IN CONVERSATION WITH MITCHELL SLAGGERT
Mitchell Slaggert recently starred as Jackson on the second season of HBO Max’s comedy series ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’. Besides acting, he also has a hugely successful modeling career. He’s the only model since Mark Wahlberg to consecutively land campaigns for Calvin Klein Underwear, Main Collection and Sports Line. He is also currently the face of Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic ‘Le Male’ fragrance.
Mitchell, you starred as Jackson in HBO Max’s ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls, about four freshman college roommates and their sex lives’. How was it being cast on and starring in a series that you were a fan of?
Honestly, I was so excited because I loved the show. I watched the full first season and then I actually just loved my character, so it made my entire year.
You joined this comedy series in its second season as Jackson, a next-door neighbor, kind of known for his loud sex life. What were your funniest experiences from the set?
That was definitely interesting. I think Pauline said it perfectly, it was kind of like the epitome of cringe doing those sex scenes. But I just like the outtakes, the bloopers, those are always just so funny and entertaining. Someone flops the line and then the whole set just starts laughing. I’m a big fan of the bloopers.
How would you describe Jackson’s evolvement through the season and how were you able to identify with him?
Jackson’s a blue collar guy, hardworking. And I am the same way, I love building stuff with my hands and I was able to bring a lot of myself for this role. It was an easy one to just step into.
You made your screen debut playing the eponymous character in ‘Moss’, which premiered at the LA Film Festival in 2017, followed by a supporting role in ‘Wish Upon’ opposite Joey King. Tell us more about how your acting career began? Was acting always on your radar as something you want to do?
Acting was definitely not on my radar. I kind of fell into it and then got bit by the bug. I just learned to love it. And I remember when I first started doing it, I was like ‘this is kind of strange’. And then I mentally just checked it and started doing it. It is awesome. You almost get like a high from when you nailed the scene. You’re like ‘oh, that felt so good’.
But it was interesting because with ‘Moss’, Daniel Peddle’s a friend of mine and he is also my mother agent, and he wrote this script and wanted me to play the lead role. And I was like ‘well, what do I have to lose’. I had no acting training going into it. And my mentor, Billy, who played my father in ‘Moss’, we already had a good dynamic there, so it was really easy for him to capture it. And then I remember I landed ‘Wish Upon’ and I was like ‘oh wow, this is kind of a big deal’. I might have been in a little over my head and I didn’t really have much acting training and so I kind of took a step back, had to get a bunch of training. Now I’m back in the scene and it feels great cause I didn’t want to be known as just a pretty face per se. I wanted to actually be like this dude who’s got some chops.
Besides acting, you also have a hugely successful modeling career. You’ve been the face of Calvin Klein Underwear and also walked the runways. How did you start modeling?
That was a funny story. So Daniel Peddle who wrote and directed ‘Moss’, he was with his nephew and I was just walking to my car after class one day and he stopped me and asked if I wanted to do this. And I was like ‘thank you, no thank you’. And then long story short, he took a couple photos of me and then I get a contract from DNA models and I didn’t know anything about this industry. I didn’t know it was a great agency. And I came to find out it was arguably one of the most prestigious agencies in the world and I flew to New York. Then like two weeks later, I was going to Milan for the Calvin Klein runway. Italo, who was the designer of Calvin Klein at the time, said I look American, I’m American and Calvin Klein’s an American brand. And they were just like ‘yep, we want you’.
From very early on, I was very fortunate and then one thing led to another. Just when you didn’t think it couldn’t get any better, it got better. I just love continuing to grow and it feels good when the hard work pays off too and you land big jobs like Calvin Klein or ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’.
Through the eyes of a male model, how would you describe a walk down the runway?
I think girls definitely have it harder than guys with that, because they have the whole strut. For guys it’s just stand up straight and walk faster. And I was definitely a little nervous for sure when I first started doing it. And then I thought why am I psyching myself out so much for this. Walking’s one of the first things I learned how to do.
You’re the face of Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic ‘Le Male’ fragrance. What do you love the most about working with fashion brands, especially when you get the honor of being a face of their campaign?
Yeah, it’s come up the third year now.
Honestly, the people I get to meet along the way and the stuff I get to learn. I love the modeling industry because it’s the most diverse industry in the world. I have friends from all over the place now. I’m like ‘oh, you grew up in Italy, that’s so cool. Tell me what that was like’. Being able to go there and have like a VIP tour cause your friend is from there is definitely great. It’s a whole different life than mine and I love hearing about every bit of it.
Before modeling and acting, you wanted to enlist in the Marine Corps. This is something you were always very passionate about. Tell us more about your Marine Corps story and how it never actually became what you wanted it to.
Since I was a child, I knew I was gonna join the Marine Corps. My uncle, well I call him my uncle, he’s not blood, but my mentor and was in ‘Moss’ with me, was a special forces guy. So he would come to my house at 4:00 AM every morning in high school and just train me to be the next generation of soldiers. It was interesting because I got zapped at MEBs, that stands for medical evaluation process training. And then I couldn’t get a waiver because when I was a child, I lost a kidney in a car accident. Technically, I think there’s a statistic where about 71 % of the American population is uneligible for military service because of medical issues. Like the most random things, if you’re flat footed or allergic to bees or anything.
How did you feel when you weren’t able to enlist?
I was definitely pretty defeated. I wasn’t getting the answer for the longest time. My brother graduated top of his class at boot camp, so we got to sit down and have a dinner with the general. Lori Reynolds encouraged me to go talk to Colonel Haar and I asked him what’s going on.He’s in charge of all recruitment east of the Mississippi and he he said that I got one kidney on paper and he can’t take me. I was lost for a little bit, but I definitely kept my head up and went on to the next plan, just continue school.
You are a very outdoorsy person. What are your favorite hobbies and how do you love spending your free time?
I like building stuff. My buddy and I are about to start building a massive porch on my new house that I’m almost ready to move into. I’ve been developing this land for about two years now. I’m also a big fan of spear fishing, I think underneath the water is like alien planet. It’s so beautiful and I just love being below the surface.
You also relocate bears and alligators to safer habitats away from human contact. That sounds kind of dangerous. Why is this something you’re so passionate about?
Sometimes here and there, but not very often. It’s definitely something I’ve done with my dad and I had learned from him.
So also growing up, when I was a child, I thought I was gonna be Steve Irwin. I was always watching that and I think they’re beautiful creatures and if you can help them out, definitely better than the alternative, than having to kill them. So we’ll just go over there and make sure there’s no problems and human animal interactions.
I like being scared. It makes you feel alive.
After starring in the second season of ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’, what’s next for you in your career?
Definitely more acting. I am just obsessed with it now and I got a couple irons in the fire of potential gigs. But I’m superstitious, where if I say something about it before it’s actually happened, it never happens. So we’ll see. A couple of awesome things I’m excited about and hopefully they come to fruition.
interview by JANA LETONJA
photography TAYLOR MILLER
styling RAZ MARTINEZ
groomer MARK ALAN
styling assistants GRACE CONNAUGHTON & DAVID ATERE
editor TIMI LETONJA
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN