I was born and raised in a small Midwestern American town and quickly developed an appreciation for nature and wildlife. Growing up there, surrounded by nature’s beauty was a blessing that I never took for granted. This appreciation of beauty has had a major impact on my life. Through working with and appreciating painting and drawing, I understand the way they have impacted society’s present, past and future. Through a combination of what has intrigued me most, photography, fashion, music, and modeling, I am now creating my current and future projects. My focus here is on projects that will bring needed awareness to certain societal issues. This allows me to “give back” at the same time as pursuing what I love. My desire is to work on projects that will inspire people to act and contribute to a purpose driven cause. I feel that great things can be accomplished by allowing a collaboration of the minds and hearts of artistic people. The images within my site are both strong and unique and I hope they will provoke thought and make everyone want to act and “give back”.

Matt and Cameron

From a young age my family instilled in me very strong religious beliefs & values. I am a man who believes in prayer and the impact it can have on one’s life. My family always taught me to treat others with respect and to fight for and defend those who are less fortunate. Growing up, my family was your typical American family, strong and grounded. I grew up with a younger brother and a brother who is my fraternal twin. My family unfortunately went through some very hard times during my developing teenage years. The family with the most solid of a foundation, as I knew it, cracked. Our very structured life with rules, guidelines, and overall discipline faded. My grandparents stepped in and tried to hold together what was left.

I, however, took this unexpected freedom and acted out in misguided ways. I ventured out on my own, at a very fast pace, with no sense of responsibility. Without an authority figure to guide me, I made certain decisions and choices that were ultimately not the best. This was a time in my life where I was naive, inexperienced, and thought of myself as invincible. Not knowing who to trust or who to follow, certain opportunities presented themselves and little did I know of the everlasting consequences that can come with ones decisions and actions. Some of my careless and unfortunate choices have created a label for me in which some people continue to perceive me. This perception, however, is far from the man I have become today.

As a young adult, I also found myself in a couple of relationships. Being young and again naive, I was very trusting of my partners in these relationships. Having someone loving you and then being dishonest with you never crossed my mind. A few relationships had come and gone and I began to become aware of some physical changes my body was going through. Still having a sense of invincibility I just ignored these changes and was sure nothing bad could ever happen to me. Over time, however, my body changed more and my weight was on a continuous downward slope. This was a point where even some friends were bringing my drop in weight to my attention. In my heart I knew something could be seriously wrong with me but my mind was refusing to accept this fact. Not only was my weight down at this point but a rash had appeared near my eye. I soon found myself at the eye doctor. The doctor took a look at the rash and conducted an eye examination. As he took a very close look deep into my eyes he asked if I had ever been tested for HIV/AIDS. I told him no and my heart sank. Those words, that thought, left me feeling empty, alone, and scared. With no sympathy, no remorse, the doctor confidently said, “the last time I saw what is happening to your eyes was in a patient who passed away two weeks later due to AIDS.” He then stood up and left the room. A nurse then came in, comforted me as I cried, and waited with me for someone to pick me up from my appointment. I then knew that I had to take some responsibility in my life and take myself to get tested.

I scheduled the test, waited a week for the results, and prepared myself for the worst. The doctor informed me that I indeed was positive and unfortunately my t-cell count was below 200. This was an extra concern because when your t-cell count falls below 200 it is considered full blown AIDS and many people are unable to bring their t-cell count up at this point of the illness. I received support from my new doctor and was immediately placed on medication. I was young, afraid, and unsure who to turn to and who to confide in. My ability to place trust in anyone had been shattered so many times at this point in my life. I decided I would pull from the strength within myself and let God be in charge of my outcome. I realized there were two things that could happen now, I could let HIV/AIDS defeat me or I could defeat HIV/AIDS. Letting this defeat me was not an option.

I then decided to make healthy lifestyle changes. I began to eat healthier and began to train at a local gym. There were times I was down on myself and times of depression but with my lifestyle changes and my more positive train of thought, my t-cell count went from the lower 100’s to an un-detectable virus in a remarkable time. As I began to care more about myself and care more about the decisions I made, my friends and family began to come together and support my healthy lifestyle. I am a true believer that the mind is the most powerful tool we have in overcoming obstacles in our lives. If you remain confident, positive, and believe, then you can overcome. I kept this attitude or train of thought through this rough time and I keep it still today. HIV in my life has now become a maintenance issue. Something I know must be maintained and controlled but not something that I dwell on or let bring my positive outlook down. I began to educate myself on this issue and intimately feel a strong need to educate others.

I knowingly should have made some smarter choices in my life. Decisions I made, good and bad, have impacted me each day of my life. However, I do believe I am the man I am today because of my past successes and most of all, my past failures. Today I want to make sure people do not have to go through some of the experiences I went through. I want others to know that no matter what is going on in one’s life, it is important to make smart, healthy decisions. These decisions will ultimately follow you each day of your life. And those people who are going through this illness need to know they are not alone and they have a friend. Each person can remain strong and healthy and it starts with believing that in one’s mind. On a very serious note, there are people dying every day from this illness: Some without a choice or a way to receive medication. Some who never get tested because of fear. It is so important to dispel this fear and to empower people through knowledge. Knowledge is a powerful tool that we can stand on, rely on, and give. I truly believe that together we can all make a difference, make a change, and take a stand to see through this illness.

For the past ten years I have been focusing on eating well and working out. Over the past two years my desire to be better physically has pushed me toward the task of pursuing a modeling career. I have met and worked with some amazing photographers and with a fantastic, creative clothing company. Together we have had some great times and created some extraordinary images. I have gained a following of people who enjoy seeing my images and experiencing what is going on in my everyday life. I appreciate everyone who has shown interest in my images, my work, and my life. Because of this appreciation and because of an inner desire to help others, I want people to know the real Matt Schiermeier. I want people to know and relate to more than just my outer shell. I want them to see my inner desires and my soul, completely stripped down. I am a person who is living everyday with a disease that has killed so many people, yet I live each day to its fullest and have a desire to show others that they can do the same. In order to show my undying devotion to see an end to this illness I have come together with two others to create a website and a brand that will not only allow individuals to experience my life but also allow them the ability to give back to research and causes that will bring an end to HIV/AIDS.

By joining my site today, buying images and trademarked items you will be joining me in giving back to research to help find a cure for this illness that not only affects me but so many others. My desire is for my brand, Schiermeier & Earnheart (S&E), To be one that I proudly represent because it is a brand that will continuously give back. I am hoping you will want to join my efforts to help my brand grow so there can be a nonstop fund available for research and education efforts. Even if you as an individual stop by my site and cannot afford to join, buy, or give, all I ask of you is that you respect what I am trying to do and say a small prayer that my efforts and others will make a difference. Again, I am a man who believes in prayer. I believe in creating a good energy that is available for all mankind to share. Whatever your outlet may be or whatever brings you peace, from prayer to screaming to the top of your lungs, when you believe a true difference can be made, great things can happen. I hope you enjoy my site and receive satisfaction that we are giving back together!

Meet Cameron Part 2