One down, two to go
Grant Ermis holds down a job as manager for breeding and genetics at the sheep unit for Chico State’s farm, works for a local harvesting company and is a full-time agricultural education student at Chico State. But he will soon be trading in his time on the farm to be on stage with 19 other men and Hollywood Squares fixture Bruce Vilanch. Ermis, 23, won the title of Mr. Gay Sacramento in September, and will now move on to compete in the national, and, he hopes, international Mr. Gay competitions held this weekend (Oct. 27 and 28) in Palm Springs.
How did you feel winning the title?
Completely speechless, actually. It felt really good, and now I’ve got the rest of the year to accomplish what I hope to as far as speaking to people, and using my title as an avenue to do that.
What did you win?
In Sacramento, I won $1,000, a three-day cruise, and full-paid fare to the national competition. For the national competition, I don’t know what the prize is. I’ve been so focused on getting through the competition and getting ready for the nationals.
What do you hope to accomplish by being in, and possibly winning, the competition?
The whole mission for the competition is to raise awareness through the media that not all gay men are what everyone sees on the TV. It’s not just about Queer as Folk or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, those types of guys. We’re trying to get away from the stereotype that everyone knows, and maybe get people to realize that being gay is just a part of someone, not all of who they are.
What types of things will you do in the competition?
In Sacramento, we had to do a talent, question-and-answer onstage and swimsuit. It changes a little bit at the national competition. There’s no talent, but we do a choreographed onstage fitness deal. There are also interview sessions, and one thing that’s really nice is a personal-growth activity of rock climbing. From there, it’s narrowed down to 10 contestants from 20, and then we do onstage question-and-answer and swimsuit.
What has the reaction to your involvement with the Mr. Gay competition been?
It’s kind of interesting because my boyfriend lives in Sacramento, so whenever we go out, it’s either Sacramento or San Francisco. When I’m back in Chico, I go to school and I’ve got two jobs, so I don’t really focus on that part of my life. When I started being in the paper here, my boss actually approached me about it and said “congratulations” and whatnot. It kind of caught me off guard.