Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
‘Tis the season for dashing through the snow and dreaming of a white Christmas, but this holiday just got much hotter. Miami based model extraordinaire, Victor Po is the gift that keeps on giving as he makes his rounds from one photographer to the next, creating images that are sensual, arresting, erotic or just plain ole classically beautiful. He is no stranger to those behind the lens and many would include him on their wish list of people to work with, but his inclusion in Monroeland, the exclusive universe created by master artist and provocateur, Justin Monroe, has dramatically increased his recognition factor, and even landed him the coveted title of Model of the Month at Monroeland.com.
In today’s market, beautiful males are somewhat commonplace, and an impressive physique can be found just about anywhere thanks to the popularity of gyms, so it takes more than just pure physicality to make a mark and stand out in a crowd of fitness models. We all can admire a beautiful image, but the subject has to give much more than your basic poses to become memorable. One look at Victor’s incredible range proves that he is equally at home playing the muscled Latino pretty boy as he is when surrounded by religious props and symbolism that has been sexed up to the extreme. He is not afraid to take his work to the fullest degree, even if that means creating art that would make a conservative’s blood pressure rise. He has also reached that special status where photographers are inspired by him and not just using him to fulfill their inspirations.
It would be impossible to fully explain the appeal of Victor, but much of it has to do with how he immerses himself within the scene. Give him a concept, explain the character and leave it to him to bring that vision to life, not merely by posing or adopting a certain expression, but by becoming the character. Actors do this through dialog, mannerisms, staging, camera angles and special effects, and Victor employs many of these same techniques, with the absence of sound. To see him in action, check out this behind the scenes video “DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS” at Monroeland.com - Dirty Little Secrets (The video is intended for mature audiences so you have to enter your birthdate.)
Photographers are often pushed into the background when it comes to name recognition but like directors, there are those whose names are more famous than the people they are filming. Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts, ManRay, Pierre et Gilles, Tom Bianchi, Old Reliable, and artist Tom of Finland are like royalty in the field of male imagery and each one is associated with a particular style that is distinct enough to be branded, at least in the minds of the viewers. The new guard has its own breed of celebrities like Mark Henderson, Rick Day, Dylan Rosser, Murray!, David Vance, Howard Roffman, Bel Ami, Joe Oppendisano, Jeff Palmer, Jim French, Paul Reitz, Kurt R. Brown, Pedro Virgil, Thomas Synnamon, Giovanni, Ed Freeman, Lindsay Lozon, Kristen Bjorn, Henning von Berg, Jay Diers, Aaron Cobbert and, of course, Justin Monroe. To work with any of these great talents is worth boasting about…Victor has been shot by three. So far.
If I were asked to describe him with just one word, I would say fearless. Other adjectives that fit aptly include uninhibited, adaptable, rugged, sexy, handsome, beautiful, sensual, masculine…actually the list could go on and on because it is too limiting to use one word to define the essence of Victor, and this is precisely what makes him such a superstar in front of the camera. It is also what keeps the viewers on the lookout for any new images, waiting to see how each new photographer chooses to showcase him. He the perfect model for the holiday cover, as well as the perfect way to close out 2011.
©2011 – Sean Dibble
BLISS: You are everywhere all of a sudden, most notably as one of Justin Monroe’s superstar models. How did the collaboration between you and Justin come about?
VICTOR PO: Well we started chatting online. He told me that he had some ideas that will like to shoot with me, so, over a year ago he flew me to Los Angeles, and from there the rest its history
B: You’ve done so many different editorials, a cover for Vovka Magazine, and the Rock Bottom calendar with Justin that I want to talk about a few of them. One of my favorites is the Pony Boy series that landed on the cover of Beautiful Mag. What was that shoot like?
VP: That was my first shoot ever, and like everything in Monreoland was just over the top. Hair, makeup, lights, people running around, was just like living a dream. I felt just like it was not real, too good to be true, but, It was happening!
B: What about the Room Service series? How did that shoot go?
VP: That was my second shoot with Mr. Monroe, I went to Las Vegas, were we met, and let me tell you something, the ice cream was so delicious, I ate it all, but one of the funny things about that shoot was the one afternoon I was at the pool, and this girl saw me walking by and she started screaming "Look it's The Situation (from Jersey Shores), so I turned around and I said to her " NO, I'm not" I laugh so hard, because it was so funny the way she acted.
B: I think viewers who were familiar with your work were most surprised by the Atheist and Beef Injection editorials. They may really be shocked by the new Trucker Fucker series with Justin as a model opposite you. Was it easy to transition to these more sexually provocative types of images?
VP: I do consider myself an artist, and when we did shoot Atheist we didn't try to offend anyone, we were just creating great images, I know that people feel different, but like my mom always told me "son, you are not sugar to be liked by everybody", and religions it's kind of a taboo for people, it's just like sex, we cannot please everybody because people believe and like different think. I myself believe in God, and I think he's the one guiding me to success.
The story behind Trucker Fucker is just unusual, I'm the first guy that Mr. Monroe shoot hairy, he confessed to me that in his whole career he never thought he was going to do it, so right after he did the images for his 2012 calendar, I went right straight to have a haircut, jumped in the shower and shaved my whole body, and Beef Injection came alive, Same images shoot the same day. It’s amazing how different are one from the other.
B: You obviously do not have an issue with nudity and have posed nude for other photographers like Murray! and Jeff Schuller. Why do you think the mainstream still has such a problem with male nudity, especially full frontal?
VP: It does take lots of balls to show your penis, its like guys are afraid to do it, like if there is something bad about it, nobody cares if a girl is naked but when a guy is, OMG. I do work for school of photography sometimes, and I love to see the students faces when I just show up naked, so funny, and the first thing they do it is look right down there, my penis, but in the end of the class nobody cares. "I'm a guy I have a penis", like every other male in the planet and I don't mind showing it. Of course it does take lots of self acceptance to do that, and in the beginning was also estrange for me, but I guess I got used to do it. So my friend just practices, practice, practice.....
B: Let’s take a step back for a moment and discuss how this all started. How did you first get into modeling?
VP: Well I used to model when I was 16 years old, but at 20 I moved to the states, so I just stopped, till, I few years back a friend of a friend bought a camera and he stopped by to show him, I was there and I did mention to him that I used to model, so he says let’s go out and let me take a couple of head shots of you, so we did, The following week he called me and say he created a modeling profile online for me, and well.....BOOM!!! it all started again. I always believe that "whatever is for you nobody it's going to take it away", and that's why it happen that way.
B: Do you remember what your first shoot was like? Were you nervous or just as exhibitionistic as you are now?
VP I don't believe I'm an exhibitionist, I'm a free spirit, but hell yeah I was so nervous, I felt like fainting, but It was just excitement, I believe, because after 2 minutes I LOVED IT!
B: Were you always interested in branching into nude modeling or is this something that developed over time?
VP: No, not at all, I took me a long time to find out what I was good at it, till I realized that everybody was calling me to do naked work, so I said " I must be good at this!!!!!
B: If you look back to the early days, where did most of your support and encouragement come from?
VP: You are going to hear something that you don't expect, but it all comes from my dad, although he never said to me "son, I want you to go to America and get naked' (LOL), he always supported me in everything that I wanted to do, never said no to anything. He always let me be how I was and respected me, even though he has a farm guy and very well known business man, and there I was, between cows and horses dancing to Madonna. He never ever said NO! That's why I do respect him so much, because he showed me and taught me to have respect, and every day I wish I had the chance to tell him again how proud I am of him and how much I love him, but I know he's looking down at me, and guiding me into the right direction. My last birthday I got his initial tattooed in my arm in his honor! I LOVE YOU DAD!
B: What about opposition? Did anyone try to discourage you regarding your decision to become a model?
VP: Never, ever, ever, although I have been told many times "NO", but through the years I did understand that I was not the right person for a job.
B: There is so much emphasis put on age in all forms of entertainment be it acting, dancing, singing or modeling, but you are just one of many examples that proves men over 30 are just as much, if not more so, beautiful, sexy and vibrant as those 10-15 years younger. Has age ever created any obstacles for you in terms of modeling?
VP: I personally never experienced that. There is a market for everybody and I can tell you that I know 70 year old people in better shape than I am. Don't you forget - 50's are the new 20's.
B: You are Hispanic. What is your ethnic background?
VP: I was born in Argentina, and my family is Italian-Spanish
B: The landscape is littered with non minority models while minorities continue to struggle to be noticed, in many cases. Has your ethnicity ever created barriers for you in this business?
VP: Not at all. Never had it happen to me. Thank God! I guess muscle Latino guys, we are in now!
B: You reside in Miami, which has a large Hispanic population, so this could actually turn the tables in some cases. Is the competition between Hispanic models more intense where you live?
VP: I don't compete with anyone, except with myself. I always try to top my work over and over.
B: One of my favorite photographers resides in Florida – Luis Rafael. Have you ever worked with him? If not, is this something you would like to do in the future?
VP: Not yet. I hope someday we can collaborate. Although our styles are the opposite, it would be interesting to see what it would come out of a shoot together. I'm sure something fantastic, because he is an awesome photographer.
B: Your resume reads like a who’s who list of photographers. In addition to Justin Monroe, Jeff Schuller, Murray! and Mark Henderson, you’ve also worked with Michael Kilgore, Paul Bryson, MiamiPhotoGuy, Culver Photography, Lewis Art and Photo and Jose Alexzander, to name a few. Are there any photographers on your personal wish list?
VP: I really would like to work with every photographer out there!!!!!
B: How do you prepare for a shoot with a new photographer?
VP: Diet and special workout always, I like to prepare for at list for a week, even though I'm always in shape, I'm never off season. I always believe working out should be a life style. You don't work out to look good, you work out to feel good, and looking good will came along the way.
B: Are you ever a part of the process in terms of coming up with a concept or are the ideas presented to you by the photographer?
VP: I have come up with some ideas just on my own. I like to put the "Po" touch always, but I do respect original ideas, and I always deliver 200% of myself.
B: You seem so uninhibited when it comes to your work, but have you ever been asked to do a shoot that you felt crossed the line?
VP: No, I'll never allow someone to cross the line. I'm old enough to know what is wrong or right, I think that is one of the benefits of being over 30 and still be in this business.
B: There are some photographers who shoot certain images for public consumption but others for their private collections. Are there photos of you that will never see the light of day due to how extreme they might be?
B: Justin has given you the opportunity to really inhabit characters in your images together. Is this more exciting or rewarding than standard posing?
VP: Of course it is. He gave me the opportunity to express myself to my full potential!
B: You’ve pushed the envelope so far lately that some may wonder what you could possibly do next. Is there a certain concept or type of shoot that you have yet to do that you’d like to be involved in?
VP: Not really, I'm always open to new ideas, so keep them coming please!
B: All photographers have muses, and these may change over time, but there’s always a relationship that develops that creates a desire to continue working with certain individuals. Which photographers, if any, over the years have you grown the most with and why?
VP: I became friends with all of them, although I have been spending so much time in Monroeland lately, and I have to admit that I have found a great friend in Justin Monroe! But every photographer that I have worked with is on speed dial, and I try to keep in touch with all of them.
B: Every experience is not necessarily a good one, and many models have been involved in shoots that they later regret or look back on less fondly. You don’t have to name names, obviously, but have you ever regretted or disliked any of the shoots you’ve been involved in?
B: If I asked you to pick 3 images that best represent who you are as a model today, which one’s would they be and why?
VP: All my images represent how Victor Po is!
B: Looking back on all you’ve done, what is the best lesson you’ve learned as a model?
VP: I learned to love myself and to respect life.
B: What advice would you give to a new model who wants to move forward?
VP: I'd tell them don't do anything you don't feel comfortable doing or something you will regret in the future. If you can't show your mom, it probably is not a good idea.
B: Speaking of models, are there any whose work stand out for you?
VP: I do learn from all of them
B: This forum has given me the opportunity to talk to so many different photographers, and you are on the wish list for quite a few of them, alongside Eric Rensburg, Brock Chapman, Simon Dexter, Trevor Adams, Ray Luis and a few others. Are you aware of the impact you are having and what it is that puts you guys at the top of the list?
This has really taken me by surprise!!!!!!!!!
Why are they waiting to call me????????
B: The first image I ever saw of you was by GR Pro Photo with a red ball and I became an instant fan. I had the same reaction to model GIO NYC and J Phoenix. Each of you represents a different kind of beauty and I believe that viewers respond to it. In spite of this, are there any physical aspects that you wish you could change about yourself?
VP: I'm very happy with how I am and I never think how my life will be 'IF". I know that "IF” I was blond, blue eyes, and 6 feet tall my life would be different, but I also know it's not going to happen, so I do not focus on that, and I'm very thankful to God to be how I'm today.
B: Being exposed in a photo gives the impression to some that they “know” you. What are 5 things that the viewers would be surprised to learn about you based on what they might assume from your images?
VP: I like to cook, I'm very sentimental and I do cry very easy, I like to help people ( I'm normally the one that my friends call for advice), I'm very down to earth and a very realistic person.
B: You are currently in Justin Monroe’s first calendar “Rock Bottom”. What other projects can we look forward to from you before the end of the year and in the beginning of 2012?
VP: Well this year is over, but 2012 is going to be a busy one, projects such as Victor Po's calendar and Victor Po's book are in the talk.
B: Any last words for your fans?
VP: I really want to thank each and every one of them, because without them I would not be where I am today, and I also wouldn’t be the person that you guys help me to be. I really appreciate all the love and the good energy that they always give me. I l LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!
©2011 – Sean Dibble
Andre du Plooy
GR Pro Photo