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Sean Gehon shares a strong sense of self-esteem and talks about overcoming stigmas attached to being gay. He was a TV personality on MuchMusic's VJ search and the show Star! Daily, and is currently no longer on air.
You have a new gig since your rise to fame on Much Music’s VJ search earlier this year. How are you enjoying your role as an Entertainment Reporter at Star! and who is the most interesting individual that you've interviewed to date?
My role on Star! has been fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better position, even if I had won the VJ Search. The team around me is so helpful and supportive, they’ve really taken the initiative when it comes to helping me learn and grow with my craft. A lot of people fail to understand that the only training and experience I have in television came from the VJ Search, so to have a team that’s willing to take my faults and foster my talent is amazing.
The most interesting person I’ve interviewed has probably been John Waters because he’s honestly a living legend. What John has done for cinema, opening doors and pushing boundaries has really helped to open up our society in terms of what’s acceptable and what we can do in the movies. Beyond that, John Waters is just a funny, genuinely nice human being, and sometimes that can be rare in a person of his calibre.
During the interview process at Much Music you indicated that you felt very stressed out. How did you deal with the stress?
Considering the circumstances of the show, it’s almost impossible not to be stressed out. Everything you say, think, do, feel is under criticism not only from the panel of experts, but from the entire country whose votes you’re trying to win. At the end of the day as stressed out as I was, I really missed my family and friends more than anything else. Dealing with the stress was nearly impossible, but I did my best to stay focused, keep my eye on the prize, and realize, that this wasn’t the only important thing. I lived my life as normally as I could while filming a television show. That meant continuing to act normally…every conversation I had with the camera was like having a conversation with my best friend’s or my mom back home. Constantly thinking about them and knowing what an amazing opportunity I had was what really helped me get through the stress.
You were living in a penthouse for 10 weeks with 10 other contestants who you did not know well, spending every second together. How did you make personal time for yourself?
Personal time in the penthouse was rare. I was lucky to have a good support system in Nikki. When I needed time to vent or time to just be normal, I would sit with Nikki and just vent about everything and everyone that was causing me stress. As far as ‘alone’ time goes, that was in my bedroom.. I was very lucky that after the first elimination I was put into a bedroom by myself and never had to change. I had my own bathroom, my own place to read and really my own private island of solitude. It was fantastic.
You were immensely popular on the show. What do you think people connected with?
I don’t know if I’d say I was immensely popular, but I was popular enough to come in second I suppose. It still baffles me what people saw in me, but what I’d like to think is that they saw I was genuine. During the show I was very open about who I was as a person and what I thought. I held nothing back and went in giving everything 100%. If that meant being blunt, if that meant being funny, and if that meant “going for it” in the challenges, that’s what I did. I’d like to hope that people saw a bit of themselves in me, and more importantly, I’d like to think I maybe showed a few people that it’s ok to be who you are.
What was it like hearing some of the criticism that both the judges and contestants made about you on camera?
I was lucky that the other contestants never really said anything negative about me. I probably did a majority of the criticizing about myself and the other contestants, so you could say that I dodged the bullet. As far as the judges were concerned, I found them tough, but fair. I was lucky that their criticisms of me were mostly positive and constructive. I wound up in the ‘bottom three’ once and it was because I was being exceptionally whiny. I thought that was fair and I ended up learning from that experience.
You were categorized as “the gay one” how did you feel about that and how did you try to break down that stereotype?
I hated being the gay one. Last time I checked I was a human being, not just a gay person. I felt a lot of the criticism against me had a lot to do with my flamboyant nature and to change who you are is something I refuse to do. Breaking that stereotype was something I did at every challenge. It was my goal to prove to Canada and to myself that I wasn’t invited on the show as a gay person, but I was invited to compete for the job. By doing my best and coming through as a competitor as opposed to reality television fluff, I would like to think that people started to look at me as Sean, as opposed to that gay guy.
This VJ search was different from any other one we have seen. Would you have preferred the old process?
I think the way they did this search was better because it really gave you an opportunity to learn and grow and develop your craft. A lot of us had no experience before getting on this show, so to have the opportunity of a crash course in the media was an amazing. Without it, I may not have come in second, and I may not have my job today.
Our web site is about inspiring youth and young adults to reach out for help when times get tough. What advice would you give them if they needed help?
The best advice I have to give is that no matter how hard times get, the only way they’re going to get any better is if you do something about it. Every situation is different, and everyone’s problems are different, but the only way to improve your life is to go about taking steps to make it better. Things happen for a reason, I myself have had tough times, and the reason you go through them is to make you a stronger and better person. You can’t do everything on your own, so find someone willing to help or listen because you’re never alone.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The best advice I ever got was probably from me! There was a period in my life where I had hit my rock bottom. I was depressed, I was upset, I was constantly angry and emotional, and I wasn’t happy. It got to the point where I told myself to either fix my problems and deal with all the negativity in my life or do something drastic. Luckily, I managed to find my way and become the person I am today. That person is someone I’m proud to have shared with the country and someone who is proud to be walking down the street. More importantly, who I am is someone my Mom and Dad are willing to go out and say is theirs, and that to me is the most important thing.
Any words to live by?
No regrets. You’ve already done it, you can’t change it, and it’s brought you to where you are today. And just do it. You can always look back at mistakes you’ve made, but it’s better to have made them than to wonder what if?
mindyourmind speaks with advocates, authors, musicians, athletes and other people about their own opinions and life experiences.