Meet the gorgeous fella who has put a smile back on the faces on the Covid19-beaten nation
It feels like we’ve been in lockdown for years, as we mark off the days watching dull daytime telly and BoJo blithering away about going to work, staying at home or going to work or whatever. But this week, the weary nation had a big glossy smile slapped across it face when a clip of the gloriously handsome Austyn Farrell dancing in the street to Tina Turner’s Proud Mary was shown on The One Show. Of course, GuysLikeU are always on the pulse and had already got a chat in the bag with the professional dancer. Here, Austyn explains about how his street performances came about, his emotional coming out story and how he overcame a crippling depression.
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This is crazy! Is it sad I actually got a bit emotional watching this lol? Honestly thank u to everyone that share , commented and liked this my videos it really has meant a lot so thank you 😩 And thanks to the legend @alankitrell for the camera skills 👏🏽 #bbc #tinaturner
Austyn, we can see that you’ve been busy putting on some fantastic performances on Tik Tok and Insta.
Surprisingly, I have been dealing with isolation really well. I have a nice little schedule I like to stick to which is keeping me going. As a people person, I like to try put smiles on peoples faces so I’ve been recreating Disney princesses, films such as White Chicks, Scary Movie and Bring It On and songs like Proud Mary by Tina Turner and 9 to 5 which Dolly Parton herself liked and commented on!
Wow that’s amazing.
I was such a fan girl after that! So Monday to Friday, I perform songs outside my house for my neighbours and post it on my Instagram. Check out @austyn_farrell on insta. The productions have been growing and growing, it’s getting ridiculous but it’s all fun. I enjoy it and it makes everyone laugh which is important at these times.
How has this Covid-19 situation impacted on work?
It has really impacted on my work. I had eight jobs lined up which have been cancelled with no cancellation fee. It got in the way of a couple of dreams for me as well – I was meant to be dancing in three major films over the summer and each of them have been postponed and I’m worried that I might be only be able do one of them when we can start working again. Money is fine for now but my balance is getting lower and lower, maybe from the amount of wine I’ve been buying. Being self employed has been pretty crap during this period but there’s many of us in the exact same boat so we all just have to ride the wave I guess.
Has this experience been a scary time – so many people are losing their lives.
The amount of deaths and the effect it has had on so many people around the world is very scary but I’ve tried to stay positive, happy and safe. The best thing we can do is stay home so there is no point worrying and letting my anxiety go mad.
What have you learnt about yourself during this time?
The main thing I have learnt during this time is to stop being such a workaholic. Before isolation I would work, think about work, go to bed early for work the next day and wouldn’t make time for social gatherings, family or even myself. I’ve also learnt from doing these lip sync recreations that I don’t have to showcase myself on social media as just a professional dancer – I can show my true personality a lot more and make people laugh. I always thought people didn’t want to see me dressing up as Moana, making a boat out of old wood and performing it in my front garden but some apparently do!
Well we do. We love it! Do you think we will all come out of this changed people?
I would like to think we will. I would like to think people will come out of this more hygenic, more social and also a little bit happier. Who knows? People may smile at each other on the tube during rush hour because they are happy to see different faces once this is over. I feel we will be more grateful for the time we have with each other and make more memories.
Let’s talk about you… When did you first think you might gay?
I would say all my life. I think I’ve always kinda known I had attraction to men but I just didn’t think I would ever come out as gay. I always thought I would still end up marrying a woman. I would say when I was around thirteen, I knew I was fully attracted to men.
Did you worry about coming out?
Being gay wasn’t something I didn’t want to accept, I was more concerned about being accepted by my friends, family, school and people in the street. There was so much fear behind the acceptance of it.
Tell us about how you came out….
I was around 15. I had just started dance lessons in Leicestershire where I ended up dancing next to a guy who would end up being my first boyfriend.
Was it love at first sight?
I had butterflies speaking to him. We would secretly talk when ever we could. I remember even saving his number under a female’s name. It got to the point I knew I had take a breath and go for ‘the talk with my family’. I started with my mum one weekend.
Oh gosh, what happened?
I waited until she had been out and came home all merry. I sat next to her and started shaking as I said the words ‘mum, I’m gay and I have a boyfriend’. She replied smiling, ‘I know, son’. The next day she came and gave me the biggest hug and said what would I like for breakfast like nothing had changed. I then received a call from my dad saying ‘would you like me to be honest, son. I’ve known since you were three years old when you were wearing your nan’s heels and it will never change how proud and how much I love you.’
Wow, what a moment.
That was the moment I felt empowered. To feel the love from my family meant the absolute world to me. I soon felt so strong and passionate about my sexuality that I basically came out screaming it from the hills, like I was in The Sound of Music!
Did anyone have a problem with it?
Me and my brother actually had a little argument, not because of my sexuality, but because I had been so nervous to tell him. He was upset that he had heard I was gay from someone else and I hadn’t told him as a brother. I remember we both had a little cry on the phone. I remember feeling so much love from him when he said he would always look out for me and be proud of who I was.
How did the family dynamic change?
I can not explain how loving my family are and how much we support each other, if anything coming out brought us closer together. My mum asks approval for what she should wear out, my sister would always quote our favourite chick flick films, my brother would make me do his eyebrows and my dad, well he was constantly looking at me and saying “look at my beautiful, talented gay son, forever proud” which may I add he still says to this day lol. If anything I would say the dynamic changed for the better even though it was never bad.
Who was the person you were most worried to tell?
I would have to say my friends. I was 15 years old coming out at school. I was the captain of the football team and used to be part of the athletics team, so I was frightened in case they all wanted to distant themselves from me. I was so scared that I would be forced out of the football team because of my sexuality.
Yeah, we bet.
One nasty comment from someone at school can lead to so many other people saying the same kind thing. It could break you sometimes. Fortunately I was blessed to have so much support of school from friends and teachers. There were jokes during football games but it was just friendly young banter which we would laugh about. If I’m honest it really broke the ice in within the football scene.
When you were properly out did you throw yourself into the scene?
I DID AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT AND I STILL DO HA!! I remember being single at the time and just dancing the night away to Beyonce, Kylie, Lady Gaga, Madonna, all these amazing pop artists with my best friend. It was like what I’d seen on TV and films – the smoke machines, drag queens, glitter, pride colours and the absolute beautiful topless guys selling shots. It was so much more than I expected if I’m honest. I had only ever been to a few quiet bars before heading onto the scene.
Was it a world that you enjoyed or did you ever feel like you didn’t belong?
In all honestly it was probably the first time I felt like I did belong somewhere. I got to dance how ever I wanted, flirt with people, make new friends of the same sexuality. I loved it, some of them friends are my best friends still to this day!
That’s great to hear! Was love what you sought? Or were you more of a sexual being?
Mmmmm, this question… I had never known what true love one until my second boyfriend. If I didn’t see him for a few days my heart would ache. I would constantly be in awe of him. I remember when I was 17 thinking I wanted to marry him, move in with him. I was with him for three years and that love was so strong for all that time….until, that is, I found out he had cheated on me with half of the population. That was when I learned about heartbreak was as well.
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AND #summerofsteps we are out! It’s been great being on the road again with @officialsteps, we have absolutely had a great time with a lot of laughs! 🖤 Thank you @lisascottlee1 @fayetozersmith @princessclarabella @ianhwatkins @llatchfordevans for having us again. 🖤 Thank you @jessiejj___ @raywooldridge For putting up with our shit and not forgetting @frank_strachan 🖤 And of course thank you to my loves, last year and this year touring with you has just been something else, we have all had personal things that have popped up but we got each other through it #loyal ! So much love @__sarah_robinson__ @erindusek @leannehainsby @joehunt8 @rosssands And thank you @njc_creative For you fantastic full out routines! 🖤 Steve reeve absolute legend tour manger!! To all crew, lighting, sound, screens, catering, tour bus I thank you all ❤️ #summerofsteps #steps #love #tour #weout
Have you experienced any homophobia?
I have, as recently as the start of 2020. I was on a date and was walking holding hands in the street when tall intimidating man came over to us asking ‘why do you gays parade around holding hands?’. Then he started throwing insults at us. Another time I was in a well known gay bar and someone started calling me a lot of nasty names, this did not got down well for him at all.
Men are terrible about opening up about mental health issues – have there been times in your life when things have got too much?
Too many men do struggling with mental health issues. I used to be one of them and it’s only been the past couple of years, I have been speaking openly about it. I was diagnosed with minor depression at the age of 14 for personal reasons. The depression would get quite bad sometimes. I would remove my self from events/birthdays as I would have anxiety about going. I’d be bed bound for long days with deep thoughts and I will admit there were a couple of times when I had horrible thoughts about not wanting to be alive anymore which where such low points in my life.
People will find this hard to believe as you are so perky?
Yes, I’m a big bubbly character, my friends know me as the class clown, the guy who’s always smiling and laughing and there would be so many times I would have to put a fake smile on and basically act. I’d pretend that everything was okay when it wasn’t just to try to show everyone nothing was wrong, I’ve even performed with major artists on live TV while I was at such a bad point in my life. It was so exhausting and I just wanted to cry all the time.
Have you found ways of coping with mental health issues?
For me the past couple years I have found different forms of exercise and meditations have helped so much. Yoga has really helped. Being told to breathe and stay grounded in classes has taught me to do the same in every day life when I feel a bit low. When doing other classes such as HIIT or classes I feel I walk out with such strength as I’ve pushed myself to be the best I can. I set my intentions as soon as I walk in the studio, I push my body and most importantly my mind. Also speaking openly has helped so much, whether it’s to a friend or speaking to a doctor. Letting my emotions out makes me feel like such a weight is lifted off my shoulders. I no longer feel like I’m carrying as much baggage around and or makes me feel I have to put on an act. I speak my truth and let it all out, take a nice deep breath and enjoy the rest of my day.
You’re a good looking lad… Have you ever been insecure about the way you looked?
Me? Good looking? Stop it, I’ll blush! I don’t think I’ve ever been 100% with the way I look. I think with the dance industry and social media, I tend to compare myself to other people who have a better body, whiter teeth, a better bum or more followers on social media platforms. As I teach spin/cycle classes as well I’m always around people with six packs, bulging arms and just all round beautiful bodies, so I instantly look and think I wish I had their body. I really wish I didn’t think like this, I wish I took it as inspiration instead of a comparison.
Do you think gay men are obsessed with the body beautiful ?
I think gay men are the same as every other gender. Some are OBSESSED with their bodies and some aren’t fussed at all.
A lot of gay men use instagram as a means to boost there self esteem – do you have a healthy relationship with social media?
I absolutely agree gay men can use instagram to boost their self-esteem which is fabulous for them. I am not that person. I didn’t always have a healthy relationship with instagram. Like I said I used to compare myself to people too much so after a clear out on who I was following, I started to find the right people to follow or aren’t so ‘perfect’ and inspire people through social media instead of uploaded to same topless picture in a different pair of briefs. My uploads on my @austyn_farrell instagram is mainly work uploads or at the moment in time it’s me dressed up as Disney characters.
Do you believe in types?
I do believe in types to a certain extent. Looking back at previous boyfriends, I tend to go for tall guys with dark hair, athletic bodies. But then I have also dated and seen people who are completely the opposite of my regular ‘type’.
Are you single?
I am currently single. Love is an absolute goal for me. I’m 27 and have been single for nearly four years now. I would love to find Mr Right but recently I’ve been finding Mr Left, so hopefully soon the ‘perfect’ man will come along.
Is it easy being in a relationship? Is marriage the dream?
For me personally the hardest part is trust in a relationship. I’ve been cheated on plenty of times, which was obviously fantastic……..lol! I think with the right person who is loyal, bubbly, understanding of my work hours and is appreciative then yes I think being in a relationship could be easy – I just haven’t had that yet. Marriage is such a big dream for me. I would love to be married, have kids, a cute Labrador dog near the countryside with a outside fire, sipping chilled wine. Not that I have thought about it that much.
The gay community are varied – some are monogamous, others prefer to keep things more fluid. How does it work for you?
No, no, no, no! Biggggg no. If I’m in a relationship with someone then that’s how I want it to be. I haven’t ever understood when couples are open to have more people involved – but that’s just my opinion.
Gay life has changed considerably over the years – can you believe how hard gay men had it before?
It’s crazy to think that so many gay people went through so much just because of their sexuality. I can’t actually imagine how horrible it must have been for them back in the day. I couldn’t imagine being in their shoes but I am so thankful that so many people stood up for their rights and other people’s rights. Without these people taking a stand, things could still be so different to now days.
Do you think young people appreciate the development?
That’s a tough one. I feel that now days it’s very open to be who we are in so many ways which is absolutely brilliant. Young people have grown up with drag queens performing all over their TVs and social media that they have grown up being inspired already. I do think some younger generation may not know or realise how much people fought for our rights back in the day but can probably still appreciate the development.
What would you say to your 12 year old self about the future.
I would say, Austyn be strong, be brave, be confident, be happy and most importantly be yourself. And don’t let anyone try to change who you are.