Matt Dillon’s career skyrocketed into the exclusive New York and Hollywood social scene after launching out of Sydney, Australia with a booming PR firm that caters to top celebrities, presenters, designers, and other people of high renown.
Known for being vivaciously funny, and insightful. Matt’s charisma, later on, led him to be a household name that works with exclusive brands and celebutants that strive to be as innovative as possible. His work with Lapalme Magazine, British Thoughts, and Mr Warburton Magazine later propelled him to amazing opportunities that shaped the way MDPR is now.
Matt’s three-pronged approach in MDPR ensures that his clients are featured on the global centre stage making him one of the best people to talk to when it comes to navigating the path of stardom. Representing names such as Maria and Mario Tabraue of the Zoological Foundation Miami, Carmit from the PussyCat Dolls, Julie Mintz, and Aviva Drescher.
During the start of Covid-19, Matt and Ariane Andrew, a WWE alum decided to launch their podcast called, Sippin’ The Tea, highlighting important issues such as mental health and providing an in-depth angle to celebrities that no one would think about asking.
Here at British Thoughts, we sit down with Matt Dillon as he talks about Sippin’ the Tea, his new projects and a new role with British Thoughts Magazine.
When did you first start out in the industry? What was the difference between how PR was before vs. how it is now?
My business journey most definitely is reflective of how my personal journey has evolved over the last decade.
The genesis of MDPR begins back in my hometown of Sydney, Australia when in my early twenties; launched out of my home office and built over a period of five years to be one of the country’s most formidable PR firms with a client base including the top celebrities, presenters, designers, authors and so much more.
I have always been one to want more, and it was during this time I found myself back and forth to the USA both for personal reasons and as it progressed more for business so it truly opened my eyes to the scope of what could be.
It was the constant travel and the desire to base myself in the US that led me to take a leap of faith and move to the bright lights of NYC in late 2007 and begin a rebrand/retraining of sorts that allowed me to begin making my mark felt in the US.
One of the first moves I did was whilst growing to retain my Australian clients and begin an umbrella company under MDPR that allowed them to come to the US for promotional and branding purposes and tap into the US market whilst at the same time inching my way into the door to start w US brands and personalities.
This introduced me to one of New York’ premiere firms Industry Publicity headed by Suzanne Koshnoodi (who today still remains a friend and colleague). My training here is not only the US media specifically fashion but also the way it ‘WORKS’ here was my skeleton in continuing out my solo career.
From here MDPR truly blossomed following the same tried and tested method I had applied in its early days back on home turf I was able to build a portfolio of celebrities, labels and more and truly move toward finding my niche in the US would be.
Special shout out must go to TV Star & Author Aviva Drescher who was on Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of New York for two seasons and was more than memorable – google her if you are living under a rock. Together we learned a lot about the industry, and my celeb training really went into high gear working with her. More so she became family for the Aussie boy in the big apple by himself.
This was a game-changer, and to this very day, they are the closest people to me and my grounding rock in the US. Over the years my clients including Aviva Drescher have appeared on every major network and TV shows across the US; from TODAY, Fox & Friends, CNN, graced the covers of the world’s biggest magazines and oh so much more
They say if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere and fast forward a decade later, I was starting to see this become a reality.
One of the biggest memories I have in NYC is bringing home a little rescue dog who is now affectionately known as Mama. She and I are inseparable, and without knowing it, we would end up becoming a brand as a duo. There is no Matt Dillon without smiling Mama by his side and vice versa. Two Peas in a pod. What made this special was I was able to make her a part of the business and now with the visibility on me and the company she is an integral part of its ongoing development and growth.
Towards the end of the over decade long run in New York, I aligned with LaPalme Magazine and began working w celebrities in Hollywood for our Quarterly covers. My role was to book each celebrity (and trust me this was not as easy as it seemed) and as it progressed, I was making major moves in the Hollywood scene. With names like Katharine Mcphee, Leah Remini, Taye Diggs and more – I realized this was another branch of my growing and evolving company.
It was with this as the catalyst that I realized that if I wanted to immerse myself in the Hollywood culture and really move into that full-circle moment of where I started – Hollywood would be home.
Four years in Hollywood opened doors for me in a way that I never expected; building on my business, adding to my magazine production services and adding stellar names to my portfolio from Carmit from The Pussycat Dolls to Julie Mintz AKA Moby’s Muse and many many more.
Cut to the global Corona Virus Pandemic at the beginning of 2020 and life presented a major opportunity for change. It was the first time I had truly listened with my heart and followed my happiness to my forever home; Miami, Florida (more on this later).
In regard to the difference between then and now I would say that the very nature of PR involves evolution and adaption. Coming out of a pandemic I have retrained, rebranded, and gone back to the core of storytelling with clients. Let them be the vessel and whatever they are promoting will get pickup as a byproduct.
I will personally the biggest change has been not to say yes to everything just for a check. The minute I started valuing my worth and who I associate with was the moment the business tripled not only in revenue but also its public worth.
Where the future goes from here, no one knows, but my goal list has some un-ticked boxes, so I close out by saying #WatchThisSpace.
What are your thoughts on the word “globalization” and how do you think this has shaped the world of Public Relations, Marketing, and Advertising?
Globalization is a very interesting one. It has pros and cons depending on who you speak to. But in my opinion, if we look at access, cultural awareness, and a globally shared creative community the good out ways the bad.
It has made the concept of global PR a more accessible thing when you can have social dialogue across the globe and creatives can work hand in hand on industry projects which is a win-win on the global scale and for the industry.
How was business during the pandemic for you? How were you able to cope with the onslaught of digitalization from ads, events, and overall content?
Business during the pandemic was a blessing. Let’s be real when you run your own company you have no fall back so it was another chance to get into ‘Do or Die’ mode and prove to myself that I can do this.
Proud to say going back to the core of PR TV, Print and Radio saw my clients shine in a way truly I think wouldn’t have happened without a pandemic, cultural and social reset. When everyone is working from home the reach you can do is greater globally.
Honestly, I stayed in my lane and focused on building and growing so I cut out to allow of the noise from the digital side and I think that is why I succeeded and now coming out stronger post-pandemic.
Could you tell us about the multi-pronged approach you’re doing now? You have a podcast, PR, celebrity, and now even have a big role with British Thoughts as the resident host/interviewer. How does all of these come into play about your role in the current scope of things?
I am a believer in putting my hands into as many pies as possible and seeing what works and doesn’t then streamline and really amplifying the ones that do.
The core of my business is MDPR and will be for some time to come. With an ever-growing and evolving list of clients in the entertainment, lifestyle, and business industry I find my greatest pleasure sharing and building alongside each.
Now one highlight in the last few years has been my work with Zoological Wildlife Foundation. If you know me, follow me, or have heard of me via one of the wildlife social media accounts then you know my Miami life is grounded here. My role is PR and sharing the amazing work they do. But greater than this as a volunteer I am part of the day-to-day enrichment with my friend Limbani; a 5-year-old chimpanzee with more personality in his pinky toe than some humans I’ve met (shade intentional). Our fearless leaders Mario & Maria Tabraue are truly selfless and the work they do cannot be touched. To my friend and troupe bestie Adeel you are someone I admire and have learnt so much from.
The time spent with him is a learning and growing experience for us both – nothing ever will truly compare to this in my life ever and that I know to be fact.
One of my proudest accomplishments is the podcast I host alongside WWE Alum Ariane Andrew. This week is special as it marks 150 episodes together and we are celebrating with The Bella Twins: Nikki and Brie Bella. When others stopped or put on hold their shows during the pandemic Ariane and I powered forward and this is what has set us apart – with powerhouse celebrities and notable business tastemakers I know we’ve shocked the industry through consistency, and this is another example of keep doing and things will fall into place as they are meant to be.
It is this platform that started the conversation about becoming the resident host and interviewer for British Thoughts and is truly beyond honoured. I think my current positioning with my roles is the perfect complement and all play into each other in a natural way.
What made you want to commit to having such a big role with British Thoughts?
After long chats with the British Thoughts team’ Founder and CEO Zainea Alexandru Emanuel, it felt like the natural progression to take my on-camera experience and celebrity reach to become officially part of the brand. As you can see by now storytelling through people is my favourite thing so naturally, I jumped at the chance.
Could you tell us more about what makes your brand different from others? What makes you stand out?
I believe the main difference is the personalized and varied service I offer. From traditional PR to production for your next cover, tv project there is nothing I won’t try or bring in the right person for the job. I also believe that PR is the one industry that you can mix business and pleasure. If I don’t ride with you then how can I really sell the story to the world? My greatest lesson has been to say NO. I only work, collaborate and get in the mix with those I see the vision with – that’s true when the magic happens.
Given the chance, if you were to work with a dream event or celebrity of your choice, who would it be and why?
I honestly love each moment I have experienced thus far & have worked with and alongside some of the biggest names in the business. So rather than dream it, I believe you speak it into existence. Sometimes the greatest stories come from those that aren’t mainstream yet and being able to take a person into the spotlight still to this day is my favourite thing.
But I do have one guest I want on my podcast and that is the ever so iconic Anna Wintour. And putting it out there I will make this happen.
If we were to ask, what would you say is the best part about your job? And how do you keep yourself going?
Without a doubt, the best part of my job is meeting the amazing humans whether as clients, guests on my show, through the positions I hold across the globe or at industry events and realizing no matter where we stand socially or economically, we all are very much the same – humans with dreams and ambitions and if we can remember that the world would be a much better place.
I stay thriving by surrounding myself with a core group of individuals; some humans some animals that feeds my soul and keeps me smiling. That said anyone who says it’s an easy ride is full of shit – so learning to check in with yourself first & foremost has become important. If I’m not on top of my game, then how can I do it for everyone else.
For more make sure to stay connected with me via Social Media & web links below.
Sippin’ The Tea: http://youtube.com/sippintheteatvshow