‘I can just do what I want’: MTSU grad Devin Matthews reflects on life after graduation

Photo by Silas Vassar III via Devin Matthews

Story by Shorin Estell / Staff Writer

Graduates are usually afraid of what is to come after college. The final coddling stage in life has ended, and many feel unsure. Student loans become an actual thing, and they make you think long and hard about whether or not you really needed that refund check that one semester. Your student apartment becomes an actual apartment where rent, lights, gas, water, Wi-Fi and cable are all separate entities coming to devour your entry-level paycheck. These are only a few of the things that run through the minds of recent or upcoming graduates, but does this have to be your end? No.

MTSU graduate Devin Matthews has been on the go since he graduated in December of 2015.

“Your year ends up how you start it off,” Devin said about a recent New Year’s trip to New Orleans. “I was starting my year off traveling, free and enjoying life.”

In November of 2016, Devin took a trip to the first Complex Con event in Los Angeles.

He explained, “Complex Con was a big room full of dope stuff.” Posting a picture every five-seconds, anyone following his feed could tell he was having a good time. While he was there, he got to meet singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams and attended a Kid Cudi concert.

“The energy was perfect. I got zero bad vibes while I was in Los Angeles,” he said, attributing his “Joanne the Scammer” skills to meet Pharrell:

Devin Matthews pretended to be a photographer in order to get close to Pharrell during a recent trip to New York City for Fashion Week. (Photo Courtesy of Devin Matthews)

I got there in good time and made my way to a nice spot in the middle where I still had potential to get closer. As it filled up, I kept moving up a little until I was at the front. Pharrell came out, and my adrenaline was pumping. All I could think about was finessing my way to him. I saw a lot of photographers and videographers with access beyond the ropes. They looked normal and cool, so I excused myself through the crowd and undid the rope as if I was with the press. No one said anything, so I just chilled out and acted normal. All of a sudden one of the photographers asked me to take his picture with Pharrell, and of course I did it. Then another guy asked if I could take his picture, and that’s when I got my chance. I hyped myself into talking to him, he asked me my name, and we took a picture.”

Of all of the trips that he has taken, though, Devin said that his favorite was his most recent trip to New York where he was able to walk in Fashion Gallery’s New York Fashion Week “RenegadeRyanCharlie” fashion show.

The opportunity came when he liked an old friend’s Instagram post.

“I texted him to congratulate him, and he told me that he was just about to hit me up because he wanted me to walk in his show,” Devin said.

He then made plans to take a trip to New York City with his best friend Chelsea Jones, also an MTSU graduate.

The two checked for flight deals, and instead of getting a hotel, booked an Airbnb. Devin said they made it happen by “being cautious with spending beforehand and while [we were] there.”

Along with preparing financially, Devin said that he also practiced his walk and posture.

“I’m from Memphis. I had to come with it,” he said. His anticipation was high because he and Chelsea had arrived in New York the Thursday before the fashion show, only three days before the Monday show.

Their first night there, they attended a Four Loko party where rapper ILoveMakonnen used Chelsea’s phone to record the crowd of people as they danced and had a good time.

But eventually, the day of the show arrived:

Call time was noon sharp. When we got there, we were in a ballroom that resembled the Orpheum of Memphis. I had to give my name to one of the assistants who had asked which show I was a part of.  I get in there, and there were production assistants, makeup artists and food tables. I couldn’t believe it. I went and sat with the other models, and Chelsea went to help as a production assistant. That was how she was able to get in. A come-up for the both of us. I was the muse for the makeup. The head makeup artist was from France, which was cool because she was from the same area that I lived in during my study abroad trip. After hair and makeup, it was time for us to line up for the walk. My adrenaline was pumping because the music was live, and I was next to walk down the runway. In my mind I was thinking, ‘All of this has been for this moment, let’s go.’ Then I went out. I was nervous, but just talking to the models made it cool. After the runway show we took press pictures.”

Devin Matthews, an MTSU graduate with a degree in public relations, is now considering modeling and fashion design. (Photo courtesy of Devin Matthews)

After the show, Devin and Chelsea went to a Paper magazine party. According to Devin, the party took place in an auto body shop. He said that he met a lot of people, including a fashion editor from Essence magazine.
“I made a lot of connections while there,” Devin said. “I talked to a lot of the models, and I also met some pretty cool people.

Devin, who graduated with a degree in public relations, is currently looking into becoming a model and a fashion designer.

“Chase your dreams. Everybody just needs to chase their dreams. I remember when I was still in school toward the end and I realized that I didn’t want to be a publicist, but I figured that I could just be my own publicist. Now I can just do what I want,” he said.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Marissa Gaston email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

For more updates, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter/Instagram at @Sidelines_Life.

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