|Mike Posing with his DC roommate Andrew Woods|
I was thrilled to have the chance to chat with Real World Alum Mike C. Manning. I've followed his work and activism for civil rights and the LGBT Community since his time on the Real World where he came out as bi-sexual (even though Mike doesn't believe in the idea of labels), and I really liked what he had to say! So when he agreed to share some insight on his time on the MTV show and what he is currently up to, I was super excited.
Mike, who in his Twitter bio describes himself as "Actor, Civil Rights Activist, Adrenaline Junkie, Inspiration Seeker," hails from Colorado and, on the surface, seems like what one may perceive as the stereotypical jock: however, there is a lot more to him and a lot more that he has to say. I feel that his message is one that should be heard by all. So, without further ado, check out my interview with Mike and his PSA for the "It Gets Better Campaign" for the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is a wonderful organization set up for teens in the LGBT community who are having a hard time. They give these kids someone to talk to and let them know that "It Gets Better".
Check out the interview after the jump!
|Mike at a Pride Event in Des Moines|
So I guess a great place to begin is your time on the Real World. How did this experience affect/change your life and how you've decided to live it?
The show made me face my "skeletons" so to speak. Up to that point I was living two lives, the life of "straight jock Mike" and the life of secretly dating this boy and scared to death that my friends would find out. When you live in front of the cameras it is hard to have secrets, so I just decided to be completely honest both to myself and the world. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Please share with my readers some of the causes and charity work that you are now a part of.
I continue to do work with the Human Rights Campaign (like on the show). I have also branched out to work with organizations like the Trevor Project, GLAAD, PFLAG, SLDN, GLSEN, and others. There is such a huge necessity to bring awareness to the issues that each of these organizations deals with, and I love being involved in the fight.
When you find yourself with some free time (I'm sure that's rare!), what kind of stuff do you like to do for fun?
Hiking Griffith Park in LA is one of my favorite things. My other activities include the gym, people watching at the local Starbucks, and watching old movies. In the social scene I like themed parties and dive bars.
What motivates you to do the work that you do?
Common sense. There are thousands of people that are denied the same rights as everyone else. Everyone should be as pissed off about it as I am.
Your latest endeavor is eCupid: a film about love, specifically gay love. Tell us a little about the movie and how you got into acting. How was that whole experience? Most interesting thing about it? Funniest moment on set?
I have been acting since I was 14, so it's nothing new. I didn't wanna talk about it on the show because I wanted to be known for my activism and politics, and not as "some kid who wants to act." I am fortunate that I can now combine my passion for acting and the entertainment business, with my passion for equal rights and politics.
The movie is hilarious. I don't wanna give too much away, but I can say that the humor is in the simplistic way the writer chose the dialogue. It is very relatable. And it's not a "gay love story." It's just a love story, plain and simple, about two people who both just happen to be male. I think that the audience, gay or straight, will be able to relate to the highs and lows of the two lead characters in the relationship. I play a "skater punk" in the film, so watching me try to do tricks that I hadn't done since I was a teenager was pretty funny.
What is the most important message that you would like to get out to your followers?
Be yourself and don't apologize for it. Very cliché, but so many people fail to do it.