Gay Times February 13 - Issue 415
Shayne Ward knows how to keep his straight eye on the gay guy. Since winning X Factor eight years ago, he’s released three albums, become a West End diva and is about to put his best feet forward on Dancing On Ice. He tells GT why he’s embracing his inner camp.
More from Gay Times February 13 - Issue 415
“I’ve just worn leather and sparkly numbers for a year, so I told them to camp me up – the camper the better,” begins Shayne, recalling his first conversation with Dancing On Ice’s wardrobe manager.
Shayne’s clearly not shy when it comes to giving a cheeky wink to the questionable clobber he’s found himself sporting for work these days. Credible couture went out the window the moment he tossed away the tight vests and replaced them with Jon Bon Jovi-style skin-tight trousers and rhinestone waistcoats for West End musical Rock Of Ages. Now the glutton for punishment is steeling himself for deep V lycra tops, sparkles and spandex.
“I’m quite confident with my body but not to the point where I’m always whipping my top off,” he continues. “I like being in good shape but I’m not vain. I’m a hairy guy and I tried waxing my chest one time for a video but it went horribly wrong and I ended up with a massive rash. So I’m happy baring my 28-year-old chest hair in the clothes Dancing On Ice puts me in. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”
Since trashing loveable bin man Andy Abrahams in 2005’s X Factor final, Shayne’s become a favourite of not just the housewives, but their daughters and gay sons too. And it’s not just because of his big baby browns, perfect pecs or biceps we’d happily use for pillows. Unlike other pop puppets, Shayne hasn’t pledged his allegiance to the rainbow flag just to milk our pink pound, but because he genuinely doesn’t give two hoots about a person’s sexuality.
“I’ve got a hell of a lot of gay friends and always have - it’s just the way it is,” he shrugs. “I’ve spent many a night out in Manchester’s Canal Street and on the gay scene in London with my friends. I’m good mates with a gay couple and I was the best man at their wedding. I think there’s a little camp in everyone.”
And that little camp is going to grow bigger than Glastonbury’s tented hillsides over the next few weeks courtesy of Dancing On Ice.
“I was doing Rock Of Ages and someone from DOI came along and thought ‘he could look great on skates.’ I couldn’t commit because I was doing the musical. I was asked again after I left the show but I was terrified of the ice and the blades and I didn’t think it was something I’d be able to get over. I’d never skated before I went to meet Torvill and Dean. They led me onto the ice, walking with me side by side. In the end, I decided I love a challenge and went for it.”
But as you’d expect, it’s not been without its injuries. “Oh I’ve gone flying,” he admits, “believe me, I’m going to have to buy a chin guard soon. They told me if you’re going to fall, then go with it, don’t battle against it. Now I’ve learned to get past the fear of falling and once you know how it feels, it’s fine.” But along with bruised chins and egos, all that training does have its advantages.
“You’re skating a few hours a day which is a lot of strain on your legs and the balls of your feet. You lose weight rapidly which I want to keep on top of so I go to the gym to keep strong. But I’m happy my legs are getting bigger because I’ve always had chicken legs. By the time I’ve finished, I’m going to have calves like a God.”
To read the full article, pick up the latest copy of GT out in all good retailers, online and downloadable on your iPhone or iPad.
Words: John Marrs