Channing Tatum: Tony’s the man! Hit him up if you want to get jacked and shredded AF.

It was the year 1999 in Tampa Florida when Channing Tatum and I worked with a group called the Male Encounter where we performed on stage in front of hundreds of screaming women. With our bodies as instruments, we owned the stage like 80’s Rock Stars. From Hip Hop to Rock, Comedy and jazz, we did it all.

My first time on stage:

My first performance was a bartender act from the movie cocktail with Tom Cruise. I can hear the music now. Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty momma, to the Florida keys… I walk out onto the stage wearing khaki shorts and button up flower shirt clapping my hands in the air, getting the girls fired up as I walk behind my prop bar, spinning bottles, pouring shots and spitting barmen poetry. Sex on the beach, Schnapps made with peach, Golden Hamma, Alabama Slamma! Shortly thereafter, the music changes to Great Balls Of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis and my side guys come to join in on the fun. Each one of us grab a bottle and begin to dance while shaking it side to side in unison with intermittent thrusting and gyrating in a suggestive manner. At the end of the dance routine, my side guys exit the stage and the song red red wine… comes on as things become slow and sensual. Unbuttoning my shirt, taking my time, I tease the crowd, only showing part of my chiseled chest and shredded abs. After taking off my shirt and shoes, it was now time for the shorts to come off. With nothing on underneath but a thong, I accidentally hooked the waist band with my thumbs as I pulled my shorts down around my ankles in a hamstring stretch position, facing away from the audience, baring all. Yes it was a full moon that night and the sight wasn’t pretty. But what could I do at that point, I had to own it like I meant to do it. Either way, the girls screamed like crazy as I was introduced to what would be my life for the next several years.

premiere of Magic Mike 2

Channings first time on stage:

I remember Channing Tatums first time on stage. It was at a club called Zuma Beach in Orlando FL. One of the owners of the group talked Chan into performing a clown act. “Chan Crowford” at the time, said he didn’t want to do a clown act but the owner persisted by telling him that this act kills bro, trust me. As the Humpty Dance music came on, this Bozo the Clown character awkwardly bumbles out onto the stage honking a little horn and making balloon animals. A hush came over the crowd as they watched in disbelief. Not knowing how to react or even what face to make, they watched in complete utter silence. I had never seen a crowd so unresponsive, it was almost eerie. But that all changed when the Usher song “Pony” came on. Chan took off the clown mask, dropped his suspenders to the floor and ripped open his button up shirt. The silence turned to screams as Chan showed the Crowd how he could move his body in ways that couldn’t be taught. His freestyle dance moves were such a smooth and effortless flow, the girls didn’t even care he still had his black dress socks on as he danced and strutted across the stage in nothing but a thong. I always knew there was something special about that guy but I had no idea what one day he would become.

Will the real Magic Mike please stand up:

The real star of the show was a guy who went by the name Michelangelo or Magic Mike. That guy was like MC Hammer and Michael Jackson all in one. Nobody rocked the house like Magic Mike. He was the best entertainer in the group but the biggest screw up too. He would get fired or put on suspension every couple of months but the show was never the same without Magic Mike. An example of something Michelangelo did on at least one occasion, was strip out of the skid marked skivvies he had been wearing all day. When he tossed them across the stage, girls clamored around taking pictures of the tainted tightie whities. Awe man… that’s dirty. Besides his poor decision making skills, Mike was actually a really good guy. He helped myself and many of the other guys, including Channing Tatum with our routines. We were a better, tighter group because of Magic Mike.

Life after dancing:
Today I own my own business called Tony Morris Fitness, where my wife and I who are both WBFF Pro Fitness Competitors inspire people to live a healthier happier life through fitness. Setting goals and following through is essential for anything you want to achieve in life. When you have a balanced fitness and nutrition plan, everything else seems to fall in place. As your confidence grows, so does your will to succeed in life. The positive shift of energy is undeniable, as you find yourself achieving things you never thought possible. Everything that lives must grow or it dies. As long as you’re improving yourself daily, you’re still in the game called life. So plan your meals ahead of time, get your heart rate up regularly and constantly set new goals.