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.
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