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Newly Crowned Mr Gay World Isn't Just A Hot Bod, He's Also A Mental Health Advocate

Newly Crowned Mr Gay World Isn't Just A Hot Bod, He's Also A Mental Health Advocate

Troy Michael Smith
@mrtroymichael/Instagram

Troy Michael Smith kicked butt in the international competition and now he has a mission.

Troy Michael Smith was just crowned Mr. Gay World 2023 and plans to use his newly found platform to advocate for mental health.

Smith is a half-time resident of Juneau, Alaska, but competed for Guam, ultimately beating out 10 other finalists from Spain, Chile, Australia, Great Britain, India, Thailand, Belgium, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United States.

Part of the competition is focused on appearance and fashion, like the formal wear and swimwear categories, but let that fool you into thinking Mr. Gay World is just about looks because they also have to compete in the national costume category, are quizzed on LGBTQ+ history, have to survive a rapid fire Q&A session, and then must give a social impact presentation, reports Queerty.

“The competition was brutal,” Smith said in a recent interview with the Juneau Empire. “There were very rough categories including an extremely difficult written exam about LGBTQIA+ history and current events. There was a social responsibility category where you had to deliver a presentation for 10 minutes and answer questions in front of the judges as well as the other contestants.”

He had originally wanted to compete for the US, but was forced to change plans. “I was too late to compete for USA, so I petitioned for an at-large bid to represent Guam, being an American Territory,” he explained. “Deep back in my family heritage, there is a connection.”

Several years ago Smith began to change his lifestyle in order to help his mental health. He changed his diet and began working out and documented his journey on his Instagram account.

Taking care of his own mental heatlh, combined with the experience of losing friends to suicide lead him to want to use his title, and the platform it gives him, to advocate for suicide prevention and awareness as well as mental health more broadly.

“I have lost many friends to suicide. In the pageant community, many of us were affected by the death of Cheslie Kryst, former Miss USA, who took her own life,” Smith said, referencing the death of the 2019 Miss USA winner who worked as an attorney and a correspondent for Extra, before taking her own life.

Smith took home the crown on October 27, taking over for last year's winner, José López from Puerto Rico.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.