TRC: Hi Mike and welcome to The Reading Café. At The Reading Café we are always interested in the men behind the covers of some of our favorite novels and storylines.
We would like to start with some background information.
Name: Patrick Michael (Mike ) O’Hearn
Place of Birth: Kirkland, Washington
Siblings: 8 -brothers and sisters
TRC: Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Mike: Well I’m a 4 time Mr. Universe. Well, I was the Topaz Romance cover model for 3 years, and that’s how I guess we are coming about to do this story, but on top of that I’m a 4 time Mr. Universe, 4 time Powerlifting champion, 2 time Strongman champion, and California Judo champion. Some of your readers may know me as “Titan” from American Gladiators. I’ve done many T.V. shows, and movies, most recently I did “It’s Alway Sunny in Philidelphia”, but more than all that I’m just a big silly guy, who loves his dogs, and always has a smile for a stranger.
TRC: You come from a very large family of 9 children. What was it like growing up as 1 of nine children? Was there plenty of competition between the siblings?
Mike: My dad was a football player, and a bodybuilder, and my mother was an artist, she believes that you should always, in this life, live your dream. In a family of 10, being the youngest boy, I was getting my ass kicked on a daily basis. Not just from my brothers, my older sisters were tough too, and kicked my ass. Besides my brothers doing bodybuilding, and power lifting, so did my sisters. Everybody was required to do martial arts. Being the youngest boy, I was usually the punching bag. So you tell me, if there’s anything competitive about where I came from?
Mike: I’m an artist, I love to draw, and sketch, so I think the artistic part of me choose bodybuilding. Bodybuilding is an artshow. You’re almost chisling your body the way Michelangelo chisled David. So, the artistic aspect of it is what made me choose it at such a young age.
TRC: We read where your father as well as several of your brothers, are also interested in body-building. How active is your family in the business?
Mike: At one point they were all very active in the business, I guess it was just more of a dream for me to continue then for them. However, they are my family, and give me so much support.
TRC: What is your current daily regimen for diet and exercise? Does it change
dramatically for competitions?
Mike: Right now I train once daily for an hour. I call that my “off season” training. When I have to step it up, and get ready for a project, whether it be T.V., movie, guest posing, or modeling. Then for only 12 weeks I go twice a day. 1 hour of training in the morning, and then 2 hours of training in the afternoon. I’m not in the gym as much as the other pros, my belief is that I go in, I move crazy-heavy weight, and get my butt out. Train smarter, not harder.
TRC: You have appeared on over 100 romance novel covers. Do you remember your very first cover?
Mike: No, the first day I shot 5 different covers, so they all kind of blend together in my head. I think I was more excited about being flown to New York with the limos, first class, posing with 5 different New York models. I wouldn’t even call it posing, you can imagine how heated those shoots can get. So I think I remember more of that stuff, than the actual book, or covers.
TRC: Are you currently active in the romance cover-model industry?
Mike: No, I’m completely focused right now on the acting. I guess it’s one of those things. Like when you do something, you gotta keep moving on to the next. I wouldn’t say I conquered it, but I enjoyed it.
TRC: Your image is internationally recognizable from the TV show ”American Gladiators” which is hosted by Hulk Hogan. What are your memories from that show and what do you believe you learned as an individual?
Mike: Let me just start by saying you mentioned Hulk Hogan in this question. I have to tell the readers as nice as you think Hulk Hogan is, he’s even nicer. This guy is such a great man, as an individual. Caring, passionate, and gives back to his fans, and society. He was just a pleasure to work with. What I took from the show I think, that’s a tough one, because I don’t think I took a lot away from the second run of American Gladiators, besides the good times with my team mates, and contestants. I would say it was my stint on the Original American Gladiators really shaped my career, and took a lot more away from it. On the Original show, my show-name was “Thor”, but I got to work with people like Dan Clark, who was “Nitro” on the show. Jim Star, who was “Lazer” on the show, and I sat back, and I watched how these guys trained, competed, spoke up when they needed to, and kept their mouths shut when they needed to. They were just a class act. I don’t think I would have been as successful on the remake of American Gladiators if it wasn’t for those guys, and me paying attention. Dan Clark said something to me that I still hold true to this day. “You want to lead one day? Then learn to follow.” And I did just that. Something I rarely see in other people.
TRC: Do you recall some of the funniest moments in front of the camera? If so,
would you tell us about one or two?
Mike: Oh my gosh yes. It was my first interview with HardCopy, which is like ET, or Extra!. I have no idea what came over me for that shoot. I guess I was putting a lot of pressure on myself because as soon as that camera went on, and they started interviewing me, I didn’t freeze up. I’ve never really done that on camera, but what I did do was get long-winded, or “chatty” if you will. When I was saying things, I could hear it in my head, my own voice screaming at my saying “You are an idiot!” I was saying some of the silliest things. We filmed for 6 hours that day, and when I finally saw the interview on the T.V. they cut it down to where the only thing I said in the interview was “I’m Mike O’Hearn the new Topaz man!” Maybe you had to be there, but it was one of those that I still remember to this day, and laugh about.
TRC: Did you travel to many ‘exotic’ locations for any of the cover shoots? If
so, where was your favorite place to visit?
Mike: Man, I would like to say I did. I’ve traveled all over the world, but that was more for movies, T.V., commercials, and competitions, but for the romance covers I shot everything in Manhattan, New York City. Which is actually great for be because I live in California, and for me New York is fun to visit, just wouldn’t want to live there. Let me give you a destination regardless, though it’s not related to shooting romance covers. I did a movie called “Barbarian” in Russia, and Lithuania, still to this day these two places were the most amazing. I was filming, so I saw a lot of the countries. The location scouts did a good job, the movie being called “Barbarian” you can imagine the kind of countryside I was in. The castles, and being able to do all this on horseback solidified I wouldn’t be able to top it with just a basic trip to Hawaii.
TRC: You have appeared in numerous movies and television shows including
American Gladiators and talk shows such as Ellen. Would you tell us about
your latest project?
Mike: I’m passionate about the next project coming out, because I wrote it. The web-series is called “Alter Ego”, I would like to say I had a great time filming it, but I think I was a little too invested, so I was worrying 24/7. I’m excited to see what you guys think, because you are the first ones to see it. Please let me know what you think, and share this with whomever you want. www.youtube.com/alteregomovie
TRC: You have written a book entitled: Proven Techniques for Drug Free
Bodybuilding. Would you tell us what inspired you to write this guide for
Mike: It was more of a great opportunity, and great timing. I’m a lifetime drug-free bodybuilder. So when I talk about vitamins, and nutrition people know that I’m talking truth, and from that I’ve built up an incredible fanbase, so the vitamin company really wanted to give back. So that’s the story. I wrote down my diets, workouts, and everything I was doing at the time. Everything you needed to know to become a natural bodybuilder.
Mike: I don’t know if I really talk to people about them in length, unless someone starts the conversation. I will say one of two things. Either that I’m not the guy to talk to about that stuff, as I don’t believe in it, or the deeper statement I say to them is “Why would you take something, that could possibly harm you, do all that work, knowing you can never keep that muscle?” It doesn’t take common sense to know there is no benefit to it.
TRC: There is always controversy surrounding nude modeling etc. As a model for
numerous romance covers, as well as 100s of bodybuilding magazines and
advertisements, what is your opinion regarding nude photography?
Mike: I’m pretty liberal, so you know, if someone wants to pose nude, then that’s their thing. As for myself, I don’t. Even if it’s artistic, black and white, not showing everything, still a no go for me. Again, I’ve been around the greatest physiques my whole life, so I can be tainted. I think it’s sexier to see a girl dressed up covering everything, yet you can still feel the sex appeal coming from her.
TRC: What advice would you give to young men and women starting out in the
industry with regards to nude photography?
Mike: Where are you going with all this “nude photography” talk? lol. I never really did any. The only nude photography in the romance industry was the girl being topless, but you would never see that because they were always pressed up against me. So, if you can make it romantic, or there is a point to why you’re doing it, then I understand, but besides that I don’t undersand the point of going down that road. As for the newbies coming in, that’s just my thought on the industry.
TRC: Your website offers weekly advise and tips for working out, exercise and
diet. Are you active with one on one consultations? Have you considered
opening your own fitness centre?
Mike: I had a gym for years that I opened, and had my buddies run up in Colorado. I loved it, but it was more of a hardcore gym, so it was more for giving back then turning a large profit. Yes, I do work with people online. I used to personal train, but the hours were taking away from my dreams, and now I only work online with an elite crew of athletes where I’m not spreading myself so thin. This way it’s quality over quantity.
TRC: What type of music do you listen to in the gym?
Mike: I don’t. Don’t roll that way. I don’t work out, I go in to do battle. Motivated people don’t need music.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Mike: Yes, I’d love to talk about the charities I’ve been working with. Recently, I was lucky enough to be asked by MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY’S Foundation “J.K. Livin’ (Just Keep Livin’)” to work with them. It’s nice to be in a position where people look to you for guest speaking, and teaching the youth of today how I’ve succeeded in my career, stayed on a good path, and lived my dreams. It’s true what they say, it feels good to give back.
Matthew funds the 4 schools in LA, and 2 in Austin,Tx. Think Together funds our programs at their 4 schools in Santa Ana and Covina. Texas Rangers fund our 3 schools in Dallas. Drew Brees funds the program in New Orleans. This year they will be adding at least 5 more schools in L.A. as well as possible schools in Washington DC, and San Diego.
I also do some work with “Good Dog Animal Rescue”, which is based here in Los Angeles. This one is my passion, anything I can do to help misplaced dogs. I just have a bond with animals, but especially dogs.
Favorite Food: Hands down, steak burrito. Yes, that’s with extra steak. lol. Actually, it’s with an extra burrito on the side.
Favorite Dessert: Most definitely it’s my vanilla icecream, with strawberrys and nutella.
Favorite Movie: The Natural starring Paul Newman
Favorite TV Show: House
Boxers, Briefs or Commando (we always ask): Oh I’m commando. I love the feel of the breeze.
Dark or Milk chocolate: Dark chocolate. I actually keep a cup of dark chocolate covered espresso beans in my freezer. I get 3 a day.
Favorite Model of Car: 1974 CJ5
Do you have any pets: Do I have any pets?! Hmmm, oh yes! I have 4 incredible dogs. I have my Akita, Elvis, my Husky is named Stryker, My Ridgeback, Bunny, and my Chow, Teddy. It’s a funny story how I got Teddy, and Bunny, who I have had for quite a while now. I did a cover story photo shoot for Muscle and Fitness. Yeah, this is where I got two babies. Yes they were “props” that Muscle and Fitness provided. However, after shooting with them for 8 hours, I was under the assumption they were somebodies puppies, but when the shoot ended, the photo coordinator states she had to “Take the puppies back to the pound”. I said “You ain’t going anywhere with these two.” I handed her a\ two hundred bucks, and said they’re going home with me. Which was more than I probably got paid for the shoot. Which is ok with me.
What profession other than yours, would you like to attempt? A veterinarian
TRC: Thank you, Mike for taking the time today to answer our questions. If there is anything else you would like to add, let us know. We wish you all the best with your career.