We sat down with an aspiring Model/Actor and Artist, Diego Valdez. Yes that is a unique combination and that is what caught our attention too. Lets ask him how his journey in the industry has been and his valuable feedback.
1.So how did you start? Fashion first or acting?
I have commenced very early in my childhood as an actor from theater. Fashion came to my life in my adolescence because of my curiosity to act before a camera. Television came into my life as a consequence of being well trained as an actor from theater and well known as a model.
2. What attracted you towards the fashion industry?
Aside from the curiosity I have always had in fashion, it’s the connection I feel with being able to express what’s inside, on the outside and being able to engage and communicate feelings, emotions and messages through fashion. In fact, modeling has the ability to represent any brand or product with the power of reflecting your inside emotions to the outside world.
3. What did you do in the industry?
In the world of fashion, I started as a model for local brands. The international assignments came to me after 9 almost 10 years of modeling for the local brands when I made the decision to move out of my country to find a way closer to the fashion industry.
When you are in Latin American fashion, you have to move your ass to Argentina or Brazil and from there, find the way to Europe. And that is what I did to find a place for myself in the real world of fashion.
4. What were the challenges you faced in the industry?
There aren’t very many possibilities to find opportunities to show your capacity, portfolio and dreams before the right eyes, brands, designers, networks, etc. The huge difficulty I had to face was starting in the fashion industry as a male model and in a country with a huge sense of fashion and beauty; I had little or no connection with the real world of fashion.
The other difficulty I have is the knowledge. I had a cultural shock and zero fashion knowledge. I had to start over again and come to an understanding with myself that before I moved out of my country, I didn´t really know much about fashion. Being a model, it’s all about obtaining an edgy look and being able to express and communicate the representation of the product, brand, franchise or designer. When you are not living in Brazil or Argentina, New York or Europe and you start your career in Latin America, you don’t have that kind of knowledge.
5. How did you overcome them?
Because I had the opportunity to be an actor and before modeling, I was open to learning the philosophy of art in fashion, the sense of iconography, and the utility and non utility concepts of fashion to be more connected with the art of it all and not just the beauty aspect.
6. What could you have done differently?
Even today, the question remains in my mind as to why I never moved out my country before? Why did it take me so long to understand the reasons why I had to move out to the right places? I think it was maybe the fear of stepping out of my comfort zone? Oh well … it´s ok, I have to be happy because finally, I found the way!
7. How did the recession affect you?
Talking about the recession, I am really worried about what I have to see today, there are a lot of projects, artists and great talent out there but not enough money to invest, to produce, to develop. Artists are driving a hard highway trying to find opportunities.
At the same time you have to be extremely careful with who you do business with. There are many imposters, fake investors, fake sponsor and just people trying to get exposure, or take money from desperate artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, models, actors, etc.
Now talking about my personal experience with the recession, I have been so lucky living in United States and in New York but out of fashion and working as full time artist and open to acting again, I am not living a recession, I found my way very early in this country because of my talents, background and experiences.
My artwork is totally connected with the fashion and the colors, the beauty perception of my drawings come from a glance, the portraits I do even if they are animals are directly influenced and touched from the fashion world and because of the acceptance and the perception of my artwork, designs, concepts etc. The Fashion world has a lot of impact on everything I do.
I really know the relation arts – fashion because the fashion industry it´s art we have in the world of fashion the artists of this generation people with the ability to sell masterpieces that you are wearing on the street like Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Lagerfeld, Stefano Gabbana, among others, I really have a personal passion for Coco Chanel, her history, the difficulties she had to face and the legacy and influence of her over the industry before and after Chanel.
As my role as an artist and graphic artist, just with a month living in the country, I found big clients for my artwork in New York City with big acceptance and exposure and I have really adapted and am prepared to live the age we are living, the digital age. As you may already know, if you really have walked the fashion world, you know what marketing means, you know how to open doors, and know how to connect, engage and go beyond. And for that, I am very grateful.
8. Did the stress level affect your personal life?
We all manage a high stress level in life. When you work and walk the digital age living as an artist today, it´s different and it affects the emotions; but I enjoy my life, I look at the environment at home, I never forget the things I have, the hard road I had to take and I am thankful because the road is easier, even with the stress level all we have to face out there.
9. What are your long term goals?
I am a brand, I know that and first I want keep proportioned, my feet on the earth because of that, my first goal is keeping human sense and for my brand and career, the level of service is also very high. In this digital day and age, when human contact is being forgotten, we deprive ourselves on our sales staff and our excellent quality of service. That is what I say to my team and my partners all the time.
10. Ten years from now where do you see your brand and yourself?
My goal is to put my brands at the top of inspiring brands, names and projects.
But most of all, the main goal is to create inspiring iconography, inspiring art, animated stories, to write for movies, to act for movies and shine in fashion, what I do is not about utility, I am doing and creating something that’s able to inspire the individual identity of my public and I see my brand connected in a wonderful point with the growing passion of other artists around the world.
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