Body and soul

Pi­etro Boselli wears many hats—a math teacher, a PhD holder in me­chan­i­cal engi­neer­ing, model, and BENCH am­bas­sador—and he wears all of them well. An­ton San Diego gets to know how this Ital­ian sen­sa­tion bal­ances it all and why he is so much more than just

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The world’s sex­i­est math teacher and now BENCH model Pi­etro Boselli comes to Manila

P ietro Boselli, decked out in BENCH cloth­ing, en­tered the hold­ing room with a smile on his face. Still pumped up from a suc­cess­ful press con­fer­ence and fash­ion show the day be­fore, he didn’t seem to be at all both­ered by the busy day ahead. With his laid-back charm, good looks, and kind de­meanour, it wasn’t dif­fi­cult to see why Boselli be­came a world­wide phe­nom­e­non prac­ti­cally overnight.

He started his mod­el­ling ca­reer at the young age of six when he landed a Gior­gio Ar­mani cam­paign. He later took a hia­tus from the in­dus­try to fo­cus on his stud­ies. In 2010, he re­ceived a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in Me­chan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing from Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don (UCL) and, come 2016, com­pleted his PhD in the same in­sti­tu­tion.

In Jan­uary 2014, a stu­dent took note of his physique and sub­se­quently found out about his mod­el­ling ca­reer. The Face­book post even­tu­ally went vi­ral, cat­a­pult­ing the young teacher and thenPhD can­di­date into global star­dom.

The world was fas­ci­nated by how he jug­gled be­ing in the academe with a grow­ing mod­el­ling ca­reer—a rar­ity in both in­dus­tries. At only 28, he be­gins a new chap­ter in life af­ter get­ting his doc­tor­ate and focuses once more on mod­el­ling. The hand­some gen­tle­man, blessed with a Greek god physique and an­gelic face sits down with Philip­pine

Tatler to talk about the ins and outs of his fame and ca­reer, how he deals with stereo­types, and what keeps him mo­ti­vated to achieve more.

Philip­pineTatler:engi­neer­ing be­gin? When did your in­ter­est in math and Pi­etrowas good Boselli:in math. AroundI re­mem­berthe age thisof 15 book or I 16, readI re­alisedti­tled Evo­lu­tion­that I

to of in­fuse Physics physicsby Al­bert into Einstein—athe lives of the provoca­tive­g­en­eral public.book that Althoughtries I en­gi­neer­ing­like other dis­ci­plinesthat fas­ci­nat­ed­such as me. the It’s artsa cre­ative­and hu­man­i­ties,way of usin­git was math and physics to cre­ate new things. PT: PB: I How stud­ied about swim­mingy­our pas­sion­when I was for four fit­ness? years old. As a teenager, I be­gan run­ning near the Alps, work­ing out at home, and cre­at­ing my own makeshift gym. PT: What is your ul­ti­mate fit­ness goal? PB: I go through my ex­er­cises in phases; it sets the ob­jec­tive. To be­come bet­ter, I try dif­fer­ent things like swim­ming or cy­cling. Some peo­ple fall into a rou­tine, re­peat­ing their ex­er­cises. The ul­ti­mate goal is to use one’s body in the best way pos­si­ble. PT: So you’re not the typ­i­cal

Zoolan­der male model. What do you think of that stereo­type and how peo­ple per­ceive male mod­els? PB: Mod­el­ling is the one pro­fes­sion where it’s ad­van­ta­geous to be a woman. If you’re en­dors­ing a brand as a guy, you al­ways need to be an ath­lete, an ac­tor, or have some­thing else be­sides mod­el­ling. Peo­ple say that, in this pro­fes­sion, you don’t re­ally use your brain. We mea­sure in­tel­li­gence by one’s aca­demic achieve­ments, but there are other types of in­tel­li­gence. PT: What do you think about the com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that mod­els are not in­tel­li­gent? PB: I’m con­fi­dent enough with my in­tel­lec­tual abil­ity not to be af­fected by that, but I can see how a lot of peo­ple are bul­lied. If you’re a male model and that’s your only ca­reer, peo­ple as­sume you lack an in­tel­lec­tual sphere. PT: Do you find it im­por­tant to show an­other side of you?

PB: For me, no. I’m lucky be­cause I’m known for my PhD. Maybe that’s why I feel like so­cial me­dia can be a pos­i­tive place. There are a lot of kind com­ments, there’s no ha­tred what­so­ever. If you see other guys who are fo­cus­ing mainly on their image and that’s what they want to achieve—un­avoid­ably, they will at­tract that male model stereo­type. There’s noth­ing that can be done about it; they can only ig­nore that. PT: You’re 28 now. What else do you want to achieve? PB: So many things. Through­out my life, I’ve al­ways felt I’m at the be­gin­ning of some­thing. I never felt I was at the end. Be­ing com­pla­cent has never re­ally been my thing. I al­ways believe in seiz­ing the op­por­tu­nity. I don’t want to walk a sin­gle track. It would’ve been easy af­ter study­ing it to jump into an

engi­neer­ing ca­reer. But I feel like this [mod­el­ling] is a great op­por­tu­nity. It doesn’t mean that I’m giv­ing ev­ery­thing up. PT: How would you de­scribe who you re­ally are? How do you want to be per­ceived? PB: I al­ways strug­gle to come across as the per­son I re­ally am be­yond the image. That is very dif­fi­cult to achieve un­less I meet some­one in per­son. I’m sure you have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent idea of me when you saw my pic­tures and then you met me and… PT: Def­i­nitely. You’re such a nice guy! PB: I want to come across as a nice and sim­ple per­son like ev­ery­body else. I care about peo­ple around me—not ex­actly about what they think of me—but more about how they feel. That’s very im­por­tant to me. Are they com­fort­able with me? Trav­el­ling and meet­ing all sorts of peo­ple, I’m en­joy­ing these mo­ments. Ev­ery­thing else is a bonus. PT: At the press con­fer­ence, you talked about see­ing the beauty in small things, like your sto­ries about back­pack­ing. When you go back to those mem­o­ries, you said they were the best times of your life. Any par­tic­u­lar story that you can share with us?

PB: I re­mem­ber walk­ing all day, try­ing to get to my place. There was this guy, it was like he had just fin­ished a day of work re­pair­ing a car; he was wip­ing his hands. I was sit­ting on a bench as a 16-year-old boy—tired, hun­gry, and thirsty. I saw his wife there and they were laugh­ing. Then, they saw me, and gave me a bag of apri­cots; they en­joyed sit­ting with me. It’s a sim­ple thing, but it was so mem­o­rable. PT: How was the Bench Davao char­ity event? PB: It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence, not only did I get in touch with a unique lo­cal cul­ture, but I was also moved by the great ef­fort of this small com­mu­nity in run­ning a school de­spite the chal­lenges, and the im­por­tance at­trib­uted to giv­ing these kids a chance for ed­u­ca­tion. PT: What’s a spe­cific image / mem­ory that will be stuck with you when you leave? PB: I was im­pressed by the beau­ti­ful na­ture and the close con­nec­tion felt by the lo­cals with their is­lands. Also, the great di­ver­sity in land­scapes even within few miles of dis­tance. PT: You are a world trav­eller, how do you com­pare Palawan? Did it live up to the su­perla­tives that the Filipinos told you? PB: Palawan was ex­cep­tional, I will def­i­nitely carry fond mem­o­ries of the gor­geous scener­ies, beaches, and nat­u­ral rich­ness of El Nido and Coron. PT: Lastly, will you be back? PB: You bet.

“I want to come across as a sim­ple, nice per­son like ev­ery­body else. I care about peo­ple around me— not ex­actly about what they think of me— but more about how they feel. That’s very im­por­tant to me.”

back is beau­ti­ful Pi­etro braves Manila’s heat wear­ing a BENCH tank top

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