Original photo courtesy of www.mattcohen4real.com
My first introduction to Matt Cohen was as young John Winchester on the CW’s TV show Supernatural. My second introduction was at a Creation Entertainment Salute to Supernatural convention in Chicago. It was a Friday night, Matt was dressed as a carrot, and he joined me in the audience to sing part of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” during Dick & Matt’s fabulous Karaoke Party. That weekend, Matt made a lasting impression on me, to say the least, but it is his #you campaign on Instagram and Twitter (@mattcohen4real) that has had a tremendous influence on my life, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Some of the quotes and sayings that Matt has shared via #you have encouraged me, made me laugh, made me cry, and inspired me to be brave and to keep moving forward during difficult times. Because of this, I started to wonder what inspired Matt to start his #you campaign and so . . . I asked him.
SPN Survivors: From my perspective, #you puts a smile on thousands of faces around the globe on a regular basis and inspires them to be better people. Could you please tell me the story behind the ”#you campaign” with your Instagram and Twitter accounts? How did it get started? What inspired you to start helping and inspiring others with something as simple as #you?
Matt: As I tell many of the fandom members the #YOU campaign is far more selfish than it comes off to be. It started with me talking to myself. I would get sad or depressed or discouraged and I would find a quote that was inspiring or uplifting and I would post it to #you, being me. It was and continues to be my way of self motivation and self happiness. I am now to the point where I see how many people I help with the #you posts and I need it! I need it for my own happiness, for my own well being! Everyday I awake I feel a huge urge to help someone so that I can help myself. A lot of my strength and positivity comes directly from the fans. By me inspiring them, they are unknowingly inspiring me.
SPN Survivors: Tell me about #You Day. What was your motivation to create this day? Was it “a call to action” for your fans? A way to bring all those quotes and sayings to life? I thought your birthday was an interesting choice. A day that is normally a celebration of YOU and YOUR life was turned into a celebration of #You. Was that your point? Do you plan to do it again?
Matt: I cannot take any credit for the #you day idea. I was on twitter and I saw a fan made a really cool piece of artwork featuring me and the #you tag. It was their unique post that inspired me to do a day of good deeds on a day that is all about self. The post had my birthday on it so I just helped promote the fans idea of having a #YOU DAY on September 28th! I plan on doing it every year. It was an amazing experience.
SPN Survivors: Ralph Waldo Emerson states, ”It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Do you feel this is true? Has #you proven it to be true? I never knew how true that statement was until I created SPN Survivors and find myself amazed by this “beautiful compensation”. How would you describe “this compensation”?
Matt: I have to refer to my answer [from the 1st question]: Everyday I awake I feel a huge urge to help someone so that I can help myself. A lot of my strength and positivity comes directly from the fans. By me inspiring them, they are unknowingly inspiring me.
It wasn’t until my deep involvement with the SPN fandom that I was able to figure out what I am and what I am here for. It also wasn’t until I was about 28 or 30. Over the past few years being hands on with a fandom that accepts me for me, has given me all the happiness in both my professional and personal life. I have come to realize that establishing a voice thru the entertainment industry I can, in turn, have a voice to inspire and uplift thousands of other people. We are all here to teach, help, and care for one another and now I know that.
SPN Survivors: “Family don’t end with blood” and #SPNFamily are fan favorite motto’s. What do they mean to you? Has your definition of family changed or broadened since becoming a member of the SPN Family? ~ And speaking of family, how exciting to be expecting your first child!! Congratulations!
Matt: Yes, I come from a very broken home and really have no blood family left outside my dad and half bro and half sis. That being said, I am as rich as a man can be with family. Blood means nothing to me. The people I love and would do anything for are immense in numbers now. SPN has given me friends and family that will grow old with me and that is a beautiful feeling. I am excited to be welcoming my son into this lovely and caring world of unique and passionate people that I call family.
SPN Survivors: I have seen and heard stories, on numerous occasions, of how Supernatural (the show/the fandom) has saved a fan’s life, changed their life for the better, or in my case, helped them through a very difficult time. How do these stories impact you? Are there any that have really resonated with you that you would like to share?
Matt: The show has proven to bring people together and make new friends. That being said, I think it is wonderful to meet and hear the stories of the friends that have become roommates and co-workers from all over the world. I’ve shared stories with suicidal folks and cutters etc. and we try and find a way to heal together. It is not always easy and I may not have any effect on the people I talk to, but I have to try. There are many stories of success that I have heard from fans helping each other and that really makes SPN something special because at the end of the day it’s SPN that brought us all into each other’s lives.
SPN Survivors: The SPN Family frequently rallies behind causes and charities that the cast and crew support. I plan to list these charities and events on the SPN Survivors website to help with awareness, to inspire others to get involved, and to encourage the SPN Family to support one another. I’d like to spotlight a different charity each month. Are there any organizations or charities that you would like to spotlight and promote?
Matt: I help Random Acts anytime I can. Misha is a great guy and I love what he does there.
SPN Survivors: I couldn’t agree more about Misha being a great guy. Random Acts is doing wonderful things at www.randomacts.org as they pursue their “mission to conquer the world one random act of kindness at a time”.
And finally, I wanted to bring the interview full circle and ask: Are there any quotes or sayings that really speak to you, Matt, when you are struggling?
Matt: There is only one:
Follow Your Destiny, Wherever It Leads You
There comes a time in your life when you realise that if you stand still, you will remain at this point forever. You realise that if you fall and stay down, life will pass you by.
Life’s circumstances are not always what you might wish them to be. The pattern of life does not necessarily go as you plan. Beyond any understanding, you may at times be led in different directions that you never imagined, dreamed, or designed. Yet if you had never put any effort into choosing a path or tried to carry out your dream, then perhaps you would have no direction at all.
Rather than wondering about or questioning the direction your life has taken, accept the fact that there is a path before you now. Shake off the “whys” and “what ifs” and rid yourself of confusion. Whatever was – is in the past. Whatever is – is what’s important. The past is a brief reflection. The future is yet to be realised. Today is here.
Walk your path one step at a time – with courage, faith and determination. Keep your head up and cast your dreams to the stars. Soon your steps will become firm and your footing will be solid again. A path that you never imagined will become the most comfortable direction you could have ever hoped to follow.
Keep your belief in yourself and walk into your new journey. You will find it magnificent, spectacular, and beyond your wildest imaginings.
by Vicki Silvers
SPN Survivors: As I’ve said before, #You has helped keep me motivated to bring SPN Survivors to life, even though doing so can sometimes be emotionally overwhelming. Thank you, Matt, for supporting me! Your kindness is greatly appreciated. But most of all . . . Thank #You for being YOU!!!Tags: #you, Family Don't End With Blood, Matt Cohen, SPN Family, Supernatural