I last sat down with Tony in November of 2021 right after he captured the title of Mr. Gay World USA (the next Mr. Gay World USA will be in June). I was a judge that night and Tony had the “It Factor” that I have rarely seen in my life and was the clear winner that night. Since then, Tony has been an amazing King traveling all over the country and went on to place 1st alternate in the Mr. Gay World International contest.
Originally from New Jersey, Tony has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Maine, and even Singapore as well as having traveled all over Asia, Europe, and all 50 states. As an award-winning Actor, Director, and producer for the short film “Far Far Away,” Tony takes pride in creating LGBTQ media as well as managing his own event/entertainment company. Tony has been seen in film, television, and numerous commercials as well as the original Ryder from Nickelodeon’s paw patrol live. Coming from a big family, Tony understands the power of community, and love. Tony’s newest project is that he is one of the contestants in Out TV’s newest show “For The Love of DILF’s.”
It was a pleasure to sit down with Tony, once again, for this exclusive Hotspots follow up interview:
How did life change once you won the title of Mr. Gay World USA?
My life has changed immensely. Within my year as Mr. gay world USA 2022 I had the chance to tour all over the country. I had the opportunity to talk and speak at schools, pride events, colleges, and LGBTQ+ centers around the USA. I published my lgbtq+ children’s book “Gill the Merboy” that focuses on gender norms, anti-bullying, and positive representation. I had the chance to work on American Horror Story as well as film a reality show for OutTV. I bought a house on the lake, started a new marketing job with the US Army, got a dog, and started my passion project which is “My gay big brother” a mentorship program that gives every lgbtq+ youth member a gay big brother (or sister) to talk to and guide. I even got to go to pride events and filmed interviews with the public to get their stories and showcase our community with fun questions like who was your first gay celebrity crush to real questions like, how did you come out. From waving in numerous parades to getting a key to the city, it has been an honor to be a part of this grand adventure.
What are some of the favorite places you have traveled to as Mr. Gay World USA?
I went to Atlanta a lot which is a city I really love. I have also been in LA and Fort Lauderdale a lot.
How did you prepare for the International Competition?
My main thing was just being myself as I am new to the whole pageant world. Mr. Gay World USA was my first pageant, so the international pageant was my second pageant. I also got to make a gay Captain America costume which is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Tell us about your experience in South Africa and at Mr. Gay World?
It was the coolest thing in the world, and my mom surprised me and showed up for the main contest. Meeting people from different countries was one of the most amazing things. I had never been to Africa, so exploring was incredible. I also made good friends with some of the candidates from other countries. In South Africa we got to go to orphanages and LGBTQ+ centers and it was heartwarming. I loved every sec of it. The South Africa Pageant of Mr. Gay World was amazing. I wanted every look to represent a city in the US. MY Swimsuit was a star spangle banner look for Dallas; my evening wear was the sparkle and lights look for New York City; my high fashion was the grunge and strength of Chicago; and my national costume was the inspiration and pop culture that comes out of Hollywood. My speech paid homage to the wizard of oz which had the audience (and some of the judges) standing on their feet and when I got backstage the crew came up to me and said “Mr. American man, you made me cry, very beautiful. They crowned me First runner up and crowned Puerto Rico that night. They then told us that we were one point away from each other. At the end he left the stage, and I stayed on stage and did a full meet and greet. I was so surprised with all the people that wanted to meet me (And others wanted to meet my mom). This was a dream I get to live. I couldn’t be happier.
Did you have a crush on any of the other candidates and who are you still in touch with?
I didn’t have a crush on any of the competitors, but I did have a crush on some of the people backstage. I still speak to South Africa, Czech Republic and Philippines.
How did you get cast in “For the Love of DILF’s?”
I was in Wilton Manors during Stonewall Pride last year and there was a casting thing going on. My friend, who was Mr. Kentucky, forced me to do an audition tape and I sent it in 5 min before the deadline. Two months later I bought my house, and that same day I got a call that I was on the show.
What was it like filming “For the Love of DILF’s?”
It was very interesting as I am a big fan of Flavor of Love, etc. Being stuck in a mansion with Stormy Daniels and a bunch of Hot guys is a gay dream come true.
What does the future hold for you?
As of right now I am excited to be touring with the book and producing my own things and I am waiting to see what “For the Love of DILF’s” bring me. I am here for the ride, and I am going to enjoy every second of it.
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For more information about Mr. Gay World USA 2022, you can follow him on Instagram.com/ Tony. Cannoli; Instagram.com/Farfarawaytheseries; or Youtube.com/Tony Ardolino.