON AND STEVE NAVA, the duo behind the CiNava photography team, have become known for crafting highly produced editorial images of finely sculpted men. “The perfect image should capture the attention of the viewer for at least three to five seconds,” Cintron advises. “That is when we know it has made an impact.” He knows from whence he speaks; Cintron obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in photography at the Academy of Art University. His life partner, Steve Nava, became his work partner six years ago. Before picking up the camera, Nava had spent

SIXTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM

thirty years working in drug discovery and development, with photography being merely a fun side hobby. “Angel taught me the technical aspects of the camera, from lighting to concept and composition,” he explains. “Joining Angel and creating CiNava offered me a chance to leave clinical and technical work for a life of creativity and self-expression. I’m finally exercising a creative side that had remained dormant in my life for way too long.” We spoke with the life/work partners from their home in San Francisco.


INTERVIEW // THE MEN OF CINAVA

YOUR PRACTICE COMBINES THE MALE PHYSIQUE AND FASHION. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP AN INTEREST IN THIS SUBJECT? Angel Cintron: We started with a deep passion for high energy fashion. It led to our interest in athleticism and from there, it was a natural progression for us to incorporate the male muscular physique into our art.

THE MALE FORM IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS IS OFTEN PORTRAYED AS MIGHTY YET SENSUAL. Angel Cintron: It’s a heightened take on the male physique that examines feats of strength and the power of the pose. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT CINAVA’S WORKING PROCESS? Steve Nava: We first collaborate with all the different creatives on our team to build a mood board that determines the feel and direction of the shoot. We then search for the models that are best suited to bring the vision to life. It’s similar to casting a movie.

WOULD YOU CONSIDER WORKING WITH A MODEL WHO WASN’T WITH AN AGENCY? Steve Nava: We have worked with non-exclusive agency models in the past, however, casting is not always under our full control. The models in many shoots must also be approved by editors and publishers and, often times, they will only work with agency models. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO CONNECT WITH A MODEL ON SET? Angel Cintron: It is extremely important. Vital, in fact. Part of the job of a good photographer is to take the lead and have the model adapt to your vision. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT YOU DO TO ESTABLISH THE CONNECTION? Steve Nava: When on set, first and foremost, the mood and vibe have to be established. Everyone on set needs to have a positive school of thought and the energy needs to be kept up. Music is essential.

IT DIFFERENTIATE FROM OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO SPECIALIZE IN PHOTOGRAPHING MALE FITNESS MODELS? Steve Nava: We view ourselves as fashion photographers who work in a new age of brand advertising, influenced by social media. Our images tend to be sexual, often featuring men with six packs, but they’re more complex than the typical swim and underwear billboards you might see along West Hollywood and in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Our images tell a unique story while also highlighting the stylist’s fashion and designs. CINAVA’S PORTFOLIO INCLUDES A VARIETY OF MAGAZINE EDITORIALS. HOW DO YOU BALANCE BETWEEN PERSONAL AND COMMISSIONED WORK? Angel Cintron: The one thing our personal and commissioned work have in common is that in both, we are never afraid to take risks. We see our work as art and art is about stepping out of the box, embracing challenges and not letting anything step between you and the vision. WHOSE WORK DO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST TODAY? Steve Nava: Mike Ruiz. He is a really brilliant photographer, creative director and role model. He uses photography as a platform to speak on important societal issues including homeless youth and animals in shelters. He is truly an inspiration. WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS AND PROJECTS? Steve Nava: We are always looking for ways to support our community. Currently, we are using our platform to raise awareness for the Equality Federation, an organization that works to amplify the power of the state-based LGBTQ movement. Visit Cinavaphotography.com

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY AND HOW DOES

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PHOTO CREDIT THIS PAGE: THOMAS ‘THE BOXER’ CANESTRARO @THOMASTHEBOXER

CINAVA PHOTOGRAPHS ARE OFTEN DUBBED AS HIGHLY STYLIZED AND PROVOCATIVE. HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE YOUR WORK AND THE CONCEPT BEHIND IT? Angel Cintron: Our images are creative, edgy and artistic. We stretch the limits in our photos. We strive to incorporate fresh ideas that tell a story in a way that hasn’t been told before.

Once models are selected, we refer to the mood-board again. It is always beneficial to show the model examples of poses and facial attributes that we are looking for in the shoot.


FOOD// THE GOURMET BOYS

LOCKK DOWN, LOCK DOWN, LOCK DOWN THE GOURMET BOYS

KEEPING IT POSITIVE, YOU

we ended up with two

CAN STILL SUPPORT YOUR

large boards crammed

LOCAL RESTAURANT BY

with a selection of nigiri,

TRYING SOME OF THEIR

sashimi, maki rolls, and

“COOK AT HOME” OPTIONS

California rolls. The food

WHICH ARE NOW AVAILABLE

looked impressively

AS ALTERNATIVES TO

authentic, and most

TRADITIONAL TAKEAWAYS

importantly tasted

– WE’RE RECOMMENDING

fresh and delicious.

FAVOURITES.

The kits are available

THREE OF OUR RECENT

for pre-order. Just

THEY ALL HAVE CLEAR

check the Ginza

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Kitchen website and

THAT ARE EXTREMELY EASY

social media pages

TO FOLLOW, RESULTING IN AN

for their posts and

IMPRESSIVE AND AUTHENTIC

full details.

RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE IN YOUR OWN HOME.

Kit contains :• Seaweed

CHEN GINZA KIT HOME SUSHI AT

• Rice •

Nigiri

- tofu, octopus, prawn and salmon

GINZA KITCHEN - SUSHI AT HOME

Crab sticks

Salmon sashimi

Avocado and cucumber

Condiments include soya

This is one of the best “Cook at

sauce, sesame seeds,

home” kits currently on the market.

ginger, wasabi, unagi sauce, wasabi mayo,

This is amazing! It’s fun to prepare,

masago,

it’s surprisingly simple, and the

a sushi roller

quality of the ingredients is terrific,

chop sticks

as you would expect from Ginza Kitchen. We were a little daunted

Ginza Kitchen’s Sushi at

before starting, but there was

Home Kit is a real treat;

absolutely no need to worry as the

it’s fun, creative, and

kit contains full instructions and

gives stunning results.

there are also online tutorials so you really can’t go wrong. The kit contains enough ingredients

AT HOME WITH BUBA

to make about 40 pieces of sushi and

We have always

you can add salmon sashimi if you

adored Buba, and

wish.

were lucky to be able to try a selection from

We were delighted with the results;

SIXTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


FOOD // THE GOURMET BOYS

their “At Home with Buba” menu.

salsa, chopped salad and pickles.

It couldn’t be easier; you go online,

For dessert we chose the wonderfully

absolutely delicious. We also ordered a

choose what you want to eat, collect

moist vegan chocolate brownie with a

portion of the

your meal from the restaurant or have

sharp raspberry coulis, perfect

it delivered, (Buba will deliver across

for cutting

Northern Ireland), and follow the simple

through

cooking instructions provided. All the

the cocoa

dishes are clearly labelled and everything

sweetness.

melted smoked scamorza all served with sautéed potatoes - both dishes were

is so quick and easy to prepare. So, if you are The end result is a delicious Buba

missing those

restaurant meal to enjoy in the comfort of

exotic herbs

your own home.

and seasonings for which Buba

We ordered the Vegetarian Mezze;

has become

baklava stuffed dates, falafels, red pepper

renowned, give

and walnut dip, Buba flat bread, and our

them a call, or get

favourite, crispy halloumi fritters with Buba

online. It won’t

house sauce and chilli jam.

arrive on a magic carpet but you’ll

We then had a spicily warming vegetable tagine with cous cous, chermoula roast carrots on houmous

be transported to spicier climesvirtually, of course!

SHED BISTRO -

HEAT AT HOME

TRO SHED BIS OME H T A T A HE

In our view, as Shed is one of the best restaurants in South Belfast, and due to the fact we had been

temptingly rich Truffled Mac and Cheese as a side dish.

unable to visit since their major expansion and renovations before Christmas, we

The portion sizes are generous and filling,

were greatly looking forward to trying their

so we had to wait a while before tackling

“Heat at Home” takeaway menu.

Shed’s incredible Sticky Toffee Pudding, with creamy vanilla ice cream. Comfort

We started with a Shed classic; Crispy Salt

food at its best!

and Chilli Baby Squid served with Asian slaw and sesame dressing with lemon aioli for dipping. Follow the @thegourmetboys on Our main course choices were a perfectly

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

cooked Roasted Cod Fillet with saffron

AT HO ME W ITH BUBA

aioli, baby tomatoes, capers and new potatoes, and an amazing vegetarian option, the Baked Mushroom Tart topped and

Email - thegourmetboys@gmail.com

with a rocket and parmesan salad and

SIXTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


Be yourself

Everyone’s welcome in our family

Fostering Northern Ireland. Start your fostering journey with us. /AFCNIfostercare 028 9046 0500 actionforchildren.org.uk/fostering Registered charity nos. 1097940/SC038092. Company no. 4764232. © Action for Children 2020. 1411.


TRAVEL // NANTES

NANTES // FRANCE WORDS: GAVYN ANDREWS

SEVENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // NANTES

NANTES IS PART OF A PICTURESQUE region called Brittany in northern France and which is often over looked by the LGBTQ market for other well-known cities in France such as Paris and Nice. I do however think that you will be immensely surprised by its historical charm and the abundance of things to see and do in the area. Nantes was actually the administrated capitol of the area for many years. It is ideal for a short break due to it being so close to the UK and Ireland with its unique scenery, chateaus and of course the Loire Valley all on your door step. Château des ducs de Bretagne (Must see Attraction) Château des ducs de Bretagne dominates the city of Nantes in the Loire-Atlantique department of France; it served as the centre of the historical province of Brittany until its separation in 1956. The building is perfectly situated of the Loire, which formerly fed its ditches. It has been home to many even the French monarchy. Listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1840. Today the castle houses the Nantes History Museum which personally I think is a real treat and not to be missed. Machines of the Isle of Nantes (Must see attraction) The Machines of the Isle of Nantes is an artistic, touristic and cultural project housed in Nantes. Its location is a surprise as it’s concealed in old covered buildings of the former shipyards of Nantes. The Machines of the Isle are created by two artists, François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice. The projects aim to promote the city’s image and intend to build

SEVENTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

an identity for it as a creative metropolis of dream and of fantasy. The site was opened to the public on 1 July 2007. As an attraction I feel it lives up to its hype and allows the visitor to really wonder at the structures and the skills of the artists. Nantes City Card Pass is a product which I feel has to be fully recommended and supported it’s a full access pass for 24/48 hours and allows you access to museums, cultural attractions and much, much more all for as little as £22 per person. Travel from UK & Ireland Traveling to Nantes or Brittany couldn’t be easier either by air or sea. Airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair offer very low-cost flights on a daily basis and as it’s a short break extra hold luggage space shouldn’t be costing you any extra. You can also check out the likes of Irish Ferries if you fancy a long mini cruise from Dublin Port and then

driving through the gorgeous Loire Valley to Nantes. (It is worth noting that if you do decide to go by ferry and drive your own vehicle you will need to show a green card from your car insurance company. Another option would be to simply hire a car and that means you are driving on the car hire firms insurance but make sure you reduce your excess to zero as accident damage charges could be steep. From January 2021 the UK officially left the European Union and this means British passport holders are subject to different immigration rules than before. It’s important to now remember this because your passport must have a minimum validity of 6 months left on it from the return date of travel. Furthermore British passport holders can no longer make use of FastTrack services through immigration and are now required to use the International or non EU lanes. Irish passport holders remain free to come and go as before as your passport use has


TRAVEL // NANTES

Plein Sud is a gay friendly café bar with a stunning location and I would highly recommend this place for cocktails outside and some people watching. Montecito Nantes is another colourful gay spot which offers a really good mixed gay crowd along with some excellent entertainment. My advice would be to check out all the bars and clubs online to see what’s on and when and then book your stay around these events.

not changed. (If you don’t already have both passports it might be worthwhile investing in and Irish passport to make sure travel stays as simple as possible and that both parties have can go through the same rule and checks at any border). Nantes is a true picture on a postcard destination and offers hotels in abundance from local owner managed properties to better known hotel brands such as budget chain Ibis and mid-market Radisson Hotels. You can of course opt from something a little more unique and do a homestay or why not try an Airbnb like a home from home. When I travel I like to feel 100% comfortable and more often than not opt for a non-chain hotel and either a LGBTQ owner managed one or gay friendly one. OKKO Hotel Nantes Chateau in central Nantes is just such the place and I cannot recommend it enough. OKKO is very central and modern and maybe one of the first hotels I’ve stayed at under what is known as World Rainbow Hotels (WRH). The rooms are all modern in style and design with Flat Screen TVs, coffee

machine and even FREE Toiletries (VERY Handy these days). A Breakfast buffet is included in your cost price and served fresh every morning to help kick start your days adventures. Nantes Gay Scene Nantes is by far one of the more chilled out LGBTQ friendly destinations that I have visited and from what I seen not in your face. You will indeed find little cafes, bars offering the usual drinks and entertainment throughout the day and then gay fetish bars, clubs and gay saunas by night helping you indulge yourself into the wee small hours. I don’t know why I was surprised but it actually has a lesbian only bar something I felt was pretty unique and lacking in many other LGBTQ destinations that I have been to over the years. Here is a rundown of some of the bars I think are defiantly worth a call at. Le Petit Marias is a trendy spot with a fantastic atmosphere although it can get crowed so my advice is to try this place early then move on. Bar

Gay Fetish wise things can get a little more unique at the following venues. BlockMEN was one of the first Gay clubs in Nantes but it has evolved over many years into an essential gay night sex Club venue which runs a large array of weekly events. I think BLOCKMENs strap line Briefs, Boxers or naked says it all about what you can expect inside this place so go prepared. You will find many other gay venues such as the Steamer Gay Sauna and L’Autre Quai for gay cruising. As always I like to say that LGBTQ travellers should feel safe and comfortable anywhere they travel and so research what you want to do before you go and always have some sort of a plan. You will find an array of LGBTQ friendly travel companies to book with or simply book direct. Either way it’s good to seek out like minded traveller on social media and apps before heading away for further advice and recommendations. Lastly I hope you enjoy Nantes as much as I did.

SEVENTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


DRINK// COCKTAIL KEG COMPANY

COCKTAIL KEG COMPANY// IT ALL STARTED WITH A WOODEN SPOON AND A FUNNEL! TRUE BELFAST ORIGINALS, MARKET LEADERS AND MARKET INNOVATORS. When they came up with the concept of Cocktail Keg Company back in 2017 with a wooden spoon and funnel, they had no idea it would become a national leading brand. A brand that would go on to work with the world’s leading drinks brands, Jose Cuervo, Gordon’s Gin, Black Bush Whiskey, Suki Tea, Roccwell water who are all now brand partners and go into their cocktails through every sku 750ml Bottle, 250ml Can and 18litre Keg format. Google, PWC and Bingo Loco are all international clients they have supplied cocktails for, that have been delivered everywhere from Donaghdee to Parma, Paris to Madrid. It’s been an incredible few years for the company. Founded with 4 key foundation stones that they stick to as rigidly as the world lets them. Environment | Sustainability |

SEVENTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

Innovation | Quality They created their own citrus program, which removed the millions of cubic tonnes of carbon that lemon and limes leave on the environment. It uses local fruit and is entirely sustainable, has almost zero carbon footprint and it is completely organic, live and unpasteurised. They wanted to challenge the industry norms, and how high end cocktails should be made and presented. Be it a bar, restaurant, outdoor festival or a consumer at home, anyone can now have an award winning cocktail in their glass within 30 seconds. They do all the hard work to make sure you don’t have to. They guarantee a bespoke chef driven approach to handcrafting each cocktail and strive everyday to create new and world leading recipes, their summer range is an incredible array of creation, from no added sugar, to the worlds first CBD cocktail.

Review: Imagine my delight to learn I was getting to review one of their cocktail party hampers! The hamper includes a short zoom cocktail making masterclass with Seamus the ultimate mixologist within the company. There was a knock at the door and there on my doorstep was a well presented black glossy box full of: • 2 x Bottled Cocktails (12 Servings) Margarita and Pina Colada • 3 x Canned Cocktails (6 Servings)) Bramble, Pornstar Martini and Espresso Martini • 2 x Coupe Glasses • 2 x Rock Glasses • 1 x garnish pack • Shaker • 125ml Measure • Hawthorne Strainer Once we arranged the time for our zoom


DRINK // COCKTAIL KEG COMPANY

class and got onto Zoom, Seamus talked us through how to make each cocktail and which glass to use in a fun filled banter way that put us in the mood for a party, while making us feel like professional mixologists in less than 30minutes (move over Tom Cruise!).

get that perfect foam) until the shaker becomes really cold. Add a few fresh ice cubes to your prepared glass, use the strainer to pour your freshly shaken cocktail over the ice, add garnish and you’re good to go! It really is that simple…...now excuse me till I go book my flights to Ibiza and apply for a cocktail making bar job!

From the first sip of each of the cocktails the first thing I realised from the taste was that these are proper cocktails with proper levels of alcohol with fresh and sharp ingredients, no added sugars, chemicals or watering down using silly amounts of fruit juices. (So sip slowly, drink responsibly and enjoy every last bit!) Personally I would normally go straight for a bramble if out on a night out with friends, so this was a great opportunity to try others. Their bottles just needed a few tips upside down to freshen up the mix ready for preparations. To prepare the cocktails ready to serve all you have to do is:

If you want to buy some to try these amazing cocktails for yourself all you need to do is visit: REVIEWED BY: GARY CAMPION

Prepare the glass rim a per Seamus instructions for the specific cocktail, use the 125ml measure (1 serving) pour into the shaker with ice, seal with the smaller shaker the way you are shown by Seamus and shake for 5-10 seconds (slightly longer for the martinis to

www.cocktailkegcompany.com www.facebook.com/ cocktailkegcompany Instagram: @CocktailKegcompany Burnszy@cocktailkegcompany.com P.S. don’t forget to invite us to your cocktail party!

SEVENTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY WHAT TO WATCH...

THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT // Although this dramedy was awesome it was still really frustrating to watch in a bittersweet kind of way. It made me miss traveling even more as much of this great series was shot in Airplanes and Airports and on location in Italy and Bangkok, granted I have never been to either nor do any of those appeal to me but hey beggars cannot be choosers. I started this thinking this was going to be a rom com kind of show but fifteen minutes in and it was something different, something much better, darker and sinister but it still felt light and breezy. In A Golden Globe nomination role Kaley Cuoco from the big bang theory stars as a Cassie Bowden an alcoholic flight attended who goes on a date with one of her passengers only to wake up with him the next morning with his throat slashed in the bed beside her. Leaving the scene of the crime the series follows our antihero in a series of misadventures while she tries to solve the murder. Most of the supporting cast are recognisable, you have Rosie Perez who was amazing in last year’s Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, Michael Huisman from Game Of Thrones, TVs Girls Zosia Mamet, fresh of his return from Greys Anatomy T.R Knight plays Cuoco’s brother, Greenleaf’s Merle Dandridge and putting In a Scene Stealing performance as lovable assassin Miranda Croft is Michelle Gomez from DR Who and Chilling adventures of Sabrina. With only 8 episodes this is easily binged in one weekend.

BETTER THINGS // On the BBC iPlayer is this hidden gem. It stars Pamela Aldon as mother of three and working Actress dealing with life the good and the bad. Her two older kids are brats but very likable and the youngest one is an over sensitive dote, her mother played by living legend Celia Imrie is golden in this. It is an easy watch with some LOL moments. It is a show you can have on in the background but still take in what’s going on, it’s been a hit with critics some even going on to say it’s an experience like nothing else on television. I am currently on season 2 and it makes this current lock down that little bit more bearable, look out for guest stars Sharon Stone, Molly Shannon, David Duchovny and Julie Bowen.

SEVENTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


RECOMMENDED // MARTIN KEARNEY

DISNEY+ STAR // For those that think Disney+ isn’t worth its

a lot of queer people around my age Buffy holds a special place in our hearts,

subscription (and I have to admit I was once one of

Heck it was my social life for seven years. Desperate Housewives I just recently

them) well it’s about to get much better as a whole

re watched this but it will always be a classic and before its time. If you were a

pile of mature content is being added to a new

fan of Desperate Housewives then you will love Devious Maids it was created

channel on the streaming service STAR. New Shows

by Marc Sherry who made DHS, its campy very tele novella has a great cast of

like Love Victor a spin of show from Gay teen rom

female leads and recurring in the final series is the Late Naya Rivera. I recently

com Love Simon, one of the only new prime time

read her memoir Sorry not sorry and I really enjoyed it, if you were a fan, I highly

drama to air in the States Big Sky will be available

recommend it. It’s a bright easy read. Speaking of Naya, Glee is also going to

and I have no doubt new productions will be added

be on STAR, I did re watch Glee a couple of years back when it was added to

regularly along with a very long list of films but I have

Netflix that said I do not know if I would re watch again as the latest news about

to admit it’s got a pretty impressive amount of past

Lea Michelle who I was a massive fan. Another two shows that I re-watched

shows that I’m definitely going to re-watch including

over lockdown that I paid for and now if I had waited, I would have been able

Alias starring Jennifer Garner as badass Spy Sydney

to watch them for free is Feud: Bette and Joan, Ryan Murphy’s real life drama

Bristow, the second season finally was one of the

starring Jessica Lang and Susan Sarandon about the feud between two of

best jaw dropping cliff-hangers ever, also it helps

Hollywood’s greatest actress Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and the other is

that Bradley Copper was once a regular in the series

Revenge with Madeline Stowe and Emily VanCamp a brilliant bitchy drama.

before he went into main stream movies. Brothers

Emily VanCamp is also in Brothers and Sisters and not only that she will also

and Sisters the family drama that has Sally Field and

appear in the Disney+ Marvel series The Falcon and Winter Soldier reprising her

Calista Flockhart playing mother and daughter has

role as Sharon Carter from the Captain America movies. My all-time favourite

plenty of twists, turns, illegitimate kids and sibling

show Greys Anatomy is going to be added to STAR it’s also on Amazon Prime

quarrels to keep you interested in its five seasons,

but hey you can never have too much of Greys Anatomy. Can I get an Amen

I think they could have given it one more season.

up in here? And the show I’m excited about the most to re watch and is on top

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my second favourite show

of my list is Ugly Betty, this show had it all campy tele novella drama, humour,

of all time and I could act in every single episode

amazing character growth and it made America Ferrera a household name. If

that is not to say I’m not ever going to re-watch

like me you’re a massive fan of America Ferrera’s work, then why not check out

it all again, granted I don’t think its aged well it’s

her Sitcom Superstore on Netflix. With all those shows you might be wishing

still Buffy, it still has Sarah Michelle Gellar and like

lockdown never ends so you have time to watch them all. Joke. As if.

ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE // Joss Whedons version Justice League is still in my opinion an ok superhero film it was brighter and had more humour than the previous daker DC films, Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, it was more or less a big over the top Saturday morning carton. Still, it bombed at the box office. Whedon took over for Snyder as director after Snyder tragically lost his daughter to a suicide. Fans for years have wanted to see the Snyder cut and come March 18th HBO will release Snyder’s version as a mini-series. None of Whedon’s footage will be used so in that way we are promised a different movie. The plot still the same – Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince recruit metahumans to stop a dark threat that is coming to threaten earth, but like I said we are promised a whole new movie all together with 70 million dollars spent on re shoots involving most of the main cast including Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, visual effects, editing and more magic. The best thing about this version well get to see Jared Leto come back to play Zack Snyder’s version of the Joker. Other DC characters will be introduced. Hopefully, this version is superior and will fast track the sequel out of development hell.

SEVENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


FOOD // PIZZA PUNKS

PIZZA PUNKS // BAKE AT HOME REVIEWED BY GARY CAMPION

PIZZA PUNKS HAVE LAUNCHED ITS Bake at Home award-winning pizza kits in – on nationwide, next day delivery Ever the Advocates of freedom and expression, Pizza Punks is disrupting the pizza delivery scene as we know it, with the launch of its innovative Bake at Home kits - the novel uprising of a restaurant quality ‘create your own’ pizza at home, and the future of pizza delivery.

SEVENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM

Giving the nation a slice of the action, Pizza Punks is ripping up the delivery rule book, with its Bake at Home kits, by delivering its award-winning sourdough pizza - voted number 1 for the ‘UK’s ‘Best Italian takeaway pizza’ by Deliveroo customers to anywhere in the UK, next-day, with no compromise on quality. The create your own kits mean pizza lovers can let their taste buds do the talking – with no extra costs for four toppings of

choice. The kit features two of the brand’s signature San Franciscan sourdough bases that have been half-baked in Pizza Punks’ roaring woodfired ovens - simply finish off at home by punking-it-up with your toppings and a blast in the oven for five minutes. Perfect for any pizza party - eat it fresh or keep it in the freezer for a rainy Day. Bring the pizza party home - the Bake at Home kit comes with Pizza Punk’s iconic


FOOD // PIZZA PUNKS hand-crafted sourdough, secret San Marzano tomato, basil & garlic sauce, creamy mozzarella, and a cool collection of 25 toppings, ranging from conventional to the crazy… Let your creative side out, as Pizza Punks proudly offer a diverse variety of toppings, ranging from Garlic and rosemary potatoes, Onion Bhaji, Chilli chocolate pulled beef, Rum Ham Hock to Balsamic chilli beetroot. Or for those who want to play it safe, opt for the classics including Pepperoni, Spanish chorizo, Olives, Red Onion and Tuscan Sausage. And no one’s left out, there’s also gluten-free, Halal, vegetarian, and vegan options to choose from, including vegan ‘nduja and pepperoni. Reinventing the pizza delivery market with a revolutionary shake-up, Pizza Punks’ Bake at Home kit arrives fresh to your door with next day delivery – so you can say ‘goodbye’ to the days of waiting hours for the delivery driver to arrive with takeaway.

Pizza Punks’ doesn’t stop there, as the pizza kit boxes are loaded with a punked up playlist; featuring downloadable, curated playlists from some of the UK’s finest DJs. Killer in-house cocktails and craft beers can also be added to any pizza order. For ultimate Pizza Punks nirvana, its pizzerias are located in Glasgow, Belfast and Newcastle - all ranked number one on Tripadvisor, in Glasgow, Belfast and Newcastle - with more UK sites planned. With neon streetlights, brick walls and a stripped back aesthetic it’s the ultimate cool pizza experience. Its mantra? A distinctive pizza experience – create your

own with 50 unlimited toppings to choose from, all for one flat fee. No extra costs, no hidden charges, just awesome, handmade in-house pizza. Pizza Punks also offer Punk It Up DoughIY kits - pizza done your way! For those who like creating their own. Kits are available for two or four persons and include 48hour proofed sourdough which you roll out yourself, and top with San Marzano tomato, Basil & Garlic Sauce, mozzarella and a choice of four house-style toppings. The review: The idea of having restaurant style tasting pizza delivered to your door ready for you to cook your way is an amazing concept, especially in the current Covid lockdown situation, so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to be one of the first in Northern Ireland \ Ireland to try the service. Basically choose 4 topping when placing your order and within 24 hours it will be

delivered to your door in a proper pizza box with cold insulation to keep the contents totally fresh. Inside the box you get 4 tubs with your chosen toppings, 2 half stone-baked pizza bases with their famous sauce and mozzarella cheese already on vacuum packed ready for you to open, dress with your topping choices and stick in the oven for 5-10 minutes. For my order, I ordered two sets of the bake at Home Kit for 2 so as to have a selection of standard and punked up toppings for my family’s weekly tradition of “take away Fridays,” only this Friday was a totally different experience to the normal chippy or Chinese take away.

The toppings I went for were: • Spanish Chorizo • Olives • Pineapple • Meatballs • Sweetcorn • Salami Miano • Rum Ham Hock • Garlic and Rosemary Potatoes I have to say I love the idea that they have their own full DJ Punked up playlist QR code on the inside of the pizza box, making this bake at home Kit perfect for any parties you are having with an already sorted playlist to get the tunes pumping. My family are big into their cheese, so I have to be honest and say we did add a little extra mozzarella cheese to ours, but what is already on the base is perfectly adequate for any pizza restaurant lover. Pizza’s dressed we put them into the oven for around 5-10 mins as we like our pizzas quite well done, well the results speak for themselves from the photos…..they tasted every bit as good as they look and gave the full pizza restaurant experience in the comfort of our own home. If you want a restaurant standard pizza in the comfort of your home this is definitely one for you, easy ordering, flawless packaging and delivery and easy to follow instructions with a pumping playlist…..all you need to do is get the drinks in and your set for a pizza party night. Punk Pizzas are also rolling out cocktail and beer delivery to be included with this service in Northern Ireland \ Ireland, so check out their website and keep an eye on their socials for more info. The Bake at Home kit for two (£16) and Punk It Up DoughIY kits for two (£16) and four (£26) are available to order online now, for nationwide next day delivery. Join the revolution: Instagram @pizzapunksofficial www.pizzapunks.co.uk

SEVENTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


ANTHONY COOLEY // FITNESS

GROUNDHOG YEAR // ANTHONY COOLEY

PERSONAL TRAINER AT DEDICATED FITNESS BELFAST

TIPS ON HOW TO STAY SANE DURING LOCKDOWN #3684 So here we go again, another lockdown and even more restrictions. Its hard to believe that its nearly a year already since this all began but alas here we are. I know right now for many its been a struggle both mentally and physically and I know after all this time patience is most definitely wearing thin. But today I want to really hone in on mental health. Its a term we have been hearing a lot more lately, and rightly so! Discussing one’s own mental health used to have a certain stigma attached to it, where talking about it openly would lead to a fear of not being understood or even worse ridiculed. But in recent times, especially this past year the topic of mental health has been catapulted to the forefront of conversation and because of that people are now finding it much easier to open up about their own metal wellbeing. “ Its ok to not be ok. ” Its a saying I’m sure most of you have heard by now, and it is one that we can all identify with after the year we have all been through. Most of us are doing our best to make ends meet and just barely managing to keep our heads above water. Those dreaded Zoom meetings, kids needing homeschooled, missing our friends and loved ones, and a constant worry that we will remain healthy enough to battle through it all. Just know that you are not alone in this, many of us are in the same boat with you, hurtling down stream without a paddle and no sense of where we are going. We really are all in this together. So, I want to take this opportunity to offer you a few of my handy solutions that will give you the tools needed to take the edge off during these uncertain times. I want you to come out of this with a clear mind and a healthy mind and this is how you will do it: Start the day as you mean to go on. Get a good healthy breakfast in you, preferably one with some Omega 3 fatty acids! An example of this would be eggs or a bowl of oats with flaxseed, chia seeds or walnuts on top. A lack of good nutrition will most likely result in brain fog meaning you are going to be less productive with your day. Over time this can lead to an increased risk of depression also, so get a good brekkie in you before you do anything else! And before you get out of bed in the morning dedicate 5 mins to just stretch so you are ready for the day ahead! Deep breathing exercises. Take one or several moments out of your day to just stop and slow things down. Deep breathing exercises have been scientifically proven to reduce your heart rate and blood pressure which equates to decreased stress levels and increased mental clarity. This only takes literally 5 mins of your day to do

EIGHTY // GNIMAG.COM

so if you find everything is becoming a bit much then I promise you this tip alone will help you cope immensely. Stop to enjoy small aspects of the day. Take some time out of your day to get outside if you can. Take a walk and try to be conscious of all the wonderful things going on around you like nature for instance. In a modern world it’s easy to pass on the simpler things. Play nice relaxing music in your ears to set the tone in helping you just be present in the world around you. This can provide a moment of contentment and relaxation which will put you in the right mind-frame to tackle the rest of your day. Random acts of kindness. Try to perform even one random act of kindness each day. This can be something as simple as offering a smile to a passerby or saying hello. Compliment somebody who might appreciate it or tell that special someone in your life how much they mean to you at this time. You would be surprised how much of a pick me up this will provide knowing that you are helping others get through their day. Small acts of kindness over time will lead to greater things, and they cost nothing. Get plenty of sleep. This is probably the most important tip of all. Never underestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. 7-8 hours is the goal so get to bed a little bit earlier if you can. Avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day and flicking on the phone whilst in bed. You don’t want to over stimulate the brain with lots of activity before sleepy time. Run a nice bath instead before slipping under the covers, the key is to get relaxed before you lay the head down. And heres one I know you will all get on board with…SEX! Yes! If you are lucky enough to have a special someone close to you at home, a good ol’ rumble in the sack is a great way to release all those feel good hormones that will melt all those stresses away and help you nod off. And if you haven’t just yet met that special someone for that bit of nookie, then well erm… you know… there are ways… …moving on. EXERCISE!!! I can’t stress this one enough. As I’m sure many of you know by now, I am a personal trainer. And of course I am going to harp on about all the amazing benefits of exercise, something I talked about more in previous articles. All I will say is that just 20-30 mins of exercise a day will make such a massive impact on your overall sense of wellbeing. If you find you are low in confidence and self-esteem, becoming more active releases all those feel good endorphins to lift your mood creating a more positive outlook on life. So get out there and get moving!


ANTHONY COOLEY // FITNESS

And lastly when in doubt, “ Do a Moira. ” For fans of Schitt’s Creek, you will get this one. Some alone time can be good for the soul, so if you need to get away from it all crawling on all fours and locking yourself away in a closet for periods at a time is a perfectly viable coping mechanism. Just make sure there is a latch on the inside to let yourself out every once in a while especially in the case of an emergency. “ MY GIRLS!!! ” (Who knew that climbing back inside that darn closet would have its benefits?) I.e. it doesn’t actually have to be a closet, just find that little safe space at home where you can get out of your usual work environment and just unwind for a bit. Also finally I just wanted to mention that if you are stuck at home and at a complete loss in how to stay active in lockdown, I have just launched my, “ Body Shy to Body Confident! ” home programme to help you on your way to feeling fitter and better about yourself. It doesn’t require any equipment whatsoever as its all bodyweight related. If you think this is something you may be interested in I would love to help out! The plan is only £49 for the year and it has lots of handy tips around diet also. Get in touch via email (anthony_cooley@icloud.com) or search for me on facebook if you want to get involved! So to end, I hope that these tips may help you in some way cope with the days ahead. With the vaccine now being rolled out there is hope on the horizon so just hang in there! And remember to reach out to anyone if you are finding it particularly hard, there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. We are all human at the end of the day, remember that. Stay safe, and stay in touch! Coach Anto.

EIGHTYY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


THE RAINBOW PROJECT // LGBT+ HOUSING SUPPORT

LGBT+ HOUSING SUPPORT BY JOE WALSH Hello beautiful GNI readers, my name is Joe Walsh and I am currently in a new and exciting job role as LGBT+ Housing Support Officer with The Rainbow Project. This amazing new service aims to help our community navigate the daunting process of housing in Northern Ireland as it can be quite stressful and at times frustrating doing this alone. A lot of people don’t know where to start, what their rights are, how will the Housing executive or associations treat them? It can be overwhelming, particularly for people who have been made homeless either by family rejection or relationship breakup. This year we have the added barrier to accessing most services from the lockdown regulations, however most

places and services have switched to online and telephone support where possible and this can sometimes be easier than having to meet face to face with a member of the housing executive to present yourself as homeless.

In a study done called Through our eyes, many issues of homelessness and housing situations were examined and the findings were pretty grim, whilst experiences of multiple homelessness were noted across the sample, irrespective of sexual orientation / gender identity, trans respondents seemed particularly

vulnerable. Respondents described how they moved accommodation on repeated occasions in response to homophobia / transphobia from neighbours, and others in the neighbourhood. Trans repeat homelessness was associated with sporadic housing and regular moves in response to regular and sustained transphobic abuse. A theme common amongst trans respondents was the sense of persistent anxiety and fear that these repeated exposures produced. Some were constantly vigilant and wary of their public behaviours; some increasingly withdrew from being seen in public, to the point of essentially being a prisoner in their own homes; whilst others avoided their current accommodation altogether. The problems in our community are real and serious but with the help of Advocacy, Housing support, listening ear and counselling, which are just some of our services, we aim to help our community feel that they have someone to turn to who can help on a practical and emotional level with a first class wraparound service. For full details of The Rainbow Project’s services visit our website www.rainbow-project.org

ADULT SHOP

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HERe NI empowers, supports and advocates for all lesbian and bisexual women and their families. Our vision is that all lesbian and bisexual women are visible, included and valued in all aspects of society. 23 -31 Waring Street Belfast | BT1 2DX Tel: 028 9024 9452 www.hereni.org hello@hereni.org @NIHERE

We provide regional LGBTQ+ youth groups across Northern Ireland, support for individuals, LGBTQ+ awareness training, community development, the LGBT Switchboard, and the LGBTQ+ Inclusive Schools Programme. 23-31 Waring Street Belfast | BT1 2DX Tel: 028 9089 0202 www.cara-friend.org.uk admin@cara-friend.org.uk. @Cara.Friend.NI @CaraFriendNI

SaIL provides support for trans people and their families. If you are a parent, grandparent, carer, sibling, friend or anyone who wants to talk about gender please get in touch. We are families who support families and we have a regional network of support workers and family members waiting to connect you to any information or support you need. We are here to help so that you know, you are definitely not alone.

GenderJam NI, the youth service provided by TransgenderNI, runs regular social get-togethers for trans, non-binary, questioning and intersex people aged 25 and under across Northern Ireland, with groups in Belfast, Newry and Derry.

51 Downshire Road | Newry | BT34 1EE Tel: 02895 320 023

info@genderjam.lgbt @GenderJamNI

Belfast Trans Resource Centre 98 University Street Belfast | BT7 1HE Tel: 028 9099 6819

info@sailni.com

The Rainbow Project is a health organisation that works to improve the physical, mental & emotional health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people in Northern Ireland. We deliver a range of services including Rapid Sexual Health testing and counselling. 23-31 Waring Street | Belfast | BT1 2DX Tel: 028 9031 9030 20 Strand Road | Orlan House Londonderry | BT48 7AB Tel: 028 7128 3030 www.rainbow-project.org info@rainbow-project.org @TRPNI @THERAINBOWPROJECTNI

We support and advocate for the human rights of trans people in Northern Ireland, through community building, leading campaigns for social and political change, working with government and the community sector to improve policy and inclusion, as well as providing direct support and advocacy to individuals online and through the Belfast Trans Resource Centre. Belfast Trans Resource Centre 98 University Street Belfast | BT7 1HE Tel: 0300 302 3202 www.transgenderni.org.uk info@transgenderni.org.uk @TransgenderNI

OUT North West is an LGBTQ+ Youth Support Service for 12-25yrs. We are based in The Foyle LGBT Centre in Derry. Orlan House | 20 Strand Road Londonderry | BT48 7AB Tel: 028 7128 3030


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Profile for GNI MAG

GNI MAG ISSUE 45  

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