‘I love posting pics of my ass. I work very hard on making it big and round and yes, I enjoy showing it off,’ says Austin Armacost.
Suffice to say, this star isn’t about to apologize for being an exhibitionist.
‘I also like to shock people,’ says the model, whose photos have helped amass 185.39k followers. ‘And for some reason somebody posting a picture of their ass is shocking…’
But why should he apologise for his ability to shock? It’s this quality that helped him rise to fame, after all.
First appearing on Logo’s LGBTI reality show The A-list in 2010, he moved from the US to Leeds in England following two stints in Celebrity Big Brother in 2015 and 2017. He finished in second in 2015, behind The Apprentice’s James Hill: the pair’s gay-straight bromance sparked national headlines.
Of course, his actual romances have been as widely-discussed, from a relationship with fashion designer Marc Jacobs to current squeeze Darren Banks, a British IT business architect.
‘I see myself marrying him very soon’
‘He’s one of the best men who has ever been in my life,’ says Austin of Darren. ‘I see myself marrying him very soon. I trust him wholeheartedly and he brings out the best me.’
However, it’s Austin’s divorce from ex-husband Jakes Lees, finalized in December, that inspired his recent two stone weight loss. ‘I set myself the goal of getting in great shape in 12 weeks,’ he says.
Do you and Darren encourage each other to lead a healthy lifestyle?
Yes, we love to live healthily. We exercise and cook together and are a great team. It is always a bonus to have somebody pushing you in a positive direction. Darren has been an extremely positive influence in my life in every way!
You seem really happy with him. What’s the best thing about him?
Not only is he handsome and built like a rugby player but our sex life is amazing. He is honest, trusting, funny, and generous. Darren is the ultimate catch and I’m so lucky to have him.
Have you discussed marriage/are you engaged?
We have discussed marriage. At this time we are not engaged, but I don’t think it will be too much longer. We have decided I will propose to him, as I am a little more emotional and creative. I will propose with a Breitling watch when the time comes.
Would you like kids one day?
No, I’m too selfish. Darren and I are both uncles, so we get the emotional stimulation from children whenever [we] want, from my niece and his nephews.
‘Divorce wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve been through’
You’ve credited your new look to getting over your 2017 divorce from your ex Jake Lees. Many divorced people say it’s the hardest thing they ever go through – what was your experience?
I wouldn’t say it was the hardest thing I have ever been through, no. It’s well-known I lost my brother in 2013, and six weeks later saw my mom sent to prison for six years, so my life has been a bit s*** over the years. I was, however, sad that such a long chapter of my life was coming to an end.
When I signed the divorce papers and it became official this past December, there was a massive feeling of ‘moving froward.’
I was not sad or angry, but ready to embrace the change that was fast approaching. Jake and I did not hate each other or have a nasty break-up. That made things more amicable and friendly when going through the divorce process.
You’ve recently mentioned feeling ‘a little body dysmorphic’ – how does this manifest itself? Where do you think this comes from?
I am always going to be a little body dysmorphic, so there are small elements of my body that I don’t like, but I am really pleased with how I look. I will always find reasons to criticise.
‘The process of selecting or being selected for sex is constant’
Many LGBTI men seem to go through this experience. Why do you think this is?
In the gay [male] community especially, sex is an everyday part of our interactions, conversations and relationships. There is no coincidence Grindr has a running stigma of being just for sex.
Men have an animistic desire to do it. Therefore the process of selecting or being selected for sex is constant. We are always being judged on our physical shape, as many gay men’s interactions only consist of physical activity.
What’s more important: looking good or being healthy? How are the two connected, if at all?
Being healthy, 100% – this is because, many times, you can risk your health for the advancement of beauty. Steroids and dangerous cosmetic procedures are just a few examples of this.
Being healthy does tend to equate to a good looking physique. But it is quite obvious when you see people who have pushed the boundary of safety to achieve a hyper-human state of what they think beauty is. Although muscle men can be attractive, not so much when their skin is grey and they are covered in black spots… Just a few side effects of steroids.
Do you want to get lighter still?
I am happy where I am now.
What are your guilty pleasures food-wise?
Pizza and Strongbow Dark Fruit Cider.
You’ve lost two stone in three months – how did you do it?
Losing weight and getting into shape is hard. You can achieve your goals much more quickly with help from the right supplements. The team at Forza developed a program for me. It involved up to two workouts a day. Weights in the morning and then cardio around tea-time.
I would start the day with four scrambled egg whites, before going to the gym for an hour doing weights. After that I would have a Forza Shake It Slim meal replacement drink, which contains only 204 calories per serving but has all the nutrients you need and leaves you feeling full.
Lunch would be a chicken breast with boiled sprouts, before I headed back to the gym at teatime for some cardio training.
If I needed some extra energy for the gym, I would take a Raspberry K2 capsule which gives you a lot of added zip and take the edge off your appetite.
During the 12 weeks, I also used Forza Fat Binder, a really effective fat binder which helps you to lose weight more quickly. I also used Forza Weight Loss Capsules which fills you up before meals and means you can eat around half the calories of a regular meal.
‘I’d all but dried up downstairs’
You once described yourself as ‘a very asexual person’ and ‘like a nun in bed’, and it generated a lot of conversation. Do these descriptions still apply?
Not at all! It was quite a misunderstanding that entire comment, actually. When asked, I was referring to the sexual relationship between Jake and I. Sex was limited with us and because we were monogamous. I had all but dried up downstairs. However, when I met Darren, he unleashed my inner sex beast! I find sex a wonderful and empowering activity. It is also a great way to burn calories.
You’re turning 30 soon. How do you plan to celebrate?
I’m flying my mum over for my 30th birthday. She has never left America and only been on a plane twice, so I was happy that she agreed to let me bring her to England which has been my home for almost a decade. My dad refused to fly as he has an overwhelming fear of terrorists. His words, not mine. So he refused to fly over.
We are firstly all going to Barcelona for a few days, Darren, my mom, and I, then London for a few days and topping it off with a big 30th birthday bash in Leeds. Darren and I are then flying out to Thailand for two weeks of romantic birthday bliss. Do I feel happier and more confident with age? Yes, I am at a good point in my life at present.
‘Courtney and Andrew were adorable together’
Did you watch Celebrity Big Brother this year? What did you think of Courtney Act and Andrew Brady’s bromance?
I do not watch Celebrity Big Brother constantly but did catch a few episodes this year. Courtney and Andrew were adorable together. It is always nice to see a straight man confident and comfortable enough with himself to have such a deep connection with an openly gay man.
Further to that, what an amazing representative of the LGBT community Courtney was. A very well-spoken, educated and calm advocate. Really enjoyed what she did for advancing LGBT acceptance by simply being herself.
Did it bring back memories of your time in the house with James Hill? How is he?
James and I have drifted apart over the last two years. We do see each other every now and then but nothing like we used to. We had our own lives going into the house, and had our own lives to return to. I will always have love for James!
Tell us more about Forza Supplements…
Forza Supplements are one of the UK’s leading health and wellbeing brands. Their products are sold in Boots and Holland & Barrett and they really work.
They worked with me to devise a long-term diet and weight loss programme which enabled to get the body of my dreams in 12 weeks. I will continue to take the products as part of my fitness regime with my trainer Mubeen Khan.
What Forza do is give you a little extra help – which accelerates your weight loss. I found that pounds really started to drop off when I was swapping lunch for one of its 204 calorie Shake It Slim meal replacements. They fill you up but give you all the vitamins and nutrients you need to live healthily and they are delicious.