Jacques Snyman Proves He's
The Countertenor With A Big Heart
By: Sidney Alvarez, Fuerte Men Publisher
Note from the writer: I received a voice mail message from Jacque as the debut of Fuerte Men approached. His message was a clear insight into his gutsy and fun personality and I share it now with Fuerte Men readers: “Hi Sidney, I’m just ringing you because I think this is the launch of your Fuerte Men. I just wanted to wish you much success. I’ll cross my fingers, and I’ll cross my toes, and I’ll hope it all helps!
At first appearance, Jacques Snyman is a brick house of power, muscle, and raw masculinity. And why wouldn’t he be – after all, he is a South African rugby star. Trained to be in physical top shape, a moving machine of athleticism, strength, instinct, and calculated sportsmanship. But what you also need to know about Jacques is that he is a model, a countertenor, and humanitarian. Jacques sings for a purpose, to help those whom may not necessarily have a voice to protect themselves. He sings and hopes to spread the word for the It Gets Better Project, an LGBT movement to stop bullying in schools. Jacques has two upcoming performances scheduled in October. The first is the Monkey Suite Charity Ball in Tampa, Florida and the second is with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus for the Crescendo gala on October 9th; both performances support LGBT charities.
Here is the Fuerte Men interview with Jacques Snyman:
FM: Tell us about your workout regime, at 6 feet and 245 pounds, you pack some power?
JS: I try to eat healthy and stay active and exercise as much as I can. I started gymnastics when I was 5 and would train very intensely six days a week. Honestly, I’ve taken that healthy mentality since I was a child and now in my late 30’s I’ve figured out that there is no easy answer. It is simple hard work and determination.
FM: What do you think is your best physical feature?
JS: Most definitely my legs, my thighs are very powerful.
FM: How do you feel about being viewed as a male sex symbol?
JS: I’m flattered that people could think of me in that respect. I do my best to take care of myself physically and train very hard as I mentioned. I don’t take myself so seriously, but appreciate the thoughts. I hope people realize there is more to me that a strong physique.
FM: Tell us about your participating in Mr. Gay South Africa.
Let me begin by saying the guy who won, Charl van den Berg went on to win Mr. Gay World and did a fantastic job representing the pageant. My experience with the whole pageant world really opened my eyes. I learned I had some prejudices myself. I felt ashamed at times. There were some very feminine boys and I thought that I would never get along with them. After learning more and understanding what they went through I had a different perspective. I’m glad I had the opportunity to grow.
FM: You played in your state under a 13 –rugby team. When did your love for rugby develop?
JS: Actually from the age of 6. My grandfather competed in the Olympics and I know I inherited his great love of sports. My mother let me enroll in gymnastics and from there it led to soccer, track, swimming, and rugby.
FM: Did you face any adversity as a gay man playing rugby?
JS: I just wanted to be honest with my teammates, but I really feared their reactions. If you think about it -- at the time there had never really been a public sports personality come out. It made for very uncomfortable
FM: I saw your Youtube video where you are singing. I was just blown away. Tell us about being a countertenor.
JS: I’m still very new to this. I approached a friend in London who is a professor of vocal studies and said I have the talent. I grew up in a musical family were people were playing instruments like violins, cello, flute, and the piano. We would also sing and perform. And incase you are wondering, everything is still intact down there! I know when people think of a countertenor they sometimes wonder if anything is cut!
FM: Do you think you might be bringing a resurgence of the role of a countertenor?
JS: It was widely popular in the 17th century and I wouldn’t say I’m making it popular again, but if I can introduce it to an audience that would have never heard of it before then I am pleased. I’m not saying that I am a classically trained opera singer, and I’m bringing the movement back. What I am saying is that I have a passion for music and this is hopefully my way of helping others have some joy in there life.
FM: How did your concerts develop for the It Gets Better Project?
JS: In January 2011, I organized a free concert that raised donations for an AIDS orphanage in Cape Town. I wanted to do something in the states with an LGBT charity to help youth. I was introduced to the It Gets Better Project and immediately felt connected to it.
FM: You’ve publically shared how you were abused as a child. Has it helped in the healing process to align yourself with It Gets Better Project??
JS: I think we all face personal challenges that we have to over come and find ways to make ourselves stronger. I can find myself gravitating to their mission and helping stop abuse; in this respect, bulling. I hope I can help others to never be silent.
FM: What’s harder singing or rugby?
JS: I would say singing because it is very personal and can leave you venerable. At the same time though you make a connection that is very powerful.
FM: Musically, whom do you admire?
JS: My favorite composers are Mozart, Handel Vivaldi and Gluck. I also love Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Kylie.
About the Author
Sidney Alvarez is a 10-year veteran in Public Relations and Brand Marketing; an Emmy award winning television journalist; workforce and economic development expert; and social media specialist.
Memorable Sidney one on one interviews include: Pink, Beyonce, Destiny’s Child, Oprah Winfrey, Ricky Martin, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Mexico President Vicente Fox, Laura Bush, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Shania Twain, Gwen Stefani, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Garth Brooks, Patrick Swayze, Halle Berry, Bill Cosby, Colton Ford, Wynonna Judd, Naomi Judd, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, and Hillary Clinton. Sidney has worked with different media affiliates as an on air talent; including: NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, Warner Brothers, Univision, and MTV. Sidney resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but is a native of El Paso, Texas.
Behind the scenes of a Jacques Snyman
Photo Shoot by Photographer Vim Kruger:
I have known Jacques since he was a "little" boy of about 17. His version of our past is slightly different from mine as he says that a the time I told him his upper body and shoulders weren't big enough and that he should work on that and (again) apparently I would not photograph him at that time. Well fast forward 20 years and I run into him in Fort Lauderdale and the first thing he asks me is whether his shoulders are big enough now :)
We shot these pictures with his upcoming concerts in mind. We needed something that would show off his body but that are not too revealing to use on posters, cards and programs themselves.
I prefer to work alone without other people distracting me or the model. Personally I prefer Jacques to not shave his body, as he has a very nice hairy chest. But unfortunately he is very fair skinned and his body hair is blond which is not the best for photography (so hence the shaved look).