By Germain Mucyo

At an age when most high schoolers are focused on other things, Ricardo Antônio has his sights set on becoming a world-renowned international model. Putting God first, working hard to seize every opportunity that comes his way, Antônio sees his potential in fashion and the modeling business, and yearns for open doors to his chosen career.

But breaking into modeling requires signing on with an agency, Antônio said, and agencies mostly are located in large metropolitan cities, such as Boston, New York, and Paris. “I have tried to approach different branding companies, but they said they don’t work with freelancers,” he said. “They work with models who have agencies.” So Antônio knows he probably will have to move once he finishes high school.

At first, Antônio’s parents viewed his career ambition as “a childish, temporary idea,” he said, but now they are supportive of his desire to be a professional model. “My parents were like, go to college, try something big, but I was like – I have a dream I believe in, even if they don’t like it, I just always believe in that. I didn’t let their opinion affect what I believed.”

“I started with what I have while I am here in Maine, but in terms of potential I do not prefer to do my modeling business in Maine because I don’t see more potential,” he said.

Antônio said he believes that the world is free, and everyone has the right to do what they want. His advice to young adults who are lost in substance usage, and other unhealthy behavior, is to focus on something more productive. “Search, and you are going to find what you want to do. If you find it, that’s the key you need to attach yourself to it and just believe in that.”

The top models walking the runways in cities like Paris are Antônio’s inspiration. His plan for the next five years is to see himself on the runways in New York, London, Paris, and other major cities. Modeling is an open market for anyone with the skills to break in, he said, though competition is fierce, of course.

Antônio was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, raised in Angola, and then spent time in Brazil. That’s where he first decided he wanted to become a model. He said his past experience will serve him on his chosen path. Remembering where he has come from, and lived through, makes him push harder.  

“I really find my focus in past experience. When I am losing focus, I just remember where I came from. If I stop, everything I have achieved will be zero. So, I won’t stop until I get [to my dream].”

In the end, Antônio believes hard work, together with his faith, will get him to his dream of working for brands like Prada and Louis Vuitton. “I believe in God. Other people are there to give a little support, but the most important elements are God and yourself.”