February 24, 2011 | by Joey DiGuglielmo
The egg bearer

Mike Munich (All photos courtesy of Joshua Miller)

Many head to California, of course, with big dreams. Mike Munich is one of the lucky ones who’s watching his come true.

The 24-year-old gay Minneapolis native moved to Los Angeles five-and-a-half years ago. He’s been in West Hollywood the last 18 months.

“I came here basically to dance when I was 19,” he says. “Now it’s working out great but it’s been a journey and a struggle and a process with lots and lots of emotions, but now it’s going great.”

Munich can’t point to one “big break,” but says a major resume builder was landing a regular gig in the house dance troupe that backs acts on “America’s Got Talent.” He’d had other jobs and waited tables to supplement the lean times, but that break in August 2008 allowed him to dance full time.

He shot the pilot for the uber-popular (and uber-gay) “Glee” as part of Vocal Adrenaline, the rival group of New Directions, and stayed with the show all along. He also did an American Music Awards performance with gay singer Adam Lambert and was in Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment” video.

“He’s great,” Munich says. “He’s so lovely and sweet and he really took care of us. After the AMA performance, he gave all of us and the band $100 gift certificates for (spa) Burke Williams. He’s so talented and so fun to be around. Some of my good friends were friends of his before he was famous.”

But high plateaus soon beckoned. Munich now has several Lady Gaga gigs under his professional belt. Most recently, he was one of the minions carrying Gaga’s egg Cleopatra-style into the Grammys two weeks ago. Ironically, though, his initial response at a possible chance at working with Gaga was indifference. He heard about an audition for the “Alejandro” video but passed initially.

“I’d gotten an e-mail about it but it said you had to be willing to shave your head and I didn’t really want to do that,” he says. “I just didn’t want to have a bald head. Usually I don’t mind cutting my hair but I just wasn’t feeling it so I skipped the audition. The rest of the day, though, I was kicking myself.”

He got another chance though. A dancer friend mentioned it the next day and he made a homemade video of himself free-styling to the song and sent it to Laurieann Gibson, Gaga’s choreographer. He got the job. He was also in the “Born This Way” video, the first single from Gaga’s new album, set to drop in May.

So what’s it like being on the Gaga team?

“Amazing,” Munich says without hesitation. “It really is incredible. She has this sort of ‘House of Gaga’ creative team that just pays so much attention to every detail. Everything is done with a purpose. The movement, the wardrobe, it’s all part of the movie.”

Munich says he’s been a Gaga fan all along. He’s always loved pop music and early Britney Spears videos were part of what convinced him as a Minnesota teen that he wanted to move to L.A. and dance professionally.

He says the Grammys were surreal. He had to be at the Staples Center about 9 that morning even though the red carpet walk was only about five minutes. And no, he says he didn’t feel stupid carrying the giant egg.

“I was very invested in the moment,” he says. “My shoulders were starting to cramp up a bit by the end of it but we only did one interview with Ryan Seacrest so it wasn’t bad. It was almost anti-climactic in a way. I mean, it was an amazing experience but it was hard for me really to react to it because I was part of it.”

Munich says Gaga is great to work with and calls her “a really hard worker.”

“She’s dancing her ass off, just really committed to her art,” he says. “And she seems quite unaffected by it. She knows exactly what she’s doing and she’s very smart. Very artistically brilliant. She has a good grasp on fame and celebrity and she’s really down to earth. She’ll hang with us on a set, talking, laughing and making jokes. She just wants everybody to be part of the process. It’s not just her.”

Munich says he’s single “by choice” and is a self-described “party girl.” He’s focusing on work and travel now and wants to be “booked solid” this year, which leaves little time for romance. At least for now.

And he is a gym rat who lifts weights four or five days a week and a runner. He says it’s a great way to deal with stress and stay in shape for his assignments.

“If a week goes by and I’m not at the gym, I just get stir crazy,” he says.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

5 Comments
  • I really liked this article about Mike. Loved reading about his opinion of Adam. Mike sees the real Adam which more would be more accepting of such a wonderful human being. But Gaga is just too over the top for me. Personally the whole egg thing was “insanity.”

  • Adam is such a sweetheart. It really saddens me when I read the hate he gets. But then again like he says, he just focuses on the postive and ignores the hate.

  • Gay singer, Adam Lambert? I though that was over. I thought you Americans were finally starting to get some sense. WTF, may I ask, does his sexuality have anything to do with his singing? What kind of a journalist are you? Here, let me throw some phrases at you then: Singer, Adam Lambert, American Idol singer Adam Lambert (even though that one is no longer up to par either, it makes 1000x more sense than ‘gay singer’) Grammy Nominated singer, Singer/songwriter Adam Lambert, Singer/entertainer Adam Lambert. There are probably about 20 different ways in all you could have used and you chose the most ridiculous, overused, oh so yesterday way of bringing Adam Mitchel Lambert, a will be worldwide superstar, into your article. Nice. Lost ALL concept of what you’re actually discussing.

  • Joey, in additional writings of Adam Lambert please give consideration to the use of other descriptive adjective such as, ‘Grammy Nominated Adam Lambert’ vs. “gay singer Adam Lambert”. The gay-and-out identity was made loud and clear since Adam’s Rolling Stone article as well at the media continuous ad nauseam reporting… or was your point to advise the reader of a music genre of “gay” as well as rock, pop, rap etc.?
    Adam Lambert is so much more than “gay singer” best used adjective of late is philanthropist singer Adam Lambert.

  • Thanks to all who read this piece — a point of clarification is in order, though. Blade editorial policy is to identify the sexual orientation of everyone we write about. I understand this can seem a bit tiresome — and I admit it would be obnoxious and reductive if mainstream outlets did this — but since our whole raison d’etre is LGBT, we mention this up front when mentioning a person. Our philosophy at the Blade is that there is nothing to be ashamed of about being LGBT and that, sure, while that’s only a part of what ANY of us are about, it’s a significant part and the part we’re most interested in in terms of coverage in the Blade. Of course, we realize there’s a lot more to Adam than being gay, but we treated him no different than we would have had we mentioned Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, Jake Shears, k.d. Lang, Chely Wright or any other out singer.

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