When Instagram was just taking off in 2014, one of the savviest users of the platform was Nick Bateman, who amassed a million followers at the time. We were curious about who this guy was at the time, so we tracked him down and interviewed him for a piece, “Who The Hell Is Nick Bateman?,” which became one of the most read pieces in the history of our website. As the years have passed, Bateman has celebrated some major milestones in his life, such as revealing his marriage to Maria Corrigan and the birth of his first child Chase. It seemed like a perfect time to catch up with the 33-year-old to find out how he’s evolved, why he doesn’t care how many followers he has these days (side note: he has a whopping 6 million!), and what’s become the most important to him in life.
How are you Nick?
Everything is good! 2020 was rough. I had COVID in January. Besides not being able to visit my family [in Canada] because I couldn’t get there, everything was good.
Sorry to hear you had COVID.
I had it super mild, so I can’t really complain. I had a sore throat for like five days and pretty bad congestion. Then it kind of went away. I gave it to my wife, and then she gave it to my son, and then she lost her taste and smell for a bit. I’m just happy that I wasn’t one of the severe cases.
It was 2014 when we first chatted and you had a million followers on Instagram at the time, which was a big deal. The title of our interview was “Who The Hell Is Nick Bateman?,” which made me think it would be fun to catch up with you years later and find out who you are these days. Who is Nick Bateman now?
Today, I’m a dad. That’s literally what my number one thing is. Obviously, the pandemic has put a halt on a lot of things that I want to do career-wise. But the main thing I’ve been right now is a dad. My son’s two-and-a-half-years-old. His name is Chase. You really don’t know what life is until you have a kid. A lot of people who don’t have kids don’t understand because you’re usually worried about yourself. Then, you have a kid and you don’t care about yourself anymore. You just care about your kid, you worry about making sure he’s healthy. Is he doing things right? Is he progressing properly? A lot of my focus has gone there, but I am still focused on my career as well. I’m still doing acting here and there. Social media is something that I still keep an eye on. I try to broaden my horizons, and whatever I want to do that I find interesting, I try to do.
View this post on Instagram
What’s been keeping you busy?
About a year and a half ago, I started learning how to produce music. I turned my garage into a music studio. I spent a year doing private lessons with a music producer, learning a program called Ableton Live. I’ve been producing my music. I have three songs released right now. My top song has 2.7 million streams on Spotify. I’m getting some success and traction there. At the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, the main goal of doing this music was to do live performances and mix it with my martial arts stuff. The first stop I was going to go to was India because, when I went to India in 2018, I literally got treated like Justin Bieber. It was another level. I went in there and there were hundreds of people at the airport waiting for me. Everywhere I went, people were bringing me gifts and just so excited to see me I was like, ‘Holy shit. This is insane on a different level.’ I was like, ‘Oh, let me meet you guys at the mall so I can say hi to you guys so you don’t have to track me down.’ I went to the mall, I closed the mall down, and I caused three hours of the traffic in Mumbai—like, people couldn’t get it out of the city. I was in my hotel looking out and the guy was showing us around was like, ‘You see? You did that.’ I always wanted to go back and do something for them to show how thankful I am for their love and support. Obviously, because of the pandemic I couldn’t go. [Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted before COVID cases rose dramatically in India.]
What kind of music are you creating?
It’s so funny because I love everything. Since I’ve learned this program, one day I’ll wake up and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, let’s make rock music’ and I’ll start messing with the program and make a rock song. The other day I made more of a Kygo, relaxing beach-vibe song. The music I’m working on now is very instrumental. I’m a huge music score fan, so I always end up going back to stuff that sounds like it’s from a movie. It’s hard to put a label on what my music sound is. I don’t really want to put myself in any brackets. I even thought of releasing an album of songs I’m starting to make and call the album “ADHD” because none of the songs go with each other. My mind’s like that. The main thing for me is I’m having fun doing it, and it’s an outlet.
Was the trip to India in 2018 overwhelming?
It was definitely super humbling because I never think I’m above anyone. I’ll always stop to take photos or say hi or meet people. There, I couldn’t really do that because if I said hi to one person and not the other, I would have started people arguing and fighting. I had to be escorted into the mall. I also noticed some people would get a picture and came back a third or fourth time for another. For the first time ever, I was like, ‘No, I’m sorry, I’ve already taken four pictures with you. I just can’t take any more. Thank you for the love.’ It was super overwhelming. It was kind of a peek into these A-list celebrities lives. It makes you respect having privacy of normal life and not having an eye on you everywhere you go.
You now have almost 6 million followers. Do you look back and think that you were a pioneer in using Instagram as a platform to publicize yourself to become successful and create the Nick Bateman brand?
I wouldn’t say pioneer, but maybe one of the first people that caught on properly to using it as a platform to grow and brand yourself. Back when I had a million followers, I was ranked 150th in the entire world on Instagram. And now, I have 5.9 million followers, and I’m probably ranked like 5,000th. It just shows you how saturated Instagram has become. There’s a lot of celebrities who didn’t really have Instagram, but now they’re on it and are just crushing it. You can’t grow like you used to on it anymore. In fact, a lot of people are losing followers. At that 2018 point, when I was in India, I had 6.7 million followers, and in the span of me having a son and changing my lifestyle, I’ve lost 800,000 followers, which is fine for me because back in 2014, I wasn’t posting my wife, I wasn’t posting a son. My lifestyle was different. I was looking like a young bachelor who was available and going out and doing this lifestyle and whoever followed me might have liked the intriguing idea that, maybe, I’m available. When you change to a dad and husband and this and that, that’s your new life. Those people who followed you with that fantasy—that fantasy is dead now. For me, it’s not really about the following. At the time, back then, I was really focused on growing my following and building my brand.
What are the other differences in you today?
I’m obviously at a different place in my life. If you follow me, you follow me, and if you don’t, you don’t. This is who I am now. I’ve never been more real on my Instagram than I am now. People get to see me like I actually am. I’m not hiding if I have a girlfriend or not. At the time, I was like, ‘This is my brand. I’ve got to make sure that I look like I’m available.’ And it was a little bit fake of me to kind of hide that I had a girlfriend at the time so I could continue to grow and stuff like that. But, again, that’s where my mind was at the time. I was like, ‘These are business moves. I’ve got to be smart.’ When I was young, I thought Megan Fox was beautiful and when I found out that she had a boyfriend, or a husband and kids, that fantasy went away for me a bit. It was a very juvenile way to think. But that’s kind of how these people who are unfollowing me think. But I’m gaining other followers in people who have kids, have a family, want to learn about fitness, that type of stuff. I’d rather have less of a following and be able to connect with people more than to have a bigger following, which is what’s happening. And I like it.
What made you say, ‘I think I should put my girlfriend on the feed and be more genuine’? Authentic is really the word.
One day, I was like ‘Who gives a fuck?’ I’d rather people follow me for me and know who I am, rather than follow a perception of a life. I just don’t think it’s fair to the people if they really want to be fans of who I am and what I do. They need to know that I have a wife, I have a kid, I’m a martial artist, I believe in fitness. They should follow me for the fundamentals of who I am and not what I look like. Unfortunately, we live in a world where a lot of people just follow people for aesthetics—and there’s nothing wrong with that if people want to take a look at other people. But, I’m at a stage in my life where I’m happy with where I’m at. I don’t really need to gain followers because of how I look. If someone else wants to do that, it’s fine—I don’t judge them in any way. I just wanted to be more genuine with showing people a little more of my life.
Are you on TikTok or other platforms?
I try to stay informed on new social media platforms, and I am on TikTok. I have roughly around 720,000 followers. I’ve got about 50 videos on there, and I do find it fun. To be honest, I think TikTok is the new platform. I noticed that if a trend starts on TikTok, it will be on Instagram a week later. TikTok right now is controlling all the markets. It’s controlling cryptocurrency, it’s controlling the music charts. I have a friend who taught me how to produce this music and use the program. He put a song on TikTok with a female singer and they were just screwing around—she was smashing her steering wheel, singing a beat, and he was like, ‘Let’s produce it.’ Long story short, that was two months ago and now they’re on the Billboard charts and the song has 50 million worldwide streams across platforms. It’s a huge hit, and it’s all because of TikTok! It’s super interesting to see how powerful of a monster TikTok is—I feel like right now it’s probably almost at the stage where Instagram was when we talked in 2014.
Wow! Do you feel these platforms are a young person’s game?
They can be. But, again, the cool thing about TikTok that I like is the algorithm learns what you like. For instance, half of mine is houses, redecorating, decor, funny cat videos, crypto. It really learns what you like, and that’s what it shows you everyday, so it becomes addictive for people. But, if someone’s looking for someone like me, then it’ll get fed out eventually, where it’s not just feeding the young people. I’ll give you an example of why I think it’s not just for young people. My wife’s dad is Irish and he is 60-years-old. Does he have Instagram and use it? No. He has Facebook and he’s here and there. He sends me TikToks he thinks are funny. A 60-year-old Irish man who doesn’t like technology that much is sending me TikToks! It shows me that TikTok caters content for you: it doesn’t matter how young or old you are. It will figure you out and hook you. It’s super smart.
@nick__batemanThat last one though 😆 ##fypシ ￼♬ original sound – Nick Bateman
When we talked, you were focusing on acting. Is this still a focus?
Acting is still something that I’m very interested in, but I’ve become a little more selective with what I want to do. I worked with Hallmark, I worked with Passionflix, and I’ve had a great time working with the cast and crew. To this day, the most fun I’ve ever had on set is still the first movie I ever shot, which was a horror film. No one’s going to cast me for a horror film because no one wants to see Nick Bateman in a horror film. They want to see Nick Bateman as this romance, Fifty Shades of Grey-type lead, which I’m still getting offers for. I told my manager and agent that I feel very lucky to be given these offers, but I really want to hold out and wait until it’s something that I want to do, like action. I told my agent, “If you get me into the Karate Kid show, Cobra Kai on Netflix, get me on Cobra Kai. I’ll be one of the bad senseis or something.” I only want to do something I’m passionate about because, when I like something, I put 100% in. If I read a script, I don’t like it that much, and I’m just doing it for the experience, the results don’t come the way I want them to. I actually wrote a script with a writer that I’m going to be pitching to possible studios. It’s a horror thriller.
You’re also still modeling and signed with IMG Models.
Modeling is still something that I’m wanting to do. I work with Bvlgari now. Getting one fragrance as a model is huge, but to have them come back… I’ve done Bvlgari Wood Essence, Bvlgari Wood Essence Neroli, and Glacial Essence. I’m honored to be working with such a prestigious brand, and I want to continue working with these types because, as you know, the top thing you can get as a model is the fragrance campaign. I’m ready to continue to keep modeling because that’s kind of where it stemmed from for me. I recently posted a picture on my Instagram showing what my body was like in January compared to today. For 2020, I was quite down. My wife’s mom passed away last year, which was really hard on our family. With that happening and the pandemic and the riots and all these movements, it was a bleak moment for the world. It put me out of shape and put me down. I just didn’t see a point to a lot of things for the first time in my life. It was like, I can’t even live life—I can’t go out, I can’t see my family. For the first time in my life, I didn’t really work out and I was eating like shit. But 2021 happened, and I decided to stop feeling bad for myself. A lot of people have it way worse than I do and I remind myself that every once in a while. I just kicked myself in the ass and got back into gear. So, I’m ready to be back in front of the modeling side of the camera because, now, my body is ready to go again, finally—probably for the first time properly in a year and a half.
Your body is such a part of your image that that must have messed with your head, too.
IMG would message me and be like, ‘Hey, we need new Polaroids.’ And I’d be like, ‘Not happening. I look like shit. I need a couple of weeks to get ready.’ I kept saying that all last year, and I never got to that point where I felt comfortable. Because that’s kind of part of my image as Nick Bateman. And the thing was, for me, it’s not that I want to hold up an image. Being a martial artist my entire life, I’ve always been fit. Health has been a pinnacle for me where I always have to look a certain way, and it’s more of how I feel myself—not for how others perceive me. I just said I need to get back to that. It was a slow progression of just getting back into the habit. Now it’s a habit again—I’ve got my mental state back, my physicals back, I don’t have to force myself. Now, I enjoy it. I wake up and think I can’t wait to work out today. I can’t wait to eat healthy. It was just breaking the bad habits that I formed over the last year and a half.
View this post on Instagram
How’s your dog Joey?
He’s 11 or 12 now. He’s definitely getting a little senile. He’ll just stand there sometimes and stare into space, and we’re like, ‘Joey, what are you doing?’ He’s having accidents here and there. But he’s still a good boy. He’s still kicking. He’s pretty much part of what got me famous on Instagram.
Tell me more about fatherhood and how this has changed your life.
I never knew I could love something so much. And I know that all the parents say that—it’s such a cheesy thing. When he wakes up and he runs and hugs me, and when he’s learning new words and doing things, it’s literally the best part of my day. If something good happens for my son—if his teacher comes out and is like, ‘Oh, he said this new word today. He’s asking for this,’ or when he took his first steps—I lose my shit. People get so caught up in business, and I think it’s definitely important to have your dreams and goals, but one thing I’ve learned is making sure you make time for family, friends, whoever’s good to you, and your inner circle: that is the most rewarding thing.
Your son looks like a mini version of you!
I don’t need to get a DNA test! He’s such a personality. Every single teacher at his school is like, ‘He’s one of the biggest sweethearts. He hugs us. He’s always smiling. He’s one of the happiest kids we’ve met.’
What’s next for Nick Bateman?
We’re going to probably buy a house in Canada in the next couple of months, and we’re going to bounce back and forth until we make a final decision of where we want to be. We had to evacuate our house last year because of fires, and the fires happened again. I love L.A. because it’s given me a lot of great things, but how badly do we want to be here?
Follow Nick Bateman HERE.