Gianluca Alessi: Italian-Argentinian Blood
I grew up in a small neighborhood in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, but my blood is Italian-Argentinian, thank to my grandfather who was of Italian descent. At the age of six, my father took me to a basketball team to start playing and since then I instantly fall in love with that sport. My mom’s parents were into art, and my grandmother and grandfather used to play many musical instruments. I grew up playing an organ with my grandmother sitting next to me, but piano was the one that had I liked the most, so I learned to play it too.
At the age of 16, I was already 188 cm tall and very thin. Still being at high school, I had no idea what being a “model” meant at that time. I was more into basketball, training every day, and having little time for anything else. At the same time, my mother (who was involved into TV industry at that time) asked me if I wanted to do a test photoshoot, like some type of a portfolio, and send those photos of me to advertising or modeling agencies. I was kind of shy and introvert, as probably almost every teenager, so I didn’t know what to say. I was wondering of what people would think about it, and what would my teammates say. But my mom told me: “You’re a king, and no matter what the others say! You’re born to be someone”. And that’s how it all started!
After taking my first test photoshoot, the photographer saw my potential, and soon I started to receive calls from various modeling agencies, and I had to choose one of those. Over the years, I changed agencies until I got settled with the one that brought me lots of work in Argentina, as well as helped me gaining confidence in front of the camera. Having been shot by good photographers made my potential grow up a lot too.
Then there came that period of my life when I used to work a lot as a model, and started to miss my sport training sessions and basketball games with the team, and vice versa. Like any young model, I made many mistakes in my modeling career because at that time I didn’t fully understand the discipline and sacrifices that were required while being a model. Like for example, I didn’t go for the fashion show that I had confirmed before, because I had a basketball training with the National Team the same day. That made my modeling agent very angry, and that’s when I realized that every job required discipline and sacrifices in life, no matter what the job was.
The sport finally stressed me out physically and mentally, and while playing tournaments and seeing the amount of competition around me, I knew deep down that it wasn’t what I wanted to dedicate my whole life to. I had to choose between these two careers. This was one of the decisions that marked a turning point in my life. Realizing that I was about to fully dedicate myself to modeling started opening new doors to me. At the age of 18, I had my first casting at an agency in Europe. That’s when I realized it was all serious!
Paris appeared to be quite good, however London was one of the cities that I enjoyed the most in every sense. The agency in London had its own model apartment, so all the foreign models could stay there. Living at a model apartment was an unforgettable experience, and I met many wonderful people that I am still in contact with. That’s funny but sometimes I had to sleep on a couch because the rooms couldn’t accommodate so many people. Me and other models played a game called “Jenga”, and the loser had to sleep on the couch. When talking to other models, you start to realize that modeling life can have many different stories, beliefs, and cultures, and that’s when you start appreciate where you are, what you have, and who you are.
And, of course, the funny stories sometimes happen at castings too. One of such happened to me in London, during the casting for some commercial. I noticed that these types of castings demanded more acting and interpretation than anything else. At that time, I had just arrived and didn’t understand English very well, as well as wasn’t very fluent either. When I arrived at the casting, waiting for an hour with other models and actors, I saw people entering and thought to myself, “Are they all models?!” That’s when I realized it wasn’t just a casting for models but also for anyone who would fit the profile they were looking for. When I entered the casting room, there were about 10 people and a camera. Four of us who were waiting in line were called forward. We were given instructions to act as if we were at the beach playing with a ball. However, I misunderstood the instructions, and when the producer said “action”, the other three guys started passing the ball and kicking it, while I started kicking the air and playing the role of a “ninja.” When the producer saw me doing that, he asked, “What are you doing?!” That was exactly the question which I started to ask myself as well: “What am I doing here?” Then, after everyone laughed at me, I promised myself that I will definitely learn English, even its British version if that will be necessary!
In addition to traveling, modeling has also given me the freedom to work on myself and in my free time, to develop my potentials, and always search for new inspiration. The most gratifying experiences I’ve had were the runway shows at fashion weeks. Going to a casting call for fashion week is like entering a haystack, where everyone has the same objective and goal — to be selected. On top of that, the amount of experience which you get at the fashion shows is always the best because you’re spending an incredible time, you’re interacting with fashion people, makeup artists, hairdressers, even designers! That’s a unique chance that I would never change to anything else — that beautiful feeling of being about to go on a runway while everyone’s watching you. I will always be grateful to my family and friends who have always been by my side, both in good and bad times. As for now, I happily live in Milan, with many places to explore and people to meet!