EYES OF THE WANDERER. Spanish by birth, global by his reach in modeling, Andrés Velencoso Segura now calls London his home and wanders into the world of motion pictures
Outfit by Ermenegildo Zegna
Fueled by his passion for travel, a 20-year-old Andrés Velencoso Segura took up modeling in earnest. He left his hometown in Tossa de Mar, Girona, Spain, for Milan, Paris and, subsequently, New York. The last destination proved to be an enduring and fruitful affair where he scored great success, landing pages and pages of editorials, and fronting multiple campaigns season after season. Two of his big breakthroughs included being the first male model ever to be featured in Vogue Paris and being the face of Chanel Allure Homme fragrance for seven straight years—an incredibly rare occurrence in the fast-paced business of cosmetics.
If anything, the now 38-year-old Catalonian never rests on his laurels. Five years ago, he dove headlong onto the big screen, taking on small roles in a variety of films. Since then he has beefed up his resume with a slew of movie titles, including two upcoming Spanish comedy flicks, “100 metros” and “Señor, Dame Paciencia.” Acting might have already been a part of his advertising work, but Velencoso’s passion and desire when raving about the subject felt fresh and contagious.
This red-blooded Spaniard is, as a matter of fact, charmingly humble and warm when I met him in London for this shoot. There’s no pretense in his great personality, whether it’s the way he carries himself among new friends or how he regales listeners about his travels. It is easy to say why the camera loves his angular face and deep, smoldering gaze, but Velencoso’s easygoing, laid-back vibes are perhaps his real winning asset that has put him at the top ranks of the modeling game for many years.
Ronald Liem: So, what are you currently busy working on?
Andrés Velencoso Segura: I was in Paris, shooting for a French brand last week. I was in Madrid before, rehearsing and shooting one day for a new movie set in Southern Spain, called “Señor, Dame Paciencia,” which literally means “God, give me patience.” It’s going to be my fourth movie after the latest one in November, titled “100 metros”—it’s about a person suffering from multiple sclerosis but he’s running in the Iron-Man competition. It’s a comedy and people are going to laugh hard, because the character is so different from me.
RL: Besides acting, you’re still modeling full time, right?
AVS: Yeah. I have made London my base since last January. When you want to focus as a model, you need to go to the big cities, either New York or London. Paris is more of an in-and-out; it’s more for female models. There are a lot of things going on in London, and it’s close to Paris, only two hours away.
Outfit by Giorgio Armani
RL: Let’s turn back the time a bit to the beginning. How did your modeling career start?
AVS: I started out as model in 1998. I was studying in Barcelona, I studied tourism in university. During my sophomore year, I was scouted by an agency, and there was even an agency in New York asking me to come there. I was 20. New York was in my head, but my agency in Barcelona said, “New York is a tough city; you need to go to Milan first, consider it a warm-up.” I went to Milan for about four months and got to understand how hard it was to get a job. Also, Milan is very industrial, gray and cold, especially for somebody coming from Barcelona. I did the [fashion week] show in Milan, and then I met my first agency in Paris. So, I moved there and started to work more. My hair was a bit longer, so I looked a bit more “Frenchy.” I don’t remember everything that well, because it happened so fast. I still wanted to go to New York, so I got in touch with my agency there. I wanted to go before summer, because my father has a restaurant in my hometown, and he wanted me to work in the restaurant throughout summer. So I begged him to let me go to New York with the promise that I’d help in August to mid-September. He said it was okay, and so I went to New York and really loved it! Plus, I even worked and earned more. All of a sudden, I realized I could make a living from modeling, because I had eight jobs in a month. It was incredible. While three months in Milan, I did only six. You have a lot of regular clientele in New York who do catalogues. End of September, I returned back to New York and rented my own apartment, and, as they say, the rest is history.
“They shot me for an editorial in Vogue Paris, and I was the first male model ever featured in that publication”
RL: What was your first big break in modeling?
AVS: I didn’t get a big break until I was 23 or 24, because there were a lot of things going on, and my mother passed away. But, I was so lucky because after a year and a half in New York, I got the Banana Republic and L’Oreal campaigns. The real big break came along when I met Inez and Vinoodh. They shot me for an editorial in Vogue Paris, and I was the first male model ever featured in that publication. A few months later in 2003, Mert and Marcus shot me for Louis Vuitton with Jennifer Lopez. I also did a shoot for Chanel, the Allure fragrance campaign. People recognized me a lot from that campaign because it lasted for seven years. Nowadays, fragrance ads don’t usually last for as long as seven years, though.
RL: The industry has very much changed by now.
AVS: Now, all the social media celebrities are turning into models. My challenge is to stay on top of the business and still work. For that, you need to work even harder, hustle more and be competitive with the young models. I’m quite happy to be lucky at my age, however, and I don’t have much competition, anyways.
RL: If you hadn’t become a model, what would you be doing instead?
AVS: I studied tourism, so maybe I’d run a business like my father or open up a hotel. But, I never finished my study.
RL: What’s your personal style?
AVS: Comfortable, classy and mostly trying to be elegant. Very easygoing, I must say, because I spent ten years in New York since when I was 22.
RL: Do you have any sayings or words to live by?
AVS: Depends on the day. [Laughs] Life is too short; you need to get the most of it.
RL: How would you describe your current state of mind?
AVS: A lot of things are going on. I just moved to London while switching my agencies in London and pushing my agency in Paris. I’ve done a lot of editorials, and it’s good. So, I’ve hustled, no time for me to settle in just yet.
Outfit and shoes by Alexander McQueen
RL: Speaking of modeling, you’ve also been photographed nude a few times. How comfortable are you in doing that?
AVS: Out of all, I did only one full-frontal shot with Inez and Vinoodh for Arena Homme Plus. Well, [in this line of business] you’d better make the most of it once you say yes to a gig. You’re trying to communicate through a picture. If the production is good, and the photography is amazing, why not?
RL: Last but not least, when and where are you the happiest?
AVS: I love to go back to my hometown, being around my dog, my father and my sister. It’s a place to go back, review myself and get some new energy. I love to go to New York, visiting friends, but only for five days at most. I can’t stand it anymore. [Laughs]
To see more images from this photo shoot, get a copy of DA MAN Style fall/winter 2016 here, and check out these outtakes below: