Jul 13, 2021
Yves Mathieu pays the bills as a full-time model. But it’s what he does off the runway and outside of photoshoots that sets him apart.
Much of his free time is spent volunteering in LGBTQ runaway centers, senior facilities and homeless shelters, a passion he picked up at 18. He donates his time and energy as a way to engage in therapy and serve something bigger than himself, he says. (Check out the video interview he did last year for The Jed Foundation, a non-profit organization that protects mental health for teens and young adults.) He is a tireless advocate for trans women rights; images he posted to Instagram from 2018’s Women’s March—of him holding a sign that read “TRANS WOMEN, TOO!”—went super-viral. Now in his mid-20s, he says he hopes to show queer kids what it looks like to be an adult who has survived and even thrived—Mathieu is himself a former addict, who used from the ages of 12 or 13 to 17.
Born in Brooklyn to a Black father and Asian mother, Mathieu was adopted and raised by a white family in Florida. His looks are all the more striking for the fact that he is nearly entirely covered in tattoos: his hands, neck, face, torso, all of it. He’s walked the runway for Pyer Moss. And after going viral for his support of trans women, he received an email from Beyonce’s team asking to include him in last October’s Drip 2 athleisure campaign for Adidas and Ivy Park. This month he graced the cover of both Alt Press and the first-ever book by Kloss Films, a project of British Vogue Digital Creative Director-at-Large Alec Maxwell.
When he’s not doing all that, he’s fostering rescued pitbulls and finding them forever homes … and releasing his own music: “Bops From A Beautiful Broken Hearted Black Boy,” his second album, came out last year. You might have seen him perform songs from it at the epic Pride Oasis Pool Party last month at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.