MAY 12, 2015
NOW CASTING: PIERO MENDEZ
THE SPANISH BORN MALE MODEL IS TAKING FASHION BY STORM
PHOTOGRAPHS EVELIEN JOOS
INTERVIEW BY RAY SIEGEL
Almost over night, 18 year-old Piero Mendez went from football practice in the Canary Islands to being named one of the industry’s top male models. He walked in 32 Fall 2015 runway shows and was cast as the face of Balenciaga’s spring campaign. Meet Piero:
How were you discovered?
“Two years ago, I was living in the Canary Islands. I was at a shopping center when an agent from a small agency there approached me and told me that I should be a model. They sent photos of me to an agency in New York and to Prada. Then I opened the show! It was crazy. I would have never imagined.”
There must not be too many modeling agencies in the Canary Islands!
“The market there is very different. It’s a swimwear market and it’s a good destination for brands to shoot there. It’s a good environment because it’s summer all year round.”
Did you know that they had you in mind for work outside of the islands?
“The first thing they said was that they’ll take me, but not to work here—they told me that they were sending me to Paris, London, Milan, and New York. I didn’t think it wasn’t possible, but then that first Prada show put me in the market.”
Were you nervous?
“I was very nervous. I had never walked before and there was no one to follow. The catwalk had a swimming pool around it. There was no music in the beginning. It went fantastic and after that everything has been going well.”
Do you enjoy the work?
“I hope to keep working with amazing people like I have over the past ten months. It happened quickly, but I have adapted to this world and I’m very happy. I love everything—I love doing shows, I love shooting. It’s very interesting.”
Who are some of the most interesting people that you’ve met so far?
“This is a difficult question. I’ve met so many designers like Miuccia [Prada], Alexander Wang, Kris Van Asche, Christopher Bailey. All of them are so nice. I’ve met so many models that I’ve become friends with. And the whole team, like the stylists. I didn’t know how amazing this world is.”
Did you like fashion before you started modeling?
“I didn’t know a lot about fashion. I was not an expert. I think I know quite a lot now because it’s my life, so I have to know.”
The more you learn about it the more interesting the work will become. What do you like to wear when you’re not modeling?
“I like to wear elegant clothes, but at the same time, I prefer young fashion.”
Have you set any goals for yourself?
“I’m very happy with the things that i’m doing and for what’s to come. My goal is to keep working with amazing people.”
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
“I love sports. I was playing soccer from age 6 to 17 until I started modeling. I thought I might play professionally. I was training every day with my team. My objective was to be a football player, but then after this first Prada show my life changed. The show happened a week after I graduated from high school. Right now I’m also studying international law online.”