Everyone should be Addicted to the inspiration of Mark Munroe

I’ve known Mark Munroe for almost seven years. He was among my first interviews back in  2012 and has truly become a good friend to me over the years. It’s funny that in all this time, we had our first face-to-face meeting this past January. It may sound cliche but there really was no awkward moment. The second I was in his presence, it was like we were experiencing one visit in a series of adventures. It seems insufficient to say that Mark has been inspirational to me personally and also without knowing it, he has been a source of support as well as grounding as I navigate my own journey.
One funny story he also doesn’t know is that when we met this year, it was actually my very first time drinking scotch. I think I held my own pretty well and I didn’t want to seem rude since it was a national Canadian holiday and he was so gracious to extend an invitation to me while I was visiting Toronto. Surprisingly, I actually liked it! I guess that’s why they call him The Male Addict…. he really does know what’s good! It was also a true honor to work alongside him for the premiere of the CTV television show Cardinal. I feel like the whole thing just solidified everything, for me at least and I absolutely cannot wait to hang out with him even more! I think I may be addicted to The Male Addict…
When I first met Mark, he was a singer-songwriter and I knew he had a very bright future from the online interactions we shared and from the interview we did. Since that time, Mark has shifted his focus to his role as The Male Addict and his magazine, Addicted. He is an expert on highlighting what’s hot, what’s up and coming, and what we should be addicted to. He has flattered me by referring to us as kindred spirits but I do actually feel like we are on similar paths with very similar thought processes on the industry we love, our roles in it, and the things we should avoid at all costs.
On an even larger scale, Mark Munroe is an extraordinary example of someone who has overcome so much and not only survived, but thrived. He has been very open about his struggles with body issues, addiction, and how he has dealt with it all. His thought process on following our dreams, no matter what they are is something I am behind 100%. I believe if we follow his example, we can attain all we aspire to and more!
I am beyond proud to share this follow-up interview that has been a long time coming and beyond excited about what may come next:
Q: The last time I interviewed you it was for your music but, my, how things have changed since 2012! Tell me a bit about The Male Addict and WeRAddicted.com. How did that all come about?
Mark Munroe: Well as you know, I worked in entertainment (recording artist, model, actor) for years with moderate success, but like many my life had been destroyed by drugs, depression and body issues. I decided to take some time away and get myself sorted. During that phase I started a journal of all the things that made me happy. From a sunset to a great meal, I focused on what I loved. That journal turned into a blog out of convenience and then my best friend and writer Nadia came to me and asked if I wanted to turn it into a magazine, I said yes. Now 5 years later Addicted is an international lifestyle outlet, and my social brand @TheMaleAddict was born from that and have both helped to change and really shape my new reality.
Q: Do you miss music? Think you’ll ever head back into the studio?
MM: I do, a lot to be honest, but, I have actually already been in the studio since my last release “Drive” in 2013, gawd I didn’t think it had been almost 4 years. I have actually written another record and some of the music is done as well, but, now is not the time for music, but, I will come back to it at some point publicly, until then I’ll do my thing behind the scenes.
Q: Being an influencer can be tricky. Without giving away your secrets, how do you do it in such an authentic and genuine way?
MM: Here is my rule: Only endorse what you really love. I have learned over the years that people see through the “BS” and really, you have to be true to yourself, so much so in this industry as people will try and pull you in every direction.
Q: I know you come across all of the best products out there so what are some of your favorites right now in these categories:
MM: my go-to right now is Carnivor, it’s bold and strong, which I love.
Men’s fragrance?
MM: I’ve been wearing Armani Code, but I jump around on the fragrances, I also love the Sexual Collection for Michel Germain, check it out!

Men’s skincare?
MM: My steady over the years has been Triumph and Disaster, but I am loving Alumier MD right now

Men’s fashion including shoes?
MM: My fav suit maker is actually a fellow Canadian, Christopher Bates, love his work, when it comes to shoes, oh lord where to I begin. I have several pairs of Noble Soles, Sully Wong’s, (also Canadian, are you seeing a trend? lol) and I have a love affair with new balance.

Men’s underwear?
MM: Bjorn Borg, they make the most insane undies, I love them.

Men’s athletic wear including shoes for running and the gym?
MM: My collection is split, clothing, New Balance and Columbia, shoes, new balance, again lol

With summer coming up, men’s swimwear?
MM: haha I just bought a Charlie bathing suit, it leaves nothing to the imagination, so we’ll see if I wear it out in public!

Any other categories you care to speak on?
MM: My magazine is called Addicted for a reason, there are just so many things I love!
Q: You’ve always been very open about your own struggles and addictions. Why is it so important to you that you stay part of the conversation?
MM: In the past few years that I have talked very publicly about it. I guess my hope is, that by sharing my story, I can maybe help someone along the way, to remind them that it is never too late to start over. I was an addict, I was depressed, bankrupt, the works, and now, I am healthy, happy, and doing what I love. I want to share to help others see that anything is possible.
Q: What advice can you offer to people stuggling with their mental state and/or with addiction?
MM: Find a happy place, happy moments. What brought me back to life wasn’t changing everything in a day, that is way too much pressure. I learned to change, that I had to be in it for the long game. That change would take time. Start small, and build from there.
Q: What advice would you offer to loved ones of individuals who are struggling?
MM: You can’t help, you can’t save them. The addict has to want to help themselves. As someone who was the addict, I always want to apologize to anyone that has to go through that with someone they love. I know I put my mother through hell, and even though she forgave me, that was almost the hardest part of it all, forgiving myself for what I put her through.
Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
MM: I couldn’t live without the love of the people around me, I couldn’t imagine my life without that. I wish everyone would live without Snapchat, I just, I can’t, maybe I’m just too old school.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? From whom?
MM: My dad: You decide to be a good man, you decide to be successful, you decide to be happy. What choice will you make Mark? (he asked me that after I started my life back again after time off while dealing with my addiction.)
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve every given? Are you good at following your own?
MM: Follow your heart, and yes, I have spent my whole life following my heart, and I don’t mean in love, I mean following your dreams, setting crazy goals that seem so out of reach.
I was a Canadian boy born in a small town with a minister father. I dreamed of modeling and did it, I dreamed of being a recording artist, of owning an international magazine, if I pass on anything to the world, I hope it’s that: always follow your heart and don’t let anyone tell you-you can’t.
Q: What’s up next for Mark Munroe?
MM: There is so much I still want to do. Right now in life my focus has shifted, I am focusing on using the platforms (Addicted and @TheMaleAddict) we have created for a movement of change. I have been blessed in my life, and I want to share that in any way I can to assist others, tell their story, and help their journey if I can.
Q: You and I met via social media when it was fairly new. Do you still think it is a good place to make real connections?
MM: To be honest, real connections are hard now a days, and while yes I do think real connections can be made, I do think social also has the ability to make people less social, if that makes any sense.
Q: If you were to head back into the studio to record an album about your life, what title would you give it?
MM: The album that I mentioned earlier was called “The Awakening” cause that’s what happened to me and changed my life. I’d call it Addicted, but I’ve used that a few times now!
Q: Can you tell us about some of the things you have cooking up at WeRAddicted.com?
MM: We are really excited to be working with some amazing brands this year, but not only that, we have so many fun peope we are working with as well, not to mention travel, and as I write this, our team is heading to SXSW. We are working to keep entertaining, informing and as always finding people that inspire.

and I have to admit, I’m more excited than I have ever been in my life!
I hope you are all inspired to find out more about Mark by following him everywhere and keeping up with him via his magazine. I want to thank him for taking time to do the interview with me!

Cinema classics: Five of the best science and technology films

Cinema classics: Five of the best science and technology films (via Pando Daily)

By Liam Burke On December 31, 2013 Cinema did not emerge from a eureka moment, but rather through the incremental innovations of pioneers such as the Lumière brothers, Étienne-Jules Marey, and Thomas Edison. So it is unsurprising that filmmakers regularly…

Continue reading “Cinema classics: Five of the best science and technology films” »

Have an Excellent Mother’s Day with Oprah, Dr. Maya Angelou, and Super Soul Sunday

When I hear the word Mother, I think of love, nurturing, wisdom, guidance, and strength.  Those same thoughts are evoked when I think of Dr. Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, so, when I heard OWNTV was airing a very special episode of Super Soul Sunday on Mother’s Day where Oprah would be interviewing Dr. Angelou, I thought it quite appropriate.

I tune in to Super Soul Sunday regularly so there was no doubt in my mind that I would be watching this episode but as luck would have it, I was also granted the treat of being sent a sneak peek.  I can tell you that you are in for one heck of an hour.  I learned a few new things about Maya Angelou and of course I was left inspired by both women.  Dr. Angelou accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime before she was even 20 years old despite the fact that she is African American AND female.  I don’t want to give too much away but I do want you all to tune in.  Although I’ve seen it, I’ll be right there watching with you on Sunday morning as well! I suggest you grab a few people you love to watch with you, this wisdom is too good not to share.

You can go to Oprah.com for a short preview.  Can’t wait to see you all on Twitter and Facebook!

Nate St. Pierre: Excellent example of Social Media for Social Good

During my three years on Twitter, I have been fortunate enough to come across all sorts of people doing the most amazing things.  From celebrities to the average person, everyone gets inspired in some form or another to do something good with their talents.  That is what we call Social Media for Social Good.  Nate St. Pierre is a perfect example of that effect.  He has been involved in numerous projects where he uses his natural talents as well as his training and background to serve a greater purpose.  He has also sparked others to follow along.  You can find out all about Nate and his numerous projects here.

I have been writing about entertainment and arts for a while and I always try to correlate how my subjects can use their influence for a greater good.  It was a no brain-er to include someone like Nate St. Pierre since, as you will see, he has been using his life in some pretty awesome ways.

Q: Your background includes web design, web development, and marketing.  How did you get interested in projects that help change the world? Did this passion predate the explosion of the web and Social Media?

A: Yep, I spent six years as a web developer and team leader at a successful company in Milwaukee. But it wasn’t until I took on a leadership position there that I realized how much power I had to impact lives in a positive way, and I decided that I wanted to do it on a larger scale. That was back in late 2008. Actually there’s a video detailing the exact moment, here: http://ahamoment.com/moments/1137

Q: The projects you have worked on such as ItStartsWith.Us, Love Drop, and Love Bomb have turned into a team of over 10,000 people, all working for Social Good.  THAT is an impressive accomplishment.  How does this make you feel? Is it something surreal or was it something you hoped for from the beginning?

A: When I really sit down and think about what that means in terms of tangible good done, and number of lives touched (over 1,000,000!), it makes me very thankful that I’ve been able to have such a meaningful impact with the (relatively) low investment of 3 years of work on the projects. Honestly, when I began these projects, I expected them to be even bigger, but with age and experience comes the realization that your estimates for new projects are almost always bigger than they turn out to be. Still, I am VERY happy with the results so far, and glad to be able to continue the work with the help of Joshua and Katie, how lead the teams on a day-to-day basis.

Q: Social Media has a way of developing a life of its own when used properly.  Was this the case with your projects?  Did they take off and run in a direction of their own?

A: I would say yes, especially with Love Drop. The framework of the project turned out as expected, but during the first month we realized that people were very, very excited to give things other than money to the families who needed it, and we were also much happier to give them those things than the money itself. So our gifts and presentations ended up focusing more on the personalized gifts than the funds raised, and I think it made the project and videos a lot more fun.

Q: Tell us a little about each project you have worked on.

A: ItStartsWith.Us is my baby, and I love love love the fact that any one of us can spend 15 minutes a week to make a positive impact in someone’s life, for amazing results. When you tell the team to “fix something,” the interpretations, actions, and results are incredible when everyone interprets it their own way and does something with it.

Love Bomb is the project I’m least involved in, but the one I love the most. To think that you can spend just 5 minutes to read a blog post and write a short response each week, yet literally change or save a life is amazing to me.

Love Drop was so much fun to do, because I got to travel the country with my boy J. Money and help out deserving families. What’s not to love?

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Right now I’m working as the Director of Marketing for a tech start-up in L.A., so my days are pretty busy. J. Money and I are going to partner on something again in the future though, so we’re talking about what that could look like with my new job and his new baby. We’ll figure something out. :)

Q: What have you learned from working on these projects? 

A: I’ve learned that it’s hard work to build something from scratch and use it to make an impact. You have to sacrifice a lot to make it happen. But that’s true with most things worth doing, right? So I’ll count it as a win, and keep on going.

Q: What tips and advice can you give to people who would like to start similar ventures but may not know how or where to begin?

A: I always tell people to find something you love, start small, and stay consistent. The entire ItStartsWith.Us project started that same way, and continues to run on that principle. When I began that project less than 3 years ago, I emailed 18 people a week by hand with the weekly missions. Today my email management software sends out 10,000 emails a week, and the project rolls strong. As Conan said in his farewell show, “if you work really hard, and are kind, amazing things will happen.” [link here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/conan-obriens-heartfelt-f_n_433954.html]

I hope you are inspired to use your natural talents or your training to help or start a project of your own.  You can also follow Nate on twitter at @NateStPierre to keep up with all that he is working on.

Happy Birthday, Kirstie Alley!!

One of the highlights for me in 2011 was meeting Kirstie Alley.  I had been tweeting with her for years, spoken to her on the phone, and even saw her briefly at the first Dance With Me USA event I attended in the beginning of the year.  Being able to talk to her in person was everything I thought it would be and more.

Talk about energy, I could feel the positive vibes and was immediately energized by it. She was so gracious to everyone who attended and treated them all like an old friend.

Today, January 12th, is Kirstie’s Birthday and I would like to take this opportunity to wish her the happiest of days.  I know she will be celebrating and dancing her way through.  There are lots of reasons for her to celebrate her life and many reasons why her friends, family, and fans will be honoring her big day.

2011 was a huge year  for Kirstie. She lost so much weight, introduced an amazing organic weight loss product to the world (Organic Liaison), started writing a book, started work on a new sitcom, and came up with 100 Days of Dance.

If you need a boost in your own life, either your energy or with weight loss, I suggest you check out Organic Liaison and 1oo Days of Dance. Both sites will motivate you and you can find loads of great things like recipes and tips on the Organic Liaison site.  If you like, you can upload videos of you and your friends dancing on the 100 Days of Dance site.  Signing up to participate in the dancing is free and fun!

I have personally lost 50 pounds due in part to Organic Liaison as well as by incorporating dancing back into my life.

I am so glad to know you, Kirstie.  Happy Birthday! I encourage everyone to follow the example and have fun, be healthy, plus remember to DANCE!  Today we dance for you and with you! Wishing you all the best in 2012 and always.

Love, Peace, & Happiness,

Tommy (Teeco71)