Being a model may seem totally glamorous—think of all the free clothes and international travel!—but at the end of the day, it’s a job just like any other. On TikTok, male model Mathieu Simoneau is aiming to demystify stereotypes by offering an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look at what a day in the life of a model really looks like (including the good, the bad, and the ugly).
Simoneau is a top Korean-Canadian male model who, at 20 years old, has already walked for Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jeremy Scott. He started posting on the app in April last year, and he already has over 980,000 followers. “With modeling, it’s standard for models to post their work on Instagram; It can be seen as the social media version of your portfolio,” says Simoneau.“I thought it couldn’t hurt to post my work on TikTok as well. I had noticed that there was a lack of runway models creating content on the app.”TikTok: Courtesy of @mathieusimoneau
One of Simoneau’s most popular TikTok series is when he shares what he was thinking about while walking on the runway (it has ranged from “don’t laugh,” to “I can’t see at all”). “It was inspired by a trend where athletes made videos about what they thought during their competitions, so I transferred that over to modeling,” Simoneau says of the series. He also regularly shares what a day in the life looks like during fashion month or on a shoot. “Videos of models walking on the runway are cool, but the personal touch of what I’m thinking, or the backstage process, offers a different dimension,” he says. “I think it’s more fun.”
Below, Simoneau talks about his style, what his favorite show to walk in has been so far, and what video idea he’ll tackle next.
What's your process for creating TikToks? Where do you get ideas?
Sometimes the inspiration for the videos comes to me extremely easily. Last summer, there was a “Vogue challenge” where people were sharing their best pictures with the Vogue logo edited in. This trend was especially easy for me, because I just used pictures Vogue Italia took of me—effortless on my part. Other times, I just think about what people want to see: a good way of telling what people want to see is to read the comments on my videos. Often, I will make videos directly responding to a question a follower posted on one of my videos. Another thing I do is browse the app and see what other creators are doing.TikTok: Courtesy of @mathieusimoneau
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as a mix of avant-garde, designer, vintage, and casual clothes. I know that’s kind of a copout, because that’s like all genres of clothing, but when I want to dress nice, I will wear avant-garde/designer but usually I’m bumming around in comfy clothes. I shop for most of my clothing on SSENSE and Grailed.
What's the most special piece in your closet?
The most special piece in my closet is a shirt from Dsquared because it has my name imprinted on the back, so it’s unique. It also came with the sweetest handwritten note from the Dsquared team.TikTok: Courtesy of @mathieusimoneau
We love that you offer a real, behind-the-scenes look at the modeling world. What's the biggest misconception about the job?
People think that models get to keep all the clothes they wear on the runway and for shoots. This would never happen, because we are modeling clothes that will not come out for 6 to 18 months from the shoot date. To be honest, if I was a clothing brand, I wouldn’t trust a group of 17 to 23 year old’s with my unreleased collection either. Not to mention that giving some of these outfits would be giving away thousands of dollars.TikTok: Courtesy of @mathieusimoneau
What’s been your favorite show to walk in so far?
Every show is unique in every way, so I don’t know how I could possibly pick a favorite, but I know that the most memorable show for me will always be my first show, Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, for fall 2018. It was my first show, and it was so high profile. I made sure to soak in every moment of that experience. I was a high school junior and walking for Calvin Klein—I had to sneak out of French class to take selfies to send to my agency. The size of the show, the other models that were in it, the set, and the celebrities that attended was almost overwhelming for me.
What's the key to a good runway walk?
My agent drilled me on my walk for hours before my first casting—it also helps that I naturally walk very fast and have a mean resting face. I think the key to a good runway walk is not to think about it too hard. There are key elements like pace, facial expression, and direction that always need to be focused on, but trying to control every element of your walk can result in an awkward performance. For runway models, after a season the walk is something that comes naturally and is like a switch that can be turned on or off.TikTok: Courtesy of @mathieusimoneau
We love your series, "What I think about on the runway." What's been the craziest/funniest thing you've thought about while walking?
Probably my first show: As I was walking down the runway, I arrived at the main section where the cameras are filming, and I was very unprepared for what I was met with. Instead of 1 or 2 cameras, I was met with a wall of at least 20 cameras; it is surreal seeing the number of photographers and tripods meshing together to form its own entity. I had no idea which cameras my eye should be looking at and had a mini panic attack. I chose the middle one as a guess and it ended up being the correct one, it’s been my rule ever since.
What has been your most viral video, and why do you think it went viral?
Part 3 of the “what I think about on the runway” series is my most viral video with 11 million views, closely followed by (and will be surpassed by) the backstage video of Dior SS22. I think these videos go viral because it offers a more grounded insight into the world of modeling. Videos of models walking on the runway are cool, but the personal touch of what I’m thinking, or the backstage process offers a different dimension, I think it’s more fun.TikTok: Courtesy of @mathieusimoneau
What's your favorite TikTok of all time? And which one took you the longest?
My favorite TikTok I’ve ever made is probably the Paris fashion week day in the life of a model, because I had been wanting to show my followers what a fashion week day looks like forever—multiple shows that overlap each other in one day is just an example of how hectic it can get. The one that took me the longest was the Dior backstage, because I had to film multiple takes of nearly everything and find footage from other models to compile into one video.
What's the next big idea you want to attempt on TikTok?
I want to do a TikTok with my model friends that shows off the camaraderie of the group of runway models. There’s only a few hundred boys that are walking runway shows, so we end up working with each other constantly and become friends with each other. I also want to do it because it’s so funny to see a group of models hangout, because we are all built the same: a group of thirty 6’1 to 6’3 boys looks funny no matter how often I see it.TikTok: Courtesy of @mathieusimoneau