Scott Neslage for #MindBodySOUL

#MindBodySOUL is back this week with the amazing Scott Neslage. We sat down with him to talk about how he came to love swimming and water polo, the spiritual side of being in the water, and his relationship with the #SOULfam. Photographed by Ashton Do #AshtonDo

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SOUL ARTIST MANAGEMENT: How old are you and where are you from?

SCOTT NESLAGE: I’m 26 and from Costa Mesa, California.

SOUL: Describe yourself in three words:

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SCOTT: Loyal, passionate, and curious.

SOUL: What did you do before you started modeling? How were you discovered? How did you land at SOUL?

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SCOTT: I was discovered when I was 17-years-old at South Coast Plaza by Sergio Garcia. At the time, I was so focused on water polo and swimming that I really didn’t have the time, dedication or drive to want to pursue modeling so I quit after a month or so and went to college. After I finished my marketing degree, I was working at a J.Crew retail store in California and I didn’t really know what the next step in life was for me. A lot of our customers were stylists and a few said I had the look and should really try modeling.

After enough people said it to me, I contacted Sergio again and have been modeling ever since. I landed at SOUL quickly after I starting modeling professionally. Models.com featured me as their “new face” and that created buzz in NYC. For me, SOUL was the perfect fit, I can honestly say now that I still feel that was the right decision and I couldn’t be happier.

SOUL: What has been the highlight of your modeling career so far? Is that also your favorite job?

SCOTT: Working for Abercrombie these past couple of months has been a delight. They started a revamp on their brand and have a new designer, and to be a part of that evolution is pretty cool to witness. They are also very nice people, so that never hurts.

SOUL: Were you always a “kid with gills?” Have you always loved the water? 

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SCOTT: “A kid with gills,” ha-ha, definitely not. When I took swimming lessons growing up, I was an average swimmer – not the best and not the worst. One of my older sisters was the actual swimming star. Coaches were always talking to my dad trying to get her to swim for their swim teams when we were young. She just glided so effortlessly. I on the other hand was not a smooth swimmer. I definitely can say I haven’t always loved the water. I always liked it, but love didn’t come until I was introduced to water polo and started going to the beach regularly. Then something just clicked and I loved it.

SOUL: What do you love about water polo?

SCOTT: I absolutely loved the bond I formed with my teammates; a few of them are still my best friends in this world. Water polo is a “touch sport,” you get better at the sport or you drown. No one is good right away because swimming is the backbone of the sport, unless you swim everyday, you’re not used to the mechanics of it. The efforts you see from your teammates are transparent and it makes you want to push harder and harder to be the best you can. I have always been a loyal guy. I like being able to see my teammates give me everything, I’d feel like I was cheating them if I didn’t give it my all. That’s the backbone to the bonds in this sport that I have formed and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

SOUL: What is it about swimming that makes it a great sport for you as a model? Is there a type of swimming style you enjoy most? 

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SCOTT: Swimming is one of the best ways to exercise your body as a model. It’s high cardio, which keeps your body fat down. It’s also low-impact which has less long-term negative impacts. I don’t know if it’s the style I enjoy most, but the one I do most often is freestyle. It is just the most efficient and is the most natural.

SOUL: Both swimming and modeling feel like very solo activities. Are there other similarities?

SCOTT: I’m sure I can reach a bit and find several similarities between the two. But the biggest thing I can think of is the perseverance both things take. Swimming is an exhausting workout, you use your whole body and it’s very tiresome. And it’s constantly on your mind to will yourself into completing the intervals and getting the proper workout. I can see a comparable trait with modeling. It’s a tough industry and tough job to execute. And most of it is out of your control. You just have to keep enduring the lows, keep working towards your goals and will yourself to keep going. All the work you do put in pays off in the end.

SOUL: Is there a spiritual or wellness side to swimming and water polo that you have discovered? What does it do for Scott as a person?

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SCOTT: There is definitely a spiritual wellness to swimming. You’ve heard people talking about blocking out all the noise so they can focus on themselves? Well, swimming does that literally. When you’re swimming, its just you, by yourself in the water. All noises are muffled to almost nothing. The laps become routine – you’re on autopilot. That’s when you block out all the noises and have true, uninterrupted time for yourself. You can’t bring your cell phone to the pool (or at least you couldn’t before these waterproof cell phones came out) nor can you talk to your friends next to you. It’s the ultimate getaway. That does something to my mind. It promotes a wellness nothing else can provide me.

SOUL: You are buying your first house. Where is it? Why did you take this step?

SCOTT: Well, I haven’t found it just yet, but I am currently in the market. I am taking this first step because, aside from starting your own business, getting married, and/or having children, this is one of the biggest transitions in your life. It’s usually most of the money you have saved going into one decision and it can’t be relocated. So you are in it until the end. It changes from paying someone else, to paying yourself. As long as the market doesn’t crash (fingers crossed), it’s a wise investment that will only benefit your financial security later in life.

SOUL: Are you good friends with anyone in the SOUL family? How did you get close?

SCOTT: I care about all of the SOUL family. That’s what SOUL is, a family. And I don’t think I did anything specific to get close to everyone, I think it is the culture of the agency. If you give respect, trust, and genuine love to everyone at SOUL, you’ll get it in return. I think that is the single difference that separates SOUL from the others.

SOUL: I’m sure you have been to some incredible locations in your career. If you could build a house with a pool in one place where would it be and why?

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SCOTT: Big Sur, California. Having the ocean and the forest at my fingertips for the rest of my life, along with great weather year round, would be unreal. To be able to hike outside my front door and then be on the beach…there is no better way to live.

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