RicoRace Flux, who recently won the BOSL 2011 award for Best Model, is a hardworking model with a full schedule. In spite of his busy schedule, he was generous enough to give us his time to talk about his modeling life, the rarity of male models, and his Second Life experience. We have no doubt that you will find him a thoughtful, kind, and down-to-earth person, and hope that you will enjoy learning more about RicoRacer Flux.
Leda Carter: Thank you so much for your time, Rico. You have been a great example of a successful model. Tell us a little something about the person behind the avatar.
RicoRacer Flux: I am just a simple person who grew up in a small town. I have always had big dreams and knew what I wanted in life. I am, now, living in a big city to pursue a better future and find better opportunities. I have small town values, in terms of being kind and treating everyone with respect. But, I am also open-minded to new ideas and different points of view. I like to think that I am a caring and creative person, thus, my RL job is in healthcare, saving lives, and I occasionally do modelling on the side. Rico in SL and RL is very simple, with nothing to hide. What you see is what you get.
Leda: Did you join the SL community with the intention of becoming a model?
Rico: When I joined Second Life, I did not know there was such a thing as models. It was by accident that I came upon modeling, when a friend teleported me to a model casting. I knew right then and there that it was something I wanted to do. Like any job in RL, I knew that SL Fashion Industry was a business and I had to take it seriously. I also knew that I have to go to a modeling academy to develop skills, and to learn what I needed to know in order to be taken seriously and to compete with the other models for the very few coveted spots.
I did my research on which modeling academies to attend, and signed up for training. Networking is also very important for a new model. It is important to get recognized by entering contests/events, and by applying for what is out there, no matter how small. My modeling career actually started when I won Mr SLGLAM in June 2009, beating hundreds of models who were more experienced than me at that time. If you are a new model, you do what you can and feel comfortanle with, including work for free, to get recognized. I still do a lot of free work, especially if it is something I am passionate about. Modeling to me has never been about money.
One should never go into modeling thinking (s)he will get rich, because that is simply not true. Modeling is very expensive, and you pay more than what you get. Go into modeling for the enjoyment, the love of fashion, and for meeting new people.
Leda: Did you begin using a modeling agency from the start?
Rico: I honestly can’t remember my first paying job, but it is to every new model’s benefit to be represented by an agency from the start. The truth is that it is very hard to get in an agency without any training or experience, so I started by entering contests and taking advantage of every opportunity out there that would get me noticed.
Leda: What are some of the challenges of modeling for you?
Rico: I am a perfectionist, so my biggest challenge in being a model is myself. I am not perfect, but I want my avatar to be perfect in all aspects when I am hired for a job. It is not about me looking good per se, but about my ability to sell the designs and please the client. That is always a challenge. Designers pay a lot of money for a runway show or a magazine ad. I want to do my very best to shine at each job. Another challenge for me is that I am a very shy person. It takes a lot for me to network and socialize. Both of which are very important aspects of modeling. I have take a slow pace now, so my work schedule has been easy. However, the schedule varies. I could have no modeling for a week, and then have 4 runway shows and 5 print ads or more in another week.
Leda: Do designers provide hair and makeup when they hire you for a show?
Rico: The designers usually provide the clothing (or whatever they have designed) that they want you to model for free. It depends on what kind of a show and what you are modeling too. For the most part though, it is up to the models to style by picking their own hair, jewelry, skin, makeup, and accessories to make the outfit extraordinary. That is why it is important to have an extensive inventory on the latest fashion trends. I told you modeling is expensive! (laughs) The best part is you usually get to keep the clothing, and it is often brand new or not released yet in the stores.
Leda: What inspires you in SL?
Rico: Anything and everything around me is an inspiration. When I read a SL magazine, browse through blogs, or see a runway show, I take it all in and make it my own style. There are also people that I admire who constantly give me the inspiration to work harder.
Modeling is just a hobby for me, and something fun to do that I am passionate about. My primary reason to be in SL is to be with friends and spend time with people I care about. I think it is sad if you let modeling govern your SLife. Just have fun!
Leda: Do you feel your avatar expresses the RL you?
Rico: I am the same person in SL and RL, except in SL I can express more of my creativity and artistic side. SL and RL are both there for me to improve myself, whether in mastering my fashion sense, or overcoming my shyness. Whether in SL or in RL, Dare to Dream and Dream Big. Anything is possible.
I enjoy the endless creativity and possibilities that SL offers. It is such a beautiful resource for anyone to be what they want to be, that they might not be capable of doing otherwise in RL. It is also awesome to meet cool people from all over the world, and develop friendships and relationships.
Leda: Let’s talk about your style. How do you choose your skin and shape? It can sometimes be tricky to coordinate your skin and shape.
Rico: I have never used a stylist or a consultant in SL. I have always known what I like, and am rather confident in my sense of style. I know that I cannot please everyone all the time, so I just do me. When I bought my first shape, a friend scolded me because I was already modifying it to make my own look. As a model, it is important to look unique. Your avatar can look perfect, but it is not good if it looks like everyone else. Choose what you love and don’t worry about what anybody else thinks.
Leda: I figure you spend a fair amount of time and money on your avatar?
Rico: It is important to always look good and upgrade your avatar. It is also important to have a wide variety of quality items in your inventory to choose from. I spend a ridiculous amount of time and money a week – oh my god! I am afraid to check my bank balance. hehe. Let me say it again: Modeling is not cheap!
I change everything (skin, hair, makeup, shape, clothing) depending on my mood and the situation, even when I am not modeling. If you are a model – even when you are not working – you have to always look your best in public. I have gotten jobs that way, just by shopping and then being approached by the designer who offered me a job. Plus, there are vicious websites and blogs out there that take snapshots of models, and display them to make fun of them, which is sad.
Leda: So, what advice would you give our readers who might want to upgrade their look?
Rico: The best advice I can give is to be yourself. Know what you like and develop your own sense of style from that. Don’t be afraid to try new things. The ideas that are out of the box are usually the ones that will get you noticed. Shhh, don’t tell, but I sometimes take a piece of female design and incorporate it into my styling to make it masculine. It can be ruffles, ribbons, feathers, or even makeup. It suits my style, since I lean towards couture, extravagant, and flashy. (laughs) Just be you!
Leda: There are fewer male models in SL, than female ones. Why do you think this is the case?
Rico: Like in RL, fashion tends to lean more towards women. So, many designers are making more clothing for women than men, thus needing more female models. Also, some men probably think that modeling is a feminine job, but that is their loss.
Leda: Do you think having fewer male models is a blessing for succeeding as a male model?
Rico: For me, I prefer more male models, especially in a competition. But, I am strange, hehe. More competition makes you appreciate the job, and winning the awards, more. One could never grow and prosper without competition.
Leda: It has been a pleasure to hear your thoughts and know you better.
Rico: A million thank you, Leda Carter and Avatar Style, for this interview. I am honored for this amazing opportunity.