Byrdie Boy is our series here to break outdated perceptions of men and beauty. We'll be highlighting the routines, product picks, and musings of cool guys with a unique POV, so our male and man-aligned readers can learn about skincare, makeup, and hair from a trusted, inclusive source. Mitchell Slaggert of The Sex Lives of College Girls, tells us all about why he prefers acting to modeling, and the fancy French skincare he can't live without.
If you were to credit Mitchell Slaggert’s success to just one thing, what probably comes to mind is the actor and model’s all-American good looks. Then there’s the fact that he’s unfailingly polite during our phone chat. But The Sex Lives of College Girls star credits it all to one more unexpected factor: his work ethic. To be fair, that might have something to do with it, too.
One thing that isn't responsible for his fame? TikTok. Slaggert was discovered the old-fashioned way: by a model scout on the streets of Wilmington, North Carolina. After appearing in ads for Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace, David Yurman, and even a stint as the face of Calvin Klein Underwear like so many greats before him, Slaggert made the switch from modeling to acting. He starred in the film Wish Upon alongside Joey King and Ryan Phillippe and most recently nabbed the part of Jackson in season 2 of The Sex Lives of College Girls.
Slaggert has upcoming roles in the works, but his lips are sealed. What he can tell us about is how modeling made him a better actor, his acting heroes, and his signature scent.
How did you get into modeling and acting?
"It's actually a funny story, I just kind of fell into it. I was walking to my car after class one day in Wilmington, North Carolina and I got scouted and it just kind of blew up from there. This guy's name's Daniel Peddle. He's an epic individual. We're still really good friends. And he's actually from North Carolina as well. It's funny because he was like, ‘I just got Jennifer Lawrence.’ In the back of my head, I’m like, ‘sure you did, bud,’ but I’m always nice to everybody. And he goes, ‘here's my card, I’m expecting to hear from you.’ I was like, huh, who says that? I Googled him, he was the real deal, and then met up with him and took a couple iPhone photos. And then I get a contract with DNA models. And I'm like, I have no idea what that is. But I come to find out it is arguably the most prestigious agency in the world.
"Two weeks after that, I'm getting flown to Italy for the Calvin Klein runway, and then the designer at Calvin Klein at the time really liked me because I am American, I look very American, it’s an American brand, and they put me on a lot of their advertising. And then The New York Times did an article on the 'New Calvin Klein dude.' An agent in Hollywood saw it, sent me an email, and I openly admit I didn't know anything about a lot of it. So, I screenshot it and send it off to my agents, and they're like, ‘holy smokes, man. This is incredible.’ So, we met up with her, they told her that I was one of the hardest-working people that they've ever represented. I was pretty muscular, so I had to lose some of the muscle mass. And then I was also working with the same individual who discovered me, he wrote a little indie movie [Moss] that is awesome, and I was cast in the lead of that. Going into it, I was like, acting is a little strange. I don't know if I like it. And then I mentally just chucked it in the fuck it bucket and started doing it and fell in love with it."
Did you learn anything from modeling that prepared you for acting?
"Yeah, for sure. Just [being] in front of the camera, so you're not stiff, you’re more fluid, that definitely helps. It depends on the photoshoots. With Calvin Klein, it's like, flex and look left. But with some of the other stuff, if it looks like you're posing or anything, they'll just scrap it. The same for acting—if it looks like you're acting, you’re not supposed to be. It’s the artless art form, you know?"
Do you prefer one over the other now?
"I definitely prefer acting, 10 million times. I like the challenge. Every scene is different. I like going into scenes and being natural, spontaneous, and fluid with it and seeing what comes from it."
What was it like joining The Sex Lives of College Girls for the second season?
"It was epic. It was great. I am very fortunate to be able to get along with everybody and so I came in, I was just saying hello, and I got to know everybody pretty quickly. They're all just very nice, warm, welcoming, and I was very excited to be there, so I feel like they kind of fed off that energy at first. We all gained plenty of new friends from filming."
What has been your favorite acting role so far?
"Honestly, I really enjoyed this role. It wasn't too challenging, though. That first movie I ever shot with Daniel Peddle, [Moss], it was interesting, and one of my favorites because I didn't know how to swim and I was just thrown in the deep end and learned and it turned out great. I had zero to two weeks of acting training before I shot that.
"I went to get some training, and then the training I got made me a worse actor. I had to take a step back. Then I got a lot more training and became a better actor, so it was funny. I started landing other roles and I was just like, I'm in over my head, I had to get some training, and it kind of shot me in the foot briefly, but then I got working with the right people and then I'm getting pretty good at this."
What was training like? How did you dive into that world?
"It's both acting coaches and classes. It's interesting because some of these acting coaches were like you can only work with me and no one else. And I disagree with that in so many ways, because everybody's different—what works for you could not work for somebody else. So, I worked with probably three to five people at a time. I’d learn from each one of them. Like, this works for me, this doesn't and with the next person this works for me, this doesn't, and just kind of plucked and chose everything from all these people that are really intellectual about it, and I molded my own little program together."
When you're looking at roles now, what appeals to you about certain parts?
"I'm a big fan of action movies and stuff like that. The Chris Hemsworth Extraction movie—that's an ideal role. As an actor, I strive to be a combination of Heath Ledger and Tom Hardy. Those are my two favorite actors right now.
"Heath Ledger has that soft side about him, but he's so talented. He dives into every role headfirst—RIP, gone too soon. He is up there as one of the best ever. I like how Tom Hardy really takes his time onscreen and he’s such a hard ass. I want to be a mix of being a softy and a hard ass. I don’t know what roles are in my future."
Walk me through your grooming routine.
"I wear Jean Paul Gaultier all the time, Le Male Le Parfum, the black bottle. I'm a little biased! At first, I didn't really know what it was, and then I got to work for them and come to find out it's one of the top fragrances in the world. I just really enjoy the scent. I know the whole team now and the fact that everybody who works there are awesome individuals and they have an awesome product. I'm a big fan of Jean Paul Gaultier, he’s a genuine, well-rounded guy.
"I got hooked up with this French line, Biologique Recherche. I got into that skincare routine, and I'm absolutely loving it. I'm working on building a house right now so honestly I just get up and get to work and then I shower, do all of my skincare and go to bed from there. I do the cleanser, a serum, moisturizer, and then some under-eye stuff. I will say when I wake up in the morning, and I did my skincare, I can tell my face feels so much better than if I forget about it."
You've probably sat in a million makeup chairs between modeling and filming; what grooming tips and tricks have you learned from the professionals?
"Honestly, I just copy a lot of stuff that they get. They're the professionals—they know what's good and what's not, like face trimmers and products to buy, mainly. I usually take care of my skin at nighttime, and then, of course, sunscreen."
If you're stuck on a desert island, what is your grooming product staple?
"If I can only bring one over and I'm stuck on a desert island, probably the Biologique Recherche moisturizer. And maybe I can steal some coconut milk."
What is your self-care routine?
"I perceive the gym as my therapy. I go there and pump my brain full of serotonin. When I run, after about the third or fourth mile, I get my runner's high and that's kind of a meditation zone right there. I am addicted to feeling healthy. That's really what it comes down to—eating good food, taking care of yourself, and getting on the skincare game."
What projects do you have coming up?
"I have a couple of irons in the fire. Truth be told, I'm not superstitious about black cats or the 13th floor, but I am superstitious when I talk about it before it’s a thing and it doesn’t happen. There are good, exciting potential gigs that I'm looking forward to. You put in the work, and it pays off."