Interview: The ruggedly gorgeous Matt Norklun on modelling as art, and how the 15-minute rule became the 15-second one

The multi-talented Matt Norklun speaks to Meaww about life, his successful modeling career, and gives insights into what's gone wrong in the industry.


                            Interview: The ruggedly gorgeous Matt Norklun on modelling as art, and how the 15-minute rule became the 15-second one
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Don't let Matt Norklun's rugged appearance fool you. The bicoastal actor, model, and director from Long Island knows a lot more than he often lets on. Having gotten his start as a stuntman in 'So Fine,' a run-in with renowned fashion photographer Bruce Weber launched Norklun's career and gave him the momentum to establish himself as an international supermodel.

Norklun has graced the covers of countless magazines and is still sought after, primarily focusing his work in Europe and the US. Despite boasting a plethora of talents and a busy schedule, he has always made time for his philanthropic work. 

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An active member of the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad, Norklun is passionate about protecting and maintaining clean and safe beaches for today and for future generations, with his cause even featuring in the documentary 'Dog Dazed.'

Even more impressively, he has been a pilot for 30 years, and is an active member of the Commemorative Air Force on the west coast, flying and restoring WWII aircraft. In an interview with Meaww, Norklun paints the picture of a man who still remains exceptionally humble despite all his success. Excerpts:

Norklun spoke to Meaww in an interview (Source: Matt Norklun)
Norklun spoke to Meaww in an interview (Source: Matt Norklun)

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What was your initial reaction when you found out that you became a heartthrob of many?

Surprise. I've always been a bit of a loner, a social misfit. Women really have to hit me over the head to let me know they're interested.

You have featured in several advertisements and are a recognized face, what was that experience like?

Strange to have people treat you differently, make assumptions about you, ask for autographs, just because you were on the cover of a magazine. The feeling of familiarity to people is somewhat comforting but instills a sense of responsibility — I don't do cigarette ads for example, once I realized I wasn't just some guy but, "that guy".

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Did you always dream of being a model?

Ha! No, I always dreamed of being a stuntman and my recognizability as a model actually got in the way of that although I have had some success. I'll be attending the Taurus World Stunt Awards in May.

How do you think the modeling industry has changed over the years?

Less creative. "Industry" is a good word for it. The photographers I've worked with were truly artists first and then put that talent to work. Not that there isn't creativity today, it just seems to be stifled by bottom line management and fear, greed.

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Norklun is an active member of the Commemorative Air Force on the west coast(Source: Matt Norklun)
Norklun is an active member of the Commemorative Air Force on the west coast(Source: Matt Norklun)

How do you juggle your personal and professional life? 

I enjoy what I do. I don't feel like I sacrifice one for the other and don't overextend myself so that "have to" becomes part of my work ethic.

Social media - boon or bane for models?

Bane. Models are paid less for more exposure. The fifteen-minute rule is now fifteen seconds.

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Tell us a bit about your life today...

I divide my time between New York and California feeding my passion for surfing and flying. I fly seaplanes from East Hampton to Manhattan, I am an active member of East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue and started an east coast chapter of the Emergency Volunteer Air Corps (EVAC). When it gets cold, I go to Malibu and fly (and restore) World War II aircraft with the Commemorative Air Force in Camarillo, California.

Tell us about your style and fitness mantra...

More function than style. I play and I surf with some physical therapy to maintain.

What next, then?

It's all been a wonderful surprise so far. I'll just wait and see.