These days, how and with what we choose to identify, has moved out of the black-and-white territory, into shades of gray. Vittorio Franco is a London-based model, makeup artist, and musician. A leader in the Instagram world when it comes to authentic self-expression, Vittorio will not be labeled. Identifying as neither male nor female, Vittorio challenges the very idea of gender, inspiring us all to ask ourselves, what form, color, or shape does our most authentic self take?
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself, how you identify yourself/approach gender/your identity?
My name is Vittorio and I am a model, makeup artist, and musician. I identify as non-binary. This means that I don’t identify strictly as a man or a woman, but as a combination of these two genders. Gender is a spectrum and it is wider and more complex than people think.
How did you arrive where you are now, using Instagram as a platform to share your voice?
Instagram has helped me to develop my identity and my aesthetic vision. It has always been a safe space where I can express my self and be in touch with other people like me (people from the LGBTQ+ community).
What struggles have you faced/are currently facing because of the elusive gender question?
Gender is not an easy thing to understand. It takes time and patience. Furthermore, it can also change and develop over time. It can be a struggle sometimes because people and society are not always ready to understand and accept your changes and sometimes they don’t allow you to experiment in order to understand who you are. But in my case, Instagram has helped me a lot and allowed me to get in touch with many amazing and supportive people.
Do you feel Instagram is a great place for you to experiment with color, sexuality, and gender?
It definitely is. The Instagram algorithm attracts people who have similar interests and vision of life. Social media are like bubbles, we live in our own bubbles and only see content from people we like and admire, usually.
Why do you think society can be so close-minded?
Society can be close-minded when people are not exposed to certain topics, like gender. The more people are exposed to it (in a positive way), the fewer problems LGBTQ+ people have to face. In this sense, mass media plays an important role.
How does color play a part in your identity?
Certain colors, shapes, and fabrics are specifically used to create clothes for men or women (a few brands now create gender-neutral, genderless, or unisex collections). In this sense, colors might play a part in defining people’s gender identity.
Do you feel a sense of confidence and self-acceptance? If so, how would you guide others to reach that place, and if not, what are some of the ways in which you work towards it?
I definitely feel more confident now than a couple of years ago. It takes time to learn how to accept ourselves for who we are. I had so much internalized homo-trans-phobia and I couldn’t express my identity because I was the first judge of myself. I had to learn, or rather, unlearn many things that society teaches us from the moment we’re born. I think the best way to find a sense of confidence is to experiment, try new things, explore our sexuality and gender identity and accept failure, accept that we are not perfect, we make mistakes, but sometimes we can also do great things.
What do you want people to know about you? What messages would you like to share?
I am a person in constant evolution, I always change and I love to experiment with new things. A message that I would like to share is: don’t be afraid of expressing yourself and your feelings and try to share your insecurities and fears with trustworthy people.
Also, don’t be lazy and work your ass off to achieve your goals (healthy goals).
What does your self-care routine look like? How do you take time to slow down?
I try to take care of myself developing good habits. I eat well, I avoid junk food (sometimes I treat myself to a cake or chips lol), I try to get enough sleep. I don’t smoke, I have a drink every two weeks or so (it sounds a bit boring I know). But at the end of the day, we should understand what are our limits and respect them. Since we live in a capitalist system, we feel guilty when we slow down and take time off. I am working on it and try to use my free time to regenerate my energies instead of feeling guilty.