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CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- “If you don’t remember Jason Wimberly, then you simply haven’t met him yet.” That’s not just a clever line that Wimberly has plastered on his website; it is a fact.
Wimberly, a native SoCal boy, has been building his larger-than-life brand and persona for many years and has amassed a great amount of respect in San Diego's LGBT community for his charm, style and charitable commitments. Wimberly has more than an abundance of personality, panache and presence. That’s probably why MTV picked him to help a Missouri teenager on her journey from tomboy to beauty queen on the network’s hit show, “MADE,” or why he was chosen as a finalist in the Montreal Queer of the Year competition.
Enduring the hot and humid Missouri summer, Wimberly has been working with his “MADE” apprentice for 12 hours a day for the last two months. The "MADE" episode will air on MTV on Sept. 23.
“I’m literally walking around Chesterfield, Mo., in five-inch heels,” Wimberly said. “The great part about it is I’m as crazy and outlandish as I am but still confident and I think it’s really helped her to push herself a little bit too. I’m a little out there for Chesterfield, Mo.”
As a very androgynous man standing 6-foot-6 in those high heels, Wimberly might have gotten more than his share of second glances while staying in Missouri. Wimberly has been very out and in the open since a young age. In high school, he was voted the prom princess by his classmates.
“I was lucky that my entire family was my support team. I was the kid who took a boy to junior prom. My family was just so supportive and loving. No one in my entire family ever challenged me or told me I couldn’t be myself, they just let me be who I wanted to be,” he said.
Wimberly recognized that not every kid growing up LGBTQ had as many supportive resources in their lives as he did and wanted to help those kids who didn’t have anyone else to turn to. He also saw how peer and family support can help to heal old wounds and make way for a fresh start by observing his “MADE” student and how she coped with losing her father at a young age.
Recognizing that the support system she had intact was what was helping her to strive for the best for herself, made Wimberly want to make those opportunities available to LGBTQ youth who were struggling with their own issues.
He recently applied for his newest project to have a non-profit organization status, so that through online resources his group can help kids who are struggling with their sexuality.
“I’m creating an online resource for young gay and lesbian boys and girls. It’s called Fairy Gay Mother Inc.,” said Wimberly, formerly a spokesperson for Rufskin, the clothing line based in North Park. “I just wanted to have something online to group the resources that are out there into one place and maybe realize what resources we don’t have for young gay kids. If I was a young gay kid in Missouri and I didn’t have anyone to talk to and my family didn’t accept what I was going through, where would I go? It’s not something that you can just Google on the Internet.”
Love and support from family and friends helped Wimberly parlay his affinity for fashion into a full-blown worldwide career. He has spent substantial time overseas working as a fashion consultant and spokesperson.
Montreal Queer of the Year finals
Last week, Wimberly was selected as one of the six finalists for the Montreal Queer of the Year 2011. He will head to Montreal later this month to compete for the title.
Queer of the Year is basically a reality-TV show that films during Montreal’s Pride Week that pits the finalists against each other in a variety of categories while they’re all living under the same roof.
“It’s shot kind of like ‘America’s Next Top Model.’ There are cameras on us 24/7,” Wimberly said. “We all live in this loft together and there are 12 days of challenges and there are 10 different categories that we’ll be judged on, from community outreach, to healthy lifestyle and sex appeal.”
When Wimberly isn’t on the road or television, he divides his time between New York City and San Diego. In June, he started a new gig as an instructor at Soul Cycle, one of the hottest new places to work out in New York.
You can see Wimberly on MTV’s “MADE” in September or you can try to keep up with his super hectic schedule on his website, wimberlyworldwide.com.