Bear Pride Poland took place from October 19th through the 22nd inin Poznań during which the 15th annual Mr. Bear Poland contest was held. After a funfilled and eventful competition, Marcin Jablonkowski was declared the winner. Check out our conversation with him below.
BWM: Can you tell us a bit about your background? Including name, where you are from and current city of residency?
Marcin Jabłonkowski (MJ): Hello, my name is Marcin Jabłonkowski, I’m a 36 year old bear, 6.5 feet tall (198cm) and 265lbs (120kg) from Warsaw, Poland.
BWM: Woof! What drew you to the bear community?
MJ: The shortest answer to this question is “because I like bears” HAHA
But seriously, I joined the bear community about 15 years ago because – and I won’t be original here – I really love bearish beauty. Big, bearded men, preferably older than me, there’s nothing better! And I guess subconsciously I was looking for my Daddy Bear.
Once I joined the bears, it turned out to be a very nice community in which I felt great, found a lot of friends, and met my lovely partner. It also turned out to be a perfect place to pursue my passions and to act for the benefit of other people.
BWM: What made you want to compete for the title?
MJ: Honestly, I’ve been thinking about competing for the title of Mr. Bear Poland for a long time. A few years ago I wouldn’t have been ready to take on the commitment and responsibility so I decided to wait.
Eventually, I decided that the 15th anniversary of the Mr. Bear Poland election would be a good time to go for it. I was inspired by the late founder of the Bears of Poland, Piotr Nowak, whose intention it was to take part in the 10th edition of the bear elections… Unfortunately, he did not manage to fulfill his dream.
BWM: How was your experience competing?
MJ: It was a lot of fun, but of course there was a bit of stress. I started preparing for the elections a year ago with with more regular visits to gym. If I wanted to be a Mister Bear I wanted to be a little bigger, plus it was additional motivation to work on my body and fitness. I had also planned out my main performance some time ago. An idea came to my mind, I discussed it with my partner and we thought it was something fun and original. All that was left to do was work out the details, which was relatively easy – although I still made some last-minute tweaks to my performance.
I ended up playing the role of Elsa from Frozen, performing a lipsync to the song Let It Go by Peyton Parrish. I went on stage in a dress and a blonde wig, and during the performance, a few pups jumped up and ripped off my outfit, revealing me in a leather kilt, boots and wristband. You can check it out HERE along with the rest of the performances from election night.
As for the remaining portions of the competition, I decided to just go for it. This was one of the main pieces of advice I got from my friends – not to plan everything from beginning to end, but to act spontaneously. My competitors and I had to present ourselves on social media, where, of course, anyone could ask us questions. Before the elections, there was also a live stream on YouTube, where candidates answered questions from the organizers and the audience. And since the elections took place during the Bear Pride Poland event, participants had as many as 3 days during which they could talk with each of the candidates to get to know us better before the jury and audience voted. I just really let my guard down and went with the flow which seemed to work best for me.
However, the greatest part of the whole experience was that the contest provided me with the chance to make new friendships.. My fellow competitors turned out to be really amazing people. It’s a pity that we didn’t have the opportunity to meet earlier, because the four days spent in Poznań passed by incredibly quickly. But we are still in touch with each other and even spent last weekend together at a small Bear event in Warsaw.
BWM: What are the responsibilities associated with your title?
MJ: The primary task of Mr. Bear Poland is to represent the Polish bear community and the Bears of Poland Association to the world, and let every bear and admirer know that they are welcome to join us!
The title also allows the winner to show that there are many types of male beauty in the queer community and that everyone has the right to feel good in their body.
Mr. Bear Poland also actively participates in activities integrating the Polish bear community with the larger LGBTQ+ community.
BWM: What are your goals for your title year? Where will you be appearing?
MJ: I would like to properly represent the Polish bear community to the world .A few years ago, we had much more contact with the international communities, but the coronavirus pandemic has severely limited this. I would like to help rebuild it, and let people know that there are many interesting things happening in Poland and that it is worth coming here for a visit.
Every year, several large events take place, gathering people from all over Poland and abroad – BearSawa in Warsaw, Bear Pride Poland in Poznań and amBears in Tricity, for example. For over a dozen years, we have also been organizing the Bear & Fetish Camp – a unique event during which over 100 people meet for a four-day trip. During this time, we have fun together, explore the area, and take part in lectures or training. In addition to bears and chasers, representatives of the fetish community take part in this event, which is an excellent opportunity for joint integration. Supporting this type of integration activity is also one of my goals this year.
With respect to travel and appearances, I’m constantly adding dates of events to my calendar that I feel myself or Krzysiek, our Vice Mr. Bear Poland 2024, should be attending. At the moment I am planning to visit Bear Carnival in Gran Canaria in March and, of course, Bear Pride in the Czech Republic in May.
BWM: What are some important issues you feel that need to be addressed in the bear community?
MJ: The Polish bear community has existed for over 15 years and is doing quite well, despite the problems affecting the larger Polish LGBTQ+ community as a result of the lack of regulations protecting the rights of sexual minorities in Poland.
I believe that as a community, the bears should strive for increased contact with people living outside the larger cities because some of those people still do not even know that there is something like a bear community in Poland.
It is equally important to encourage members of our community to be more active and engaged in specific activities, as well as to participate in live events again.
After the pandemic, some people still prefer to spend time in front of a computer screen or in a small, closed group of friends which needs to change.
These are just two topics that seem the most important to me, but of course the list of important issues is much much longer.
BWM: Anything else you’d like to mention that we haven’t covered?
MJ: One of my favorite hobbies is running my live streams on Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/daddy_sayjan) and I hope people will check me out! I am also thinking about expanding to YouTube soon, but that will be a project for 2024.
BWM: Sounds great! Thank you so much Marcin and good luck during your title year!