How does an Italian end up living in the North West of the UK, modelling at 55?
I left my first job and my native city of Genoa in my late twenties and moved to Dublin. I wanted to get work experience abroad, and Ireland seemed like a good place to be. It was right before the Celtic Tiger boom. A couple of odd jobs, security in a hotel, kitchen porter in fast food…
Then I landed a job in a big software company. Some sales skills, a good command of the English language and the desire to do well were the things I had to offer; there was also an element of being in the right place at the right time. Isn’t that a big chunk of what life is all about?
I soon was managing a big team, making good money, enjoying live in Dublin.
Ten years and a couple of companies later, I was offered a bigger job and a move to the UK.
The conversation went something like this “ Paolo; we have a great new opportunity for you. Oh, by the way, it’s in Liverpool, and.. oh, by the way, you need to start there in a few weeks.”
So my partner and I decided to up sticks and move together with our two-year-old boy, two dogs and a cat
The first two years were a blur but good, and with the team, we built the UK subsidiary … Lovely house, nice lifestyle, but I should have known better.
They squeezed me like lemon and soon after came redundancy accompanied by some lame excuse ( not profitable enough or whatever). Thank you very much. Testing times mainly as the family had grown to four, and I was the breadwinner.
Fast forward a few years, I am now a father of two children with a few more job changes and a breakup behind me. My last employment was yet another big a disappointment, and this time something clicked.
Then a friend of a friend suggested I should approach a couple of modelling agencies she worked with. There is a niche for older men in reasonably ok shape. “Mature, classic model” (perhaps not quite vintage yet) are the terms used in the industry.
I have been working for just over 18 months as a lifestyle/ commercial/ classic model ( that’s a mouthful ) as well as a supporting artist ( calling myself as an actor is a slight exaggeration), thoroughly enjoying what I am doing.
Whatever I have learned in my career as a sales manager has taught me to be professional at all times, communicate, hustle for work.
But now I feel more in control of my destiny; no one can tell me to go home because the product isn’t ready, or because business is not growing fast enough or profitable enough.
I no longer have to listen to utter nonsense in corporate meetings, nodding and pretending to care. I enjoyed aspects of my old work, especially mentoring people, but I guess I can still incorporate that into anything I do.
In the short time, I have been in this industry I have met many brilliant people, some quite famous too, I have received the precious advice of some more experienced colleagues on how to make inroads in this world, been on billboards and recognised by friends.. filmed in some stunning locations and a few pretty grim ones, modelled with beautiful, charming and funny women some of whom have become good friends (and I mean platonic friends in case someone gets the wrong idea)
Also, the fact that staying in good shape helps me in my work means I am more active and try and look after myself. I play tennis a couple of times a week and started running more consistently, covering about 300k since last September.
I am certainly in no position to lecture anyone about what they should do as I have made plenty of poor choices in my life and have had quite a few ups and downs, personally and professionally.
What I can do is share my experience and say that whenever I have managed to keep the following things in mind, I have usually found myself in a better place.
– try and block out the noise, even from close people: our friends, partners, family love us and care about us. But the truth is we need to make our own decisions and deep down we almost always know which ones we are drawn towards;
– look after your body and mind, eat well, exercise, meditate, chill, learn, connect with positive people,
– ask: there are lots of people who are more than willing to give help and advice if you knock on their door;
– make a habit of trying to help others, even on what to you appears to be small stuff. It’s rewarding and always comes back tenfold in due course;
– make an effort to use time wisely: there is a lot of good things out there but also so much distraction, so it’s easy to lose focus
– if you have doubts about seizing an opportunity that presents itself, have a “why not ?” attitude. It helps to get out of your comfort zone
– don’t dwell on mistakes or things which could have or should have been. Deal with them the best you can and move on. Don’t beat yourself up as there are plenty of people who are happy to do that
I hope these few notes may spark some reflection or perhaps encourage someone to make the right decision and If I can be of help, I’d be happy to hear from anyone.
Contact details for Paolo
www.starnow.com Paolo B: Actor/Model London, Uk