AARON O’CONNELL INTERVIEW BY FER IRIGOYEN
WHAT'S THE HARDEST SACRIFICE YOU HAVE DONE TO BE A MODEL OF YOUR LEVEL?
The hardest sacrifice would definitely be leaving my “comfortable” life in small town Indiana to NYC/LA to pursue my dreams. Although I knew it was right for me, it was hard leaving the friends I grew up with and my family, to go to an unfamiliar world where I knew no one.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU'RE IN FRONT OF A CAMERA AND THE PHOTOGRAPHER IS ABOUT TO SHOOT?
When I am in front of the camera I put myself in the moment. Every photoshoot is different so it changes for every shoot. But whatever I am doing in the shoot, I make it as real as I possibly can, because I think that is the difference between a good and a great photograph. People connect when they see a picture that is real, genuine, and the moment is captured. Anyone can get two attractive people and photograph them, but if there is no connection the image will be left empty.
WHY YOU BECAME A MODEL?
Being a model isn’t something that I really dreamed of becoming. I went to college at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, a few hours away from Chicago. One day I decided to go up to Ford in Chicago and see if modeling was something I could even do. I had a bunch of other interests so this wasn't a make or break for me. I remember waiting in the lobby with people that had flown in from all over the United States. I sat there and thought to myself, just about everyone here has a dream of becoming a model. We were all packed in this lobby and everyone had professional pictures to show except me…So before I could walk out and get back to the comfort of a college curriculum and eventually a 9-5 job, an agent walked out to take Polaroid’s and interview us. Well…I stayed. I was interviewed. I had Polaroid’s taken. I guess it was worth the trip because I was the only one they signed that day.
TELL ME, AARON... WHAT IS BEAUTY TO YOU?
Ahh good question.. I see beauty in so many different things. Whether it be a gorgeous day, a song that inspires me, a beautiful photograph…I think beauty is something that stops me in my tracks and makes me smile, take a deep breath, and reminds me how great God is and how amazing life can be.
WHAT CAN YOU TELL TO SOMEONE WHO'S FEELING UGLY?
My advice, to them is to surround themselves with something that makes them happy. Whether it be good friends, playing an instrument (for me its piano and guitar), going to the beach to relax and soak in the sun, or going for a run…. Being happy can solve more problems than just feeling ugly.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT THE AARON O'CONNELL ORDINARY MAN FROM THE AARON O'CONNELL FASHION STAR?
Surrounding myself with good people and good friends. Good friends and family are the most important things to me in my life. They love me for the person I am and not for ‘what’ I am. I am still the same guy that grew up in a small town in Indiana that loves playing sports and music. I make a point to see my family at least once a month even though they live 2,000 miles away and talk to my closest friends at least once a week to catch up. My career has been a wild ride so far and I know its going to get crazier. But one thing I do know is that my relationships with friends and family won't change. I have to have that balance in my life or I definitely wouldn't be happy. When everything is all said and done, it's those friends and family that will be there for me.
HOW CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DARK SIDE OF THE MODELING INDUSTRY?
Good question. This industry is very cutthroat, competitive and can be misleading at times. It isn't all glitz and glamour. It can take months/years of work until you may find yourself in magazines. However, there is a lot of down time that models have in between castings and jobs. It is easy to get caught up in the party scene and head down a path that can destroy a career. It just takes focus and discipline to stay on track. So when you have that, no dark side in the industry at all can keep you from your dreams.
WHAT'S THE CRAZIEST THING YOU'D DO AS A MODEL?
Skydive! I “respect” heights. Haha, ok I am not a big fan of heights but I would skydive. Actually, I think I might do that next week. Thanks for asking.
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE STEREOTYPE OF THE FOOL AND SILLY MODELS?
I think there are a lot of models out there that would do anything to get “the” job”. I told myself early on that if it ever got close to that point, I would get out of the industry. Fortunately, I have a great group of people that work for me. I think success in everything we do starts with people and good people at that. The things I have accomplished I could never have done without great agents, great friends, and a wonderful supporting family. I have a ways to go to be where I want, but the beauty of life is getting there.
WHAT'S THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR MODELING CAREER?
The best thing would definitely be the opportunity to meet great people. One thing I like most about this job is that you get to meet people of all walks of life and it has helped me realize how important good friendships, relationships, and family are in life.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A SUCCESSFUL ACTOR?
Yes, I see myself as a successful actor. If I didn't, I would definitely pursue another career path because my whole heart wouldn't be in it.
WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU...? FAME OR TALENT?
Definitely talent. Fame is something I could live with if I had to but talent is something that I feel is going to get me to where I want to be. It is something I can work on to better myself. That’s the one thing I do have control over. I can’t control who is going to book me on this job or that job, this role or that role… but the one thing I can control is my preparation. The better prepared I am, the better chance I have at booking the job. That is why I am constantly studying my craft of acting, but also doing vocal lessons everyday, writing music, playing guitar, playing piano, exercising…you name it. The good news is that doing these aren't work for me. I enjoy doing all of them so much I never hesitate to spend the weekend focusing on these things as opposed to going out and partying. I’m not a big partier either so I think that makes it a little easier for me to stay focused.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE?
My dad told me, “Never let circumstance overtake character.” I try to live by this everyday.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?
I want to be remembered as someone who gave life all he had to offer. Someone who inspired others to be the best they possibly can be, enjoy life, never settle for anything less than their best, and to cherish relationships with family, friends, and their loved ones.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF WITH THREE WORDS
THIS INTERVIEW FROM: http://www.fernandoirigoyen.com/fer-in-the-blog/aaron-o-connell-the-mold-of-the-man-