When I sat down to talk with George Brown, my first question was 'Who is George Brown?'
I had not seen George Brown out and about on the scene: and then suddenly in February 2005 he overcame some stiff competition to win the Mr.Cellblock/Caliber Leatherman of 2005 title. Yes, Mr. George Brown is extremely handsome, sexy eye candy.
Yet I learned there is much more to him.
BROWN: I'm 33, from Plainwell, Mich., 15 miles northeast of Kalamazoo. I'm the oldest of three, with a younger sister and brother. In school I was on the swim team, did competitive diving, and went out for soccer, track and football. For one year I played sax in the marching band. I still like jazz, but left the band to concentrate on school work. Ultimately my focus turned to the study of computer information systems at Kalamazoo Community College and at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.
Max: Does your current occupation match your college major?
BROWN: It's on a path started with one of my first jobs: a river raft driver at Disney World in Orlando. There I met new friends and their encouragement led me to work as a food and beverage manager at major Chicago hotels. After arriving here from Florida, I stayed five years because I love the people of Chicago, the food service industry and three of the four seasons.
Max: What brought you into the Leather Community?
BROWN: I was curious for 12 years. I moved back to Michigan in 1998, but still visited Chicago dozens of times a year. Two years ago that curiosity brought me into The Cellblock, the first leather bar I ever visited. The leather community is a comfortable place to be. When I wear leather I become more of myself, really doing what I want. Best thing about the leather community is that it has people from all walks of life in it. From that wide-ranging group I've made some really good friends who motivated, supported and helped prep me to get the Mr.Cellblock/Caliber Leatherman 2005 title. That's especially true of the Men of Onyx and The Kennel Club. They and others are continuing to help me prepare for the International Mr.Leather ( IML ) weekend competition [ this Memorial Day ] .
Max: Where do you get your motivation?
BROWN: 'Do something' is my mantra. While in Michigan I was a Red Cross volunteer, worked in an HIV education and prevention group called CARES in Kalamazoo and in HAS—Hispanics Against SIDA.
Max: But now you have moved back to Chicago?
BROWN: Yes, moved back here in October 2004, motivated to be a leader and give back to the community. Proud to be able to have opportunities to volunteer and to speak on behalf of the betterment of our community.
Max: Are you out to your family?
BROWN: Yes. That's why I'm stable in life. My parents are an anchor in life, and they visit me three or four times a year. My dad gave me the best advice when he said, 'You can do anything you want to ... but be willing to accept the consequences.'
Max: What is the most important thing about George Brown people do not know?
BROWN: Well, people know I'm a nice guy, honest and a good friend. They do not know the fetish I prefer. They could if they'd ask. You never know about a person just from looking at them. ( smile )
Max: Fetish aside, what do you really like to do?
BROWN: I love road trips, especially if someone else is driving.
Max: Your favorite car?
BROWN: I love that all-new 2005 Ford Mustang!
Max: Where will you be in the year 2020?
BROWN: Look for me then at the Cellblock, comfortable with the staff, stable in life.
Max: Remembering 2005, the year you represented Cellblock well, as International Mr. Leather?
BROWN: ( smiles at the thought ) If I'm so fortunate as to win on IML weekend in 2005, first I'll hug and kiss everyone I see and know. Then it would take a while to take it all in, if it were to happen. But first there is lots of studying to do before then: Leather Community history, especially. But I am comfortable with myself, and confident. Meanwhile IML is taking my personal 'do something' philosophy a step farther each year. Organizers of IML are helping the whole Leather Community become more comfortable with who we are. I'm glad to be on this journey within the community, going to unanticipated places, and having many positive, exciting experiences. I hope others can learn from my experiences.
Max: How is your love life?
BROWN: The love life is very good right now. I'm very happy and content: both with one special friend and with lots of new friends.
Max: If you had three wishes, what would they be?
BROWN: First that my friends and family are happy and secure. Second that everyone could feel that they have some significant purpose or place in life. Most people don't have that, and it takes a long time to get it and become stabilized. Third I wish for a rapid solution to the crystal meth problem in our community, that's been in the news so much lately. It's horrible. It stems from people having a lack of purpose in life. I don't know how it feels. Personally I've never tried it and never will. But I've seen how Tina will take over a life and take everything from you. We need to be proactive about it, though. If you know someone falling into that or any addiction, say something! Or, if not on a personal level, volunteer to help groups doing something about that problem.
Max: Any final thoughts about the IML competition?
BROWN: I just want to say 'thank you' to everyone for standing behind me: I hope to do it justice and make everyone proud.
Max: Thank you for talking with me, and good luck to you!