Fitness enthusiast, dancer, baker, model and Winner of the Man of the World TT competition, 29 years old, Johnathan Samuel is a multitalented powerhouse. Born and raised in La-Horquetta Arima and the ‘only child’ of his mother, Samuel enjoys traveling, exercising, swimming and baking are some of his passions and hobbies. At first glance, Samuel is well-spoken and a ‘ladies man’, which pairs nicely with his empathetic nature, which he believes, if practiced more, Trinbago can be a better place.
Featured within this candid interview of Trinidad and Tobago’s future leaders and influencers, we at IzzSo give you a personal look into Johnathan Samuel’s personal development and all the attributes that make him eccentric.
JOHNATHAN SAMUEL – MAN OF THE WORLD TT
Q: What has been a challenge you’ve experienced in life, and how did you overcome it?
A: My greatest challenge would have to be adjusting to my concept of what life was, in that, in my mind as a child I thought it to be you finish school, get a job, preferably something governmental, you work, you retire, play checkers on independence square. That is the further thing from reality. for most of my generation having one income is becoming increasingly insufficient to maintaining not only a lifestyle but life itself. I experienced this a few years ago. One stream of income was becoming inadequate and resulting in added stress and worry, how I somewhat circumvented this was using skills I learned being a recent graduate of the then Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality Institute to alongside my day job bake and sell sweet treats, primarily cakes and cupcakes, which over time blossomed into a small online baking service which I still maintain currently.
Q: Why were you the best candidate to win Man of the World TT
A: I am thankful that I was chosen amongst so many other qualified individuals, I believe my ability to carry myself with a level of class and confidence makes me a great candidate. I am physically and mentally equipped to not represent myself but showcase and represent Trinidad & Tobago with the level of sophistication to portray T&T in the best possible light to the world.
Q: Why did you decide to compete in this pageant? Why did you want to win the pageant?
A: I grew up performing on stage. Having been part of the La Chapelle dance company and the UTT Rapturous voices chorale for most of my adolescent life, the stage was somewhat of a second home. I enjoyed every aspect of being on a stage. As I grew older and life happened, I longed for that feeling again. In 2019 I was introduced to the world of male pageantry having competed in The Mr. Caribbean competition where I placed 1st runner up, and in 2020 participating in the “Man of the world TT” where I was fortunate to have come out on top.
Q: Do you think that male pageantry objectifies men?
A: There is no way to control the perception of every single person you come across. It is known that pageantry in part involves the showcasing of one’s body, however, it buffered and balanced by intellect the intellect shown not only on the final night but throughout the process as wells the passion and compassion behind causes before, during and after.
Q: Why is your platform/title important to you?
A: This Platform is important to me because it is my objective to assist in any way I can to streamline male pageantry in Trinidad & Tobago and by extension the wider Caribbean. I believe that young men are grossly underrepresented in this area and like our female counterparts, we should also have to opportunity to display our skills, talent and passions on a similar platform without fear of ridicule or contempt.
Q: About the social media bullying that all contestants experienced before the finale of the competition, how did you overcome the online bullying and how did you triumph beyond it?
A: The saying that there are more for you than those who are against you comes to mind. Yes, there were persons quite vocal with their negative opinions and contributions, however, that was overshadowed by the overwhelming level of support on the same platform, receiving messages from persons I’ve never met before speaking about how I’ve inspired and motivated them in some way was all I needed to continue.
Q: There is a group of people who does not support the concept of beauty contests. What will you tell them?
A: I would say to them to not be so narrow-minded. It is perceived, and incorrectly so that pageants are only of about thin veneers of superficiality and I would like to correct this. Competitions like these creative ways to promote social connections, a way to create platforms to promote causes and issues, like a sport it encourages self-discipline, it promotes self-confidence which aids in heightened self-esteem as well as believes it or not can lead to opportunities for other paying jobs.
Q: What have you learned from this competition?
A: I’ve learned, and I got this lesson from my fellow delegates. Follow a dream even though others can’t see it, despite opposition, despite the negativity.
Q: How will you balance your family life and career?
A: In every aspect of life balance is important and must be maintained. In the process of building/maintaining my career, a family must always be remembered, and for me that doesn’t necessarily mean related by blood, but it is made up by the community of persons who constantly and consistently make positive contributions in my life. Time must be made to maintain those bonds, this helps keep me grounded, secure and centered.
Q: What is your biggest fear?
A: My biggest fear is having gone through life without making a meaningful impact and a lasting positive impression. Now if we’re speaking about something less philosophical, Snakes!
Q: How do you define success?
A: Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, and it cannot be boxed because every single person in the world had a different aim and purpose. For someone, success can mean degrees, to another being able to provide to someone else riches and to another fame. My definition is to make as positive of an impact on as many people as I possibly can.
Q: Who is the most inspiring person in your life and how?
A: My mother would hand down be the most inspiring person in my life. As a chile, I took for granted what at the time seemed to be minor acts, but as I grow older I began to understand the magnitude of her sacrifices to ensure that I was taken care of the best of the best that she could on many levels, Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. She is the most resilient, motivated and annoyingly optimistic person that I know, even in the face of relentless adversity.
Q: What do you plan to do after winning the title? How will you inspire others?
A: First thing, I’d be having a large beef and pine pizza (by myself), after which preparation for the international title in the Philippines begins. I will inspire others by using my newly acquired platform to raise awareness on issues passionate and personal to me as well as spread positivity, motivation and encouragement, especially to those young men who desire to participate in competitions such as this.
Q: Please name one interesting thing that others don’t know about you?
A: I’m not sure if this is categorized as interesting, but I like to eat things straight out of the fridge, from meat to condensed milk straight from the tin.
If you missed the live streaming of the competition, please click https://www.facebook.com/manoftheworldtt/videos/842199393240330/ And if your interested in getting to know more about Mr. Samuel, you can find him here at https://www.facebook.com/JohnathanSamuel1992