Twenty one-year-old Brazilian model Fernando Skinner has a love affair with the Philippines and that alone is reason enough for him to come back and continue what he started.
He said, “The Philippines is such a wonderful place and the support of so many people just makes me want to come back here. The love is unmistakable and the decision is easy.”
Three years into his career as an international model, Nando, to his legions of fans (his Instagram account alone has collected over 160,000 followers) has since developed deeper respect and love for modeling.
“In the beginning, I never really took it seriously. I didn’t really know what I want to do with my life when I was a lot younger and so for me, modeling was something that I just wanted to try. I didn’t really know what to expect and what to gain from it.Then my first big job in Rio came and I saw how big this industry is, and how it works, and then I realized that this is what I want to be in,” he shared.
At the age of 15, Skinner ventured into the world of modeling, just the same year he started going to the gym and taking care of his form after struggling with bullies. “I have had a hard time before with bullies who made fun of me just because I was skinny. I had to endure it before I realized I had to stand up and prove to them that I can become a better version of myself.”
Not long after, at the age of 19, he started modeling internationally. But the foundations built and honed by his hands jab into the world of fitness also piqued his interest and made him look into personal training as a profession. In fact, after his stint in Manila, he took a year to fly all the way to Dubai to take a course and then teach personal training.
His chiseled features and expressive eyes, paired with his brand of boy-next-door appeal and child-like zeal make him noteworthy model-in-the-making. Rank talks to this young fashion savant about his continuing education in the world of modeling and beyond.
Bring us to the early days of your career as a model.
When I was told that I will be traveling, I didn’t know what to expect and feel. To me, it was just a good time to rediscover myself. I was up to the challenge. At the time, it was a choice between pursuing my studies in college and modeling and I think, I made a good choice. That way, I won’t have regrets.
Why did you choose to continue becoming a model?
Being a model brings me to a lot of self-discovery. Of course, I get to experience different cultures and meet different kinds of people, but I get to understand myself more and I get to discover what else I can do. From one country to another, I feel like I am growing and I am becoming a different person and that’s always a good thing.
What draws you into this industry?
I am the type of person who hates routine. I hated doing the same thing everyday. And with modeling, everyday is a challenge. I remember, my first fashion week in Rio, I had to go to different castings, meet different people, work with them and understand their creative processes. It was a crazy week but it was such a different kind of rush.
What would you be pursuing if you haven’t picked modeling?
I have a lot of things that I want to do. At first, I wanted to study people. I want to know how they think and how they act. At one point, I wanted to get my hands into public relations because I love working with different kinds of people. I would also probably be either a chef or a nutritionist because I really love anything that’s related to food. Somehow, with modeling, everything that I wanted to achieve were connected in modeling.
In this industry, your looks are basically a commodity. How did this job change your perception of people who value appearances above all else.
I know a lot of people who may probably think that way. I am a model 24 hours a day. My body is part of the job and so I really have to take care of myself for my body is the object to work. I don’t think I need to be ashamed of it. I take it from a professional perspective and if someone cannot and doesn’t see that, I don’t think I should be faulted for it.
You came back to the Philippines after years, what made you come back?
I love the Philippines! They say it is the Brazil of Asia. I have received so much love from the Filipino people and I believe that with so many people supporting me here, being in the Philippines would help me achieve my goals.
What’s next for you?
I am working on improving my portfolio as we go along. I want to pursue projects in television as well. I want to expand on what I can do. Most importantly, I really want to enjoy the Philippines and explore different places I didn’t get to enjoy and visit before, like Palawan and Cebu.
Produced and styled by: Leo Balante
Photographed by Joshua Ke
Grooming by Jinx Aggabao
Videography by Akie Yano
Shot on location at B Hotel Quezon City
Special thanks to May Flores at IM Agency and Christian Cruz at Bellevue Manila.