photography and interview by Pedro Pedreira
A year after we traveled to Salvador to shoot the eleventh issue of Made In Brazil Magazine, model Pietro Baltazar spoke to photographer Pedro Pedreira about the experience and how his life has changed since then.
How did the opportunity to pose for Made in Brazil came about? How did they chose you?
Dude, it came out of nowhere. It had been a month since I met with Sergio Mattos (Booker), I guess it was September last year. We went to São Paulo an I was going to meet with the editor of Made in Brazil for a casting. I have never heard of that name before, I had only been modeling for a month so I barely knew anything, I only knew Vogue [laughs]. That first time we took some pictures I still had really long hair. And then, talking to Juliano, I mentioned that I was originally from Bahia even though I lived in Rio de Janeiro. In that instant, he knew I was the one. He told me it was already set to shoot in Bahia and that it would be perfect for me, so things kind of conspired in my favor.
And how was that? Starting your career, your first big job, heading back to Salvador?
Although I left Salvador really young – I was only 7 years old – for me, being there, I can’t explain. I feel this thing pulsing inside my body, this energy, it’s like truly strong. So, shooting for the magazine, it was a very special experience. Until that moment, as a model, I would be shy, thinking to myself that I would never be able to shoot in a public place, with edgy clothes, I would feel embarrassed. But there, the first time I glimpsed the images we were creating, I couldn’t believe it, was that really me? I was shocked, because I didn’t think I would pull it off, but it was working.
And it’s been an year since you guys photographed for the magazine, but only six months since it was released, a lot has happened already, right?
We photographed in November. The magazine was set to launch at the beginning of this year. For a while, I had to hold myself back, wait for it to be published, believe that the magazine would kick-off my career, right? I was so anxious, counting the months and finally, in May, it was out. All this time, I was so nervous, almost upset, couldn’t wait anymore [laughs]. Meanwhile, Ju would ask me to hold on, that things would happen in their own time. I had no clue the proportion it could take, and then, with the launch, things really started happening.
From those intense six months, aside from the magazine, what was the most unexpected experience?
I have no clue, everything happened so fast, you know? I just couldn’t stop, I could only live. I was never someone easily dazzled, so I just went with the flow. But at the same time I was living the moment, fashion was never part of my world, it was not like I was crazy about that universe before. Maybe I would have paid more attention, for instance, if I had been invited to play a Champions League Tournament for Milan FC. That would’ve created some expectation or more enthusiasm. But I must admit, I never thought my first runway show would be for Balmain. Until then, I had only practiced my catwalk during a casting at the agency. And it was so quick. They would me ask if I was nervous, but I would answer no, I was calm. You just have to walk fast [laughs].
You had a part in the new Anitta video, which should come out soon. You became Bieber from Vidigal! Do you think that was a big turning point?
I was already in the right direction, things were happening. Of course I couldn’t think of the dimension they would reach by participating in that video. Anitta is super influential, and her online presence is huge. That day, when she gave me that shout out on Instagram, she turned me into a public person. In 24hs, I gained 100k followers, almost instantaneously.
Wow, that was big. And you’ve mentioned soccer, Milan, what about your career as a player? How was that? Did you give up soccer for the chance to be a model?
Last year I played in Spain. Came back in August, because it was summer there, vacation. In the meantime, I went back to school, graduated at the end of the year. In my head, I would finish my studies and chase the soccer thing. That’s when I met Serginho and the opportunity to model came along. I said to myself I was going to do a few gigs, save some money and follow with the plan. I was scared of entering the fashion world. My mom always encouraged me, but I didn’t want it, never believed it was for me. It may seem crazy, but I was scared of following that path and starting to get attention to the point I wouldn’t be able to leave anymore.
And that was what actually happened, your fear became true, right?
Yeah, I remember reading somewhere, that when we are fearful of something, we kind of become a magnet for that thing. And then I thought to myself, I was afraid of being successful [laughs], because that, in a way, would push me away from soccer. It was kind of what happened. I still play soccer, more as a hobby now, to keep my body in shape, because I’d rather practice sports than go to the gym. If further on a good soccer opportunity comes my way, I wouldn’t give up fashion, but I would try to conciliate both. I just can’t back away from everything I’ve achieved already, it’s not that easy to make money these days.
Of course, and it’s still too early, you have only had six months! Well, you talked about your body, so I’m going to give you one word and I want to see your reaction: Butt!
Man, [laughs] people go crazy with my butt. I honestly don’t know how to react, my butt is big and everything, but it was always this way. People keep staring at it, and sometimes it annoys me, but other times I enjoy it. I mean, women like men with some butt, it’s cool, right? But I always had it up like this, since I was little, I had this posture. I think it’s because I started playing soccer by the beach, I always ran a lot in the sand.
You have a few pictures where you are naked and that didn’t seem like a problem for you, is that true?
The butt is something so natural, for men or women, I would always see it in photographs. I don’t like full frontal nude, I’m sure I would never do it. But the butt, I got it that I was modeling, I was photographing for a magazine, Made in Brazil, it was an important gig. And in my mind, if Marlon Teixeira had done it, why shouldn’t I, you know? If I see it as something natural, posing for the camera becomes easy.
What are the next steps in your career? Do you think of anything you would like to happen?
I dream of getting to know the world. I guess the model career will allow me the possibility of traveling, meeting new people, different places and enjoying myself a lot. Never have I seen myself within a conventional career, like in an office, with a boring schedule, you know? It’s tedious. This life has something that I like, it all being a little unscripted, it’s what I want. Of course I want to model for all the big brands, but I can’t think of any in particular. Regarding photographers, I don’t know that many names either, but I always hear Bruce Weber’s great.
How about your family? Are they ok with letting you go? I know you have a little sister, I always see her on your Instagram.
My mom hated soccer because it would make me travel a lot, stay away from home. When I started with fashion, it was the same [laughs], she had to accept it. She was always very attached to me, but my stepfather would tell her that she raised her son for the world. And that stuck with her. Nowadays she likes it, gets super excited when I’m traveling and having all these experiences people would love having. She says things happen to me because I have my both feet on the ground, I’m humble and not materialistic. I’m really free spirited, but I also miss them. I’m afraid of being away, specially from Nalu, my little sister (2 years old). She is growing up so fast that I’m afraid to miss all those moments. I just want to make money so I can give her the world, I’m crazy about her.
To wrap up, tell me something people don’t know about you?
Something people would never imagine? I could say I’m really responsible, I’ve never drank, I don’t smoke, always very disciplined, thinking of that soccer career. I also gave a lot of attention to my studies, was one of the bests students in my class. I’ve loved reading since I was child. And I think when you look at my Instagram, there is just a lot of body images, people see more of the outside. The fact is, I’m very shy. No one believes that. They tell me I’m a model, so I cannot be shy, that they’ve seen a certain video or image, so, that’s impossible. But when I’m posing for the camera, I have to incorporate that, it’s the job, you know? I can’t shy away from the pictures, but Pietro, as a person, he’s very reserved. I’m shy, even when I have to flirt with some girls at a party [laughs], it’s terrible, because I see some of them are into me, and I freeze, a lot of times I cannot walk up to talk to a girl. I’d rather be talking to her, and get to know her in a group situation, where I see she’s interested than just go and grab her. I can be shy, but I’m not dumb, I know how to play.
All pictures and interview exclusively at Made In Brazil.