Here we are again with a little celebration. While the US are celebrating Independence Day with fireworks and parades, we are celebrating our first year online. We can’t throw confetti at you through the screen, but we have chosen a very insightful feature from our recent trip to Milano. That’s where we paid Rossana Adorno a visit, a model from a young agency that has been on our radar for a while. Linden Staub promotes an empowering approach to the modeling industry and is run by women for women. Their perspective got us and Rossana intrigued and we are glad it came to this encounter. We really enjoyed talking to a fellow student of Humanities, throwing ancient Greek quotes at each other, and exploring the views of a younger generation. A good conversation is our kind of fireworks. So, enjoy!
Thanks for having us, Rossana! You are one of the first Italian models we have the pleasure to meet. We got a feeling there are not many anyway. It’s not like Italians are less blessed with beauty, but still, being a model is not really a popular choice, is it? Why so?
Yes, I definitely think so too. The general perception of modeling here in Italy is very bad: people think modeling is easy and not challenging, that it’s just about a pretty face. Of course this is not the reality and to me it’s obvious that, like any job, modeling is just as much hard work! I am not sure why people here still think differently but my guess would be that Italians have a strong traditional background and for this reason they are more attached to stereotypes. However, I feel I must say that regardless of this, I am really proud to be Italian!
You have been scouted before but were not really happy with your first agency, then met Esther from Linden Staub by chance and signed with them. Why did you decide to give modeling another shot and what do you feel is different now?
I really like modeling because you can meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world. For this reason, it was love at first sight, but I quickly developed some doubts because of the way some agencies worked with models. When I first met Tara and Esther [of Linden Staub] I didn’t really realize that they would become my agents soon. They spoke with me about their project and I got really intrigued and it fascinated me. Now, working with them is an honor for me; it is as if I am part of their project and, for the very first time, I feel part of a team where some people believe in my potentiality. I always had the feeling to have something inside me that needed to be pushed out. I was searching for something – like probably all people of my age – that gives me the possibility to express and explore myself. For that reason I think I found the right agency! This choice has changed my life completely and it makes me see life from a different perspective. I used to always plan my future precisely and in some ways I never lived fully, never considered that all moments in life are very precious. Modeling made me understand that you can’t predict the future and you have to live day by day doing your best and putting passion in everything you do.
What would you like to achieve as a model?
As I said, I want to be a model in order to find out and express what is still hidden inside me, some sort of outlet of creativity. So, my goal as a model is to continue exploring myself while working with a super team and traveling around the world.
There is actually another very famous Adorno, the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno. You are not by any means related, are you?
I am not related to him but maybe there is a cultural connection there in a way: although he is best known for being a leading member of the Frankfurt School, he was also a musicologist. My family and I have a huge passion for music too, so who knows!
You left home very early to attend school in Milan… what did you have to learn faster than your classmates because you were on your own?
My parents gave me the great opportunity to attend school in a big and amazing city like Milan. They knew that it would not only be a good school to attend but also be an incredibly precious experience for me growing up. I had to learn quickly to do my own housework, wash dishes after having cooked food, do the laundry (yes, also models do!), and still make sure my grades were in order. So yes, I certainly always felt differently from my peers. People often say that teenage years are the best, for me it was different. Somehow I didn’t have that carefree youth. I’m not saying that my youth was horrible, it was just different and I think that all the difficulties made me stronger. I am sure that it will be much easier for me to face and solve problems in the future.
A classical higher education is a big issue in your family, you are learning Latin and ancient Greek in high school and plan to go on studying literature later. What are the books (or other works of art) that have most influenced you growing up?
Actually, all authors and poets that I read for school or just for my personal interest made me grow up. As I learned from Seneca, reading philosophers and intellectuals makes our lives longer. To be honest, I have two favorites: Bob Dylan and Giacomo Leopardi. The first one is my source of inspiration. In regards to the second, there are no words to describe him, or better, I cannot use my humble words to say how much better he makes me understand the world and human kind.
In a world seemingly ruled by technology and finance, how are Humanities still relevant in your opinion?
This is THE question. Most of people think that it is not useful to study Humanities. Obviously, I don’t think so, and actually Humanities are what I have ‘used’ most in my life, “the utility of the inutile”. After studying these subjects you will automatically have a totally different approach to anything in life. In my case, it helped me understand my language deeply which then gave me the knowledge to understand the sense of my life and also have a much better comprehension of the world around me. In my opinion, studying classical authors is extremely enriching and in some ways they made me grow up and made me the person I am. In this day and age, we forget too easily that the power of culture is the only thing no one can take away from us.
And if you could be reborn in another time, which would you pick and why?
This is an easy question! I wish I could be reborn to have been in my 20s in the 60s and maybe in a big city where the civil and political commitment was a big issue. I have always admired the involvement of young people in political and cultural issues and that period is a fantastic example of this.
Recently we had a conversation with a young artist, who is very sensitive to human rights issues. He said that art really needs to spark a debate about our society and humanity in general and that it has never been as urgent since the cultural revolution of the 60’s. Would you agree?
Art is the mirror of the society, it is not just a source of beauty. Nowadays, more than before, media rule our society. As a matter of fact, there is a tendency to commercialize art. Instead, art has to be an expression. So, I think that we can speak about a sort of revolution in order to put culture and art at the center of our (hypothetical) debate and lives again.
What do you wish for your generation?
I think that my generation is somehow lost and we are not considered in a positive way by the past generations. We are living in difficult times and every day we have to deal with the fact that the future is not safe and it doesn’t feel like it’s ours. My wish is that my generation can rebuild a society that has more consideration for youth.
©modelsintheraw.com / photos: Thomas Sing / text: Chiara Padovan