The glamorous world of Ivan Massow: Everything you need to know about London's latest Mayoral candidate

 
Emma Haslett
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Massow: "I'm not your typical politician" (Source: Getty)

London's Mayoral election just got interesting, after entrepreneur Ivan Massow announced his intention to run as Conservative candidate in the vote, due to take place next year.

There's no doubt London likes its leader to have bags of character (see: "Boris Johnson cheerfully dangling off a zipwire") - and Massow has character a-plenty. Here's everything you need to know about the election's most colourful candidate.

1. He made his cash in the insurance business

In 1990, at 23 years old, Massow set up Massow Financial Services from a squat in north London, the UK's first financial advisory business aimed at gay clients, later becoming a campaigner for gay men denied insurance and mortgages, which grew to become the 10th largest financial advice in the UK. Later, he took a role with Zurich, although ended up embroiled in a legal battle with it over allegations of homophobia.

2. He used to share a home with Michael Gove and Nick Boles

Having surprised everyone by coming out as a Conservative, he moved in with now-justice secretary Gove and skills and equalities minister Boles in Mayfair.

"We all just really liked each other," he told The Guardian.

3. He's having a baby

If London elects him, there will be a mini-Massow toddling around City Hall: he's due to have a baby this year, having enlisted the services of a lesbian co-parent he met online. In The Telegraph, he said of his excitement: "Now I've seen [a scan of my baby], a broodiness that feels as powerful as my first crush... has catapulted me into a new understanding," he wrote.

4. He's not afraid to feel exposed

In a video published this morning, Massow was up-front about his sexuality, his adoption, his dyslexia and his brush with alcoholism, suggesting he's not afraid of feeling exposed (literally, as you'll discover if you search "Ivan Massow naked" online - the results of which are very definitely not safe for work).

5. He's BFFs with Joan Collins

Massow called the Dynasty star his closest friend and his "second mum" - and credits her with saving him from alcoholism.

6. He got fired from the ICA

A renowned art collector, Massow was made chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1999 - before being pushed out after he labelled modern art "pretentious, self-indulgent, craftless tat".

7. He's been a Londoner since the 1990s

In the campaign he started today, Massow said he's been "a Londoner for 25 years: I take the Tube and I get things done". During those 25 years he's lived in a "townhouse in the middle of Oxford Circus".

"It's become my village," he told Management Today.

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