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The Transformation Of Matthew Gray Gubler From Childhood To Criminal Minds

If you're an avid "Criminal Minds" watcher, you know that Matthew Gray Gubler is one of the show's most iconic stars. The procedural crime drama centers around a group of criminal profilers in the FBI who are part of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). Gubler plays supervisory special agent Spencer Reid, a genius who holds multiple PhDs. Reid's quirkiness mirrors that of Gubler's in real life, and fans have expressed their love of the nerdy detective all across social media. He appears in all 323 episodes of "Criminal Minds," and there may be more ahead, as he is rumored to be in the upcoming revival season as well.

While Gubler is most well known for his role as Reid, he's had an eclectic career — though he didn't always want to be in the spotlight. Let's take a look at the transformation of Gubler from his very early days up until he landed his spot on the "Criminal Minds" team.

Matthew Gray Gubler didn't plan to be an actor

Though Matthew Gray Gubler is known as a successful actor, he didn't think of acting as a career. According to Biography, Gubler studied acting while in high school at the Las Vegas Academy of Arts because his main interest, filmmaking, wasn't an option. Fortunately for him, he was naturally talented, and he went on to star in multiple productions while in school.

"I was in Picnic at the academy, and The Importance of Being Earnest, and I also got to play The Cat in the Hat and The Mad Hatter, two of my favorite fictional psychopaths," Gubler said. "I never thought I'd be making a living off of acting—it's still kind of a shock for my family and friends to see my face on TV every Wednesday night." He eventually graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in film directing, and later got the opportunity to direct several episodes of "Criminal Minds."

When his breakout show was reaching its final episode, Parade asked if Gubler was going to continue acting or go back to directing, to which he replied, "With everything I've done in every way, I've always tried to not necessarily give myself a limit or a trajectory, which is how I was fortunate enough to end up on this TV show. So, I think for the future, while directing is still one of my biggest passions, everything is my passion, so I would love to continue acting."

He was a model

Before he landed his big role on "Criminal Minds," Matthew Gray Gubler was a successful male model. While still a student in New York, he was stopped by a model scout with DNA Model Management and was soon modeling for industry giants like Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, and American Eagle (via TV Guide). Regarding the whole experience, he joked, "It was during a time when there were really emaciated weirdos modeling. It wasn't like they were looking for Fabio."

Even though he's been characteristically self-deprecating about his looks, Gubler was a successful model who walked in fashion shows and appeared in several print campaigns. According to models.com, he was once ranked in the top 50 male models, holding the 46th spot. While he's often recognized for his looks, Gubler has confessed that he was bullied as a kid. He told Glamour, "I'm so thankful for every bully I've ever had. It never affected me, and that's why I'm so thankful for them. I learned early on that if anything, it made me stick closer to who I am and not try...it just made me very solid with who I was. I don't see it like, 'poor me.' I was lucky. It taught me a beautiful lesson, and I'm really grateful for it.

Matthew Gray Gubler struck big with Wes Anderson

Matthew Gray Gubler's first acting credit is all thanks to Wes Anderson. In an interview with Glamour, Gubler explained how he came to meet Anderson through an internship: "In order to graduate from film school, we had to do a semester of interning. I really wanted to intern for Wes because he's one of my favorite filmmakers and lives in New York and has a production company there. I sent a little weird DVD of movies I made and a note saying I would love to get him coffee. [Laughs] I lucked out and got to work there, and that was a real dream come true."

During his internship, Anderson convinced Gubler to audition for his upcoming movie "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," where he (ironically) played the part of Intern #1. Shortly after landing the role, he took a trip to Hollywood and auditioned for a certain crime procedural show — and the rest is history.

He is a painter

Aside from his passions of acting and filmmaking, Matthew Gray Gubler is a talented artist. In 2004, he created a website that featured his characteristically quirky art that some may describe as "creepy," and for years it served as a sort of art portfolio for his watercolor, oil, and pastel paintings. He took the webpage down after Flash was removed from the internet, but he's since revitalized his website with a new look.

Gubler's art has appeared in galleries, group shows, and magazines (via The Things). However, he has confessed he gets nervous when people critique his art in person. In 2013, he told Buzzfeed, "On the internet, it's this safe space where I can put it up and people can click on it or not. I don't have to be in the same room as them pretending to like it, so I very rarely show people things ... some people misinterpret my style of painting as offensive, and I've had instances where I've painted beautiful portraits for, like, a girlfriend or someone, and they're just like, they look at it with a grimace and they're like, 'This is terrible.'"

Despite his insecurities, his pieces have sold for thousands of dollars, inspired countless tattoos, and received praise all across the internet. Gubler may be modest about his skill, but at least the rest of the world recognizes his many talents.