New faces rock, the series. Episode 16: Michael Mealor
26 jan, 2011
Michael, taking off his boots for the interview. The new face of Wilhelmina modeling agency
Well, I can’t take off my shoes but I will take off my boots for you. I’m from a fairly small town in North Georgia and have always worn boots until recently I traded them up for a pair of Chuck Taylors when I ventured out to Los Angeles for the summer before my freshman year in college to try the whole modeling thing out! Haha! American football is big in the south so I played all through high school, which really initiated my love for being in shape and working out.
I recently started my college career at Auburn University, which is in an even smaller town in lower Alabama. Moving away from home has been tough for my parents since we are such a tight knit family but they are amazingly supportive and excited for what the future has in store.
One day I was riding a stationary bicycle at the gym when the guy next to me started asking me if I had ever thought about modeling before. Being from the south modeling had never even crossed my mind and honestly I was a little creeped out at first. He ended up being Steve Fox of Fox Models International and invited me to a model showcase that he was holding in Orlando, Florida. My parents convinced me to go to it and when I arrived I felt like I had gotten in WAY over my head.
The other models all had their books and portfolios with work they had done and I was wide eyed taking it all in just thinking, “what in the world have I gotten myself into?” That is where I met Wilhelmina and just two short weeks later they brought me to Los Angeles for the summer. Meeting Wilhelmina has been one of the best things that have happened so far in my life and they have opened doors and let me do things that being small town southern boy I would have never dreamed I would get a chance like this.
When I arrived in Los Angeles the Wilhelmina office had already set up two test shoots for me the first week I was there so we could get everything started. I wasn’t very nervous when I showed up, I just had no idea what to expect. I remember it was in Venice Beach and the photographer and I drove around town to all these different spots to take pictures. Two days later we got the pictures back from the photographer and they were awful! Hahaha! At the time I was a little upset that it had not gone better than it had. It seemed to be obvious I was not a “natural.” I was very green! The next test shoot came out MUCH better. It was night and day difference and those were the start of my book!
Opening his eyes to a new perspective of life
Modeling has opened my eyes so much; it has cultured me in a way that I would have never dreamed! Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t narrow minded to begin with, I had an amazing upbringing due to my loving parents, but the modeling world has taught me so many things about cultural and social aspects of life. I love it so much, from working with people from all over the world to trying to find that “look “
the photographer and the client are going for.
On a shooting: a previous research
Before a shoot, when I find out who the photographer is going to be I always like to do a bit of research. It makes me feel like I am a special agent researching my objective, discovering every aspect of it so I’m not caught off guard by traps and surprises. I look at some of the photographers past work and find their style so I will be prepared and be able to mesh with it. This makes everything run so much smoother!
Behind the scenes: they received a shot of Michael in his full glory lol lol!
When I’m working at a shoot I love for the photographer to get into it just as much as I am. It lets me react better and makes a much more comfortable working environment. It also is so much more fun; you work together instead of individually as two separate jobs. And besides what’s the worst thing someone is going to say? “No we aren’t going for that look” OK cool I’ll try something else then. I love that! One time I was working on a shoot for Abercrombie. I was wearing a swimsuit that fastened together by Velcro up the front seam. The suit had drawstrings on the front and I was told to pull on them. I grabbed hold of the drawstrings, made a fist, and not thinking about the Velcro I yanked on them. The Velcro pulled apart quicker than I knew what was going on and everyone behind the scenes received a shot of me in my full glory haha! Me being modest it was quite a funny ordeal in my mind.
The backstages: everyone has an important role
Backstage is one of my favorite parts of a photo shoot, just to get to know the people you are working with. One thing people don’t realize what the model is actually seeing, they only think about the picture they are looking at. What I see is the crew of 0 people putting this thing together, from the lighting crew to the who walks around with the boom box making sure the right music is playing. Everyone has an important role. It has always been interesting to me. I say the boom box guy because when I went to my first Abercrombie shoot there was a guy and all he did was walk around carrying a boom box making sure the right music was playing.That was his job! It was crazy to me haha! Oh and the food! I can’t forget about the food! I’m not your typical model, I love to eat and food is a very important part to me! Shoots have the best food and tons of it! It is awesome!
I’m such a relaxed person that if it is comfortable I will wear it. I’m not too worried about how I look; you can usually find me in jeans and a t-shirt. Don’t get me wrong though I do like to look nice but being comfortable is key! I could never wear heels or stilettos! I don’t have a clue how girls do it, let alone dance in them. Props to the girls who put up with those things haha! A big sweatshirt and a pair of soft worn out jeans are a necessity in everyone’s wardrobe. And I’m talking about worn out jeans from them being old and washed thousands of times, not the distressed jeans you can buy at your local department store. Life is too short not to be comfortable!
Imagine u a famous models surrounded by a huge crowd: the fans!
I’m a very modest and humble person, I don’t even like seeing the work I have done either in ads or in the stores. I rarely even discuss it outside of my family, I just see myself as I’m blessed enough to have this opportunity and I am so grateful for it. I just hit a lucky break. There is nothing that makes me different from a fan so I would welcome them with open arms! I love meeting people and just talking in general so even though I am humble and thankful for this I would love to talk to fans if they were to recognize me walking around somewhere. I still put my pants on one leg at a time haha.
Human Rights, Freedom of speech
I think it is very important to have a voice in the concerns that we all face these days. Everyone has an opinion and veryone has a voice that deserves to be heard no matter the age or ethnicity. You must keep your morals straight and stand firm to what you believe because if not it is easy to veer down a path that does not need to be trekked, I truly believe this important. If you don’t know where your morals lie then it is easy to be persuaded and succumb to pressure. Morals are a huge thing in my life.
Show biz, Fame, Success and 5 most important things for his life
Show business is quite the exciting thing! It is something that I wish everyone could get an experience of because I believe you learn so much from it. To me fame is not only seeing your name up in lights but seeing your name in lights and still knowing what that name represents. Your parents give you your name and it not only represents you but your family as well so you must respect it because it’s the only one you’ve got, unless you record hip hop music for a living then you can change it as you please. If you can do this, if you can see your name in lights and still know what it represents then that is success.
The five most important things in my life are God, my family and friends, my morals, a positive attitude, and great food! These are the five things that keep me in check with myself. God, my family, and my great group of friends are always by my side whenever I need them no matter the situation and it’s a comforting feeling to know that. What is the point if you don’t have a positive outlook on everything; find the best in everything and life is so much more fun. The band 311 says it best, “stay positive and love your life.” Great food! Who can live without great food? It’s impossible! Food, very much like music, controls the way you feel and your attitude toward certain things. Having a big bowl of ice cream after you have just eaten a tasty dinner just makes you happy, there is no way around it!
Dating X Love: my style concerning dating and love is very old school and chivalric. When it comes to a first date I never take a girl to the movies, I want to be able to talk to her and actually get to know her and besides, movies are for a boring day when there is nothing to do or after dinner a few dates into the relationship. Take her out and make her feel special! Open the car door for her when you pick her up. Randomly go get her and take her to get ice cream, the little things count and she should feel special. And please call her when you are asking her on a date!
Sports: When it comes to sports ESPN is always left on my TV. I played sports since I was very young and even though I was never the best by any stretch I love watching a good match up no matter the sport. The intensity and emotion when you get to the higher levels of sports is the best. I love watching people and watching they way they act around other people. I will sit on a bench somewhere and just “people watch” for hours.
Atracting someone´s attention: I have seen it all. The cocky to the shy and meek I find a lot of it cheesy. Being outgoing it makes it easier for me to just go up to someone and introduce myself but to really attract someone’s attention I’ll figure out something that is really going to grab their attention, whether it be a funny line or just something that shows you are truly interested.
Having fun: Always find something to do, something different! Don’t get into a routine when you are trying to find something to do. Switch things up. A beach trip with your best friends never hurt anybody, just pack up the car and pile in. Be spontaneous! I just like to get a group and DO something. When I’m with my friends it really doesn’t matter what I’m doing; when I’m with my good friends then that is the best of life!
The craziest (nastiest?) thing he´s ever done in a summertime season: my group of friends is always up for it, no questions asked. One of my friends loves to create video taped scavenger hunts. We would split into groups of five or six, get a car and a video camera, and set off for the night accomplishing things on this list of craziness. Oh yeah, we would each throw in ten bucks and the winning group won all the money and divided it up, needless to say, things would get pretty heated! It was all video taped so at the end of the night we would all get together and watch the tapes and laugh our heads off. The list consisted of going to a department store and cross dressing, shopping cart races through Wal-Mart, sitting on a stranger’s lap at a fast food restaurant and telling them what you want for Christmas, and even kidnapping a member from another team. These summer nights were the best and it would be the topic of conversation for the next week!
Fav body part: iy is a person’s eyes. Just being able to look into them and seeing someone look back creates a connection. They see the world as it is without bias.
Fav undies for his daily activities and for those cool sexy moments (lol!): When I am working or on a shoot, briefs are always my underwear of choice but any other time it is going to be boxers. It all goes back to the comfort thing with me and when it comes to underwear it is key to be comfortable. Everyone has their opinion on where the comfort lies and mine just happens to lie with boxers, no matter the situation.
Fav group/song: I am crazy about music! I am always listening to music and my favorite is just to jam out to it. Riding in the car beating on the steering wheel and belting the lyrics at the top of my lungs, it’s so much fun. Because I love music so much I listen to literally every type of music, I seriously like everything. My favorite artist has to be a band named 311. They have a reggae-punk kind of feel to them, definitely a sound unlike any other. 311 always has a positive outlook on things just like I do and it also helps that they put on incredible shows!
Fav food: My favorite food in the world is without a doubt, pork BBQ. I’m from the south, what else did you think it would be? You can’t beat that smooth smokey flavor in the meat with just the right amount of sauce and you are in luck. There is no better place for BBQ than down south. Makes your stomach feel good and it reminds you of good times in the back yard with friends in family.
I live the typical model life, which consists of waiting for a lot of holds hahaha, but it keeps it exciting to see what life has in store next for me.
An unforgettable moment: One of the most unforgettable moments of my life is packing up the car the day after my graduation from high school, getting in the car with my dad, and driving west to Los Angeles this past summer. Not knowing what life was going to have in store for me out there for the rest of the summer. Excitement, nervousness, and curiosity was at it’s peak and spending 36 hours and 2300 miles in the car with just my dad and I, mostly without the radio, will be a time I will never forget. Without a doubt three of the best days of my life.
Main Motto: “Stay positive and love your life” -311
Full Name: Michael Mealor
Agency: Wilhelmina Models http://www.wilhelmina.com/