You probably remember his face in those ubiquitous Versace and Armani ads a few seasons ago, because Brazilian Bruno Santos is only male top model who ever scored a simultaneous ad campaign between two rival fashion houses.
An engineering student and a math teacher, Bruno had not considered modeling as a career. But his agency and his friends persuaded him to changed his mind and the rest is what they say is fashion history
His life before all the fame and fortune wasn’t easy. In his little autobiography below he wholeheartedly told his struggles and hardship before all the success.
"My mother says that I was the main attraction at her wedding. Maria da Conceição Barbosa dos Santos was eight months pregnant when she married João Henrique dos Santos, my father.
I was born on the 31st of August, it was the year 1979. The city? Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. I know that I was conceived by accident, the reason for my parents’ marriage.
The marriage was forced, seeing that both families were too conservative to allow such a thing. My mother was only twenty years old when I was born.
Immature and of simple possessions, my parents did not have the conditions to face the responsibilities of having a child, and so the maternal and paternal families helped. And in time, three more brothers and one sister came along – my beloved younger siblings.
The difficulties that my family went through were immense and my father used to beat me up constantly, maybe because of the drinking. My mother, because of that, wisely sent me to her parents’ house, in spite of the pain of not being close to the son she always loved. My grandparents, João Elias dos Santos, better known as João Nestor and Mônica Silva dos Santos, farmers, lived in a city in the interior of Minas, called Campina Verde.
I know how beneficial that move was for me, mainly because I was undernourished and fragile. The healthy food of the countryside gave me back my strength.
It was a simple house, there was no electricity and the stove was a wood burning one. For a few months I lived the best moments of my life on my grandparents’ farm, in full contact with nature.
At seven years old when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say, full of conviction, that I want to be an ecologist. The adults would say that there was not much money in that profession. They did not know that it was not for the money that I wanted to be an ecologist, but rather because my sensibility towards nature made me cry when I saw someone cutting down a tree.
From seven to twelve years of age I went through many difficulties with my family. There was not much food and although school was public, my parents did not have money to buy the most basic school materials. Even so, I tried to apply myself in my studies and I confess that one of the motives that led me to not miss one single day of school was the school snack or breakfast, served at school after the second class.
I always dreamed a lot and I had an immense willingness to take my family out of that precarious situation. It infuriated me that I could not find a job at my age. In spite of that, at seven years old I had already started to sell in the streets and at school: ice cream bars, peanut candy, coconut and other delights that my grandmother made. From seven to twelve years of age I helped my mother to assemble and sell trinkets and clothes in the neighborhood, going from house to house.."