Matthew, the Stoli Guy New York winner, captivated the audience at Copacabana with his impressive rendition of the Sam Smith tear-jerker “Latch.” Guest host Paige Turner and judges Justin Luke, Twinkle Montgomery and the editor of Next magazine were present at the GayCities-produced star search to witness Matt’s superstar pipes.

Now Matt is getting ready to put on a second show in New York City but this time for the national finale. Will he be the one to claim the $10,000 prize?

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Can you give us a little teaser of what your original talent showcase will be at the finale on September 18?

After the score I got at the local event, the pressure is definitely on! My mentor, and last year’s Stoli Guy New York, Chad Sapp, comes from the same performing world as I do, and he’s definitely helping me to pull out all the stops and showcase my best self.

large_DSC00558How did your friends and family react when you were crowned Stoli Guy 2014 in your hometown?

They were so happy and proud of me, which is such an awesome feeling:  to have the ones you care for be happy for you. I had my roommates, some cast mates, as well as my friends there, and it meant so much to me. The support has been great. I even bumped into an old college professor on the street recently who congratulated me on winning.

Being an LGBT ambassador for Stoli is an exciting job. Why do you think you’d be the best at it?

I think I’ll be best at being an LGBTQ ambassador because of communication and education. Being a professional performer, I’m comfortable speaking in front of large crowds, as well as with audience interaction. Sexual education and STI/HIV awareness are extremely important to me. There are so many stigmas, assumptions, negativity and slut shame regarding these issues all due to fear and lack of education. Knowledge is power.

large_DSC00323Why do you think being “authentic” is important in the LGBT community?

I think being “authentic” is important in the LGBTQ community, because, as a “minority” group, we certainly have quite a myriad of individuals. Look at the acronym LGBTQ alone. That is who we are. We have one of the only communities that appreciates and encourages uniqueness and individuality. Our goal is to spread the message of showing your true colors and that should never be brought down.

What inspired you to participate in Stoli Guy 2014?

Honestly, I’ve never competed in any thing like this before. I grew up as competition dance kid, but this is a little different; an opportunity for a stronger message, if you ask me.

Favorite Stoli Guy Cocktail: Twinkle Montgomery said I was a Boy Next Door (Stoli Blueberi + Lemonade), but I fancy myself a Future Husband (Stoli Original + Ginger Beer). Plus, I love ginger beer.

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