How This Afro-Brazilian Model Went From Selling Snacks On The Streets To Becoming One Of The Faces Of Hugo Boss In Europe

Like many young Afro-Brazilians in Salvador, Bahia, Gabriel Pita, 21, used to struggle to survive. Since he was a child, he worked with his mother selling snacks, sweets, homemade bread and cakes on the streets of Salvador, considered the Blackest city in Latin America. In other words, he had a typical routine of an Afro-Brazilian kid from the low-middle class in Brazil, without many life aspirations. However, when participating in a men’s beauty contest in 2016, everything changed for this 6’2′ young man. After the success achieved in the contest, he decided to pursue a career as a model and today he is one of the main names and faces of Hugo Boss, one of the most renowned fashion brands in the world.

“Since I was little, I helped my mother with this work, we did everything at home and it was a way to increase the family income”, he recalled. “In addition to making the products, I also packed and delivered. I participated in a black beauty contest in Bahia, called Beleza Black. Sometime later, I went to São Paulo, and started to work”, he told Elas no Tapete Vermelho, a fashion based Brazilian website.

Currently living in Europe, Pitta began his career at the Brazilian modeling agency WAY Model, becoming one of the company’s great promises. The agency is the same modeling agency that manages the careers of several Brazilian models of international fame. Among the main names is the model Alessandra Ambrósio, who belonged to the casting.

Before moving abroad, his path to success was not easy. Among the various obstacles, racism has been a recurring thing he faces. When he decided to leave Bahia to establish himself In São Paulo (the richest city in Brazil) in 2016, he went through many situations such as being followed in stores by security staff and being mistaken as a gang member on the streets. “I just followed my path. Life will teach these people,” he said in an interview with a local newspaper in Salvador.

Over the last four years, this Afro-Brazilian male model has been featured in editorials for renowned publications such as Vogue, GQ and Marie Claire, as well as campaigns for Brazilian brands such as Natura, Forum and Osklen, among others.

This year, he was announced as the face of Hugo Boss in its “BeYourOwnBoss” campaign, which has already featured famous names in its advertising, such as Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber.

A photoshoot for Hugo Boss was taken at an upscale ski club called Kitzbühel Hahnenkamm in Austria in January as part of the brand’s winter campaign.