We caught up with Jonny Woo and John Sizzle, co-owners of The Glory on Kingsland Road in Dalston, about their new male beauty pageant, which launches at the start of June.
So what exactly is Mister Glory?
Jonny Woo: ‘It’s an alternative male beauty pageant for gay men. It’s not a strip contest like “Porn Idol” at Heaven or any of those shiny gay tournaments down in Soho, it’s our take on a male beauty pageant. Fortune favours the beard.’
John Sizzle: ‘It’s not just about sexuality either but much more about sensuality. We don’t want it all to just be Tom of Finland ruggedness, as great as that can be, but we want charm and we want savoir faire. We’re looking for the Tom Selleck of Shoreditch, basically.’
Where did the idea to host a male beauty pageant come from?
John Sizzle: ‘Well we’ve just finished a huge Wednesday night tournament – LIPSYNC1000 – which was all about discovering young drag queens. The pub was a tornado of lipstick marks and people getting wig hair in their mouths as Goldsmiths students drunkenly stage-dived around the place in Primark heels. So it’s time to do something more masculine now. Of course a few incognito drag queens are bound to enter!’
Jonny Woo: ‘With The Glory’s programming so far we’ve kept everything very “old school gay pub”. Our recurring Friday night The Hole is a tongue-in-cheek filthy queer San Fran style disco. The cabaret upstairs on Saturdays is raw and unexpected. So Mr Glory is a perfect fit for us.’
Who can enter?
John Sizzle: ‘Anyone can apply to enter, but it’s not a muscle contest, it’s… I don’t want to be too specific because that might hold some men back from entering. But we want real men. Real hair. Real pluck. Someone with a twinkle in his eye. When we see him.. we’ll know!’
What can the audience expect?
Jonny Woo: ‘We’ll probably have four or so contestants each time, and there’ll be categories.’
John Sizzle: ‘Originally we were thinking daywear, eveningwear and fetishwear. But then we changed our minds and have gone for something much more conceptual – Butch, Sexy and Suave – how about that for three categories!’
Will there be a prize?
Jonny Woo: ‘Yes – the prize for this contest is going to be a holiday. Which reminds me – we need a travel sponsor!’
John Sizzle: ‘Going back to your question about the aesthetic, think of the iconic ’70s denim advert, that’s the kind of look we’re going for.’
Will there be judges?
John Sizzle: ‘Of course! I shall be sending a card in the post to Christopher Biggins shortly. With judges we want a mix of high profile photographers, designers, actors, painters – that sort of thing.’
Jonny Woo: ‘I’d like to invite Russell Tovey to judge, actually. He’s a compelling actor and we need to bring him back into the fold.’