BFF Spotlight: Gregory Michel (@FallenAngelGM)

Fallen Angel GM

Do you know who @FallenAngelGM is?  You may have seen his Beat Freaks shirt project designs or you may know him as the mastermind behind 8 Valkyries, the Norse fantasy novel project based on the Beat Freaks.  Freak the Fashion wanted to learn more about this BFF, including his background and his inspirations.  Here is what we learned…

FallenAngelGM’s real name is Gregory Michel, a 25-year-old from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  He is in the process of studying graphic design, but his passion lies in mangas and creating and writing his own stories. [For a better look at the shirts and 8 Valkyries sketches, view the FallenAngelGM Picasa Photo Album.]

Freak The Fashion (FTF): Where did you get your nickname, FallenAngelGM?

Gregory Michel: I carry the nickname of “Fallen Angel”, but not because I worship the Devil, loll. Far from that! It came from the fact I created a character in one of my projects who happens to be a dark-winged angel and also due to the significance of my first name, which I discovered 3 years after self-given me this title (Weird, huh? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori) I carry the name of “Fallen Angel”, originated from angels called “Grigori” that had the task to watch over the first humans because I am told a lot of times that I have that “watching-over” trait, always caring for the ones around me, far or close to me. So that’s why I have it. I wanted to clear that up before people saw me as a Devil’s follower, loll!

FTF:What is it about the Beat Freaks?

Gregory Michel: For me, the Beat Freaks are more than just excellent dancers: they are not only great role models to follow for girls and boys alike, but they represent the perfect definition of what it is to be a strong and proud woman. I see on TV or just by walking outside a lot of women these days who are good-looking, very popular and all, but what they’ve achieved is the same as the typical girl “Barbie Girl” who’s there for her looks or shaking it real good. While on the other hand, you have the Beat Freaks representing the complete opposite of that, especially in a domain strongly dominated by men: dancing. Through their journey on ABDC, in which I first saw them, they did things that boys usually do, but better and in their own unique style, proving that girls in the world of dancing isn’t about being half-naked most of the time and show their sexy sides and selling out by objectifying themselves. Their loyalty towards their own selves is just amazing! You’d have a better chance moving a mountain aside of your path than convincing them to be like the average “Barbie Girl.”

FTF: How would you describe the Beat Freaks style?

Gregory Michel: Pretty much on the hip-hop style, which I like a lot. I mean, some people would label them as tomboys and all by looking at their fashion police, and if that’s the fact, then I really love tomboy girls all the way and far better than too-feminine type as they have more personality and inner-strength. Being professional dancers and powerful persons at heart, I believe that’s the best style that speaks the people they are and what they represent.

FTF: How do you Freak The Fashion?

Gregory Michel: Pretty much with the usual trend or hip-hop. I always say to myself that if it looks good, I’ll wear it. It doesn’t have to be a high brand of clothing like RocaWear or Sean John, even though I admire those. I could wear a long white with jeans and I’d be okay with that. MyNinjaClothing is a fashion style I admire and respect a lot as it is so simple and yet, so meaningful and not too flashy at all. I love fashion styles that doesn’t shine to a point everyone’s looking at you, making you the center of attention. I rather love basic ones and I believe these are the ones that actually means and stand for something.

FTF: How have the Beat Freaks inspired you to Freak Your Dream?

Gregory Michel: Writing is my main and greatest passion in life. Many people in the past have encouraged me to follow this path and it is the same in the present. I’ve always had my friends and family to back me up and yet, the Beat Freaks gave me this surge of willpower that I never knew of its existence within my heart. Watching them on ABDC was mind-blowing week after week, but the moment that set my heart in blazes was the recap of their journey on the song “Break the Dawn” by Michelle Williams. I believe while watching this moment, that last spark of encouragement, that last boost I needed to go forward and never look back again, I received it on this moment. And even more, recently, when Maryss and Lindsey were on the Shoeture Photo Shoot, Maryss quoted me as an amazing artist and mentioned my novel project called “8 VALKYRIES.” It lasted a few seconds, but as I heard her say this about me, I knew what I was doing was great: great to a point to be acknowledged by one of the persons I admired above all. Now, I feel that pressure on my back, but the kind that stresses me, but the type that tells me, “You’ve gone this far, nothing can stop you now!” and all. Being as it is, I now feel I must go through this to the end as I mustn’t disappointed them at all.

FTF: What dream(s) are you freaking now?

Gregory Michel: Two dreams actually. The first one started when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I was at school and a friend of mine was reading a Dragonball comic book. He lent me another volume and as soon as I laid my eyes on it, it was the birth of my passion for mangas. “When I grow up, I’m gonna do one just like that,” I said when I finished reading it and about 16 years later, I still am working on that dream, which impresses me because I’ve seen people who had so much talent in the past and how, today I see them and it’s a whole new person, a person that had given up or decided to go stupid decisions in his life for money or whatsoever and I find it a shame. The second one is becoming a novelist as I had an incredible story that was inspired by the Beat Freaks and as I plan to write it, I also will dedicate it to them.

FTF:  Tell me more about the Beat Freaks shirts project and what inspired you to make them.

Gregory Michel: That shirt project started thanks to Maryss, actually. I remember viewing on Youtube a tribute for Shorty called “INVINCIBLE”, and the idea of making one for Maryss came to my mind. Once it was done, I called it, “INDESTRUCTIBLE” due to her will and personality.  I added a star-shaped logo I did at the end of the tribute and suddenly, I told myself, “That would look so good on a shirt!” So, I edited the logo a little and did a shirt with it. I was really proud of this fashionable creation, but as I thought about the other Beat Freaks’ reactions when they’d see it, they’d probably be like, “OMG! I WANT ONE, TOO!!” loll. So, I decided to do one for each of them. It took me quite a while to make the logos, but it was definitely worth it!

FallenAngelGM shirts

FTF: More specifically, describe each shirt and meaning behind them.

Gregory Michel: Each of them describes who they are or where they came from and more. I’ve learned somewhere that the “SS” at the end of Maryss’ name meant “Super Star” and knowing she’s from France, I decided to make a star with the French flag colors. For Rino, when I asked her what kind of logo she’d like, she told me anything with the Okinawan crest, so I made a customized “R” with the symbol of Okinawa at the top. To be honest, Rino’s logo was the easiest to be done. As for Jules’ she told me that she’d like something like a mountain as she’s aspiring to be strong as one. I designed the letters “L” and “J” and sorta leant them towards each other to make a mountain. When I asked Keeley’s, “Something with angel wings, a key and music notes,” she answered. As detailed as it is, her logo was very short to be done as I already had the elements under my hand from other files; I only had to stick together and do some editing. Shorty’s design is mostly based on her skills in doing head-spins: I used a shoe that’d describe her BGirl skills and put a customized Ying-Yang circle to emphasize on the spinning matter and surrounded the shoe with white stripes to, again, concentrate on the spinning effect of the logo. For Teresa’s logo, the number 22 had to be there, even though I still don’t know the significance of it (her birthday, I suppose.) I added fireballs with different shades of colors describing fire because among the Beat Freaks, I’ve always seen Teresa as the Wildfire in the group. A friend on Twitter told me that Lindsey spent a few years of her life around planes on military bases. And so, I used the letter “B” and attached a wing in front it. And finally, Alison, her logo was mostly based on her nickname “Al-Star”: dancing is like a rainbow as it has many shades of colors and each one of them is a style of dance. I’ve red somewhere on Wikipedia she knows quite a few types, so I shaped a star and created an “S” made out of smaller ones.

Although I am really proud of them all, I feel Maryss’ logo was the one I failed the most as I could have made it better. Luckily, I had that chance when I asked her what kind of GEMINIZ shirt would she likes. As I wanted to use the Ying-Yang symbol and do some editing, she suggested me to use astrological symbol of Gemini, some kind of “H”, but joined not by the middle but by the top and bottom with curved edges. In this Beat Freaks shirt project of mine, I believe these two GEMINIZ shirts became my best success.

8Valkyries

FTF: Any other projects you are working on for the Beat Freaks?

Gregory Michel: The shirt project is finally finished and I’ll be sending the shirts to them pretty soon, but other than that, there is one I am working on and it is my favorite. It is a Norse fantasy novel project called “8 VALKYRIES”, telling the story of 8 Valkyries (mid-level goddesses with the task of gathering souls of brave fallen warriors to bring them Valhalla, the Hall of Fallen Warriors, so they can train and fight for the Gods) from the heaven of Asgard reborn on Midgard (Norse name for Earth) with the task of returning home to save their land from the unknown threat that forced them out of their paradise in the first place. That idea came to me at work when I was rewinding in my mind the “Break the Dawn” montage from ABDC. I told in my mind that these girls are like 8 Valkyries, and the story completely on its own poured itself in my mind like lava from a volcano rushing everywhere. To not lose this wonderful idea, I bought some note books and all, and started. It’s a project inspired by and dedicated to them.

The 8 Valkyries are characters inspired directly from the 8 Beat Freaks members. I also create a character representing me who happens to be a Fallen Angel and the rival of Maryss’ character, loll. Some artist friends (8 Valkyries sketches by Haya and Azu-Chan, colorist Sheru-Chan) are helping me to create the characters with the proper description I’ve given them and it is going well so far and if everything goes well, I might be able to release the first volume in more or less a year, I hope. But again, I can be lazy sometimes, loll.

FTF: Any other projects you are working on?

Gregory Michel: There is the HEART OF WILDFIRE project, my manga project that I’m working with my friend Hagane-Chan (that’s a nickname, btw). This project is nearly a decade old as I started working on it since high school, but back then, I had no one to help me out on the drawings. Hagane and I went to the same school and she had amazing skills when it comes to the manga style. After my cousin gave up on his manga project, in which Hagane was the artist, we both teamed-up for HEART OF WILDFIRE and hope to make it big in the publishing business of the manga universe.

FTF: How can we keep track of your progress on 8 Valkyries and Heart of Wildfire?

Gregory Michel: For everyone who wants to have updates about my project or want to know more about me and be friends, my twitter is @FallenAngelGM. For the manga project I’m leading, the website is http://www.heartofwildfire.com I might be making a website for the 8 VALKYRIES project, but for the time being, you can always follow me on Twitter to get the updates.

FTF: Anything else you would like to add?

Gregory Michel: I thank everyone for encouraging me every day in these dreams I have, especially the Beat Freaks as they’ve caught eye of my novel project and are thrilled about it, particularly Maryss whom I thank mostly for always being the first to applaud my artistic creativity by being a fan of it (and answering most of my tweets I sent to her, loll! Si tu lis ceci, je te remercie du fond du coeur de tes encouragements faits à mon égard et je te dédicacerai le premier volume personnellement, c’est une promesse.)

And people, dreams do come true: the Beat Freaks are a living proof of that.

Some quotes I leave for all of you:

“Get up and you will walk. Believe and you will fly.”

“Better make that first step and fail than never making it and fearing to fail.”

Thank you so much to Gregory Michel, aka FallenAngelGM, for sharing his story and inspirations with us.  The Beat Freaks are lucky to know they have inspired such creative, talented, and giving fans.  We will continue to follow you on your journey and we look forward to the finished products.

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