Anyone thinking I’m attractive is a massive compliment. Whether it’s somebody’s grandmother, a guy or a girl. Most of my followers on Twitter are gay men.
OUR STRAIGHT MATES With Matthew Myers
Our Mr Smith! Rugby star, fashion model and partner to Dannii Minogue, it’s no wonder Kris Smith has a big gay following. DNA: You had an amazing career playing rugby for Leeds and Halifax. Do you still get the chance to kick a ball around? Kris Smith: No, unfortunately. My knees are a little bit dodgy, so the only chance I get to touch a ball is to throw it back at somebody else. But I’d love to get out there and run around. Maybe some time next year, if I can have a couple of knee operations. Did you ever consider a post-football career in fashion or did that happen by chance? I never even dreamed of it. My mother actually took me to a modelling casting when I was 15. I was on the cusp of playing professional, but this is something she had talked about 12 months beforehand. So off I went in my denim shirt and they took photos of me, liked them and offered me a job. They even offered to pay for my portfolio and put me on their books, but I just had no interest. I just wanted to play rugby. Now my mother says, “I told you so!” Are there similarities between the worlds of sport and fashion? Going down the catwalk and playing the cup final are both as nerve-racking as each
Do you think we may start to see more players brave enough to come out? I think we could do, and rightly so! It’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s nothing to hide. I think the sport in general is a lot more open and welcoming than maybe 10 or 15 years ago. When Ian Roberts came out he got a lot of credit, but I think he copped a lot of unnecessary flak as well. So I’m thinking, hoping and praying that we get to the stage where people are not so cynical and stupid about things like this. It’s not anyone else’s right to tell one person how they should live their life. Did you know of any gay players when you were on the field? Not when I was playing. I was never aware of that. Congratulations on becoming a dad. What does it feel like? Thank you. Mate, I can’t even put it into words. I wake up every morning and he’s there smiling at me. He’s just the happiest baby ever and we could never have wished for anything better. When you and Dannii met in Ibiza, she initially thought you may have been gay. Yeah! Dan was dancing in the VIP area with
“Ian Roberts made a point of coming out and I credit him big-time for that.” other. But they are totally opposite ends of the spectrum. I’ve gone from people wanting to take my head off to people wanting to photograph it. I could never have mixed the two at the same time, mainly because I never knew what injuries I would pick up. I could have had a photo shoot one day and a black eye the other! Australian rugby league star Ian Roberts made headlines when he came out in the early ’90s. Did that get much coverage in the English rugby world? It did! I remember it very well and Ian Roberts was never a man to be messed with. He still is one very tough bloke and I took my hat off to him for doing that. It would have been so easy not to have come out and just retired and gone about his business outside of rugby league. But he made a point of coming out and I credit him big-time for that.
one of her gay friends and I was with the riff raff on the dance floor. I looked over and Dan and her friend were both looking at me. Her friend was butch and full of sailor tattoos and not that obviously gay. So I’m thinking he’s her boyfriend, but then he shouts me over and I think, “Oh well, here we go.” So he introduced himself and then introduced Dannii and within about 15 seconds he turned to Dannii and said, “No, he was looking at you!” So I either have to change my dance moves or my dress sense! Being in Dannii’s world, you must be exposed to plenty of gay men? Yes, everyone! I think the first dozen or so friends I made were all gay, which for me is a rarity. There were never any gay men, that I knew of, in the rugby circles. My uncle came out about 15 years ago, but I wasn’t that shocked. It kind of made sense. He was
hiding a secret for a long time, but everyone embraced it. Some of the gay people I’ve met have become my closest friends. If you were gay, who would you go for? Hmm… Andy Lee from Hamish And Andy. He has lovely hair [laughing]. Before you met Dannii, were you aware of her music and videos? Not really. I knew the name and I knew a couple of her club songs. But even when we met in Ibiza, I didn’t know who she was. I was just introduced to her as Dannii and we had a chat for about two or three hours. It was only when I had a break to go to the bathroom that my friends pulled me aside and said, “Do you know who that is?” But we had formed such a bond already and were kind of inseparable, so it didn’t really matter who she was. And you may have heard of her sister? Kylie? [Laughing] Yeah. Of course. Dannii was well known in the UK for X Factor, but I never watched reality TV shows so I’d never seen it before. It was kind of refreshing for us both. What was your first meeting with Kylie like? It was great! I was at Dan’s parents one Christmas and she said, “My sister’s going to be here.” I’m fortunate to not really ever be star struck and when she came in she said, “Hi, how you doing?” She gave me a big hug and a kiss and said, “Welcome to Australia.” It was very sweet. How have you coped with the showbiz life? It’s been a hell of a lot different. I can understand when people are excited to see Dannii or Kylie, but it can be intrusive. I just wish sometimes people would use a bit of common sense, like when we are having dinner as a family, not to come over or at least wait. But on a whole, it’s great. And I’m happy that a lot of the paparazzi have died down around Ethan, because that got my back up a bit. It’s not too nice when you’ve got photographers poking lenses in your son’s face. As a model, do you have a favourite look? Not swimwear! My life as a rugby player has involved mainly tracksuits, trainers and shorts, but now I really love to get into a nice suit. I never thought I would, because when I played rugby I thought it was a drag. That wouldn’t happen to be a Blaq suit? [Laughing] Of course! >> DNA 31
OUR STRAIGHT MATES >> How do you feel about gay guys thinking you are hot? I take it as a compliment. Anyone thinking I’m attractive is a massive compliment. Whether it’s somebody’s grandmother, a guy or a girl, it’s a compliment. In fact, most of my followers on Twitter are gay men. What do you do to keep your fitness up? I can’t run anymore, so I like to get into the gym as much as possible. I like to box and I play golf. A lot of people don’t think it’s good exercise, but when you walk a full golf course with a bag on your back, you know about it. Kylie has a concert tour coming up. Will you be going along with the family? Yeah, we will. She’s recently been in Manchester and she was beautiful enough to give some tickets to my mum and her sisters and my sister-in-law and nieces. They had an absolute blast. My dad is an old-fashioned kind of guy who would never go near those kinds of things, but mum talked it up so much he went along. He loved it! What’s your porn name (your first pet and the street you grew up in)? Kyle Mark. Does that sound like a porn name? It sounds more like a dodgy rapper! Who or what has been the biggest influence on you so far?
With out a doubt, my parents. Without them I wouldn’t have achieved what I did in rugby. I signed professional at 15 and then at 16 moved to Leeds. Mum would drive me up there every day. She’d drop me off in the morning, go to work and then drive back and pick me up again. They took me to all the games and even when the rugby finished and I met Dan and said I wanted to move to London with her, they were fine. Then when I wanted to move to Australia they supported me again and gave me their blessing. Briefs or boxer shorts? I was always boxers and associated briefs with something that my dad would wear, but now I’m a briefs man. Do you ever free-ball? Now and again, when it’s a bit warm and you need a bit of a wind chill. I only free-ball in speedos. I don’t do it on the catwalk because I’m always conscious of flying low and my zip being undone. That would be a nightmare! What’s your best piece of fashion advice? Wear what you’re comfortable in. Don’t follow trends that won’t suit you or will make you feel uncomfortable. Fashion is all about being comfortable within yourself. Kris can be seen hosting FOX8’s Football Superstar, as well as being the current face of Myer menswear’s Blaq range.