Sunday, April 4, 2010


Every decade has left some kind of mark in our collective minds and the arts have often been an easy way to gauge the mindset of the people who lived through them, as well as a nostalgic means of revisiting those moments for some, or embracing them for others. Music is probably the leader in terms of reaching a mass audience, and the power (and profitability) of the past can be packaged for a new audience through compilation CD’s such as the numerous 80’s discs that are available or even the all music channels on cable television. While it may be easy to put our finger on the styles and trends that defined the times gone by, such as disco and bell bottoms in the 70’s, or the emergence of rap music, thick gold chains and teased out hair in the 80’s, the task of defining a current decade is not so simple, since it is still evolving.

Images provide the visual clues of the times they capture, and it is fascinating to see how much the male image has been redefined. The number of men who go to the gym or work out on a regular basis is much higher than in the past, and seeing someone with a sculpted physique could even be considered the norm. The well toned, muscular male body is a part of the culture and no longer reserved for the athlete or gym rat. These days, even the nerdy book worm could be built like an Adonis. But the physical changes have crossed over and entered new territory where the boundaries between masculine and feminine have blurred in terms of the classic ideas of how we classify these two traits. Men are more prone to shaving their body hair, getting ultra stylish haircuts, wearing skinny jeans and designer tee shirts, spending more time in front of the mirror, moisturizing and even indulging in manicures and pedicures. In short: as the bodies got buffer, men became softer.

When you open a magazine or browse through model ports, you will most likely see plenty of hard bodies whose chest and legs are devoid of hair, and facial features that have been made-up, angled, lit and photographed in a manner that steps beyond beautiful and becomes pretty. Lashes are curled, eyebrows are plucked and lips glisten with just the right amount of shine from a clear or even tinted gloss. On paper, this sounds alarming, but we have become so accustomed to the visual in person that it has been rendered unremarkable. It is also what makes a model like Gio stand out in the crowd.

Standing over six feet tall, with a shaved head, piercing green eyes and a toned physique that is covered in dark brown fur, Gio is the masculine ideal from years past that has reemerged in our era as the starting point for bringing the old school man back to the forfront. The 70’s had Burt Reynolds posing in the nude, in all his hairy glory for Cosmopolitan magazine, and Gio could easily be the updated version, with the twist being that this man is not content with using a strategically placed arm to cover what he is packing between his legs. He is an erotic superhero from a hot comic series that has come to life and leapt from the pages to indulge our sexual fantasies. My friend, Rudolph Bell and I were discussing his images one day and he mentioned what I had been thinking. We both viewed Gio as a Tom of Finland illustration come to life. I asked Gio if this had ever been mentioned to him before.
“Yes, lots of people do the same comparison,” he answered.

When we see a man who looks like Gio, we inadvertently build up preconceived notions in our heads about who they are as a person. I assumed that he would be gruff voiced, aggressive and perhaps a tad bit arrogant, but when I spoke to him on the phone, I was greeted with a smooth, almost velvety voice, and an undeniably warm manner. He was exceptionally friendly and very open, in addition to displaying a generous spirit, along with a genuine interest in making his interview as exciting as possible. He asked, rather than waiting for me to ask, which photos I would like to use, and then offered to provide many that had never been featured in any of his portfolios. He wanted this to be my vision of him, rather than just a brag feature for himself that he needed to rigidly control. I was reminded of my feature on Turk Mason, who also went out of his way, along with offering his help on creating his interview, and how impressed I was with the level of commitment. He also stressed that no question was out of bounds or too personal, and I took the lead and asked him anything and everything that came to my mind.

The biggest question I had was- Who is GIO NYC? I wanted to know where he came from and what his journey to this point had entailed. I was curious about what he valued in his life, as well as how he defines himself in an industry that centers on the physical aspects. What I learned was that his beauty was only a fraction of who he is, and that beyond the face, physique and massive endowment was something even bigger…a beautiful soul.

BLISS: You are from Venezuala. When did you first come to the US?
GIO: I came to the USA when I was 15 years old.

B: You live in New York City now, but were in Florida for a few years. What prompted you to move?
G: My best friend Luchi convince me to move with her, some times a little change is good for your skin.

B: Why did you decide to return to New York?
G: I actually used to live in NJ before, but NY was my second home. I missed NY during my time in Miami, so I decided to come back to ride the city. And of course something else, "Love"

B: Would you classify yourself as str8, gay or bi-sexual?
G: Gay

B: What do you do when you're not modeling?
G: I like to enjoy my life doing the things that make me feel good like, for instance: spending time with my boyfriend, movies, theater, eating out, working out, being a masseuse.
(If you're interested in his massage service, follow this link: )

B: You're also involved in life coaching programs. What does this involve?
G: We talk about life in general and how we can help each other to make and achive a better life and a better place to live.

B: What is the one thing that you feel defines you most as a person?
G: My heart.

B: Each of us values different things in our lives. What are the 5 things that you value the most?
G: Life, family, boyfriend, freedom, personal growth.

B: What’s next in terms of important projects for Gio?
G: Bring my parents from Venezuela.

©2010 Sean Dibble

Coming next: Gio talks about modeling, nudity and erotic images.

Photo Credits:

Joseph Smileuske

Mark Edward Studio

Capture Thiss

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David Costa