HUF Magazine first published Mike back in 2015. Mike is a Canadian model, an online personal trainer and nutritionist.
With over 51k Instagram followers, he is currently signed with Plutino Models and Book Management (Canada), Prototyp3 (Mexico), Chadwick Models (Australia), 20 Model Management (South Africa), East West Models (Germany), First Model Management (United Kingdom), Cover Model Management (Colombia), TFM Models (India) and Visage Models (Austria). Mike has done numerous fashion catwalks and has appeared in commercials for Blackberry, Oral B, and Coors Altitude; he's posed in campaigns for Budweiser, Guinness and Ted Baker; and been published in numerous national and international magazines.
Where do you live and work? What's it like living and working there? I currently live in Medellin, Colombia. I am originally from Toronto, Canada. I am here on a modelling contract, and the work is really good here, not a lot of castings, mostly direct bookings. I also run my online business from my laptop, and I don't find a lot of distractions here, so it's good for me. For modelling it's a very commercial market, so I do well. I am intermediate at Spanish but practice everyday so its a good learning experience. I really like the city here, I was in Bogota last week for a job, and it is much different. More of a metropolis and colder weather, which I am obviously used to being Canadian and all. [Smiles]
Can you tell us about your modelling career? I started late, around age 26 and I am now 30. I got scouted, worked for some event, then booked a bunch of good jobs at the beginning very easily (beginner's luck). I am a commercial model, so I don't do high fashion runway shows and editorials. I mostly do catalogues, commercials, and campaigns. A lot of e-commerce which can actually be pretty boring, to be honest. I enjoy location campaigns and commercials, particularly with a beach or nice scenery. I like the travel and self improvement aspect the most. Modelling is a great source and vehicle to travel the world. I look at modelling as my high income skill that I revert to for my line of supply (it used to be bartending). In my opinion there is no problem in trading time for money as long as it is high earned dollars. A lot of models don't know their worth and spread themselves thin settling for lower rates. My agencies know my rates and know better than to ask me to budge for less than I'm worth.
A big plus of travelling as a model and having extra time to wait at castings, travel, shows, etc. is that you can put this time to use and invest in yourself. Reading, audio books, self-development, new skills and learning new languages are part of my everyday habits.
For me it a was a great career choice because it really forced me to learn a lot and be accountable. It forces me always to be improving mentally, spiritually and physically. I have a great life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
What's it feel like modelling in font of friends, family and the public? Well at first everyone thought it was a big joke and was laughing at me and poking fun, however nowadays my friends and family are very supportive. I used to care a lot about what other people thought then I realized that would get me nowhere, so I changed my mindset. I don't feel any pressure behind the camera, a walk in the park at this point.
What is golden advice to those who aspire to become a model? Get a thick skin and prepare for a lot of rejection and putdowns, if you can handle that you'll have no problem. Also, agencies and clients will pick apart every single insecurity they can find in you. Remember that a lot of the time these people couldn't make it themselves as a model or some other endeavour, so they are projecting themselves and their own insecurities - trying to bring you down to make themselves feel better. The best and most powerful reaction is none. Know your own worth and that you are your only competition. Any negative energy and comments you receive can be channeled outwardly and used to drive focus and productivity.
You are also an online personal trainer. How you balance your time between modelling and coaching people? I take on clients by application so I can be sure that they are a right fit for my coaching program. Therefore, I take on max 15 clients at any given time. I have an organized system where I schedule my calls with clients on Calendly which connects to my Google calendar then send out a form every Saturday for accountability and photo updates, so I can see if anyone has been screwing around on their diet or missing training sessions. Anytime I have jobs I just block it out on my Google calendar.
Finally, how do you stay fit? What's your training routine? What's your typical diet? I am a hard gainer so I need to eat a lot of calories and focus on getting as strong as possible at the basic compound movements. I train 4-5 days per week, two times for each body part. I only train compounds, I don't do isolation movements; Deadlifts, Squats, Bench Press, Military Press, skull crushers, barbell curls. I always lift heavy. I would prefer not to work out if I don't have the option to lift heavy weight, nothing makes my body shrink faster then a "lightweight high rep squeeze the muscle approach." I eat whole eggs, oats, fruit, steak, white rice, avocado, nuts, lots of veggies, ground beef, hot sauce, potatoes and do two cheat meals per week on average and 5-6 drinks per week or an all-out party binge once per month. I sleep 8-9 hour per night. I always try to get in a lot of protein and plant-based fat as well as animal fat. I use white rice as my primary carb source plus fruit. I avoid dairy, sugar, gluten, soy and vegetable oils as they bloat me and make my skin break out.