He arrived on our television screens in early February and made it a priority to be one of very few openly gay reality show contestants, but for Jordan Bruno, appearing on Seven’s smash hit My Kitchen Rules didn’t quite go to plan.
In a wide-ranging interview, Jordan sat down with eikon to talk about his experience on the high rating program and how it was the stepping stone to bigger things still to come.
The 22-year-old entered the show with his Mother Anna as the token “Mother and Son” competitors, but it soon became apparent to viewers across Australia and New Zealand that these two could cook and that Jordan was openly gay.
“I was in a relationship when the show started, it ended 3 months ago, but I said to mum, going on the show it’s really important that I’m upfront about my sexuality,” Jordan explained to eikon.
“There’s gay people in the media but it’s not always highlighted. So I really wanted to make that a priority for myself.”
During filming, Bruno was consistent and even involved his boyfriend at the time in filming some of the back story segments, but it was once the program started airing that the real story was told….or not.
“On the show, they actually cut out a lot of my sexuality content.
“When any of the other couples were cooking they would talk about this dish for their husband or their partner or their wife whatever, I said it constantly on the show and my boyfriend was even in my story and they cut him from everything.”
“No-one [at 7] told me not to be gay and a lot of the people that actually work at the network are gay so I was quite shocked. They never told me to temper it or alter it.
“So, it was a 7.30 timeslot I was told and that’s fine, but I don’t see how my sexuality depends on what time of day it is.
“I think there is a long way to go still. And I mean they are getting better but it’s just a gradual thing, there is a long way to go.”
Other than his portrayal, Jordan’s television experience was overly positive, providing the young Perth native with boosted confidence.
At the end of the competition, Jordan and Anna were defeated in the semi-finals, but their popularity has helped keep them both extremely busy.
Jordan comes from a traditional European family and so his coming out was staggered across many months, friends first, other siblings then finally telling his mum and dad.
“I had this beautiful blond boyfriend at the time. He was so pretty and he was really quite feminine so I was almost under the opinion my parents knew[about being gay] because I was bringing this lady guy home, he was stunning but very feminine.
“We spent a lot of time together, we slept in the same bed, and I actually came out to all my friends and my brothers at 18.”
Before Jordan told his parents he packed his bags and organised accommodation for the night in case they told him to move out.
“I told mum and she didn’t say anything for like five minutes.
“I don’t think I cried at this point but I was so nervous and I felt how tight my body was like I hadn’t stretched in four years. My body was just like seized with anxiety.
“She started with ‘I love you regardless but are you sure’ the typical naive European response, ‘have you tried it with a girl’ and I said yes mum it’s not that you are who you are you don’t choose to be gay.
“She started to cry and said “It’s just everything I want for you is gone now”…which I took offence to, quite badly, because I was out to my friends for a while I was feeling quite ok about it and I was feeling quite empowered by the gay community.
“When she said that I really got offended and I guess I was a little insensitive and so I started going back to her saying “how dare you….”
“Just what you had in mind doesn’t exist doesn’t mean mine doesn’t exist..”
It was two hours later that he explained to his father who had a response that even surprised Jordan.
“The first thing he said to me was “OK, that’s fine, but you’re gonna have to move to the eastern states because we don’t have homosexuals in Western Australia.
“They only live in Melb and Syd” and I was ‘No dad you do have homosexuals in Perth and he was like “No I don’t think we do, all the queers go to the east coast I’ve heard about it, and that’s where they don’t get bullied and teased.
“He had good intentions. Then he told me I’d never be able to bring a boy home.
“I slammed so many doors and told him some really harsh things. I’m quite aggressive.
“Five days later I brought my boyfriend over for dinner and we never looked back really.
“Then that relationship ended and I got a new bf and he really got along with my dad, and when that relationship ended my dad was actually really upset. He really missed having him at home.
“When people see what it’s like and how little it actually impacts them they are kind of shocked.”
Jordan and Anna were recently ambassadors at Gay Ski Week in Queenstown and along with cooking appearances for companies such as Coles and Rio Tinto Jordan is starting to plan what his next step will be.
“I’m trying to kind of work myself into becoming a gay chef. Which sounds a little bit like gay people don’t need different food to straight people.
“More my story in terms of I came out as gay and kind of struggled with it and I relied on food to help me through my tough times.
“Just my way of how I identify with food and what it means to me.”
Jordan will release his first major cookbook in the next few weeks and eikon will keep you up-to-date with all of the latest information as it’s released.