I recently had an opportunity to speak with millennial model and fighter Shawn O’Neill.
By: Joshua Conner
Shawn O’Neill is a bartender, model, and fighter with Cooper MMA. O’Neill was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, but he is based in Austin, Texas. O’Neill inspires me personally and professionally. Personally, I am inspired by how O’Neill’s dedication to the craft of his martial arts, as well as his style and physique. Professionally, I am inspired by how O’Neill has branded himself and his work ethics.
What would be the title of O’Neill’s life story and who would play him in a movie?
“The title of my life story, you know I haven’t even thought about that one. I’m going to have to go with what I’m known by, like how I use my Instagram name that would be SMO, which are my initials for Shawn Michael O’Neill, so it would be SMO life. Who would play me? I would have to say, Matt Damon. I think Matt Damon, he always puts himself in some tricky situation, and I’m always putting myself in some tricky situations, but I always end up coming out and winning at the end, because I don’t quit,” said O’Neill.
O’Neill’s most memorable year would be 2015 because he started taking jiu-jitsu lessons, and that really helped set him in the modeling world.
“I would probably have to say my second year out of high school, I think I was like 20. I made some friends, that asked me would I like to come and start taking jiu-jitsu lessons, where I started doing my MMA at. Ever since then, it’s kind of taking off, and it’s brought me a lot of great opportunities. It brought me into modeling, because it put me into splendid shape, and helped me get my career started to where I am today. So, I have to say that when I look back on some days, just because I started in my garage doing jiu-jitsu. So, I guess that was 2015,” said O’Neill.
The greatest lesson that MMA has taught O’Neill, is discipline.
“Discipline, MMA and mixed martial arts have taught me the biggest thing in life is discipline. If you get too eager, aggressive, or too nice, people tend to take advantage of that. With that being said, if you learn discipline, and you learn control, then you are always going to be in the correct mindset, where you don’t let anything get out of hand or out of control,” said O’Neill.
If O’Neill’s mantra was a hashtag, it would be #blessed.
“I don’t know, if you could put a life motto into a hashtag, I could say that one would be blessed, to be honest. I would have to say being so young, I have dealt with different trials and tribulations. When I was younger, I actually ended up almost dying, and I had someone save my life. So, I respect it as sort of a blessing. I have a lot of friends and family around me, that shows me a lot of love, support and help me out. You count your small blessings in life, not everything has to be glitz, glamorous and diamonds,” said O’Neill.
What is O’Neill’s underwear preferences?
“I would probably have to say boxer briefs, but I actually wear the athletic brand of underwear. So it’s called Spyders. They are some of the most comfortable fit that I have had or the Adidas ones that I have,” said O’Neill.
If O’Neill could model for any national brand, it would be Calvin Klein.
“Any brand, I would probably have to say, Zara or Calvin Klein. I know those are probably really basic answers, but I would choose Calvin Klein if I had to pick my number one choice. I wear a lot of their clothes, I like the way they fit and they have good materials,” said O’Neill.
What does O’Neill enjoy most about being a bartender?
“What I enjoy most about being a bartender, is probably the people I meet. You know, I go to work each day, but my job is never the same. I may deal with the same job duties, but the people that I meet, and the conversations that I have with people, I mean I’ve made friends that I have known, and I’ve made friends that I have had for a lifetime because that’s the job that I do. Even though I am making drinks for people, it’s just a connection that I can make, I think that’s the most enjoyable part,” said O’Neill.
You can follow Shawn O’Neill on Instagram @smo_life.
If Shawn O’Neill could have a conversation with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why? You can find out by following me on Facebook and Instagram @MrJoshuaConner