At home with Pietro Boselli
Italian born Pietro Boselli started his modeling career early, becoming the face of Armani Junior at an early age. Throughout his career, Pietro has been a favorite of Giorgio Armani, shooting campaigns for its underwear and sportswear line, as well as campaigns with Bruce Weber for Abercrombie and Fitch. We had a delight speaking with Pietro during quarantine time.
Who are you and what is your profession ?
I made my life about versatility and exploring different talents at the same time. I have been a model practically all my life, since I was 6 years old. So, I would definitely define myself as a model. But for many years I didn’t really think about it. I always loved learning and studying. In school already, and then at university. I studied engineering at UCL, and I was so crazy about it. I had the highest grades in the whole faculty. It is difficult to understand how hard I worked. I really belonged to academia.
Then I started my PhD, and I became a lecturer of mathematics at age 21. I wasn’t there just to get a degree; I was there because that’s who I was. My life was all about work and training, and the precision of engineering. I used to swim, run, cycle, lift weights, twice or even three times a day, and still pack in 10-12 hours a day of research work or study. Funnily enough, I did not have social media, I was kind of against it, I thought of it as a waste of time. Then, because of the many fake pages using my modelling pictures, my friends at dinner set up an Instagram for me and suggested I give it a go. Few months later, I was an “influencer”. It took me a while to transition, as I had just finished my PhD and was still teaching. But it opened so many new doors, and I’m now so glad to have such a platform. I travel, I meet creatives. It broadens my perspectives. I am glad I could do both engineering and modelling, it made me into who I am. So, it is difficult to pinpoint what my job is. “Model, engineer, fitness athlete, influencer”?
How do you think Covid-19 will affect the fashion industry both long-term and short-term? How do you see the impact of Corona crisis on the general perception of fashion? Do you believe everything will just go back to normal after Covid-19, or how do you see it will be?
I think fashion will definitely be affected in the short to medium term, as it is linked to the current zeitgeist of the moment, and to people’s needs, and most importantly it will be impacted by the economic climate, as it is a big industry. In the long term, fashion is here to stay, it is a way in which we express ourselves as individuals and a society, it will be shaped differently as trends and beauty standards change, as we become more aware of sustainability, but in general things will bounce back. It is the nature of progress, it is not a straight line, there are occasional setback, and as humanity we can only learn, adapt and improve.
How do you spend your Quarantine time and are you still able to create while being quarantined?
I believe in adapting and making the most of any situation, and this quarantine was the perfect occasion for me to sit down and work on so many things that were latent due to my “normal” schedule, which included a lot of travel. I actually am very happy and productive in my own company, and I get more creative when I have time to sit and think. I have been reading, writing, planning new content for my platforms, a lot of which will be educational. I have been working out every day, cooking, and talking to people on the phone, I love that everyone is now available.
What is your first memory with fashion? And how did you start modelling?
My first job was an Armani Junior campaign in 1995. I still remember the first “casting”, I had to try on some t-shirts and take some polaroids. I also remember being introduced to Mr Armani who, to 6-year-old me, was just a kind gentleman with white hair sitting at a large table with some people in a meeting room.
What is your daily beauty routine like? And what beauty products you cannot go without?
It is as minimal as it gets, I literally brush my teeth, shave and shower, trying to keep products to a minimum. I like a good shave gel, but nothing more. Let the skin and hair do their thing and be nourished from the inside. I work out every day so I already shower once or twice a day, water should be slightly warm or sometimes cold. Nothing else.
What is the coolest new thing you have learnt since being quarantined and how did you learn it?
More than a new thing, it was a rediscovery. For years I have been working independently on my PhD, which is practically like being quarantined: hours upon hours of unsupervised work. It was good to see I have still got it in me. I always wake up early and I am very disciplined, I get ready, my house is spotless, and I can focus on anything I want to do with my day. I think the new thing now is that I am a bit more relaxed. I appreciate time off, just thinking, meditating, creating ideas.
Tell us something about yourself that isn't on your CV.
I never make posts on my social media about food or what I eat (perhaps because I cannot see one more post about people’s food, I really don’t care). However, food is probably my number one pleasure in life. Even more than training, and that is saying a lot. I cook so much, and I always cook for my friends. I learned at a young age from my mother, she’s obsessed with cooking. And I guess I am too.
What's the first place you'd want to go when it's safe again to travel and go out of our homes and why there?
I have been really craving to take my motorbike and go on a long trip somewhere. I love road trips, it is my favourite form of travel, whether by car or motorbike. I don’t think we will suddenly be allowed to go far. But I guess I could start from here in England, perhaps ride to the coast, see the ocean. Something easy.
What is your favourite song at the moment and why? Do you have a playlist that you would like to share with us?
I listen to a lot of minimal techno music, for focus and meditation, I have made a playlist called “1 trip” on Spotify you can check it out. I also listen to rock music, like the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin and metal music, like Metallica. One song I am learning on the guitar right now is “Pneuma” by Tool, which is contemporary metal.
What is the first thing you like to do when you wake up, and last thing you like to do before going to bed?
In all honesty, the first thing is I pick up my phone, check IG to see what my friends are up to or Twitter for news. It is a new quarantine habit. I put some music on, I eat something, and I get ready, like always. Before going to bed, I also put on music. Lights are off in the house, but music still playing. Such an important component of my day.
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? If yes, describe your experience of Amsterdam in one sentence.
I have been only once, I was riding my motorbike around Europe, I had to get a ferry from Rotterdam to Harwich (this was years ago, this ferry no longer exists). And I had a few hours to wait so decided to see Amsterdam, but it was too short. But Holland seems like a pretty country, I’ve crossed it a few times. And I really like the people and the mentality.
What is your go-to work-out for staying in shape? What does working out mean to you?
Working out means a lot to me. It is an essential part of my life and of who I am. It always has been. Right now, I train in my home gym, I have a squat rack and a bench, I think it is the most important piece of equipment. I also train at the park; I have a big tractor tire that I pull as a sled. It is a very intense training. Being in shape is great, and most importantly my mind is sharper, and my mood lifted after each and every workout.
What is your favorite painting and has it inspired you for any of your work thus far?
So difficult to answer this, I love art and I have so many paintings I like. I have spent many years working on really specialised engineering, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, mathematics. So, I used to go to a gallery as often as twice a week, to disconnect from the science and enjoy the art. Life is about balance. So indirectly, a lot of my work is influenced by art and also architecture and poetry. If I had to recommend one paining on the top of my head, that you can see in London after quarantine, is a set of 6 paintings by Rothko at the Tate Modern (they take up a whole room). These must be seen in real life to be appreciated, like all abstract expressionism. It is about their size and how they change the ambiance of a room.
What inspired you to start your own clothing line called Petra?
I wanted to combine all the different aspects of my life into a brand: fashion, fitness and engineering, with a spirit of adventure and of course, sustainability. I engineer all the garments myself combining technicality and aesthetics, and they are made in Italy to the highest specifications and with state-of-the-art sustainable technical fabrics. If there is a product that encapsulates who I am, this is it.