Charlie Matthews is back for an exclusive cover shoot and a chat about the challenges faced by models today as well as the power of online platforms
Almost exactly five years ago, Charlie Matthews appeared for the first time in this magazine. Less than a year later, we featured him once again in a special photo shoot and interview, where we learned more about him and his career, along with hints at what would eventually grow into a full-on passion for content creation. And this year, we caught up with Charlie once again to learn more about his adventures in the modelling biz and his increasingly massive online presence.
DAMAN: Hi Charlie, good to catch up with you again in hot, sunny California. To start off, please give us an update on what you have been up to. With the pandemic, how was life for you in the past year?
Charlie Matthews: What a crazy last year, huh? Like everyone else, I had my share of ups and downs, but never gave up. I tried to utilize all that free time to learn new skills and reconnect with my family. Now that things seem to be getting better, I’m back working with my regular clients such as Guess. I’m also currently working on social media partnerships with Hugo Boss, Perry Ellis and Ron Dorff.
DA: How do you keep yourself motivated in this very challenging year?
CM: Definitely setting new goals and going after them—that’s what keeps me motivated. Always wanting to do more and help others.
DA: For a lot of models in the industry, it’s been a quiet year where a lot of things had been put on hold. But we see that you are still quite active and you’ve even been travelling, not only domestically but internationally for work. How was that?
CM: Last year was definitely an open call for me to come up with new ideas and ways to keep myself busy. Obviously, I couldn’t do all that work without my agent, so I can say I was pretty lucky. This year I got to travel to Peru to shoot for a cosmetics brand. It felt so relieving to get some kind of normality, but it has been challenging and a process to travel to another country.
DA: Since we last caught up, your career had progressed nicely. More campaigns followed including several global campaigns with Guess. How was it to work with such an iconic brand and to see you your face appearing in public places, in stores and magazines around the world?
CM: It was an absolute dream come true to work with Guess and seeing my face all over billboards, buses and stores. It was surreal.
DA: And if you were to pick out a memorable moment, what would it be?
CM: I would have to say my first Guess campaign because it was such an amazing experience.
DA: Now you are also an established physique and underwear model, having fronted underwear campaigns for major brands the likes of Calvin Klein to, more recently, BANG & STRIKE. How does it make you feel to be objectified, I suppose, as a sex symbol?
CM: I don’t consider myself a sex symbol. [Laughs] But I guess I’m in my underwear often, huh? I’m just very thankful for all the support I’ve been receiving from my followers.
DA: Do you feel any pressure to keep your physique always on top of its game?
CM: No pressure at all. I’ve been working out my entire life and it’s a lifestyle for me.
DA: And what is the secret to maintaining your great physique so far?
CM: The secret to maintain a great physique is having a proper nutrition and workout routine.
DA: Now while on the subject of sex and sex symbols, you had also recently launched your own OnlyFans account. Now, some would say that this is a risky route to take for your career. What made you decide to take this step?
CM: I decided to launch my OnlyFans because I wanted to create a closer community with my followers. There is such a big stigma about models being on OnlyFans; people immediately assume you’re doing X-rated content, but that’s not what my account is about. I like to go there and chat with my subscribers, I do a live stream every Sunday and just talk about things I have coming up and just random stuff. I want everyone that follows me to feel closer to me.
DA: Has there been any backlash or negative comments directed towards you ever since the launch of your OnlyFans?
CM: No, I haven’t received any negative feedback at all. it’s been quite the opposite, really. Everyone’s super supportive and loving my content.
DA: Of course, we have noticed a growing trend for models as well as celebrities to venture out and launch their own OnlyFans accounts as an extra way to stay in touch with their fans. But currently, the image that people associate with OnlyFans is that it is an adult website with lots of steamy content. Having said that, what kind of content can fan who subscribe to your account get access to?
CM: I have a variety of content such as fitness routines, cooking recipes, behind-the-scenes photos and videos from my modeling projects … and of course some steamy content you can’t post on Instagram.
DA: I suppose since we last spoke, you moved along not only as a model but you are also a content creator now, with a growing number of fans from Instagram to YouTube and TikTok. How do you manage to juggle creating content for all these platforms?
CM: It’s a full-time job, but it is my responsibility to deliver quality content to everyone that follows me. I try to shoot content in advance, that way I don’t run out of things to post.
DA: Have you noticed if each platform attracts different audiences? And do you make different content for each?
CM: Yes, there are definitely different audiences on each platform, so I try create different content depending what trends are happening.
DA: Would you say that if you are a model now, and you don’t have an active and sizable social media audience, it’s hard to get ahead in the industry?
CM: I’d say it’s difficult and quite competitive now if you don’t have a social media following. Especially last year through the pandemic when everything was digital and most clients where shooting at-home content. Having a large following helped me stay busy last year.
DA: Any exciting projects and plans in the works that you can share with us?
CM: Right now, I’m preparing some stuff to travel to Europe. I plan on heading to Paris for some secret projects you should be seeing soon.
DA: What are your plans if you were to ever leave the modeling industry?
CM: By the time I leave the industry I want to start investing in property and build multiple strings of passive income.
DA: And if there is also a lesson learned from a year living COVID-19 pandemic, what would you say is the most important one?
CM: I say the most important one was to save money. [Laughs] No, but really, I think the biggest lesson I learned is to not take things for granted. One year you could be super busy and the next completely dead. I’m super thankful to have such an amazing and supportive team around me.
DA: What is your current state of mind, Charlie?
CM: Healthy, motivated and career-driven.
DA: And finally, what is your motto in life that you abide by?
CM: Trust the process.
Nothing really comes close to the look and feel of glossy photo paper. Get your copy of DAMAN Jun/Jul ’21 here!
PHOTOGRAPHY @MITCHELLPROJECTS & IAN PHILLIPS
U.S.-BASED FASHION EDITOR/STYLIST KIMBERLY GOODNIGHT
INTERVIEW RONALD LIEM
GROOMING DYLAN MICHAEL
MODEL CHARLIE MATTHEWS/PRETTY MANAGEMENT
PRODUCTION AND CASTING MEDIA PLAYGROUND PR
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