Drag Race’s first Pit Crew hunk ‘representing the big boys’ is redefining gay beauty standards – no matter what his haters say
When Canada’s Drag Race unveiled its Pit Crew, fans were instantly bowled over by Mina Gerges, its first “plus-sized member”.
Since its inception, Drag Race has relied on its Pit Crew to help out with challenges, serve as backing dancers and generally leave fans (and its queens) thirsting.
The crew present a problematic version of the gay beauty ideal: oiled, muscular men with washboard abs trailing down to an obscenely protruding package. No twinks, no bears, certainly no femmes, just an endless run of identikit beefcakes with bulges in all the right places.
Which is why Gerges’ addition to the show made such a stir.
“I didn’t know that I’d be the first plus-sized member of the Pit Crew,” he told Out, “but I knew I needed to be there so that the young gay kids watching the show can see a bigger body and stretch marks and learn to be kinder to themselves.”
Gerges, who is gay and gender-fluid, made his grand entrance in episode four of Canada’s Drag Race as one of 10 extended Pit Crew members, causing a minor social media frenzy.
— Anastarzia Anaquway aka Starzy (@Anaquway) August 2, 2020
No one has mentioned how two weeks ago @RuPaulsDragRace Canada had a pit crew member with a different body type! Body diversity is beautiful. You have no idea the impact this could make. Thank you @WorldOfWonder for showing this stud! I screamed.#dragracecanada #bigboysummer pic.twitter.com/PjKZ0Vu5q1
— Daniel Franzese (@WhatsupDanny) August 1, 2020
We love them Thick and juicy!!! ? pic.twitter.com/6KmprdnQMB
— Brooke Lynn Hytes (@Bhytes1) July 27, 2020
The majority of viewers were ecstatic to see a little body diversity come to the franchise, however Gerges has revealed that a small handful deemed it necessary to send him bullying comments.
“I’ve read hundreds of comments from gay men labelling, criticising, and analysing my body and it’s really not cute,” he tweeted Monday (August 3).
“Just appreciate that you’re finally seeing body diversity on the Pit Crew instead of having something negative to say about it.”
On a more positive note, he’s also received “thousands of DMs of men sharing their journey with body image and learning to accept their bodies and it shows how powerful this moment was, and I’m so grateful for that”.
Drag Race Pit Crew hunk Mina Gerges ‘first curvy model’ to star in a Calvin Klein campaign.
Earlier this year Gerges became the “first curvy male model” to work with Calvin Klein, starring in a campaign alongside Pabllo Vittar.
Never posted these on Twitter… but I was the first curvy male model to work with Calvin Klein and I love these photos so much. Love your body, with every curve and stretch mark on it ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/U7D23ccMkJ
— MINA (مينا) (@itsMinaGerges) February 13, 2020
Work like this, he said, is all about redefining the male beauty standards that made him hate his body growing up in Egypt, where homosexuality is illegal.
As an immigrant, he said he has been further rejected by members of the Arab diaspora, and is determined to bring representation to queer Arabs such as himself.
“I grew up being so conflicted by my identity, my religion, my sexuality, my gender expression,” he told Out.
“I had to unlearn a lot of the filth I was taught to feel about who I am just so I can look at myself in the mirror.
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“Now, I’m a proud gay gender-fluid person, and everything I do in my work today is to reclaim my culture and my heritage from the homophobia and bigotry that’s engrained in it.
“I feel empowered to use my privilege to fight for those back home who still don’t have a voice, who still face violence just for existing.”