Meet New Hope’s Mr. Gay: Michael Probe

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Our twenties are all about transformation. We choose careers. We enter into long-term relationship(s). We rent/buy our first apartments. We win Mr. Gay titles. Well, maybe that’s not all of us. But 20-year-old Michael Probe [Editor’s note: Michael will be 21 on November 5 – if you see him out, buy him a shot] can boast such an accomplishment…and he went through a transformation all his own to score the sash.

Read on for more about Michael, including his pageant experience, his thoughts on the Philly/New Hope gay scene, and his award-winning "change".

So what’s "a day in the life" like for you?
When I’m not working one of my jobs, a day in the life of me involves doing something relaxing. That could be detailing or working on my car, going to the gym, or relaxing on the beach listening to music. And I do them all in the company of my small, tight-knit group of friends, who are like family to me.

How’d you get involved in New Hope’s Mr. Gay Contest?
I first heard about the Mr. Gay contests working at the Nevermore in New Hope. My boss suggested I enter the Nevermore Mr. Gay competition, and I went with it because I thought it would be something different to try out. It was a really great time, and I ended up placing as one of the runner’s up. So when the Mr. New Hope opportunity presented itself, I brought my game face and actually won!

What did the competition entail?
The competition had five categories: formal wear, street wear, swimsuit, talent, and Q&A. For the talent portion of the Mr. Nevermore competition, I plugged a flat tire to show off "how good I am with my hands," which was a big hit with the crowd. For the Mr. New Hope contest, I did a more theatrical number. During a performance of Jennifer Hudson’s "I’m Changing", I came out on stage in drag and proceeded to remove the makeup and clothes to change back into myself, a man.

Highlight of the contest?
Well besides winning, the best part was easily the formal wear. It gave me the chance to get all "put together", which I rarely get to do. So when I do get that opportunity, I bring it hard and go all out.

What thought first ran through your mind when you won the title?
Considering I had never done a pageant before, my first thoughts upon winning were, "Oh my God, my mom is never going to believe this." I couldn’t wait to have her hang my New Hope Mr. Gay sash across all of my other brothers’ sports trophies!

Do you want to draw attention to any particular cause with your new title?
I definitely want to draw attention to the youth in the gay community – the kids that are brought down and teased and even at extremes, kicked out of their houses for just being themselves. I don’t have anything specific in mind yet, but there are a few organizations I will be talking to in the near future.

What’s the next step after winning the competition?
Well the next step is the U.S. Mr. Gay contest of course! And with the support of my community and my family and friends, I plan on have just as good of a time participating in that and bringing my best!

How does New Hope’s gay scene compare to Philly’s?
My favorite aspect of New Hope’s gay community is that the entire city is accepting of all different lifestyles and beliefs. I think that’s reason enough to say it’s a town everyone needs to experience. As for Philly, I like how the gay community is such a close group. I mean, the Gayborhood is only a few square blocks, but it’s packed with bars and stores and restaurants where it seems everyone knows everyone!

Favorite spots in New Hope/Philly?
My favorite spot in New Hope has to be the Raven. It’s just such a landmark in the gay community up there. As far as Philly, my favorite place is the much underrated roof deck of 12th Air Command. I love going here and looking at the city skyline. Sometimes it’s nice to just stop and enjoy the view!

What’s the best event of the year on the gay calendar of Philadelphia?
The best event of the year in Philly for me has to be Pride. I love Penn’s Landing!

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the gay community right now?
Besides for the issue of HIV/AIDS, one of the biggest things holding the gay community back is Prop 8 and other similar state bans on gay marriage. However, no matter the cause, I’m always ready to lend my support to help the community as a whole.

To see Michael’s contestant listing for the U.S. Mr. Gay competition and cast your vote for this year’s Mr. Popularity, click here:

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