Frederico Ventura @ Just Models
Broad shoulders, a welcoming smile and an at-ease attitude that tells us he is not just a pretty face. A simultaneously chill and focused presence that fills up a room before even starting to shoot. And when he does start shooting... well, you really just need to take a look at the pictures in order to understand what he is all about.
How did you start?
This all began when I was about 16. I had been approached on social media by people asking me stuff like "Have you ever thought about being a model? Would you like to take some pictures?". At the time I told my parents but I ended up not entering this world immediately. I let time pass by so I could gain some maturity and get into college. Then, when I was in college, out of a sudden, I was out in Chiado, having lunch with a friend and a Just Model's booker approached me asked if she could take me some pictures right there. I agreed and took the pictures in the middle of McDonald's!! That's how it all started. I got into Just Models and began right away by walking in Portugal Fashion, because one of the conditions I imposed to myself was to start working rapidly, because I was interested in develop myself in this business.
You've been abroad. Went to Milan short after getting in Just Models, right?
Yes, exactly. Because I really wanted to work and reach ambitious goals within the industry. So at my agency we talked about going to Milan. We found an agency there and that was my first professional trip.
How long was it for?
I was there for 4 months with one month off to come to Portugal for vacation and reuniting with everyone I missed here, which is of utmost importance to me.
How old were you when you went to Milan?
I was 18. Went alone. It was such an adventure. I was a kid and the experience of living abroad alone and having responsibilities made me grow and mature on a personal and professional level. It was a great experience, as it allowed me to meet so many people and get to know the industry in a completely different way from what I thought happened in Portugal. I've worked a lot, but would like to have stayed for a while more.
Where have you been besides Milan?
I went to NY to work on the Fashion Week and ended up staying for a month...
Hahah, yes! New York is... I would live there! It is a spectacular city. The city doesn't sleep and you only sleep because you really need to. Otherwise, it’s work work work.
So you went to Milan and New York...?
Yes, I stopped traveling because of my studies...
And what is your favorite part of this business?
I like fashion in the way it made me gain some self-confidence I didn't have. I developed social skills by meeting new people, cultures and countries, traveling and understanding how life works in different parts of the world. Those are the most important things the fashion business brought me in a personal level. Professionally, I like to understand how things work, how creativity works. Even if you're not the most creative person, you can "gain" or develop some creativity by seeing how others work and think. That part is fascinating.
Out of everything you have done so far, what was your most remarkable work?
I remember several works, some because they were for important international brands, like Dolce&Gabbana... Those kind of works are always going to remain in my memories because not everyone gets to do them and you feel that. But I try to think about the "next job" as the best one, the one I'll be able to give even more of what I have. I always strive for progress.
You were a month in New York. Did you notice some differences in the way the industry works there when comparing to Milan?
Yes, absolutely! In Milan the industry is much more closed. The market always looks for the same characteristics in the models. In NY you have a broader market, where you have space for all kinds of models. You could make a career there with any kind of look. And regarding photography, at least with the photographers I had the pleasure of working with, I felt like the photos were not so much about the clothes, but more about the model. Those were the main differences I perceived when comparing Milan with NY.
Do you have some interesting or funny story you want to share about your experience?
You always have those funny situations when you have to get to castings on time and have absolutely no clue where the work is or how you're going to get there... well that's not funny, is it?
Funny and interesting stories are the daily stories when you meet people and hang out with other mannequins. There are a lot of amusing moments backstage. You don't usually feel like you're working.
What is the best part about being backstage?
The feeling you get before getting in the runway. Before they say "go" there is an adrenaline rush moment when you know everything will work out fine but your brain is blank and, once you step in the runway, it seems that every though vanishes from your head and you just... go. You go, you come back and it's done. Then, when it ends, you get this "I want more" feeling! It's addictive.
And about the myths people believe in about this industry, is there one you find absurd?
Myths only exist because they have some truthful base. There is always a percentage of truth about myths. Of course not everything you hear is true. Some situations do happen, of course, but only if you go after them. If you don't try to find those myths, those situations, this is actually a normal world. Normal within the abnormality or fantasy that it incorporates. Within the selling of a product. For me, fashion works like a company: you sell a product and an image to other people. The biggest myth I think exists is the fact that people idolize a person, when companies are actually selling you a product based on that person's image.
True. Speaking about image: how do you see the portuguese male model in the international market? We ask this because there are more and more male (and female) portuguese models getting into international markets.
I think it is well accepted in the international markets, because the male model doesn't have a singular unique and distinctive characteristic. You look at someone and can't distinguish if he is Portuguese or not. With men, at least, it is hard. We (Portuguese men) have a big genetic mix, so we can adapt easily to different markets.
Do you have any tips for guys that want to model professionally?
If you're someone that enjoys working out, do it! In my case, I like to do it so I commit to doing it. It will only help in a modeling career. And to be persistent and believe in yourself... go for it!
You're studying, right? How is it to balance being a student and a model?
Yes, I am. It's complicated. In where I'm at in life, I had to stop making fashion my full time commitment. When I was traveling I had to miss classes and exams and now I'm on my senior year in college. It is my last year and, if I manage to end college at 21, I'll still have a long modeling career, because men have longer careers than women. So right now I'm giving fashion a little less attention so I can get over college as quickly as I can!
And besides fashion, do you have time for hobbies?
I have to study a lot and read a lot, but I see studying as a hobby because from what I study I go and search for information on the subjects that interest me. I'll search about those and learn. To learn and try to become educated is, to me, a hobby.
But, of course, I like the usual stuff: going out with friends... I just don't like to sit and do nothing!
And what about your goals?
I want to book a big international campaign, and then another one, and another one, and another one! I want to travel more and get to know more countries. I'd like to go to Japan and get into the Asian market... and I'd like to go back to New York as well. I want to do it all. And I will, I still have time!
photography Gonçalo M. Catarino
styling Catarina F. Pinto
make up & hair Tiago Figueiredo
model Frederico Ventura @ Just Models