Matthew McConaughey Was a Hand Model Before He Hit It Big as a Movie Star
Matthew McConaughey is known for his good looks. He’s been identified as a sex symbol for quite some time and was named Sexiest Man Alive by People in 2005.
However, despite his attractive face, one of his first opportunities in the business was as a hand model, not an actor.
Matthew McConaughey did some hand modeling while in college
“I used to chew my nails continuously, I had nothing,” McConaughey said. “And this lady told me, she goes, ‘You’ve got really nice hands, but your nails are horrible.’ She goes, ‘I think I can get you a hand modeling job if you quit chewing your nails.’”
As a broke college student, McConaughey’s interest was immediately piqued.
“I said, ‘How much does that pay,’” McConaughey continued. “‘$120? I’ve never chewed my nails since. I got that job too.”
Matthew McConaughey was also a waiter at a Black blues bar
McConaughey also had another gig outside of hand modeling as well. Prior to landing that job, he worked as a waiter in a Black blues bar. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the most popular member of the staff at the bar, which is why he was so excited to get the hand modeling gig.
“[$120] was as much as two nights [at work],” McConaughey said. “I was working, I was a waiter at an all-Black blues bar. And the most I ever made—because out of all the staff, [they] didn’t want that one white guy waiting on them—most I ever made was $72 a night. So I remember that $120 being a big coup.
Matthew McConaughey would skip class to go do PA work
Before he found his way to the front of the camera, McConaughey’s job opportunities in filmmaking were mostly limited to production assistant work. However, he was still taking classes.
“I wore a pager in those last two years when I was in film school,” McConaughey said. “And I was in the honors classes, and part of it was attendance. … I was trying to get some PA work around town, and anything I could get outside of class that had to do with being in front of the camera, behind the camera, I was going to do it.”
McConaughey’s determination was admirable, but his professors weren’t fans of him skipping class.
“I remember the teachers going, ‘But understand, attendance is a biggie here.’ And I was like, ‘Look, if my pager goes off and were in the middle of class, and they want me to audition for that Dwight Yoakum video in Dallas, I’m out of here and I’m gonna go give it a shot.’”
Thankfully, his professors eased up on him and allowed him to go chase his dream. He agreed to show up for every exam, and by the end of his schooling was able to earn a bunch of C’s.
Matthew McConaughey went on to become a movie star
After a period of grinding it out as a PA, things changed for McConaughey when he was given an opportunity to say a few lines in Dazed and Confused. This role gave him his breakthrough moment, and he never looked back.