You must travel miles into the unknown, with nothing but a suitcase and your family strapped to your hand. A challenge. You learn everything from scratch, from basic greetings to a new way of life. A struggle. You find your feet through tears, sweat and a perseverance. A dream. You keep pushing with love and strength. A reality.
Meet Gustavo Sanches at Fusion Models NYC, captured in the city of Paris by Vic Lentagine
. To "continue fighting” is a particular Brazilian expression, a metaphorical utterance to say that life is not easy. It attempts to explain that a person needs to overcome the bad things in life in order to continue living and achieve our ultimate goals. Gustavo started his life in South America, until his mother had a dream for his future beyond South America. Now finding his way in New York, Gustavo remains inspired by his mother.
Starting his modelling journey just last year, Gustavo has immersed himself in new cultures along the way. After our first encounter
with him last year, he has kept expanding himself globally, going between European cities and America. This time his Brazilian look is beautifully dishevelled, with sculpted features and point straight hair falling heavy on his tattoed covered chest. Each inked picture on him a personal testament to his life, providing a singular narrative, just like a children’s colouring book. His colouring book is open for the world to see and he remains keen to share wisdom with passers by in life. He’s that boy that can stick his two fingers up to struggle and always walk away smiling.
Tell us your story - what was it like growing up i Brazil?
Living in Brazil for the first 5 years of my life wasn't too crazy for me, as I was very young. I came from a family that had nothing besides great moral support for each other. One of the things that set me back was growing up without a father figure. It was strange for me while trying to understand certain life situations. Brazil was enjoyable, because all of my family lives there, and the quality of life is so different from the life I currently live right now. I was taught that Brazil isn't a safe place and having to adapt to daily crime on the streets of Brazil was no joke. This has brought me more awareness into my daily living, even today in the USA I feel very aware of my surroundings. Eventually after Mom's hard work, we made our move to the US, bringing one suitcase each, with no experience with the English language. This was her dream - she wanted to take me away from the bad environment I was growing up in.
How long have you been modelling and how was it moving to New York?
I started this crazy adventure in January of 2015, and I haven't made the full move to New York. It's still a decision I am looking to make.
What have been your best experiences so far as a model?
I would have to say that all the best experiences come from traveling and meeting friends from all over the world. To visit these amazing and beautiful cities around the world, while being able to do a very cool job is definitely the best experience.
What are you into when you are not modelling?
I enjoy adventuring and road trips with friends, and my camera is one of my best friends. I love being able to capture pictures through my eyes, it's a great way to share the memories over and over again. I also enjoy technology, especially computer tech, eating delicious food from all different places, and snowboarding up in the mountains.
What are your favourite places in the world?
Recently I would have to say that Paris is definitely one of my favorite places on earth! I have never experienced such a beautiful city with so many things to do, and there are so many amazing foods to try. Secondly I'd have to say Florence is another a very special place to me. Italian food is the best food yet and Florence is just so gorgeous with their architecture and gardens. There are still many places I'd like to claim my favorite when I have the chance to go visit.
Tell us about your tattoos.
My chest piece tattoo was the first set that I started to work on. I originally got just the script "Spread Your Wings" when I had just turned 17, and my mom signed the form for me since we agreed that I'd remove my piercings in exchange for one tattoo. Mum used to hate all my piercings. When I turned 18 I went and did two sessions to finish up the final piece. It now includes a huge eagle wing around the script with a bloody hour glass and red roses. This tattoo has the most meaning to me as it was right after I broke away from the person who damaged me in my teen years. The wings represent breaking away, which is why it said "Spread Your Wings" in the middle. the bloody hour glass is for the painful time it took to end, but that it eventually all comes to an end. Lastly but not least, the red roses represent that it's a beautiful thing to be free and that we shouldn't take the love we have for freedom for granted.
Then over to my right upper arm I decided to have a little fun. I have a set of things that I find cool and interest in heavily. Starting with the Boba Fett helmet, blue rose, and vines. I chose this tattoo because I loved Star Wars growing up, and it happen to be that I liked the neutral, but cool bounty hunter. He was never good or bad, he did things as he so wished, and did it mainly for rewards. My blue rose placed under him represents fantasy and the crave to be an imaginary character that doesn't exist in our world. Right under him I have an astronaut being warped out in the corners with a crystal and "sunflower" also representing the stars and light source of the world. This tattoo is simply just, because I love space exploration and the science behind it all. It doesn't have any important meaning, just something I enjoy. Finally on the inside of my arm I have the inside workings of a light saber with some more crystals and a powerful light source behind it. Just another Star Wars tattoo that showcases my love for the movie series.
Interview and photography by Vic Lentaigne.
Words by Ede Dugdale.
With thanks to Sean Bennett and Campbell Gray.