Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 28:
He is suave. He is handsome. He walks with panache and his pose oozes confidence. He is India’s entry to Mr. Gay World pageant to be held in Malta, Europe in April this year. The name is Anwesh Sahoo.
Hailing from Kaniha in Odisha’s Angul district, Anwesh was a victim of bullying during his school days. Today, the story is completely different. A student of International Institute of Information Technology in New Delhi, this 20-year old scored over 232 participants to clinch the Mr. Gay World India (MGWI) title in Mumbai on 25 January.
Inspired by the Andreas Derleth, the 2012 winner of Mr. Gay World, Anwesh chose to reveal his homosexuality and gather courage to openly be who he is. This also helped him in the social skills round of MGWI that has the theme, campaign with a cause. “I chose ‘fitting out’ which is opposed to fitting in as the theme for my campaign cause. Masculinity and femininity are being redefined. People need to be empowered for who they are. I drew inspiration for this campaign from my struggle to be accepted in school,” said Anwesh to the media.
“Almost four years ago, I finally put an end to months of self-denial, accepted my true self and assured myself of how I am not here to suffer. I am here to make an impact. MGWI has given me the opportunity to live my dream and make a difference. Perhaps the most difficult part of this journey has been waking myself up every morning and telling myself- “My dreams are indeed valid.”,” writes Anwesh on his Facebook page.
From hitting the gym to get in a OMG body to training sessions with his mentor Sushant Divgikar on perfecting his gait, etiquettes and gearing up for the trivia, social media and congeniality rounds in the international pageant, Anwesh has his calendar full.
Anwesh is well-aware of the brickbats about to come his way. But he is focusing on winning the pageant and is fuelled by the idea that he is inspiring many like him to break the shackles of stereotypes and come in terms with who they are.