This week, we have a man crush who is not only good looking, but talented and helping people become the best they can be.
I don’t really remember when it happened, but I’ve been following Michael McBride on Instagram for a while. He was posting pictures and videos of him signing, working out, being out in the community, and living what looked like the dream life.
I never thought I’d actually get to meet him, even though he was someone that you definitely wanted to meet. He gives off this charming vibe, and the sense that you’ll be best friends when you meet. At the time, I was living in Michigan, but soon realized Michael was located in Chicago. When I found out I was moving there, I had hopes that maybe our paths would some how miraculously cross.
They sort of did, when I got to see “Michael and Friends” perform at Market Days. It was quite a performance, with great covers, lots of dancing, and an overall great time. After that, it was a no brainer; I had to get an interview.
Thankfully Michael agreed. We planned to meet at a Starbucks at Wrigley Field. We both learned a valuable lesson that day, Wrigley can support two Strarbuck’s locations, with them being on opposite sides of the stadium. Once we got the right Starbuck’s sorted out, we got down to business.
Michael was in a yellow shirt and just smiling away. His transformation pics on Instagram didn’t lie, he was buff, and with the beard, there’s a reason he’s a top pick for any sort of crush day.
I really wanted to get to know Michael and hear his story. My questions were more topics to touch on just letting Michael share what he wanted and asking more questions as the conversation went on.
On Relationships and Marriage:
“I know you’re not single, and I’m pretty sure you get asked if you are all the time. I saw you celebrated your 7th wedding anniversary the other week. I want to hear all the details,” I say.
Michael informs me that he has been married to his husband, Rodrigo, for 7 years and that they have been together for 10 years. On their marriage, “We got married before it was legal in Illinois. We went to Dubuque, Iowa. It was surreal, leaving this big city and driving through cornfields to this small town. Where literally, people were sitting in rocking chairs on their front porch….Everyone at the courthouse was so wonderful. Everyone was over 80, but they were the nicest people.” After the small ceremony, they came back and had the full friends and family celebration a month later. It was small and quaint, with only 200 people attending, I was informed.
Michael loves how Rodrigo and him could do what they wanted at the celebration. There were no rules, and it was really a time to see the blending of two cultures , families, and traditions.
I was dying to know how they met. Three years of dating, and seven years of marriage, it had to be quite special. The fun of it was they met on Match.com., the good ol’ days of online dating. The story goes: Michael had received a message from Rodrigo, but was still seeing someone at the time. After that relationship ended, Michael checked his messages. He invited Rodrigo out on a Friday afternoon to go see Michael’s older brother’s band perform that night. He left his phone number as well. With it being so last minute, there was no response. We’ve all be there, wanting to play it cool and not be the last minute option. Rodrigo figured he would wait until Monday and respond then. Little did he know, his account expired. To get the phone number he didn’t save down, he would have to pay to reactive the account. Well, Rodrigo reactivated his account, and they set up a proper date for the following Friday, and the rest is history.
Speaking on Market Days and Performing:
“I don’t want to bash a certain performer from Market Days, but his set was a lot of ballads, and it seemed a tad out of place for the event. Your set on the other hand, was upbeat, lots of fun music, and the dancing was incredible. How did performing at Market Days transpire?”
“I was contacted a few months before the event by one of the organizes. They were looking for something fun and upbeat, and I said yes. I got some friends together, we hired a choreographer.”
The fun story is that his husband did a surprise dance for their wedding celebration, and that was the same choreographer. She also helped them choreograph a show for their 5th wedding anniversary that also doubled as a fundraiser. I tell ya, Michael is just a pretty face to look at.
“I noticed when you performed to P!NK’s “F**kin’ Perfect,” you were making a statement. Not only hitting on insecurities people face, but also the political climate we are in, was that on purpose?”
To give you some background on the whole show, Michael was one of only a few white people in the whole show. The dancers, musicians, everyone, was diverse. Everyone was different and brought something unique to the table. It was something that isn’t aleays seen at Pride or Gay events, the full diversity of our community.
During “F**kin’ Perfect,” everyone came out with signs and labels such as “Short,” “Illegal Alien,” and “Fag” By the end of the song they had ripped them up, and it really showed to the audience, that no matter who you are, you are F**cking perfect.
If you follow Michael, for even a little bit, you’ll see that he loves music. He started playing piano when he was six. He majored in music and now teaches not only the performing side but also the composition side at two local Chicago universities. Michael has a lovely voice, and even some smooth moves, so if you ever get to see him perform, make sure you do.
On His Faith and Sexuality:
“You aren’t shy about the fact that you are a Christian, and I see a lot of videos of you at church. I want to hear more about this, especially when it's easy to get hate from Christian for being gay and from Gays for being Christian."
“I call myself a Christian to keep it simple. But if you’re thinking of one of those bad Christians, this isn’t that…One of the blessing of being gay, helped me not to be judgmental of those who aren’t exactly like me, and helped me to be more caring and compassionate.”
Michael recounts how he was homeschooled, “the bases are loaded,” he quips as we do our best to make a sports analogy sitting outside Wrigley Field. The church he says was one of his main social connectors growing up. He was in a bubble when it came to sexuality, but “he knew enough to not date women.” He ended up going to Wheaton College, and didn’t come out till after college.
As he was looking for answers, or how to keep both his faith and sexuality alive, he stumbled upon the Gay Christian Network, which helped him reconcile the idea that he was a Christian and gay. Now he attends and works (so many hats he wears) at A Church 4 Me, which is part of the Metropolitan Community Church. A church in Chicago started by a gay man and designed for LGBT folks while also welcoming those who are straight.
On Getting the Body He Has
“The last topic I want to talk on, and one that is clear from all your Instagram posts, is that you have gone through quite a body transformation. You’ve packed on muscle and really look different. What’s your secrete?,” I asked with a laugh.
Michael recounts the story of seven years ago where him and Rodrigo passed out on the couch after destroying a pizza. Waking up around 4AM, the TV was showing an infomercial for none other than P90X, right in the height of its glory days. He wanted to make a change. It came with a money back guarantee, and Michael decided to prove it wrong and that it didn’t work. He bought the program and stuck with the workout plan, and eating plan, fully committing to showing it doesn’t work.
“After 30 days, I really wanted to be able to return it. But I couldn’t. I was leaning out, and finally seeing abs. I’m not going to get my money back.” Over the course of his first three months, he lost 25 pounds, and went to 13% body fat.
“I know in the gay world we idolize the really hot bodies. The ones rippling with abs and muscles. You’ve gone through a change yourself, but what do you say to those out their still obsessed with having the perfect body?”
“One thing is, having abs isn’t the end all be all of being fit. I used to think that, but not any more. And that was seven years ago…On the inside, you still feel like the same person…For those who are very earnest about an outside transformation, an inside transformation has to happen as well. And that comes from reading the right books to get in the right attitude, and intentional gratitude, and paying it forward, helping the community around you. That’s been the secret that has helped me stay on track for the last seven years.”
“Everybody compares, it’s kind of reflex. There’s always going to someone you envy, and someone who envy’s you. Use those you admire to help push you forward and help those who aren’t as far along in the journey.”
This has lead Michael to do fitness and life coaching, his act of paying it forward and helping those around him. He even continues with “I don’t think a certain body type should be everyone’s life goal.” I can say from watching Michael’s social media from afar, his desire to help people go forward and grow is genuine and he’s really kicking ass at it.
Final Comments from Michael:
“On social media, there’s a lot of talk about the negative parts of it. I feel like we are at such an incredible time in history, where we this devices that can connect me to billions of people. While I can look at cat memes all day, it can be an incredible platform to share ones heart, and ones life and to leverage what each person’s sacred life mission is. I’ve been honored and privileged to grow my own social media from nothing to the significant following I have…I hope that we can all see the opportunity social media has and to affect the change we want to see in the world.”
I can say, getting to talk to Michael was truly inspiring and the conversation flowed easily. We had plenty of laughs, and were able to survive all the random noises the city flew at us.
If you want to keep up with Michael, be sure to follow him. I promise he posts some great pics, that aren’t only encouraging but also easy on the eyes as well.
Follow Him Here:
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and interviewee and not those of Instinct Magazine.