Nicholas Rocco DeFinis had his picture — in which he’s wearing stiletto heels — installed Feb. 3.
The 26-year-old Lansdale native is a rapper, singer and dancer.
In 2009, DeFinis was crowned Mr. Gay Congeniality Philadelphia and Mr. Gay Philadelphia runner-up two years later.
Last year, he decided to use Geno’s as the backdrop for a promotional photo for Mr. Queer Philly, a competition he founded that will debut Feb. 23 at Tabu.
“I contacted Geno [Vento, son of Geno’s founder the late Joey Vento] to make sure that I could use the photo for Mr. Queer Philly. He agreed and said he wanted to put that photo up on his wall,” DeFinis said.
Vento will also serve as a celebrity judge for the event.
DeFinis, who released his first single, “Give ’Em What They Want,” in August, started performing after a trip to Disney World with his father.
“We were attending a show at Disney World. Instead of me sitting down before the show started, I decided to perform in front of everyone; people thought it was a part of the show,” he said. “I knew I was going to be bigger than ever. I knew I had the potential to be great.”
DeFinis moved to Philadelphia several years ago to develop his music career, which, although challenging, is where his passion lies.
“I have a lot going on and continue to perform. I hope to get signed to a label soon. Right now, I am paying for everything out of pocket,” he said.
He also is passionate about advocating for his community, he said.
DeFinis took part in Soulforce’s 2008 Equality Ride, where he and a dozen others traveled through the South to promote equality and respect for LGBT students.
“We went to 15 schools in the South and we advocated for their LGBTQA students,” he said. “We wanted the administration to know that we loved those students in the schools and that we were there for them. They are amazing human beings.”
DeFinis said he hopes his photo at the popular eatery will inspire LGBT visitors and educate others in the city’s LGBT community.
“I want people to know that we are human,” he said. “We should love each other and give back. We are more than these labels and social constructs that we have developed over time.”