Earlier this week Matthew Stephen Smith of ANTM season 21 was in Toronto! I had the chance to chat with him about how his career has taken off and being the new face of the Montreal-based brand KÄRV.
It was early evening as our photographer – Lelania and I headed to the top floor of the Delta Toronto. We entered the club lounge with the most incredible view of the city. We found Matthew, and some of the latest items from the KÄRV line. Although I’m sure he was exhausted after a long few days of photo shoots and press, he welcomed us in, kicked off his shoes, and answered all of my questions honestly.
Can you describe the line for us a little bit?
“It’s ready-to-wear, urban, and the clothing is great. It’s unique! I’m from Denver and you can’t get it there, so it’s cool to be the only one wearing it.
Also, I’m really big on the people behind the brand. I want to know that the people making the brand are really cool, genuine, creative, and awesome. The designer is so super chill and down to earth.
I wouldn’t say there is a specific pant or jean that I prefer over the rest. I wear sample sizes and the fit is great.”
How would you say the brand represents your personality?
“They are great with layers. They have really cool cropped sleeve shirts that are half sleeve and they go great under hoodies. I always layer my clothing, so I love that. I’m a really big black and white guy but they have coloured clothing so the fact that I like their colours is cool.”
What article of clothing would you say is offered in the line that is a staple in every man’s wardrobe?
” I wouldn’t say one is more important than the other. Every article of clothing they make is unique. What I really love about it is that you don’t have to try and put an outfit together. If you have a KÄRV outfit it’s just going to work. A lot of guys don’t want to have to worry about matching stuff and with KÄRV you don’t really have to.”
When did you find out you were going to be the face and how did you feel?
“It was October when I got the news, I thought it was really cool. It’s actually humbling you know? It’s so insane that they want you to represent their brand and it’s a big honour.
I don’t buy into the whole modelling thing too much, I don’t take myself too seriously. I can’t say anything bad about it; it’s a dream as a model to be the face of a brand.”
Did you always want to model?
“No. Absolutely not. I was an athlete, I played football and baseball and I was 245 pounds. Then I was injured and went to California for landscape architecture and kind of got pulled into this career.”
For someone who hasn’t always planned on modelling, being on ANTM and reality TV, now modelling, shooting campaigns, and doing interviews – what has been the biggest change or thing you’ve had to get used to?
“The thing I still have the most trouble with is the perception. I think there’s a stigma to models. I definitely would say I was someone that believed in the model stigma before modelling.
For instance, if I’m meeting a female that I’m interested in or whatever, they assume they already know how I will be. People think “Oh he gets whatever he wants” which is so false. It’s not true at all, so that’s the biggest adjustment. You have to try and work way harder at making personal relationships because people assume they already know you.”
So for our female readers, what do they have to do to get to know you? Or male models in general let’s just say…
“It’s probably much more simple than it is to get most guys attention. Girls are just so not interested because of our lifestyle and everybody assumes a lot of things and none of that happens! You know what I mean? It’s actually way harder for us. It’s probably much more easy to get a male model’s attention than other guys. The 9-5 guy probably gets way more chicks, for sure, because the girls think ‘Oh he’s sweet and there are a lot of misconceptions about male models and our motives’.”
Favourite feature about yourself growing up?
My imagination would have been my favourite part of myself.
Feature physically, I love being tall now and a fun fact I was actually never even tall until junior high and now I’m 6’4!
Anything you were ever self-conscious about?
Probably my hair. My mom would always give me haircuts and remember the ‘N Sync era when everyone would bleach the tips of their hair? I would always screw that up and have a bowl cut of blonde on top of my head. It was always so bad. I would wear beanie’s to cover my head.
Movies. That’s the goal.
Workout Jam for Summer?
(Photos by Lelania Little 2015)