Michael “Graz” Graziano, LSOE ’17, sat down in the middle of the first floor of O’Neill Library, lucky enough to have found an empty table during prime study hours. We had just come in from frolicking outside for the Heights photoshoot. He had been goofing around for the cameras, making fun of his own awkwardness while he threw the classic thumbs-up pose. Graz is easy-going, charming, and deceptively humble. He was still shell-shocked by his big win of a prestigious title—Mr. BC.
“Everyone else had real talent, and I didn’t … I was going purely on charm,” he said over the table, sneaking peeks at my interview notepad. He was nominated by his friends in the Residence Hall Association three days before the pageant kicked off. They thought he would be the perfect candidate, and apparently, they were right. Graziano is definitely a people person—he can command the audience’s attention, clown around on stage, and bring a smile to people’s faces, which he noted as his only goal going into the pageant.
Graziano’s main goal in his official role as Mr. BC is to have fun with people, and bring some joy into their lives.
“I’m charismatic, but I also care,” he said of his personality offstage.
He wants to help the world one person at a time, cultivating the individual attention and personal touch that only Graz can bring. He is on the right track, school-wise, for his personality and beliefs, as an education major focusing on teaching middle school. He likes kids, and they like him. And, he claims, he identifies with their teenage angst.
Graziano reaches more people through his largest passion: sports. Although his career on the field peaked in high school, the avid New York Giants fan has a sports show on WZBC and regularly serves as a broadcaster for Boston College football, men’s basketball, men’s hockey, and baseball games. He never leaves Alumni Stadium early. He has played nearly every intramural BC offers, although football is his favorite to watch and play.
Graz is from Ossining, a village in Westchester County, N.Y. he says is famous for missionaries and its massive prison. He plans to return there for the summer and figure out the rest of his life, hopefully landing a job with a sports network on camera or behind the scenes.
The talent portion was the perfect place to showcase his silly side, and Graziano made the most of it.
“I pretty much sang “Mr. Brightside” and ran around,” he said. “And I was exhausted about halfway through. I was just like, ‘oh no, there’s more to this song.’”
The audience felt the fun, and giving them a good experience was his main goal in entering the competition. Despite his professed lack of dancing talents, this was not his first brush with fame. This Mr. BC win has its roots all the way back in his freshman year, when he won his orientation’s dance-off, taking home a green—his favorite color—shirt, that will definitely look good with his new sash and crown.
The summer-wear section was his biggest challenge, as a self-professed owner of a “girthy” body, redeemed by his shark hat, swimsuit, and snorkel, he finished off the show with a bold cannonball straight into the floor. When asked about his strategy for the show’s choreography, he replied in typical Graz fashion.
“Get a laugh, because everyone’s so stressed out,” he said. “Just calm down and enjoy yourself.”
The interview/formal section was what he was most excited for. That was where his charisma shined. He was thrilled with the question he was asked: the classic, what is your ideal date? His answer: mini golfing and milkshakes. Sorry, ladies, but if you are the type that ever turns down a free milkshake, Graz is not interested.
Winning Mr. BC was a cherished moment for Graziano, while preparing to leave BC behind. He took this win as an opportunity to reflect on his time here and what it really meant to him.
“What I’m going to miss most are those 12:30 conversations you have in your suite … finding those people with common connections,” he said. “It’s the small moments that mean the most.”
He emphasizes the importance of finding those strong, loyal friends who will do stupid little things to support you. Part of Graziano’s pageant strategy was to fill the crowd with friendly faces, bringing together friends from all walks of life to give that confidence boost that can make all the difference. All his supporters were thrilled at the win, hyping up the crowd for their friend. His mom, one of his biggest supporters, was excited once he convinced her he wasn’t lying, and she hoped there was a potential Miss BC for him.
So if you recognize Graz walking across the quad one day, stop him, have a chat, take a break from your busy day. He would love to meet you, give you a dose of that famous Graz charm, and hopefully brighten your day.
Featured Image by Josh Mentzer / Heights Staff