Matthew Kirk is one of the countless that reside in the Big Apple, but he arrived with the goods to back up his ambitions. Trained in musical theater, he is a singer, actor, dancer and model who has the drive as well as the looks necessary to move ahead of the pack. It is a beauty that did not pass unnoticed by some of the industries luminaries like Rick Day and Lucas Ferrier who have both photographed him, showcasing two sides of his emotive output. Here is a model/actor that can accurately and convincingly portray the Boy Next Door and then effortlessly turn up the heat while shedding his clothes. And while many models look better one way or the other, Matthew is equally impressive in or out of fashion. The personification of sugar and spice.
BLISS: You are very diverse when it comes to modeling. You have a sweet side, almost boy next door, and then you have this amazingly sexy side that comes out in images like the ones shot by Rick Day. Does your off lens personality mirror what we see in the photos?
MATTHEW KIRK: The sweet side is where I live most of the time and how I’m generally perceived but I’ve always had this wild and rich internal life that I don’t expose often in real life. I’m mostly laid back, introverted, and nerdy when I’m not on camera or on stage, but when I’m performing I’m able and unafraid to access all the aspects of my personality that I’m apprehensive to show other people in real life.
B: You reside in
currently. What do you love most about it? New York City
MK: The continual and constant pulse of creative energy and all the cool and crazy people that I come into contact with on a regular basis.
B: You have a BFA in Musical Theatre and went to a high school for the performing arts. Are you a musician, actor, dancer or all three?
MK: I’m an actor, singer, and dancer and have spent most of my life performing in the realm of musical theatre with a strict focus on singing and music during my high school years and a few commercial/tv gigs as a kid.
MK: It didn’t. I had modeled here and there as a side hobby but didn’t really tell anyone about it or believe that I could ever be a “real” model until someone I work with told me that I really could and that I should give it a try.
B: Some would say that Rick Day is a pinnacle in terms of male imagery and you’ve shot with him, in addition to Lucas Ferrier, Michael McCloud, Rob Sutton and Manuscript Photography. Who was your first professional shoot with and what was that experience like?
MK: My first professional shoot was with Jin Wang and he definitely pushed my boundaries and made me realize that I have a special gift for transforming myself in front of the camera.
B: Do you have a favorite shoot of the ones that you've done to date? If so, what made this session stand out?
MK: My shoots with Lucas Ferrier have been my favorite thus far because we had a great chemistry and I felt completely at ease working with him. He’s very patient and easy going.
MK: Oh yes, I’ve had a handful that I wish I could erase from my memory (and have erased from my computer).
B: With your look and build, I could easily see you as a fashion or commercial print model. Is this a goal for you?
MK: Yes! I feel like I am still just getting started with modeling and I would love to work in as many different facets of the business as I can.
B: You haven’t limited yourself to fashion. Your sessions with Rick Day included full frontal nudity and semi arousal. What is your overall opinion of male nudity in art?
MK: I think it’s a beautiful thing and that it shouldn’t be stigmatized and easily labeled as porn as it so often is. However, I will say that there’s a very fine and blurry line between art and porn and everyone is going to have their own definition for each. I want to stay on the side of what I consider to be fine art that is tasteful, classy, and beautiful.
B: How does a nude shoot differ from a standard session? Do you have to prepare yourself any differently?
MK: I have to hit the gym harder when I’m shooting nudes because everything is exposed and the primary focus is on the lines and shape of the body.
B: What lead to your decision to pose nude? Is it something you've always been interested in?
MK: At first it was something risky that I wanted to try just as experimental fun and once I tried it I realized I was a natural and that it was fun and I felt liberated and very at ease.
B: It’s surprising how many models who pose nude are actually shy in person. Of course, some of them are natural born exhibitionists. Where do you fall on the scale?
MK: Yes, I definitely have an exhibitionist streak and nude modeling is my outlet for it. I certainly don’t go running around nude in public in real life!
B: What do you do in NYC when you are not modeling?
MK: I audition for musical and film/tv acting jobs, work survival jobs, stay as active as I can physically, and soak up as much of the theatre, music, and film scenes as I can.
B: Now that you have been doing this for a little while, what would you say is the most important lesson you’ve learned in regards to the business side of modeling?
MK: I’m still learning many lessons as I go but I would say that the most important one I’ve learned thus far is to protect your image and avoid things that will tarnish it.
B: If I asked you to offer advice to a potential new male model, what would you advise them about?
MK: Only do it you it if enjoy it and strive to be bold and unique. Don’t strive to emulate.
B: Which photographers out there would you like to work with in the future?
MK: Al Ocana, Kevin McDermott, David Vance, Paul Reitz, Kristopher Kelly, Ray John Pila, Tony Veloz, Ev Dylan
B: Every model has an idea of their dream shoot. What type of image would you like to someday be able to do?
MK: A high fashion editorial shoot wearing a D and G leather jacket. Something sleek and edgy. Immaculately styled and lit.
B: It might be hard to choose, but do you have a favorite of all the images you’ve done so far?
MK: So far my favorite is the one taken by Lucas Ferrier where I’m sitting in the window in red socks.
B: Can you list 5 things about yourself that even people who know you might be surprised to learn?
MK: I still can’t tie a tie (I’ve tried to learn many times), I’ve never shaved with a real razor (electric since day one), I never watch tv (with the exception of the occasional series from Netflix), I’ve never cooked anything (warming soup is the extent of it), I sleep with no sheets on my mattress.
B: What’s next for you, Matthew? Any projects we should be watching out for, like a musical perhaps?
MK: A few exciting shoots are in the works for Fall. Keep your eyes on my Model Mayhem page and the blogs/online mags for new work.
B: You already have quite a few fans, and will undoubtedly have even more after this interview. Any last words for them?
MK: Thank you for your support and admiration and keep it up!
©2011 – Sean Dibble
m shalaby photography
Gil York NYC
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