Why Colin Mathura-Jeffree is always the life of the party

By Sarah Daniell

Colin Mathura-Jeffree, model and celebrity It Guy, muses on the Auckland scene and tells Sarah Daniell why his invitations will never dry up.
Colin Mathura-Jeffree and Real Housewives of Auckland's Michelle Blanchard. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
Colin Mathura-Jeffree and Real Housewives of Auckland's Michelle Blanchard. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

"Last week was extraordinary. I got 60 invitations to parties and events. The only way all this would all dry up is if there was a catastrophe - a world-class astronomic catastrophe. If Vogue closed I know my career would be over.

"Besides, I have strong relationships. I'm 44 years old. I've got relationships and it's business. My business is my brand.

"When someone puts a camera in my face at a launch, I know what to say about that product. I'm interested in it. I'm not vacuous. I don't do this because I need to be seen in the paper. I'm not a fame-for-fame's-sake kind of person. Those people make me cringe. Social effluent.

"So many New Zealanders think parties are frivolous. But in my career I have been to LA, New York, India, Hong Kong. It's the same here as there: You must be seen at parties. You must be seen at events, otherwise you can't connect in business with anyone.

"We are casual in many ways in New Zealand, but we are very insecure. 'We' being other people, because I'm not insecure. People are so afraid of the tall poppy attack. Of the comment, 'who do they think they are?' No one is allowed to have fun. The crazy thing is who doesn't want to go to a party and have fun?

"If we live in an 'us and them' world, I want to be in the 'us' world with everyone. I'm not interested in 'them'. I'm not interested in people who aren't inclusive.

"I've been to a few events where they have a VIP area and then a VVIP area. It's such a crock of shit. It's like saying, 'we're more important than the VIP and the VVIP - we're the VVVIP!' It's sad and desperate.

"It's about having currency and worth. I have a strong currency in the film, fashion, TV world. But not in the sporting world. So I'm no A-lister there. I might sometimes get invited if the Indian cricket team are here. I'm an Indian NZ celebrity. So there's a sense of worth and a reason that you're there.

"I won't go to parties if I don't feel I'm worth anything there, because I'm wasting time, I'm wasting space and I'd rather be at home with Netflix.

"So many people think it's about being famous and being in the magazines. Being in the society pages. That's all they want. You can scratch away and there's nothing there. Nothing of substance.

"I don't believe in fake-it-'til-you-make-it. There is work to be done. Have something to say and something to do. I come from the fashion industry. I was baptised a model in 1991. It's my religion. I live it. I breath it. I love it.

"I challenge you to ask anyone - I am the same in any situation. People often say there's an assumption of what I must be like. But I am this way. If I'm at an event, and people are having a photo taken and they're holding handbags and half-empty glasses of wine, I remove the bags and say, 'look - either it's empty or full. Relax, and then have a great photo taken'. What you need to do, to make sure you don't have one of those fixed, fake smiles, is when Norrie [Montgomery] aims his camera at you, think of something or someone you love. Don't try too hard.

"I don't give a damn. I just enjoy myself. If that intimidates someone, that's none of my business. Haters are like crickets. They make a lot of noise but when you walk past them, they go silent. And the only thing they'll ask for is a photo."

- Canvas

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