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

DA MAN - Style - - Contents - Mitchell Nguyen McCor­mack

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. Pho­tog­ra­phy

Fu­eled by his pas­sion for travel, a 20-yearold 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-yearold 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.

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

“THEY SHOT ME FOR AN ED­I­TO­RIAL IN VOGUE PARIS, AND I WAS THE FIRST MALE MODEL EVER FEA­TURED IN THAT PUB­LI­CA­TION”

“PEO­PLE REC­OG­NIZED ME A LOT FROM THAT [ CHANEL] CAM­PAIGN BE­CAUSE IT LASTED FOR SEVEN YEARS.”

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.

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.

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 full­frontal 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]

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