‘Pageant Material’ Writer/Director Jono Mitchell Finally Feels Comfortable In His Own Skin

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Atlanta based writer/director/producer Jono Mitchell (Pageant Material) revealed his success at meeting his weight loss goals in 2020 and how it’s given him the confidence to challenge himself even harder in 2021.

 

Mitchell’s recent projects include the short film Jenna Gets an Abortion (2020) and the award-winning feature film Pageant Material (2019). He’s also known for his work on the Adult Swim digital programs Dear Jono and Stupid Morning BS.

Mitchell spoke about how he achieved the weight loss and the subsequent confidence and happiness that’s resulted in an Instagram post Thursday: “In less than two weeks I’ll close out a year since I made the decision to make a change. I had one goal: to run a 5k. Thanks to COVID that got canceled, but what I gained in mindset and attitude shaped the person I am today.”

 

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The post continues: “Twice today I’ve discussed the person I was before the weight loss. How he saw and interacted with the world and the ways in which certain people preyed on his brokenness to serve their own goals. I don’t know who I was a year ago. That man feels like a distant memory. I remember the hurt and I remember the sadness and I remember the pain. It’s all very distinct and I imagine now that I’ve shed the physical weight that it’ll take a long time to contend with the emotional weight I carried as well. It’s strange to look at these photos and all the different versions of myself. It’s especially crazy to track over the course of the past year.”

“I realize now that what I needed more than anything was the ability to feel at home in my skin and that required a physical change. That’s not the same for everyone. It’s personal to me. Physically there are parts of me that were so beautiful. Parts that always have been and always will be, but I didn’t lose those parts of myself in the change. I wish I could’ve felt as free then as I’ve felt the past few months, but so much stood in the way. So I made the decision to fix it. I’m proud of myself. I’m very much in disbelief that I did this, but hot damn I’m very proud.”

 

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“I was challenged by my coach to look at my 2021 goals and honestly, I don’t know? What’s next? There’s a part of me that never thought I’d get here so I hadn’t really thought that far. As I press into a year that’s sure to be challenging mentally and professionally I do know this: my goal will be to smile more, talk shit less, and remember how much love I feel for myself and others. I’m so excited to see the changes that manifest from that. Who knows? Maybe I wanna do more pull-ups or have a “sex V.” Those are both possibilities.”

In addition to his fitness regimen, Mitchell says it was, “80% nutrition and StrongerU.com helped me navigate my macro counting. Not an ad… just a huge fan cause they helped me achieve what you see above.”

 

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Wussy Mag in a profile of Mitchell said, “It’s not every day that a film comes around that feels made for us queers. Or, if it is, it’s subjected to be delegated to the LGBT section on Netflix. This isn’t a bad thing – I know where to find all my queer movies that way – but at times, it does feel like LGBTQ+ folx are being told to go sit in the corner while the ‘real’ movies get made.”

This isn’t the case for Jonothon Mitchell’s Pageant Material. While the film is about a gay teen striking out to the big city of Atlanta to compete in a drag queen competition…okay, I just re-read the sentence I wrote and yes. Fine. It’s a queer movie, and it’s unabashedly proud of it. But there’s plenty of stuff for the straights, too, as I found out when I sat down with Mitchell for a tête-à-tête about his new joint, which is being featured as a part of the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival.

Mitchell told NPR that with Pageant Material, “I really wanted to showcase the idea of queer joy versus queer pain. A queer character is just like everyone else.”

“What makes Rodney different in the eyes of his heterosexual counterparts is largely what makes him the same. We all have dreams, we all want to follow them, we all have a right to.”

 

”For me,” Mitchell told the Windy City Times in 2019, “Queer joy is the ability to be unabashedly yourself in the face of adversity.”

 

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