“I love the business but some days I just turn off my phone and read a book” Matt says shyly, running a hand along his tanned forearms, navy blue shirt sleeves pushed up to his elbows. We are sitting in the Los Angeles airport, after being drawn to meet each other through our familiar accents, while the boy from the bush is reminiscing about the days growing up on the outskirts of Coonabarabran, NSW, on a little property with his Mother and younger Brother. “Small town, no traffic jams, I do miss that place sometimes.” He smiles. Even though 24-year-old Schooner is now one of the most sought after male fitness models in Australia and overseas, it’s easy to see why he needs his peace and quiet from time to time. And you wonder why I stopped to talk to him?
How it all began…
Being raised by a single devoted Mother, working two jobs, he was encouraged. “My Mum is my inspiration”, he says solemnly. “She worked constantly to make sure we had a roof over our heads and food on the table”. High school was the starting point to his career, when all the other kids were either studying for a specific job or playing sport to get into the top leagues, he would go to the gym during lunch time and then again in the afternoon. “It was my way to escape the stressfulness of school. Once I put those earphones in, my whole attitude changed and I would become relaxed and energised.” After a few months of doing his routine, a man approached him offering advice and mentorship. “Joe Douglas; the owner of the gym, explained to me that he had been watching my progress over the past few months. He saw my dedication and offered me guidance about a career in fitness. I never really knew anything about so Joe assisted me in learning about the industry, along with different routines and eating plans.”
Over the next few years of training together, Matt began competing in male fitness comps across Australia. These competitions are a new high class sport across the world where winners can make an amount of up to $500,000! Thousands of athletes compete with many competitions held yearly. Matt competed in the South Coast Physique Championships in 2012 at the age of 20, getting placed in the top 10 males. Once he had a taste of his first competition, he craved it. He attended many more competitions over the next years such as the Virus Fitness Mania Gala Competition in Victoria, until he won his position at Australia’s NSW Championships in 2015. “I was speechless when I heard them call my name out amongst all the other 5 finalists”, he laughs. “I have to keep pinching myself to believe that it I really won.”
After this competition, he was asked to come on board with many different modelling agencies such as the AEFM Australia’s Elite Fitness Models and ANB Australian Natural Bodybuilding. Through these agencies, he has gained numerous modelling positions for Australian magazines such as Men’s Fitness and Men’s Health.
He claims that his whole career started by dreaming about doing something big with his life. “Travel was always on my mind growing up”, he stops and pauses. “If it wasn’t for my trainer Jo, and the dedication my Mother showed me, I don’t think any of this would have been possible.” He added some very exciting news saying that his younger brother; Brad Schooner is beginning to walk in his footsteps. They both train together daily, while residing in the Gold Coast, so be sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming brother duo. He’s not just focused on family though, as he encourages others who are interested in fitness and don’t know where to start to contact him via social media platforms to ask him any questions or advice they may need. Things are only going to grow from here for the champion fitness model.
After a lot of sweat, blood and tears, literally, Matt Schooner has now broken into the male fitness modelling profession, being a highly sought after man for competitions, modelling, fitness advertisements, fitness fashion shows, sports advertisements, supplement advertisements and magazine spreads. “The decision to create a profession out of such an industry is one that involves constant dedication, self-discipline and plenty of perfect practice to master!” Meeting Schooner just proves that an everyday Aussie can achieve his biggest dreams through determination and persistence.
Website; www.MattSchooner.com, Facebook; Matt Schooner, Twitter; @MattSchooner, Instagram; Matt_Schooner