Getting to know Mr. Michael Scanlon
Photo Credit: @dmfphotoworks & @latoya.shanell
Michael’s resume is both multifaceted as well as impressive. He is a world traveler, photographer, speaker, fitness & fashion model, and has worked as a Behavioral Analyst in the field of Autism. Yet that does not even cover his volunteer work nor his Criminology and Psychology degrees from the University of Miami. Along with currently finishing up his MBA in Finance, from Governors State University, he’s also a contributor/writer for Seeking Alpha, an online financial and stock market publication. For the past fourteen years, he’s also played competitive rugby.
You were first introduced to him via his previous interview about Autism Awareness Month. Now through this in depth interview you will get to know Mr. Michael Scanlon on an entirely different level. To connect with him, see more of his pictures, or purchase his workouts or landscape photographs, you can do so via his Instagram accounts @michaelscanlonfitness and @Freedomfix.
Photo Credit: @joembayawaphotography
You’re currently finishing up your MBA. What has been your educational focus and why? I just finished my MBA with a Finance specialization. More precisely, I have geared my study towards working in the financial markets.
What do you hope to do with your degree? Even though I can have a great impact as a Behavioral Analyst, it is a stressful job for which you do not make a lot of money. I knew when I returned back to the States from Australia, that I wanted to go back to school to get my MBA. By doing so, I could attain a job where I could make quite a bit more money and have the dispensable income and time to still help in my own way.
What kind of job are you looking for? A position within a company that’s focus is around the stock market. Probably something within equity or financial analysis like analyzing stocks, companies, their balance sheets, and their finances. Where I can determine whether or not those companies’ stocks are properly valued. I currently do that stuff at the moment as I write for Seeking Alpha, as a paid contributor.
How did you get into modeling? I randomly got asked to do one photo shoot last summer and it was for the LA Tan Ad campaign for the upcoming year. From there I put up a couple pictures online and was noticed and approached by photographer, Joem Bayawa. He suggested that I start an Instagram account and from there I got contacted by a couple of agencies. Since that everything has just taken off, all of a sudden people out of nowhere are asking me to work and I started to build a portfolio. Now I’ve been signed to five agencies and am getting paid shoots for different brands like Coors, Groupon, Met Life, and many others. With these doors opening I’ve been able to pay for my schooling, pay off my credit card, start an investment account, and even have money to do other things with.
Photo Credit: @erik_ruiz_photography
What drives you? It’s hard to pinpoint any one thing. I want to have a good mixture of being happy and helping other people. I was originally a Radio TV Broadcasting major my freshman year. Though I enjoyed it, after a year I didn’t feel it was meeting the need or desire to help others. For me helping others is my driving force, so I changed my major so I could help as many people as possible while also having the right balance of doing something that makes me happy. So, everything I do is either to help or be happy myself.
Tell us something about you, that has impacted you in a personal way, that you often don’t talk about. Something I haven’t shared is, although I’ve never had cancer before, there was a time several years ago when for about three hours I was misdiagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma cancer, which is an extremely rare form. This all came about when I had previously injured my shoulder and still to this day have a separated shoulder. I went to the hospital to get it x-rayed and was told the x-ray revealed that I had a shadow in my upper arm that I needed to get checked out. So, I subsequently went and got an MRI which led to the misdiagnosis. Of course, it rocked my world and devastated my parents. I was sent to the same children’s hospital I now volunteer at to be seen by an oncologist. During all this all I could think about is all the things I wanted to do, wondering what was going to happen, what are things I’ve wished I’d done, and what does all this mean? I remember walking through the hospital hallway as we were sent to get more tests done and my hand was just shaking as I was holding the order for the additional tests. The doctor at the children’s hospital would reveal that it turned out that I didn’t have cancer but instead a very unusual kind of spiderweb type boney structure inside of my arm where the bone is actually supposed to be hollow. After that I went home and just kind of sat in a trance for a while thinking about what was going through my mind when I thought I was sick. The one thing I wished I had done was move abroad, so later that week I bought a visa to move to Australia and less than a year later, I did…In fact, my parents to this day do not know that the cancer scare is one of the reasons I moved away.
Why did you choose Australia for your big move? I wanted to play rugby somewhere that was better than America because I’m always looking to better myself. I wanted somewhere warm that had good rugby and an overall better job market. A friend had given me some positive feedback about Brisbane so that, with other factors, led to my move to Brisbane, Australia. When I moved there I didn’t have a job or a place to live, but I figured I’d make it happen and I did.
Let’s talk about your acting! You’ve shared some Instagram stories of current projects. So, what do you have that’s coming up? What do you enjoy about it? I’ve actually never really considered myself an actor and wasn’t sure I could do it. I think that the part I recently got for the pilot I’m filming was typecast as the set is in a gym and I’m playing a gym rat. I’ve got a part in every episode and depending on where the storyline goes I may become a little more ingrained in some of the other parts of the show. But so far, I think what I’ve really enjoyed about it is when you work a regular job you work with people who are both positive and negative. Yet with this job, you are working with people who are funny, creative, and it’s just a fun atmosphere to be a part of.
Photo Credit: @lshanelleevents
You had posted on Instagram asking your followers what they daydream about. So, what do you daydream about? I have weird daydreams about what I would do if I won the power ball when it was worth 500 million dollars. The answer I would always come to is I’d probably invest half of it. Just to be smart and make sure that I got consistent returns on my money, so I could always have cash flow. I’d take the rest and do what the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation does and give to as many charities as I can, because I think that too many people give themselves too much credit for where they are in life. I think a lot of where you are at in life is just luck and circumstance. I feel I didn’t do anything to garner the fact that I’m able to model, that had a lot to do with my parent’s genetics. I also didn’t make myself intelligent, yes, I studied, and my parents pushed me to that, but it wasn’t anything that I specifically did. I believe that when a lot of people are in unfortunate situations, it’s not necessarily their fault either and I think we should do everything we can to help them.
On Instagram you had mentioned that you hoped to make it back out to Australia in March. Did you accomplish that? I did! So, I do a lot of the investing in the stock market and I try to pick up on behavioral trends in the market. At the end of November 2017, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange announced that they would be offering futures trading on bitcoin, which has never been traded on a major exchange before. It was still considered almost like a black-market kind of thing, a bit sketchy. Though when it was announced that they were going to start trading it I figured that would create a lot of hysterical trading and cause people to start buying it just to buy it. It seemed what the Chicago Exchanges were doing helped to legitimize it. So, I took some of the money I had made from modeling and bought bitcoin and litecoin. About a week later I sold it before the seasoned investors could get in and start shorting the bitcoin features and drive the price down, which has happened since. From that trade, I made enough money to not only fund the entire Australia trip but was also able to put even more than that into my investment account and invest that into the stock market.
Where are your top favorite travel spots? I love the GlassHouse Mountains in the sunshine coast of Australia; I’ve actually climbed a couple of them. I scuba dived the Great Barrier Reef, which was incredible. I’ve driven all around Ireland and it’s so hard to just pick a single place there. I also really like San Diego. In fact, for the first time in my life I had made a decent amount of money while working in Australia. So, I was able to surprise my dad with a father-son trip to Ireland where we could explore our Irish heritage.
So, tell me about the children’s hospital that you work with? What is your involvement? I work once a week for a few hours as a child life volunteer. I’m given a list with names of patients that are there that week, a description of their age, and anything else I need to know about them including their needs. The hospital is equipped with video game systems in the rooms for patients there for an extended stay. Also, there is a closet full of donated toys for the children. There are two rooms where the children can hang out either in the play room or the teen room. One of my jobs is to check on the children and be a support to them as well as to the parents, even giving parents a much needed break.
Photo Credit: @joembayawaphotography
How do you stay fit, what is your fitness regimen? I write my own. Depending on whether or not I’m playing rugby will determine my fitness schedule for the week. When I play rugby, I lift four days a week plus four days of rugby training and a game. Tuesday and Thursdays are my club training. Wednesday and Sundays is when I train with CARFU(Chicago Area Rugby Football Union). Though this does not just include Chicago but the entire state. On Saturdays we have rugby games but when I am in the off season I work out six days a week. During those days, I break down the workouts to focus on one individual body part – chest, legs (twice a week), arms & abs, shoulders, and back, per each day.
What about diet? Diet is interesting, so I am not one to just eat chicken and broccoli, for me that is boring. So, what I do instead is I make what I consider smart replacements. Every morning for breakfast I eat six eggs, but I only eat two actual eggs and supplement with 4 eggs worth of egg whites. When I scramble it you still have the yolk from the actual egg so to me it still tastes like regular scrambled eggs. Each egg has five grams of fat so by eating egg whites instead, you are removing 20 grams of fat. I also use wheat breads instead of white breads. Kraft makes fat free singles and I use 96% lean ground beef instead of regular. All those little things add up.
On your Instagram account you have four workouts for sale, tell me about that? I sell written workouts that target each part of the body on different days. The workouts come from years of experience with playing rugby and having my workouts written for me by doctors of kinesiology, and exercise strength and conditioning coaches. I learned from them about what works well and also through a lot of trial and error. I also have a personal training certificate though I haven’t studied it formally.
Even though you don’t model nude, you do show a lot of skin. Has that been an adjustment? How do you get comfortable with showing what you do show? It’s hard. I think it depends on the photographer. You have to trust the photographer(s) you work with because they may accidentally see some thing when they are shooting, and you have to trust that they are never going to show anything that you don’t want to be seen. In terms of specifically and intentionally ever showing anything, that’s just not something I want to do. I show a fare bit of skin just because I’m trying to build up my following and I know that’s what people want to see. I know in isolation the pictures may look a little risqué, but it’s nothing more than what you’d probably see at the beach.
Photo Credit: Michael Scanlon@FreedomFix
On your Instagram account @FreedomFix you have taken beautiful pictures that you have for sale. Tell me about your photography. So, I started taking pictures just because I was traveling to all these new places. When I’d go out sightseeing, whether for leisure or through traveling for work because we had Autism centers all over, I was mostly traveling by myself. So, I wanted to have a way to share all my travels with everyone back home. With photography if you can have a decent eye and take a decent picture, it’s been a great way to document all the places you visit.
What is your advice for growing Instagram followers? From all the things I’ve read you need to have a theme and keep to it. Know who your followers are and what they want to see. Also try to use as many relative hashtags and tags as you can. I make sure to know all of the pages that might share my pictures, just to increase the different possible groups of followers I can attract. So, when posting a picture if I tag those pages it grabs their attention and they repost the picture(s) that I posted, which gets me more followers.
Tell me about playing rugby? Why rugby and what do you love about it? While in High School our rugby team was the winning state championships every single year. My dad played football when he was HS as well as a year of college football, as quarterback. I had grown up swimming and playing baseball and decided that I wanted to start playing a contact sport. Back then I thought I was too old to start playing football, which now that I’m older I realize that was silly and that I could have easily done it. Not that I would have been a star or any good, but it wasn’t too late to get into it after all. But, I decided I was going to try rugby because most people didn’t start to play rugby before HS or even before college. I was lucky that my HS had a team. So, when the announcement was made to try out I did. For the last fourteen years I’ve been playing rugby in the States and four years in Australia. Rugby is a brotherhood and though we may be crazy on the field, for the most part we are pretty disciplined and respectful. I’ve been able to apply that discipline to other areas of my life.
Now let’s get personal on a whole new level. I wouldn’t be a good journalist if I didn’t touch on your dating life. So, give me all the juicy details. Are you single? What’s your type? I don’t have a girlfriend, but I’ve been trying to date lately. I’ve even tried out some dating sites. In terms of the type of girl I’m looking for, I like smart girls. I’ve never understood the joke that you see on TV shows and movies about guys that like dumb girls, I don’t understand it! I like smart girls and I like girls to be pretty, I think everybody does. Though not necessarily, model pretty just pretty in their own way. I’m not going to be a model forever and I don’t know if I have much time left at this at all. None of us are going to be looking the same for any long duration in our lives. I think the biggest thing is just finding the right personality match, which is difficult to find. Someone you can just instantly click with. It’s one of those things that you can’t necessarily describe, but you’ll know it when you see it. I really don’t have any other specifics except have a good personality that matches mine, intelligence, witty, a bit sarcastic but in a positive way & in the right environment, and as long as we get along you could be anything, do anything.
Photo Credit: @dmfphotoworks
Is it difficult to meet and date girls because of being a model and a public figure or is it easier? Maybe a little harder but not by much. I don’t think I’m a big enough public figure for it to matter. I think if they get to know me, they realize I’m a nice normal guy. I have had girls tell me they think they’re being catfished by me because they don’t think I’m real and because of that they refuse to meet me, but that’s rare.
What are your future goals in life, love, business, etc.? Pretty basic, I want to get married and have kids. Never really thought about how many kids, probably more than one. I wouldn’t want the one little one to be all lonely but maybe two or three.
So, what’s next for you after graduating this month with your MBA? I have quite a few paid gigs coming up. Currently I’m filming the first season of a TV pilot. Within the next month or two I have some voice over work I’m going to be doing in Las Vegas. I’m in the process of working with a Director out in LA on a potential miniseries/movie project. Meeting with other agencies, I just signed with an agency out in Indiana and another in Iowa. I’m also going to be looking for jobs, though I’m going to be very selective about where I want to go and what I want to do because I can sustain myself for the time being with everything else I have going on.
What do you want to be the biggest take away for others from this interview? The most important thing to take away is that there are people out there with autism and in hospitals. They need help and we should do something to help them.