Nick Bateman @nick_bateman
Writer Madeline Rosene @madelinerosene
Photographer & Videographer Ben Cope @ben_cope
Wardrobe Stylists Cassy Dittmer @cdittmer and Desiree Morales @desireemorales
Assistant Stylist Shana Anderson @shana__anderson
Grooming Lavonne @lavonnebeauty using Kiehls @kiehls and Oribe @oribe
Assistant Joshua Maresca @joshsdoitbetter
Interview with Nick Bateman:
Actor, model, social media influencer, and now, avid vegan supporter, Nick Bateman makes friends wherever he goes. His modeling career began when he was seventeen and Calvin Klein discovered him at a Model Universe event in Miami. Not long after, Bruce Weber photographed him for a feature on Abercrombie & Fitch’s shopping bags.
Don’t be fooled by his terrifying persona as Ivan in his first film, Hobo with a Shotgun or intimidated by his training in Gōjū-ryū karate and bō staff and better-than-a-Ken-doll good looks. Nick Bateman is all charm while being down-to-earth and real. After Ben Cope shot Nick on a scorching fall day in Calabasas, California, we sat down on the steps right before sunset and had a nice chat.
MR: So, I met you at a vegan festival in North Hollywood.
MR: You just made a transition into veganism?
NB: Yeah, I watched What the Health on Netflix, not a plug. Actually, did watch it. I kind of just made the choice to go vegan recently. I guess I could be considered a pescatarian because I decided to eat fish once a week. But I’m vegan six days out the week.
MR: Wow, that’s really impressive. That’s commitment. So, for anyone who hasn’t seen What The Health, can you give an overview?
NB: Long story short — it teaches you about cruelty to animals, the whole brainwashing of thinking that eggs, dairy, and meat is healthy for you when in fact, they’re not. People might get mad at me for saying that. But from my point of view, I don’t feel that it is healthy. It takes you through the wide spectrum of all the health defects that occur from eating meat and eggs and dairy with carcinogens in them.
I’ve always tried to be really healthy and I thought eating organic, free-range, all-natural chicken and steak was healthy but I realized it was just the healthiest version of a shitty diet. A lot people may disagree with me. It has been a challenge finding a complete vegan diet. Because there are vitamins that are deficient in a vegan diet, I’ve been taking b-12 and a few others.
MR: Good for you. That’s amazing. Are your friends vegan? Are you sort of in a community to help support each other?
NB: After I watched What The Health, I called all of my friends and family and said, “You need to watch this.” Once you see it, you’re rattled. For anyone who really likes meat, and you want to continue enjoying meat, don’t watch it. It will make it really hard to enjoy. I used to love meat, I use to go to like STK and all of those places.
MR: You crave it still?
NB: No, I don’t really crave it. The only thing I crave is fish and that’s what I’ve continued to eat in moderation.
NB: Yeah I love that sushi. I think anything in moderation your body can handle. But for me, I was eating like gratuitous amounts of meat, like chicken and steak, every single day because I thought that was a great source of protein for me and I just had to cut it out.
MR: You said “oout.” You’re from Canada.
NB: I am Canadian. Yeah oout and abooat, you know.
MR: And you moved to LA how many years ago?
NB: About three years ago.
MR: And your parents still live in Canada?
NB: Yeah, my mom lives in Grimsby which is close to Toronto.
MR: Are you close with your parents?
NB: I’m very close with my mom, not so much with my dad but I’m thankful for the relationship I have with my mom.
MR: So she’s pushed you in your career, how does she feel about you being this successful Instagram sensation/ model? She must be so proud of you.
NB: Yeah, my mom is pretty much the reason I am where I am today. My mom was a single mom. She raised me by herself and she kind of pushed me to do whatever I wanted. So if I wanted to be a ninja turtle, she put me in karate. Anything I wanted to do, it was never too big or too small. If I wanted to do it, my mom made sure I was in the right place to do it. She’s very proud of me and it’s all a product of the hard work she put into me. Sometimes I didn’t want to go to karate but my mom would say, “Get the hell in the car!”
MR: You’re a ninja turtle!
NB: Yeah. I was like “I don’t want to.” But I’m thankful she pushed me when I needed to be pushed.
MR: That’s awesome. And does she come to visit you in LA?
NB: Yeah, she’s actually coming in to visit me at the end of October. And I’m going to take her to the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. My mom said she only had me for two reasons: to go see scary movies with her and go on roller coasters.
NB: I remember I was at Canada’s Wonderland. It’s a theme park. I think I was like seven and she took me to a roller coaster, a huge one, and I just started crying after the one hour line up and she took me to the car and she said, “If you’re not going on that roller coaster we’re never coming back here again”. And I was like, “Okay.” We went back and road it and I’ve loved them ever since.
MR: I love it. Sometimes you just need the push you know.
NB: Yeah, she knew what she was doing. Can’t argue with mommy.
MR: Okay, so also you’re a gamer. I overheard you talking about Call of Duty earlier.
NB: Yeah, a lot of people don’t know that about me. One of the games that I’ve become a little bit addicted to when I have a day off is Call of Duty. I’m what you would call a “camper.” And I actually enjoy camping, and I enjoy pissing people off. So when I get like hateful messages people would be like, “F you man! You’re a camping scrub.” I giggle to myself like, “Yeah that’s right.” Because I’m just that guy who sits in the corner and when the guy comes in, I’ll be like pop, pop, pop! And then I’ll go to the different corner so when he comes in to kill me in that corner I’m already in the other corner.
MR: So you play competitively?
NB: No, I’ll play online. I get competitive with it. Like me and my friends would try to have the best KD ratio, which is the Kill/ Death ratio. I hadn’t played in six months. My friend came to visit me and we had an argument over who was better and I’m like, “Alright, let’s go.” He visited me for two weeks and all we did for two weeks was play Call of Duty.
MR: Wow, so you have these outlets for your aggressiveness like martial arts, Call of Duty, and then, I’ve got to bring up, Hobo with a Shotgun.
MR: Sorry, yeah. I’ve never been so scared of a person. I mean, that’s a scary character.
NB: It was a fun character.
MR: I bet.
NB: In martial arts, it kind of teaches you that you have to be very big, you have to be loud and your aggressiveness has to show. So for the movie, I got to be very loud and aggressive.
MR: You sure did.
NB: I worked with the director Jason Eisener and it was my very first film I’d ever done. Literally every take I did, his note was “Louder” and “Angrier.” I’m like “Really?” He’s like, “Louder.” After the first week of filming, I had no voice. But it was so fun. We filmed in Halifax, Canada. People in Halifax, Canada are the nicest people in the world.
MR: So, what’s your next film?
NB: I have a lot of things in the works. One of my main focuses right now is the X-Men character from Marvel called Gambit. Gambit is a Cajun character from Louisiana. He’s a thief and his weapon of choice is a bow-staff so I took a liking to him right away. I realized that there’s obviously a market for Marvel films and shows.
I already shot my first short film. I’m going to be working on two more to try to get into the character. I’m working with a dialect coach, got a scriptwriter now so I’m really excited to make it come to life. I’m going to put it out there and see if I can procure this role and get it to be mine. So, Ryan Reynolds took eight years to get Deadpool made. That’s RYAN REYNOLDS and he’s amazing. So, for me, if it takes eight years, I’m willing to grind it out for eight years.
MR: You’re willing to put in the work. That’s what it takes.
MR: So, Joey and your other dog, who didn’t make it today are rescue dogs?
NB: Joey is kind of a rescue. Maria and I work with rescue dogs especially.
MR: And Maria is your girlfriend?
NB: Yes. So we went into this pet store in Canada. It was kind like before pet stores were banned in Canada. She and I are kind of addicted to animals. So, we walk in and Joey had been there for two months and we found out he was returned by someone. And that the woman just literally brought him back and said, “He’s not like my old dog. My old dog just passed away.” And I’m like, “You don’t buy a dog to replace a dog.”
MR: Right, and it doesn’t have the same personality as your last dog.
NB: But, I am so thankful she did because he’s one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. I’ve never been a small dog type of guy but he’s my first small dog. I kind of roughed him up to make him be like a big dog. He’s so well-behaved, walks off his leash. So, we went in there and he had been there for two months.
So, we took him and yeah, the rest is history. We actually did save a dog last year for a show I’m working on called Rescue. We were shooting the pilot sizzle reel, we drove up to Bakersfield and we rescued a dog that was hit by a car and he had a fractured pelvis. So, I fostered him for a month and I used the power of social media to find him a home and now he’s living in a brand new home with a family, three cats and another dog. But he’s like the star of the house so it’s a great feeling.
MR: Wow, sometimes the power of social media can really be used for such a great cause.
NB: Yeah, that’s what I try to do with mine. I think it’s important to, if you have any sort of influence, to do the right thing.
MR: You get a lot of attention on your social media for your dogs and your—I think I read an article about you somewhere and you said you had this “algorithm” and how you figured out what your algorithm is for success in gaining followers. So, is the algorithm like one shirtless picture, one cute dog picture, etc…?
NB: It’s definitely changed. The world is evolving these days. It used to be like that and it use to work but Instagram changes, people change and you have to change too. There are only so many times you can post a shirtless picture with a dog before people start rolling their eyes and say, “Let’s get this guy outta here. He’s so annoying.” Recently I’ve realized that I’ve grown and done this algorithm enough to where people know who I am.
If people decide to un-follow me because they’re like, “This guy just post shirtless pictures and there’s no substance in this human being. He’s just a narcissist,” And if it really was just selfies of me shirtless all the time, I wouldn’t blame them. But I started posting more organic stuff. This is what people want now-a-days. It was popular I guess two years ago to post stuff that was very setup, cute and orchestrated. But now people just want to see you being you and real stuff. When they can tell you’re doing stuff just for the likes, they’re like, “Ok, I’m over this.”
MR: That’s so true. So how do you deal with haters? Even on Call of Duty, you’re not snapping back at them. But your Instagram feed in your comments, you probably read some of your comments, right?
NB: Sometimes. I’m very lucky that I’ve got nothing but love on my page. There are only a few people that have been haters. I don’t respond to anyone on social media when it comes to comments. Unfortunately, if I respond to one, it’s not fair for me to not respond to the others. So I can’t just pick people and be like “Oh, I’ll respond to you.” Then thousands of other people that commented will go, “Oh, why didn’t you respond to me?” But on Call of Duty, I respond. So, if someone is swearing at me, my friends and I have a classic response: “Okay, dear friend.”
And it’s so funny because people will be like, “What?” I had one kid write back, “Hey, I just want to apologize for my outburst. I was really angry. Keep playing how you’re playing and have a good day.” That was amazing, because it actually worked. The “Kill em’ with kindness” thing worked. This kid, this little kid, actually I don’t know how old he was, but just by his grammar he seemed young, he couldn’t have been that old. But it was so nice. My friends and I were dying laughing because “Okay dear friend” works every time.
MR: Well, okay dear friend this was a really good interview!
NB: Awesome! Thank you.