Matthieu Charneau

Interview by
Miguel Figueroa
Photography by
Luis Venegas


It was love at first sight for this twink aficionado... Which is odd because 23-year-old Matthieu Charneau's angelic face is covered in fuzz, and I despise facial hair. I was determined to meet him, and I eventually did this past Valentine’s Day at the Hotel Beau Champs in a Paris. Not only is he handsome, he’s also brave, charming, funny, talented and smart. During our photo session, I asked Matthieu to shave — something he had not done in over four years! I immediately realized what I had known all along: underneath that scruffy beard, there was a twink ready to break free.

Luis: You have a lot of fans. How did you become so famous?
Matthieu: I won the Mr. Têtu competition in 2011.
So you were the sexiest gay alive in France last year…
I don’t know if I was the sexiest, but Têtu picked me.
How did they pick you?
It’s an online competition. I saw a link on Facebook, posted five pictures, and entered the competition. Readers first picked me as Mr. September and then I became the winner for the whole the year.
Were you naked?
It was sexy, not naked.
I was surprised you never smile in your pictures. How do you feel when you see yourself in a photo?
My pictures are very pin-up. Fashion images don’t inspire me unless they are naked, and you can enter in the private life of the person. You express a little bit of yourself and keep a bit of intimacy. They’re very sexy, but that’s a part of me I don’t show in real life. I want to show other aspects of me as well.
You were in Mugler’s ‘Brothers of Arcadia’ campaign. How did that happen?
I received a letter from Nicola saying, ‘Hello, I am Nicola Formichetti, the artistic director of Mugler and Lady Gaga. I would be interested in working with you for the next video for Mugler fashion week.’ I thought it was a fake e-mail.
But you knew who he was…
Yes, of course. I like fashion, but I’m not a big fan. I kept thinking it was fake, but I had nothing to lose, so I responded. He responded back, and then there were lots of e-mails until we arranged to go to the studio and try some clothes.
But in the video, you’re naked.
I didn’t know that immediately.
You come from a small town called Châteauroux… Is it all red castles?
No, it is a very old town in the French countryside.
You lived there with your parents, brothers and sisters?
Two brothers.
Older or younger?
And you worked as a hairdresser in Châteauroux, no?
First I studied science, then I studied marketing, and then I started hairdressing.
Why hairdressing?
I had to make a choice.
And this is how you make your living, no?
In fact, I left my job today. I want to focus on modeling and acting.


You have an amazing body.
No, I do not…
Yes, you do! What do you do to keep in shape?
I did weightlifting and a lot of competitive sports with my brothers up until I was sixteen.
Do they have the same body as you?
No, they are very different.
How often do you go to the gym?
I try to go three times a week, two hours each day. I don’t want to be a bodybuilder with huge muscles. I don’t like it. I always want to stay very natural.
Since we are talking about natural, let’s talk about your hairy body. Have you ever shaved it?
I’ve never shaved it. I waxed once, but that was years ago when I was eighteen.
Is your body a reflection of the kind of guys you like?
I don’t have a type.
Really? Could you fall in love with an 18-year-old?
No, I don’t think so.
So you do have a type!
If I saw myself in the street, I wouldn’t like me. I can’t tell you what I like. I could tell you what I don’t like.
Tell me…
We shouldn’t talk about that.
Now that you have the attention of the whole world, and you have the key to enter the world of popularity, maybe it’s time to make your teenage dream of becoming an actor true. Are you studying to become an actor?
I’ve only been in Paris for five months. I do want to go to an acting school. I am taking new pictures.
You’re a natural. Victoria Abril never went to acting school. I could see you in a Xavier Dolan or a François Ozon movie.
I’d love to, but I’m mostly inspired by American movies.
Which American film director would you love to work with most?
Gregg Araki.
Would you go full-frontal?
Yes. You can’t say no.
What do your parents think about your career?
They are worried, but they trust me. My parents tell me not to do porn. I won’t.

Oh my god! Luis just made us aware of the fact that you can see clean-shaven Matthieu on the EY! tumblr pageEY! (the magazine) is out soonish and features ‘Boys of Spain’ by photographer Xevi Muntane who appeared in BUTT 14 and shot the cover of BUTT 27 by the way.

Published on 13 April 2012