Many gay men are obsessed with youth and conventionalized beauty; however, true beauty is not found in superficial appearance, but in how one behaves and carries himself. Beauty is as beauty does! Brazilian model, Rodiney Santiago, is as beautiful as they come—inside and out. Born in the small city of Timoteo, near Belo Horizonte, Santiago enjoyed a very normal and happy childhood. The son of an auto mechanic, Santiago enjoyed playing with other kids and considered himself the leader in his circle of friends. He maintains his childhood experiences allowed him to become who he is now—“…an easy-going, normal guy with great friends living a full life, and always staying true to who [he is].” Santiago is more than just eye candy; he has an amazing spirit as well. See what I mean in his very candid interview with Proud Times.
Rodiney, thank you for chatting with me. You’re a long way from home. What do you miss about Brazil?
The beach culture is probably the main thing I miss along with amazing food, friends and family. I love the USA, too; I knew my biggest dreams could come true here. It's hard to answer this question, because I really love both countries.
Where is home for you now?
Where I can unwind and meditate about life. I guess it can be pretty much anywhere; a beach close by is also very nice. That is why you can usually find me in California or Florida.
What is a typical day like for you?
It's a routine...mostly taking care of my body and health, enjoying time with friends and working on new projects I am involved with.
When did you know you wanted to be a model?
My friends in Brazil always told me I should be a model. I didn't really think anything of it until someone came up to me and asked me if I was interested in modeling and joining their agency. The rest is history. My first shoot was for an auto company. I would like to say modeling came natural for me, but it definitely took some practice. I was a little stiff in the beginning.
Which do you enjoy more – modeling or acting?
When I was a kid I wanted to be a physical therapist and an actor, but I became a model first. As I am getting older in the business I am studying more acting, and just going to see what life brings me. I would love to do a movie that had fun with my Portuguese accent.
No one can wear swimwear like you. What do you do to stay so beautiful?
Thanks for the nice compliment! For me it's all about the food I put in my body, and making sure to hit the gym daily. You really are what you eat! My abs pay my rent.
Aside from making beautiful pictures, what does being a model mean for you?
I'm selling a product for the client, so that is usually the most important part of the job. Each job brings its own thing. I feel like because of my culture I am freer with my expression and have a really good time at the shoots. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like work.
You were quoted as saying, “Happiness is the opportunity you have to express who you really are. I think I made many mistakes looking for happiness, but most of the time I let it happen and lived my life with passion, courage and being whom I was… I am happy. I don’t have goals that I haven’t achieved. Don’t be confused by personal satisfaction and happiness.” Tell us how you came to this realization so early? Do you think your definition of happiness is why you embraced being bisexual?
You got it! In Brazil, to be bisexual is a normal thing for people to accept. In the States, people want to believe that you're either gay or straight, bottom or top. You have to be one or the other and it's your label. I'm not used to this. I am who I am! I really found my happiness when I stopped letting people who do nothing for me control so much of my mind, feelings and emotions.
Could you see yourself being happy married to a man?
Yes of course…and with kids!
What does being in love mean to you?
Peace + respect + trust + security + happy = LOVE. I like to connect with everyone, so when I meet that special someone it is like fireworks. Holding hands and kisses are sure to follow. I am a huge romantic.
What advice would you give to those struggling with their sexuality?
Be who you are! It's very simple.
I know that you are not a religious person, but you believe in God. You said religion makes people crazy. Tell us more about that.
The world is at war because of religion--people using the name of God to judge others. I respect all religions especially the ones that respect the freedom of every person being what they are or want to be. I believe God is probably very sad about the state of the world. It's all about money, power and ego.
You mentioned in one of your blogs that the writers who are the loudest and meanest about putting others down (TV, blogs, magazines) are always gay people. I think there is a lot of truth to that. Like you, I hate the cattiness often displayed in our culture. I personally think that most gays have endured shame and hurt for a great deal of their lives, and in turn project that to others. I guess it’s true that hurt people, hurt people. What do you think is the reason?
YES! It seems the loudest and meanest about putting others down (TV, blogs, magazines) are usually other gay people. Some people are just not happy with themselves, and they take it out on others or live by looking for negative. That for me is not right…the only gays I don't love are gays who don't love and support other gays.
What’s next for Rodiney Santiago?
There are a lot of things on my plate. I obviously can't get into specifics because we are in production. I will make sure to post updates on my site when I can discuss them.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
I would love to have a child someday; that would be my biggest legacy. Also, I believe in showing other people out there (even my own brother) that you can do whatever you want to do. It doesn't matter where you come from or who you know. I want to influence anyone that feels down about those things not happening for themselves. Anything is possible.
Again, thank you, Rodiney, for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. Your beauty truly transcends physicality.