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All Photography: Angus Malcolm

We've featured the naked bodies of the Warwick Rowers on OutUK on quite a regular basis. Their annual calendar is one of the most popular of the Christmas fundraisers. We're glad these very fit sportsman want to show off their fantastic physique because there's a serious message behind their nudity. The Rowers raise money for Sport Allies, a charity that helps to make sport more inclusive and open a global, mindful conversation with everyone affected by male mental health.

This year they've changed the name of their campaign to Worldwide Roar so they can enable men to set project-based goals based on their sporting skills, their physical fitness, their social skills, empathy, courage and commitment to change. They want sportsmen everywhere to feel that they can truly be a part of the project, so they have found a new, more inclusive name.

You can purchase a Calendar direct from the Worldwide Roar Website for just £24.99. On the site you'll also find loads of other items including photo sets, film downloads, signed limited editions and picture profiles of some the guys. There's also the launch of the Worldwide Roar coffee table book called Manifesto, a magnificent celebration of paint and colour used by them over the last five calendars.
The Warwick Rowers first released a calendar in 2009 to raise funds for the university boat club. The shoot took place in one day, in the freezing cold, and it raised a lowly £300. Now it raises a six-figure sum every year and the calendar goes to around 80 countries with their viral messaging reach about twice that. Warwick Rowers have won a large number of awards for excellence, innovation and social impact, including twice being voted the UK Charity Calendar of the Year.

We've been talking with the guys to find out what it's like to strip off for such a good cause.

Amir, Why is it now called the Worldwide Roar?
We have kept the initials WR from our original name, because the last ten years are in our DNA, and we are proud of what we have achieved as a project in that time. As well as delivering a campaigning message of inclusion, the WR project has so far raised over 250,000 for good causes. Now, all profits go to Sport Allies, which this year entered into a partnership with London Film School and Sky Sports to produce films exploring outstanding stories of people, clubs and projects working to make sport more inclusive. The first three films have recently been shown to great acclaim on the SKY Sports platform.

Sebastian, Will you still be focused on rowing or is there more diversity now?
We are opening WR up to all sports and participants. Rowing remains a key part of who we are, and we have been grateful to British Rowing and several rowing clubs for helping us create our biggest cover shoot ever. Now, as the Worldwide Roar, diversity is at our heart - we are able to offer a platform for men to participate regardless of ethnicity, age, birth gender, sexuality, or physical ability.

Alex, Before you started at the University did you know about the calendar?
I had actually no idea when I took up rowing, but that was three years ago now and I only really understood what the project was in my second term of first year. I think it's really taken off in the last few years with the help of social media and so there's an ever increasing amount of new students each year with knowledge about the calendar.

Tom, Does everyone in the rowing team take part in the calendar?
The calendar isn't compulsory for everyone to take part in and some guys can't make it due to academic commitments (we shoot it during the term time), however a very large majority of the men's squad get involved. It is a lot of fun, as you just mess around with your mates for a couple of days every summer!

Tristan, Is there much competition to be featured in the calendar?
As we let everyone in the team take part I don't think there is competition. We're very competitive as a squad when it comes to fitness and strength, but I think the process of shooting the calendar is such good fun that we want everyone to be involved.

Tristan, Do you have any say in the poses you take in the pictures?
The shoot is a fairly organic process. Angus the photographer obviously shows up with some ideas as to the poses and shots he wants to take, but a lot of shots are on the spot collaborative ideas from the whole team.

Lucas, Did you ever feel shy about posing for the pictures?
I mean, it being my first time 'posing' in front of a camera for such purposes, I didn't really know what to do and therefore I might have been a bit shy at the beginning. But after a while you get used to it and it's all fine!

Will, Whilst there aren't full frontals in the calendar there's plenty more nudity in the movies. Did you find that a worry?
It's obviously a big step for all of us, but we feel it's something that really helps support our message. It's also done in a tasteful way, despite containing frontal nudity our films are tasteful and in no way overtly sexual.

Tom, What do other rowing teams think of Warwick and their calendar?
Warwick is pretty famous for its calendar and we get a lot of jokes about us actually wearing clothes when we get to races with other clubs, but it's all in good humour as they know it supports such a good cause. It's even been known for some people to ask for pictures with some of the rowers!

Tristan, Have you ever had negative comments or people being dismissive of what you do?
Luckily we haven't faced that much negativity at all. Given the amount of exposure we have, we're always going to get a certain amount of negativity from internet trolls and people who don't agree with our message. However this is on a very small scale, and the positivity of our supporters makes it easy to deal with.

Lucas, Are many of the team gay? Have they themselves experienced homophobia in sport?
No, we don't have that many gay members. I know we've had a couple of gay members who have featured in the calendar in previous years. And being honest, I haven't had a chat with any of them to see if they experienced homophobia, as what matters is that they don't experience any homophobia while they are at university.

You can purchase a Calendar direct from the Worldwide Roar Website for just £24.99. On the site you'll also find loads of other items including photo sets, film downloads, signed limited editions and picture profiles of some the guys.

A proportion of every sale is donated to Sport Allies, a charity that aims to combat homophobia in team sports.


More of our Interview about Worldwide Roar

See the Sport Allies website: sportallies.org
Tweet Sport Allies @SportAllies: twitter.com/SportAllies
Find Sport Allies on Facebook here: facebook.com/SportAlliesCharity

 

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