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Michael Lunde outgrows his anonymous
SO WHAT does Lunde reveal in his profile? Well, he loves Neil Diamond, his flirtatious personality is his best attribute, he considers himself a Christian and a "homebody/nester," and he has no tattoos or piercings.
"I tend not to speak strongly about anything, and although I may feel strongly about some things, I pretty much stay nonconfrontational and respectful of others."
Lunde states that "my views are my own," and his circumstances in accepting his homosexuality are strictly his own as well. "For instance, me coming out right away to my family -- telling them I wanted to experience dating men -- for some people, it may not be right for them. My father told me that he still wants grandkids, and I want kids, too, one day.
"I've gone through a lot, and I admit I don't have answers to everything. But it was important that I embraced the change and show a good face. I believe in the right to love who you want, marry whoever you want. The saying on a popular T-shirt, 'Marriage is a human right, not a heterosexual privilege,' is what I believe.
"I want to live my life to the best of my ability and not end up feeling bad for myself."
Lunde's learning to handle his popularity with a level head. He jokes that he now "wants to be the next governor of New Jersey," not having to worry about outing himself like James McGreevey, who resigned after revealing his adulterous affair with a male state employee.
Lunde will be the cover subject for the national gay lifestyle magazine Instinct later this year. And while the bulk of the magazine's photos tend to be beefcake in approach, Lunde promises "no Speedos."
Since his parents' divorce when he was 3, Lunde "pingpongs between my father here and my mother in Chicago."
He went to Pearl City High School for a time, finishing his schooling in Chicago, where it appeared he was the perfect big man on campus -- an all-star shooting guard and captain of his basketball team and senior prom king.
While working with Law, Lunde started a local gay softball team. "I'm still a jock at heart," he said.
Lunde got his start in modeling when his mother (who did some apparel work for the Chicago Bears catalog) took him to her agent's office. "When I first got my feet into it, it was more for fun. I originally thought this is not for me, along with the stigma of being a guy model. I became more serious when I moved to Seattle for a time."
Lunde remains low-key and "very family-oriented."
That certainly came into play under tragic circumstances when his younger brother, Jesse, was killed in a traffic accident in Chicago at the same time he learned he had won the regional competition.
"I had just gotten back from the Gay.com parties in Los Angeles and San Francisco that were part of the contest, and I had a couple of phone messages. The first one was from Jesse, who was calling from his cell phone while driving home from his deputy sheriff's job. It was three days before he was supposed to come out to Hawaii to visit, and he said he was looking forward it. He even sang a bit of 'White Sandy Beach,' Braddah Iz's song, from the CD I had left behind from my last visit.
"The next message right after that was from my mother, saying I have to come back home right now because of the accident.
"We were very close. I also have an older sister and a baby brother, Joshua, who's 18 now. What with all that's been going on, I know I haven't dealt with Jesse's death yet. I definitely regret that he didn't get a chance to see Hawaii and didn't see my home.
"This is definitely where I want to stay. I know my work takes me away now and then, but Hawaii is home. And I want to thank everyone who's supported me, especially here, during this ride."
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