This was a long-awaited interview. Matt Ross inspires curiosity by radiating confidence and an authentic spirit that is evident through his unvarnished vlog content. Audience engagement is one of his top priorities when bringing his light to Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. Matt shares his story.
1994: Born in Cape Town, South Africa
2011: Signed up as model with TOPCO Model Management
2012: Graduated from St Joseph Marist College, Cape Town
2015: Worked as a waiter at Beefcakes Burger Bar, Cape Town
2016: First international modeling contract in Mumbai, India
1. You’ve been investing a lot of time in your vlog – what inspired you to create?
I don’t see what I do as creating. There is a VITAL difference, I don’t create, I document. The truth is that nobody knows if a piece of content is going to be well received because all content is subjective. Frequently a video/post I thought would do really well, underachieves and a piece of content I never gave a second thought to becomes one of my most engaging pieces.
So instead of spending hours pondering and speculating if something is going to be a success I ruthlessly execute on putting out content and simply react to what the market (audience) says.
It boils down to less time being crippled trying to be perfect and more time executing because I have no idea what piece of content is going to impact people and I don’t wish to run the risk of not documenting it.
2. You describe yourself as an international model. Why modeling then?
To be candid, I love being in the public eye. When I walked into my mother agency in high-school I saw the opportunity for travel, social exposure, and life experience, all of which I wanted. That’s what made modeling appealing.
I didn’t have the fairy-tale story that saturates the media on this question: How did you become a model?
- I wasn’t scouted at a festival or had never considered modeling.
- I decided to model, and have worked my ass off to do so.
I realize that isn’t romantic, but it’s the truth.
3. Modeling seems like a tough gig, what advice do you have for dealing with adversity?
Your perception is spot on! It’s not all sitting on yachts, partying and taking selfies. This is a damn good question and really want to add value to those reading this!
Let’s look at this realistically, you need to be your number one fan. There are going to be plenty of people to tell you that you are not good enough, that you are making the wrong decision and that you are wasting your time. Trust me, you don’t need to be another one of those. If you are subconsciously against yourself you have already lost. Period.
Be your biggest supporter and adversity won’t mean shit.
4. Your work takes you all over the world. How do you stay grounded?
I only moved onto my mother agency’s mainboard (an agency’s selection of top models who work internationally) at the beginning of last year after 4 years of dieting, training and shooting for free. I say this because it’s still early in the game and there is work that has gone into it! After shifting onto the mainboard I signed with TFM in Mumbai and worked there for 6 months with some of the country’s top brands. I’ve also been fortunate enough to scout agencies in London and spent a little bit of time in Paris.
The industry keeps you grounded. You will book the biggest campaign of your career and then hours later walk into a casting where the client doesn’t like your look. Anybody who ever thinks they are “somebody” has already lost, it’s about realizing that everyone comes together to do a job and you are only one of many cogs in the machine.
5. If you could bottle anything (your Mattness so to speak), what would it be?
That’s a very tough question! Probably invincible optimism. I maintain that there is way too much opportunity for you to be complaining. We all have one at bat when it comes to this thing called life and that creates so much excitement and motivation for me I would definitely share that with the world.
6. Tell us one thing that would surprise people about you?
During my head-boy selection speech, I stripped down in the school chapel. P.S. There was a message behind me about banishing façades.
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