When Mathieu Hudon enters a room the change in the air is palpable. Women sit up a little straighter, their gaze shifting ever so slightly and men look around, with less subtlety, wondering where their date’s attention has gone. If he notices the stares he’s getting from his fellow coffee shop patrons, he hides it well. One would think that as a male model who stands at 6’3, with a slender build, café au lait colored skin and a mop of unruly black curls, Hudon would be used to this kind of attention by now. Instead, he smiles nervously, sits down and immediately blurts out, “I’m not very good at telling stories.” This proves to be quite untrue when, minutes later, he launches into the tale of how he began his venture into the modeling world.
“When I was a kid my mom used to bring me to casting calls,” he explains. “I even got a few of them but she wanted me to finish my school before I tried making it as a model.” Hudon’s mother was also a model some years ago and won the title of Miss Trinidad and Tobago, where she lived before meeting his father and moving to Canada.
Hudon started modeling two years ago, when he was 21. He was originally signed with Dulcedo Model Management, however, it was a young agency without many connections and soon Hudon began shopping around to see if there was anyone better suited to him.
“I asked other models I would meet on shoots and met with a few people. Then when I met with the people from Specs Models I signed with them,” he says. “They were the ones who wanted me the most and when there’s someone who wants you, you know that they are the ones who are going to push you the most.”
“Starting to work with Mathieu wasn’t easy,” says Marie Josee Trempe, owner of Specs. “He was referred and didn’t have much of a background. He does have a good look and could be a good working model in this city but I don’t know about internationally yet.” Trempe goes on to explain that in an industry fueled by beauty, what beauty is defined as isn’t always consistent. “Mathieu has a good look but what is in this season and what will be considered beautiful next season can be very different.” She also adds, “As a model you are considered self employed and you have to really want it and be willing to put in the work if you want to be successful.”
Hudon is very aware of this fact. When asked to define his idea of success he struggles a bit but decides on, “being able to work as a model consistently without having to take other jobs.”
Hudon originally trained to be an electrician and was working full time in addition to his modeling gigs. After having an extensive conversation with the head of his agency over the summer Hudon realized it would take more than he had been giving to really make it. He has since given up his electrician job.
Since making this decision good things have been happening for the young model. Last August he landed a coveted spot in The Montreal Design Festival’s Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show and this winter he will be starring in the Tristan and America ad campaign. When he mentions this he gets very excited, “ This is the biggest thing that has happened so far.”
One thing that bothers Hudon about his job is how other people react to it. “People laugh and think it’s easy because you’re just looking at a camera and posing but it can be very difficult,” he says. “I know I was lucky to be born the way I was. You have to have the right measurements and height. Good skin and teethe. I probably have more products than a girl does!” He laughs and tells me about a photo shoot he did a few days earlier, “They pulled my hair back and put me in leather and fur. When I put the pictures up on Facebook people comment and say that I look like a girl,” he pulls out his iPhone and pulls up the picture to prove it. “I don’t mind though, it proves that I’m versatile.”
Hudon accepts that a model’s career is fleeting, but he seems determined to see how far he can go while he still likes what he sees in the mirror.
By Bianca Puorto
You can follow Bianca on Twitter @bpuorto.