It’s Wellness Wednesday and I am showing my hometown (Benton Harbor, Michigan) support to a man who is a father, a model, a fellow music-head, a weightlifter and a role model…
Mr. Matthew “I Do Work Bruh” Sharpe.
I chose to share some motivation about Matthew today because he’s the black man we don’t often hear or read about — while many of his type do exist. I am fortunate to know quite a few of these black men, and want to make sure I lift them up.
Matthew shows what it means to be self-aware, be consistent, be healthy, build the best personal brand, be your own biggest cheerleader — know you’re the sh*t with or without social media ‘status’, public notoriety, stardom, hundreds of likes, reposts, shares, overloaded DMs, or comments filled with kudos. Though, I am sure he’s received an abundance of all these things TO ADD to the personal confidence he worked hard to develop on his own.
He “puts himself on” without the validation of others because he believes in himself and the creativity he brings to the modeling scene. He’s making a space for himself. Period.
What an inspiration he is!
Matthew was selected to work with Chicago’s International Fashion Producer, Blake Martin during New York Fashion Week this year.
He’s also recently graced the runway for Detroit’s Walk Fashion Show and Kalamazoo Fashion Week.
I caught up with Matthew to ask about his modeling experience, health perspective and sex on the runway. Here’s what he had to say…
Rated-Ransom (RR) :: What inspired you to start modeling?
Matthew Sharpe (MS) :: I’ve always had this passion for clothes. At a young age I can remember my mother letting me pick my own clothes out because she knew I’d come back with nice outfits. I did my first runway show with my mom at like 13 years old. I didn’t get serious until a few years ago, I thought I waited too long. Once I got positive feedback I went full speed ahead. At 13, I did my first show with my mom. She was modeling wedding dresses and I escorted all the women in my suit. I was geeked. Lol!
RR :: As a black male, what are some ways you learned to continue being yourself and not conforming to society’s “model-type” body type?
MS :: The industry is way more lenient than it was 10 years ago. You used to have to be a certain size and age, now it’s more about how you look which is great. Surprisingly there aren’t many black male models that you can name off the top of your head. I have a few I follow on IG. I just try to look good and keep my body in shape.
RR :: What are some tips you can offer to those looking to start modeling?
MS :: Have PROFESSIONAL pics taken. Only post pictures that highlight your best attributes. Be professional. Get a comp card look at what models are doing on social media. Take care of your body do the little things. Be resilient and grow thick skin.
RR :: What was your experience working with Blake Martin?
MS :: Blake is a straight-shooter. You’re not always going to like what he has to say or the way he says it, but he is professional and he knows his stuff. He genuinely wants to help. The other thing about Blake is… he is hungry! He’s always taking on projects and staying busy. The best way for me to describe him is he’s never not working and how could you not respect that?
RR :: Share your NYFW experience and what it felt like walking some of the runways.
MS :: NYFW was amazing. The best part was networking and being around models that are as passionate and driven as I am. I felt a sense of pride walking the runway. New York is like the Mecca for modeling. They walk with confidence and basically you keep a serious look as if you are the only one in the room. I loved it.
RR :: What was a new technique/idea you valued the most from NYFW?
MS :: The blank stare. No matter how many times that camera flashes or how many people are watching you, keep that poker face…[but it’s] easier said than done
RR :: What are your thoughts on self-esteem and physical image of black women in the modeling industry?
MS :: For black women I think they are killing it right now. Confidence is everything. I’ve seen them walk the runway and own it. Sometimes it’s tough to keep that self image and confidence level at 100 but in this game it’s very necessary. Also for some reason I see a lot more black women modeling than men.
RR :: Sex and modeling. Do they honestly coincide in this industry? (After your NYFW experience, do you really think they go hand in hand? —-traditionally, they’ve always been paired together.)
MS :: I definitely think sex plays a part. If you think about [it] models are like symbols. I think it’s more wide open than sex because the door has been opened for people to look normal but at the same time on the runway models are trying to show you how good they look and looking good kind of goes hand in hand with sex.
RR :: What’s next on your modeling radar after your NYFW experience?
MS :: I have auditions and a big show coming up in May and basically I’ll just be out there making a name for myself and proving that I belong. I plan to continue working on the craft, keep exercising and go to every audition I can.
RR :: Share any other facts about yourself. Be open. Brag on yourself.
MS :: I’m just highly motivated. I know I have a good look and I know I work harder than a lot of people. I was around a lot of people in NY and not a lot of them were concerned with their physique and diet. I think like this ..what would somebody want to see when they open a magazine? And I try to give an image of myself that I can be proud of. I’m determined to make it and not only that, but I FEEL like this is what I’m supposed to do. My confidence wavers sometimes but I’m ready to do what it takes to make it!
As you can see, he inspires many to glorify the grind and put themselves on.
Be open to learning and perfecting your gift. Be in a “can’t stop, won’t stop” mindset. Consistent, hard work won’t be in vain. Be the “good selfish” and it will pay off in many ways.
Keep up with Matthew on Instagram at @idoworkbruh.
Photo Credits | @IDoWorkBruh @ Instagram