It’s an unusually bright day at the famed Milk Studios building in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. The scene is just what you’d expect for a photo shoot with one of the most marketable faces on morning television: busy. Hard-core hip-hop is blaring. The styling and photo crews are setting up looks and adjusting the lighting. All while the various assistants await instructions and joke around with the biggest kid in the room, former NFL great, now Michael “Mr. Entertainment” Strahan.
Today he’s in a sharp white tuxedo blazer, with black slacks and a bow tie. You know his voice when you hear it—loud and boisterous, with a slight lisp that accents certain words. The toothy, gapped smile greets all with pure energy. Before you know it, you’re grinning along with him and don’t know why. “Who wants to have a night on the town?” Strahan playfully offers while looking in the mirror and straightening his tie. His appearance is so smooth, someone kiddingly suggests that he could be the next Black James Bond, which earns a few giggles until someone adds, “How about just James Bond?” That strikes a chord with Strahan, who belts out an emphatic “That’s right!” when he laughingly responds.
The possibility may not be too far of a stretch to imagine now, though, given Strahan’s “international man of mystery” appeal. This burly 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound mass of man has thrived on the field and set because he embraces all facets of his identity. He has spent the last two years cheerfully greeting us in the morning on Live with Kelly & Michael, his daily co-host gig with Kelly Ripa. The nationally syndicated show is enjoying its strongest season in seven years in total viewers and is currently the No. 2-ranked daytime talk show, trailing only Dr. Phil. What’s even greater is that Live is America’s No.1 entertainment talk show, period. It isn’t hard to believe that Strahan might have something to do with that.
To read the entire cover story on Michael Strahan, grab the August issue of EBONY magazine on newsstands now!