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Wednesday 14 April 2010

Meet Eric French - Mr. Urge NZ Bear 2010

Posted in: Hall of Fame
By Matt Akersten - 18th March 2010

Many manly men entered Urge bar's prized pageant during NZ Bear Week - but there could only be one winner. Lock up your dads as we meet NZ's top teddy Eric French...

NZ's next top bear: Eric French How does it feel to become the new Mr. Urge NZ Bear?
Eric French: It was a very pleasant surprise to have won though I was so shocked on the night! It does feel great now!

What did you have to do on the night to win the contest?
I had to go on stage a couple of times to answer a few questions, once in my regular bar outfit and once in my "fantasy" outfit (blue boiler suit, jockstrap and steel toe caps) and I also had to sell raffle tickets in aid of Body Positive, a great cause.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born near Nantes in Brittany, France. I grew up in a Parisian suburb not far from the town of Versailles.

Where do you live now, and what do you think of the place?
I live in Kohimarama, a quiet neighbourhood of Auckland. It's very reminiscent of "Desperate Housewives"...

What do you do for work or study?
I work for a web site hosting company on the North Shore. I am also a re-trained plumber, though not practicing at the moment.

When did you come out as gay, and what was it like for you at the time?
Long story but I came out unwillingly at 17. My parents were not accepting at all at the time, though things have radically changed now thankfully. It definitely wasn't a good time, one I'd rather forget actually.

Do you have a partner?
Yes I do have a partner, he's a Kiwi and we have been together for 8 years.

Eric (centre) on pageant night
What kind of people do you most admire?
I admire people who care for others, being patients, elderly people or children.

What do you think are the biggest issues currently facing NZ's LGBT population?

I think No 1. is Safe sex awareness, mostly amongst the younger crowd of the LGBT community and No. 2. discrimination based on sexual preferences.

What's your worst habit?

I can be lazy...

Your biggest fear?
Old age.

Which books are you currently reading and recommending?
I'm currently re-reading "When you are engulfed in flames" by David Sedaris, a gay US writer. It is a series of essays and it is really entertaining.

Your favourite music at the moment?
Need you ask? Lady Gaga! I know, a bit predictable...

Your favourite movies?
Any super hero movies.
Broke Back Mountain - I must have watched it about 8 times.
All about Eve and Now Voyager (Bette Davis)
Far from Heaven with Julianne Moore
The "Transporter" movies with Jason Statham

Your favourite TV programmes?
I don't watch much TV, nevertheless I really enjoyed catching up with Outrageous Fortune on DVD and currently watching Hung.

Who in the world (including NZ) would you most like to have a coffee and a chat with and why?
Carla Bruni, France's first lady, song writer & singer and ex-super model.
There'd be so much to talk about, but I'd mostly be interested in knowing how she finds being married to and living with a right wing person whilst being a leftie herself.

If you could have one wish granted what would it be?
Instant travel.

What's coming up in the near future for you?
Australasia Mr Bear in Melbourne in June and a knee operation! I have a torn cartilage.

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Matt Akersten - 18th March 2010