Footballer Waxes and Shines for LGBT Causes
By Chris Jenkins
American footballers can learn a thing or two from their European counterparts, especially when it comes to standing up as LGBT allies.
Professional rugby league player Stuart Reardon is the latest to raise his voice in support, arguing in recent interviews against Russia’s inhumanity toward the LGBT community.
This month he announced he was partnering with Axiom For Men, the men’s skin care line, in their effort to raise money and visibility for LGBT organizations. When customers buy any Axiom For Men product, the company donates a percent of sales to LGBT charities including Family Equality Council and The National Center for Transgender Equality, among others.
We sat down with the burly footballer to discuss how he is preparing for the upcoming season and to learn if the new partnership means he’ll be waxing his front and rear-don.
Does bullying exist in the rugby locker room?
I’ve never seen bullying in the locker room. We make jokes but it doesn’t go any further than that. The coaches wouldn’t tolerate it.
What is something a guy might get chided for?
Well, the fact that I model has been a good source of jokes.
Really, a big guy like you gets picked on?
Sure, but I don’t mind. It’s really all about the camaraderie. It never erupts into anything serious or personal. We’re just trying to have a laugh.
How will they react to your being the new face of men’s skin care?
Some might have a laugh but most guys use products these days. When they see all the loot in my gym bag, they’ll bebegging me for it.
You actually use it?
Of course. The hair removal cream, in particular, is an important part of my gear, not only for photo shoots but for when I play rugby. If my legs are hairy it gives opponents something to grip onto when tackling and also makes treating abrasions more painful.
How often do you wax?
Once a month. Luckily, I’m not naturally hairy. My legs are hairy, but my chest isn’t.
Waxing probably helps your tats stand out.
Actually, that’s true. That was how I first started using Axiom. Their cream is known for not fading ink. My tattoos are very personal and important to me.
Several rugby players have stood up as LGBT allies, among them: Ben Cohen, Nick Youngquest and now you. Why have rugby players stood up but not American footballers?
I don’t know that much about American football culture. In the UK, times are really changing and people are much more open-minded than they were even a decade ago.
Have you played against Cohen or Youngquest?
I have not played Ben. I hear he’s a good winger. I have played against Nick in the Super League. He’s a great player. He’d have to be as he plays at the highest level.
Would it be safe for a professional rugby player to come out of the closet?
I think so. Gareth Thomas came out. He had a tough ride for a while, but he found acceptance.
How would you feel about having a gay player in the showers with you?
I wouldn’t even think twice about it. It would be like showering with any other player.
How are you gearing up for the next sporting season?
I’m currently in rehab for my Achilles. I underwent reconstruction surgery three months ago so I’m spending lots of time with physicians and trainers, lifting weights and doing cardio. I can’t run yet but I’m almost there. This is the time in the season to put on body weight, so I’m working on that too.
Your team was league champions last year. Are you looking forward to defending your title?
Coming back as champs means we’ll face a lot more competition this season. But we’ve recruited well and everyone is excited about season. We’re ready to battle.
But first, make sure you moisturize!
Of course, I aim to shine off and on the field.