Matthieu Charneau was born on November 23, 1988, in Châteauroux, France. He debuted as a model at age 21 after being spotted by a photographer during a visit to Paris.
In 2011 Nicola Formichetti chose him to play in his short film Brothers Of Arcadia for Mugler. This collaboration launched Matthieu’s success in the fashion industry and in late 2011 he made his move to Paris.
Thanks Matthieu Charneau
Interview Thierry Jaussaud
Hey TEEZ’, I am good thank you! And you ?! I am writing to you from my studio, in Châteauroux,
quietly lying down on my sofa among my revisions spread a little bit everywhere, while listening to the new single by Björk «Crystalline». I recommend it to you…
Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I’m 22, I am from Châteauroux, some small provincial town in the Centre district. If you ever tell me you know it, I will not believe you! I will be finishing my hairdresser studies in less than 1 month.
I have started this training 4 years ago after I passed my A Level in science and started studies in food-processing industry. Quite a radical change of direction, but thought thoroughly!
I have been also modelling for over a year. I’ve had the chance to work with various photographers of whom I admire the style and work such as Exterface, Rick Day and François Rousseau. This summer I had the incredible opportunity to act in New York in the Nicola Formichetti video for the MUGLER Maison de Haute Couture.
Do you remember your first photo shoot? Who was the photographer and did you feel comfortable in front of the camera?
Of course I remember my first photo shoot! It was on the 19th of June 2010, I benefited a brief
journey in Paris at one of my brothers’ to meet the photographer PPRL (Everybody calls him that way) who had contacted me a few weeks before for a photo shoot. I had never posed before, but more than anything else I wanted to go for it. PPRL mainly does artistic nude. I had the opportunity to see his work before our session and I must say I liked it very much. I knew then what to expect and the prospect of posing nude scared me a bit to be honest, even though it was agreed not to unveil certain intimate parts… For the sake of art, I took up this challenge. Finally, I remained very comfortable, which really amazed me! I had a wonderful first experience, which made me want to go further and model for other photographers. Which I did!
Do you have an interesting anecdote from a photo shoot, a casting?
Yes, I like one very much! While shooting the movie «Brothers Of Arcadia» for MUGLER last June,
there was one scene when I was alone facing the ocean, giving my back to the camera, a thick rope rolling down my body. Nicola Formichetti asked me to remove my underwear to have the same plan, but bare bottomed. I could hear some cheering behind me as people on the beach were looking at the scene… They had the facing view! My body was covered in oil apart from my bum, which freshly bare had all along the shooting remained dry until then. Nicola called then Niki, the makeup artist, to have a bit of oil on my bottom. I could see she was a bit embarrassed then she told me gently «I’m sorry about that». I answered «It’s OK, don’t worry! ». She then took the oil spray and sprinkled it generously on my bum. I could feel my body shivering in the cold oil and hot burning sun and I couldn’t help a «Wow it’s cold! But I love it!!! » as Niki was rubbing my bottom, levelled to her head… The whole team bursted into laughter, and Branislav Jankic, the film director, shouted at us «OK, it’s a wrap! ». If I ever get hold of the video, I swear I send it to you!
How was your meeting with Nicola Formichetti?
Nicola had contacted me in person to have me on this project, which was already very flattering
and rather mad. On the first day of shooting, production took us to a New Jersey beach. I was talking to the acting coach when Nicola arrived. He recognized me straight away and kindly said «Hey Matthieu, how are you? » with a hug, even though I was rather impressed to see him in flesh, facing me, stepping forward so close and warmly! I have been perfectly welcome, he’s been adorable on the whole shooting up to the catwalk in Paris where we met again. Nicola is a very nice person, simple, and makes you comfortable straight away. He is close to his assistants as well as very professional.
Nothing gets away with him, he is a perfectionist and knows what he wants. He is passionate and
full of ambition, it is really interesting to see him evolving in his artistic madness. I have excellent memories of my encounter of Nicola and his whole team.
What do your family and friends think of your choice to pursue a modelling career?
My family and friends support me a lot in each of my enterprises, even the wildest. They know that whenever the professional area is concerned, I do not start anything without having thought of it thoroughly. They trust me, even more than I trust myself! However, my family reminds me sometimes of certain priorities such as my job, which is on top of everything, and they are right. I thank them very much for their support, their trust and also their objectivity. I am very fortunate and I will do everything not to disappoint them.
How would you describe your way to have fun, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love hanging out with my friends, having parties at home or going out til late. My family is dearest to me, but we see each other too little as our jobs are time-consuming and we live quite far from each other. Apart from my artistic projects that I achieve in my spare time and sport that takes a large part of my timetable, I enjoy going to the movies, reading detective or fantastic novels, spending time on my computer listening to music til very late (I sleep very little !). When I get hold of a bit of time, I am an addict to video games, mainly horror and action ones. It’s shows my gross and trash side! Some shopping, but not for too long as I get rapidly frustrated. The pro is that I spend quickly!
Finally, every day I allow myself a few peaceful moments so I can give room to my dreams…
We at TEEZ’FM love pop music so we’d like to know what is on your iPod ?
At the moment I am eagerly expecting next Björk album. My two most important musical references
are Björk and No Doubt. I love Gwen Stefani, and I can’t wait for the band to finish their new album, 10 years after their last one! Their universe and their musical styles are fascinating and very inspiring to me. I’m fond of outstanding female voices, especially if those artists perform live without using lipsynching. As to my usual playlists, on top of Björk and No doubt (Gwen Stefani) you’ll find Muse, Placebo, Archive, Aphex Twin, and on female side, a lot of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kylie Minogue and Madonna.
What is your favorite holiday destination ?
I have only started actual travelling since this year, I therefore do not know many destinations. In fact, I flew for the first time beginning of this year! I loved New York. To visit The Big Apple for the first time was a dream come true, and I hope to go back soon. I have not been used to leave often and far when I was younger, so to fly abroad always seems that crazy und incredible! I’d love to go to Iceland, landscapes are fantastic. Australia also appeals to me a lot… In fact, just offer me to go on a world trip and I’d say yes!
Tell me about your professional plans for the future?
I’ve got loads! At the moment, I am fully preparing my exams that are scheduled this week.
I am having my last hairdresser diploma. At the same time I am managing my ongoing projects, such as my last work with the ultra efficient duet « Exterface » for the « Slick It Up » brand, and forthcoming ones like my last shooting with François Rousseau (Stadium Gods 2004, 2011 and 2012) that ran on 3 days. I don’t have much time for myself, but that is actually my personal way of thinking serenely of my professional future, it stimulates me! After my degree (which I hope I’ll get!), I leave my hometown to come and settle in Paris. I have various projects in hairdressing that more than anything else I want to expand to improve my skills and develop in this artistic community.
I also have a few shootings on hold, some of them in fashion, so I won’t be bored in the forthcoming months … Last week I had the opportunity to be Andrea Soladano’s hair assistant stylist on a fashion shoot for Lash Magazine, where I also had the opportunity to model for Exterface in Eliisa Raats’ charming company, a truly magnificent model. A new experience for which I was pleased to meet two of my passions with a strong team!
In my future, I will not hesitate to explore every of my ambitions while listening to my heart. That’s what I have always done. We happen sometimes to make mistakes, but that’s the way we learn. After all, if I don’t try to fight to carry out my dreams now, I’ll never know if they are feasible or not. I have one life only, I want it full of challenges, with no regret. That is how I see my happiness!
Your last word for our TEEZ’FM listeners?
Get your inspiration from what passionates you the most, listen to your heart and go and fulfil your maddest dreams! You cannot say then you haven’t tried anything to achieve them…