Mr Gay Pride Australia
4 min read

As the Mr. Gay Pride Australia competition heads toward its finale on Sunday at Melbourne’s Midsumma Carnival, nine judges have been announced to help pick Australia’s representative for Mr. Gay World 2018.

From all corners of the media, government and the LGBTI community, this year’s seven finalists are sure to be put through their paces before one is crowned, Mr. Gay Pride Australia 2018.

This year’s judges include

  • John Caldwell, Melbourne Midsumma Festival Chair & Media Personality
  • Matt Fistonich, Director Mr Gay World Oceania
  • David Francis, 2017 Mr Gay Pride Australia & Co-Producer MGPA 2018
  • Peter Hitchener, Newsreader Nine News Melbourne
  • Takaya Honda, Actor and TV Presenter stars in Neighbours & Family Law
  • Fred LeMarche, Photographer and Hairdresser
  • Harriet Shing MP, Victorian State Member for Morwell
  • Tony Richens, Director Mr Gay World Oceania & Co-Producer MGPA 2018
  • Brendan White, Executive Director StartOut

The 2018 competition which is sponsored by Eikon, Gay Sydney Australia, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, StartOut, The Boy Project and Xcrew, has, for the first time, been held both online and offline with the public online vote concluding just before the winner is announced on stage at Midsumma Carnival on Sunday.

The seven finalists who represent towns and cities from all over Australia will be judged on attributes that include Leadership, Relatability, Communication, and their ability to Engage with the wider LGBTI community.

1. John Caldwell

john caldwell

Social commentator. Public speaker. Radio host. Advocate. Author. Whatever the medium, John is unwavering in his commitment to making a difference. 

Emerging from a childhood rife with adversity, John’s quest is to engage the social issues while affording opportunities for those that need them most.

John divides his time between his role as Chairman for RWR Group, Ambassador for the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, and Ambassador for White Ribbon. John’s tireless commitment to social change promotes courage under fire for those currently in seemingly hopeless environments.

John is in his third year as Chair of Midsumma, is the entertainment reporter on KIIS FM and Studio 10 and was Australian of the Year – Victoria in 2014.

2. Matt Fistonich

Matt Fistonich Mr gay NZ

Matt was Mr Gay New Zealand 2015 and is now the Co-Director of Mr Gay World Oceania. Matt has worked across Government and corporate organisations for the past eight years including as a trained firefighter for the New Zealand Air Force.


3. David Francis

David Francis

David was crowned Mr Gay Pride Australia 2017 and represented Australia at Mr Gay World in Spain.

David is an ambassador for LGBTI charity StartOut and is the Co-Producer of Mr Gay Pride Australia 2018.


4. Peter Hitchener

Peter Hitchener

Peter is an Australian television presenter. He has been the chief news presenter for Nine News Melbourne since 1998 and recently celebrated 50 years in the media.

A great deal of his time away from work is spent on community service activities. He is a patron for Able Australia (formerly the Deaf Blind Society of Victoria), a position formerly occupied by Sir Eric Pearce, and a guest speaker for many charity, community and school events in Melbourne.

He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the 2017 Australia Day Honours list “for services to the broadcast media and to the community.”


5. Takaya Honda

Takaya Honda

Takaya is an Australian actor and television presenter. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Josh in the children’s television series A gURLs wURLd, Klaus Thomson in the comedy series The Family Law and David Tanaka (gay doctor) in Neighbours.

Honda has also presented episodes of My Great Big Adventure and Play School.


6. Fred LeMarche

Fred LeMarche

Fred LeMarche could be considered an underdog in the hair and makeup scene. Having maintained a relatively low profile, his work has still captured the attention of both the industry and general public.

Starting as a hair stylist 20 years ago, Fred shortly after moved into makeup with natural ease. As a hairdresser, while cutting and colouring, he would always look at skin and faces as a feature to compliment which led him to pick up the makeup brushes and start enhancing individual beauty with his own flair. His passion and determination opened doors into the world of fashion, beauty and celebrity where he has become highly sought after.

His work has been seen on the pages of Harpers Bazaar, GQ, ELEGANT Magazine, LabA4 Magazine, Cosmopolitan and Cleo and although self-taught, Fred’s vision for the art and intuitive skill rank him in beauty and fashion industry as the one to watch.

7. Harriet Shing MP

Victorian Minister for Equality Harriet Shing

Until she was elected to the Upper House in November 2014, Harriet Shing was a Lawyer and has previously worked as a senior policy adviser, lawyer and industrial relations specialist in the Victorian private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

An experienced negotiator and advocate, Harriet has worked extensively in industrial relations, employment and discrimination law and dispute resolution at State and Federal levels, and served as a trustee director on the board of industry superannuation fund Vision Super.

As a Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Region Harriet is particularly committed to identifying and enhancing opportunities for Gippsland that will enable communities throughout the entire region to thrive. Harriet lives in Morwell with a very lazy ex-racing greyhound and whippet.


8. Tony Richens

Tony Richens

Tony has worked across media and marketing roles in charities, sporting organisations and international corporate organisations for the past 25 years.

Along with the development, implementation and day to day operations of he is the Co-Producer of Mr Gay Pride Australia 2018 and Co-Director of Mr Gay World Oceania.


9. Brendan White

Brendan White


Brendan is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of StartOut Australia, a Health Promotion Charity that works to help people of diverse sexuality or gender reach their potential and live without the entirely preventable burden of poor mental health.

Having worked for one of the largest technology firms and now consulting firms in the world, Brendan is well placed to bring his skills to the leadership of StartOut Australia.

Last Updated on Jan 12, 2018