If you've ever wondered what Matthew McConaughey is really like, here's my personal experience from when I interviewed him last year.

The Oscar-winner is coming to Central New York next spring and will speak at Hamilton College for its legendary "Sacerdote Great Names" series.

hamilton college sign

The lecture is set for April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. And if you're among those wondering if it's worth going, here's my experience of talking with him one-on-one.

Interviewing an Oscar-Winner

I was fortunate to speak with Mr. McConaughey in 2022 when he partnered with Wild Turkey and Spaceflight Records for the 101 Bold Nights mentorship program.

Back when I was working at ABC Audio, I was presented the opportunity to speak with the Oscar winner for roughly 20 minutes. Obviously, I jumped at the chance - what entertainment journalist wouldn't?

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When heading into an interview with someone as famous as Matthew McConaughey, it's hard not to think about the kind of person they are. Will they be the person that we hope they are or will they be a secretly terrible person? You have all these expectations and a hope that most - if not all - of them are met.

I can easily say that, out of all the interviews I had done at that point, I had the strongest nervous jitters when heading in. It was a potent mixture of pure excitement and anxiety. Excitement that I was going to speak to THE Matthew McConaughey... and anxiety that I was speaking to the aforementioned Matthew McConaughey.

I will be real, if a journalist that isn't on the same level of Robin Roberts or Barbara Walters tells you they're never nervous before an interview with a high profile celebrity or politician that's beloved by many - they're either lying or don't care.

What I mean is, most journalists want their interviews to go well and so we put pressure on ourselves to ensure that happens. We run through worst-case scenarios and come up with plans to circumvent all of them because Murphy's Law exists. We carefully comb through our questions to make sure they are properly researched and asked in a way that will elicit the response we want - without coming across as a jerk or a moron.

The way you come across as an interviewee determines the conversation's quality. In the end, you're in a business to not only report stories that makes your employer happy, but to build a positive reputation of yourself so that you secure more interviewing opportunities.

That aside, you now have an idea how I felt seconds before our chat.

The Interview

Matthew McConaughey can only be described as even-keeled. He is also a fantastic speaker. He provided long answers to my short questions, but kept the conversation interesting. He didn't wrap his answers in fluff or stumble over his words, either. Nor did he redirect the conversation to something he was hoping to plug or away from a topic he wanted to avoid.

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He was an open book, which is every reporters' dream, right?

We chatted about his late mentor, Don Phillips, as well as his family and staying afloat in a chaotic industry. We also chatted about our favorite bands and, of course, the story behind his famous phrase, "All right, all right, all right."

At the end, he tipped his head at me and said our conversation was, "Good s***!"

Our conversation was just shy of 20 minutes, but it was scintillating. It easily was one of my most enjoyable interviews because of how productive and relaxed it was. Obviously, that's to be expected of someone who has been sitting down for interviews over the past three decades - but McConaughey has the gift of intelligent gab.

That man can talk, but his words are deliberate and he wastes not a single one.

In all, he came across to me as just a regular guy who happens to be a well-known actor. So if you think the man has an ego, either he is really talented at keeping it in check - or he has no reason to have one.

That said, I can only imagine the treat Central New York will be in for when he speaks at Hamilton College this April.

As for what he's preparing to speak about, possible subjects include his Just Keep Livin Foundation, which aims to empower high school students to live active and healthy lives. The Uvalde, Texas, native may also speak about gun violence. He launched the Greenlights Grant Initiative in hopes of providing schools more funding to ensure their students' safety amid a rise in school shootings.

Although these subjects can be controversial to some, this will likely be an event you won't want to miss.

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