WHY ARMANDO MCKENZIE?????
MILANO411.com is proud to launch our first 2020 DAVID ISSUE: Icon Interview Series with Mr. Armando McKenzie. Armando is a hunk of man steel from Scotland and is a complete Renaissance Man in so many ways. To count them all would take up too many pages in the magazine.
Every April 1st, of a given year we launch our year-long love of THE DAVID statue and what it means to modern 21st century men. Our staff of Creative Directors, Writers, Fashion Directors, The Music Dept. (Gio and Anton), Stylists, and even some select readers make the selections of the MEN that fit the profile. With that in mind, they look for the “Cream of The Crop” of masculinity that is both beautiful with strong macho appeal and heroic grace; and men that have deeper relevance to their character and what they project into the sometimes cesspool of social media. The MEN that are bigger than social media and rise above it’s juvenile and Russian cyber terrorist depths to a higher consciousness. Men like Armando McKenzie who strive for refined style and Old School macho charm, in a world full of posers and lesser men.
With these words set to text and the honor that was ours to sit down with this sexy young man and hear his prose and thoughts; we present to you Armando McKenzie. THE DAVID statue reborn for the 21st century.
WHO IS ARMANDO MCKENZIE?????
Armando McKenzie has mixed origins, American from the maternal side and Anglo-American from the paternal one. In parallel to working in modeling, he also graduated in financial criminology. Armando is a genius, yet he has the cool sex appeal of the classic James Bond persona.
Besides that, he has had different jobs on his journey through life and the experiences of a wise sage garnered from them. Worked: at the university, as practicing lawyer, as model, as walk-on character, as actor, as theatre performer and other ones.
Two vocational paths, distinct but parallel, best represent his dual identity: academic as well as artistic. The perfect fusion of art and science, as represented by the works of the Renaissance Masters.
Since he was a boy, Armando was very talented at writing, around 17/18 years of age he started participating in poetry contests and writing short essays and stories, some of which have been published with excellent feedback. In recent years he got more in touch with the showbiz, both as a performer and as a scriptwriter.
Although he was already very satisfied and proud of his work, scriptwriting turned out to be an extremely creative and rewarding dimension, to him very congenial. So, he is planning to pursue this career but to keep working in fashion too, both in front of and behind the camera.
Armando has always been also a super nerd, expert and highly selective, as well as extremely fond of fantasy literature of all kinds. His innate curiosity led him to deepen the study of various matters such as history and folklore of several countries, or marine biology, his huge passion since childhood. Eclecticism, interdisciplinarity and curiosity make him a guy who cultivates so many interests, and above all, an unlimited desire for knowledge.
WHAT HE HAD TO SAY?????
- Who is Armando McKenzie and what’s special about your physique?
I’m basically a real Nerd, as well as I love every kind of sports activity, also the extreme ones; but above all, I’m very fond of fitness, workout and aesthetics in every form. Wondering what’s special about my physique? It’s a body that I could call “Old-Fashioned”: Not excessively cut, but on the borderline between extreme fitness and fashion, featured by a remarkable mass and very clean lines. The percentage of fatty mass is minimal, around 10/12% (just to be clear, Chris Hemsworth claimed to be around 15% during Thor Ragnarok filming).
My physical shape is very far from the shredded mode of typical bodybuilders, instead it represents a very photogenic and videogenic type of body harmony (also thanks to my long ballet practice); which is best expressed in artistic or intensely interpretive shooting.
A small sample of the role that dance plays in conferring us harmony and body awareness, especially about posing, can be found in the “Pumping Iron” documentary, featuring the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.
I won’t deny I have a great genetical advantage, since, despite I potentially belong to the ectomorph body type group (tall with long levers); I can easily build mass, which is instead proper to endomorph ones as well. Thanks to this versatility, my body is more well-proportioned than the average; since the enlargement is balanced by the long levers, that nevertheless give it a harmonious appearance.
These peculiarities, coupled with a long practice in various sports and ballet, make me fully aware of my aesthetics, allowing me to seek harmonic balance between body shapes.
2. Tell us your story on crafting that SEXY body? Was it always like what we see now?
What you can see now is the result of a building process that lasts since about seven years, alternating between bulk and cut phases.
During this period I gradually changed my target several times and, depending on the achieved results, I started understanding my aesthetic ideal of myself.
At the beginning my physicality ideal was represented by Roberto Bolle, whom I also had the pleasure of meeting in person, the time he was performing with Ballet from Russia. Then I appreciated his long-limbed physique built with good musculature. But later on as time passed; I took a more muscular dancer, from American Ballet, as my reference.
In fact, my parameter became progressively more massive and besides I began to understand that I am genetically very predisposed to mass building.
I used to update my goals from time to time, in relation to my role model comparison or heroes. In some cases I was also asked to lose weight, even about theater performing as in “Le Corsaire” ballet.
How did it all start? On the occasion of a shooting for the 7th yearbook of my ballet course. The photographer congratulated me on posing ability and good physical qualities, looking forward to excellent results in fashion. A couple of months later he proposed me a very artistic photoshoot, posing as a sort of bird. (Remade years later, in a more mature version and with a quite different physique).
Later I posed for other pics to be submitted to many fashion agencies, while, on the advice of various photographers, I continued to consistently train. At the time, in fact; I was told by many that by adding some muscles to my flashy hair upon a bit freckled and fine-featured face, I would have obtained a very successful result.
So I trained for 6 months, before starting work in fashion, ranging from many looks and moods.
- Describe your workout routine?
Many people ask me about my daily routine, but it is not an easy question because it depends on where I am in Scotland. If I’m in Edinburgh, I have a more dynamic routine than in the Highlands. In the morning, around 4:00 am, I roll out of bed, tie up my running shoes, and head outside for an early run. I always run around the castle neighborhood, though. When I’m out I will be on the elliptical or treadmill at the hotel. Once I’m completed about 30-50 minutes of a heart-pounding cardio session, I eat breakfast.
After breakfast, it’s time to get around to “clangin’ and bangin’” in the gym. Every day I’m in the gym. I commit a full sequence to a specific area of the body. While the routine is always adapting to what I need for a specific role or goal. In the afternoon I’m working on a script for SunStar Entertainment and then again second run around the castle. And…how many times do I eat a day? Well .. I eat 8 times a day.
- You are a Ginger Stud, moving into modeling and acting? Can you tell us more about your journey from average guy in the gym to photographer’s favorite? What are your goals in this arena?
Well, I started to rise essentially thanks to the theater: being used to performing, I often participated in many casting proposed by my agents. This chance allowed me to experiment with many roles, such as poster boy, stripper, commercial actor, walk-on character and many others, always having a lot fun.
About the journey: I started training in a very favorable moment, when fashion world was starting to seek “Californian Style” male models , a kind of look now very popular, especially on social media. By the way, at that time, to emphasize the required effect, I also dyed my hair blond. My well-shaped physique achieved great aesthetic feedback, but was no longer suitable to fashion shows, shift that led me to work exclusively in modeling.
However, after meeting a brazilian model, a roommate who later became my boyfriend, my physical reference parameter changed again, since In Brazil, in fact, male models are generally more muscular compare to other countries. At that time I was already working a lot but I decided to take it as a motivation, committing to become even bigger and still updating my body ideal.
My purpose is to keep overcoming my limits, like all athletes who commit themselves and make sacrifices do, hoping that a day will come when I can say to myself that my ultimate goal is finally achieved…. But I think it will never really happen because I’ll keep going to push my body more and more beyond my limits. I know I was very lucky for the opportunity to range in various areas and styles, without being tied to anyone in particular. And besides, my goal is to achieve an aesthetic uniqueness such as to be the only model able to pose for particular kinds of photoshoots, always matching body and face expressiveness.
I believe a harmonious combo of these aspects makes a real difference. In the world we can see many beautiful bodies, but being unique is the trump card, as well as the skill to pose and convey emotions. One of my future goals is definitely to move on the other side of the camera. That’s why I am grateful for some photographers I am learning from and the chance to start collaborating with EG7 Model Management, a prestigious agency based in L.A, Leeds, and Milan. In the future I hope to keep working as a model but also as a photographer and an agent.
- Is bodybuilding popular in Scotland?
Although Scotland is not generally associated with the idea of sport, almost everyone here practices it or anyway leads a very healthy lifestyle. Recently, in the main gym floors in Inverness (in the Highlands), I have noticed the presence of many real bodybuilders. In the north of Scotland, instead, sport is very popular but bodybuilding is not. However, in the largest towns, such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, fitness clubs concept is the same as in any metropolis all over the world. In summary, most of Scots don’t share bodybuilding culture, but, on the other hand, they practice body aesthetics, in various forms.
- What do you listen to in the gym?
In the gym I usually listen to a playlist created by me, consisting of about 200 tracks and updated from time to time. I switch between vintage songs and some modern ones, through pop, R&B, hip hop, funk, and much more. There are artists of different kinds, some of all: Gareth Emery, Martin Garrix, Robin Schulz, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and many others. I like to diversify to not get bored. All the tracks are very rhythmic but not too much, so as not to lose focus during workout. Instead, in the cardio session or some extreme trainings (sequential and destructive), I use another playlist, but definitely stronger.
- How are home workouts working for you (in our Pandemic World)?
Especially in this difficult time, I’m feeling privileged to own a private gym built over the years, an excellent investment that I have never regretted. I guess how hard it’s, for every workout addict, not to be able to train properly for a very long time. Fortunately I can dispose of a fitness lab with professional equipment, that allows me to do all types of training (hypertrophy, construction, and cardio).
Contextualising the issue, obviously without minimizing the ongoing global pandemic tragedy, this period of isolation is causing serious inconvenience to those who work through their bodies, including fitness models, personal trainers and many others. The lockdown started at a critical point of annual body building program, between the end of bulk phase and the beginning of the cut one, when workout helps to maintain muscle density. Without the right training, muscles get smaller, partially compromising the final result. On the contrary, my routine hasn’t changed at all, so I’m really grateful for my lucky condition, that I’ve never took for granted.
- What does a post-MASK future entail for you and your goals?
Scriptwriting is currently my primary job. I’m writing TV series scripts for important TV networks and, fortunately, I can keep doing this wherever I am, both here in Scotland and elsewhere. However, the global lockdown has naturally affected the postponement or freezing of some other work commitments. Anyway, trying as always to find the positive side of the situation, I realized that I can take advantage of this standby period to focus completely on writing, without further commitments. Fashion world, instead, is currently frozen, just as some photoshoots previously scheduled for the next few months, in the States. But, despite all, I see another favorable aspect: next summer will not come as usual, everything will be different, so this situation will be useful to me to focus more gradually on body crafting, without too drastic low carb phases nor any rush.
- Why should MEN strive for physique perfection (your opinion)?
Because physical improving is synonymous with evolution. A strong and healthy body with good muscle structure looks objectively more beautiful. Even selecting food is a form of evolution, those who practise sports and fitness at a high level cannot ignore a good qualitative knowledge of nutrition.
Optimization, evolution and aesthetics are closely linked.
Training techniques and tools have been optimized and improved over time too. In fact, in the current fitness world, ancient tools are still used, but most of the equipments are very modern and aimed at working on details previously overlooked, and, compared to some time ago, there are also more specific instruments that allow you to get better results regarding bulk and cut. Therefore now, as can easily be seen on social media, the percentage of well-shaped bodies has increased, and moreover, young people can approach workout earlier, since around 16/17 years. Instead, however odd it may seem, I started working out pretty late, at 22 years old. On the other hand, sport culture still predominated at the time and, above all, the modern tools based on isolation technique (fundamental for the very young) were not yet available.
- When we look at The David Statue, we see a reflection of you? If that reflection could speak, what would it say.
Yes, actually I think we can see a reflection of me in The David Statue. About it, I also remember when I posed two times interpreting a (greek) statue, but at the time my body was less bulky than now. Looking at David, I identify myself in its long and harmonious muscles and in its perfect pose, thanks also to my long practise in ballet and artistic gymnastics (disciplines in which posture is fundamental).
If that reflection could speak, it would say that modern bodybuilders have strayed from its aesthetic canons. Now we are used to pursue a bulky and cut body, no longer the true harmony of body lines. Often but improperly, comparing someone to the classical statues is used as a compliment, although they are instead much more beautiful and harmonious than our current aesthetic models.
Today’s people are striving to increasing muscles, but not compared to their whole body. Considering the height regarding the mass, for an example, is a fundamental parameter to obtaining a harmonious shape. The reflection would therefore say that modern bodybuilders are too obsessed with the effort to overcome themselves and other ones, misunderstanding what true beauty is. It would be appropriate to resume the classical aesthetic standards and try to pursue a more harmonious and healthy result. But instead, the youngest are growing up taking massive and cut bodies as an inspiration, and, thanks to their early workout, they’ll have all the time required to emulate their role-models or getting even more bigger.
Briefly, we are all confusing the current aesthetic ideal with the classic harmony, that is definitely and qualitatively superior.
- Time Machine: You jump back in time and you see Michelangelo walking in 1500s Florence. What would you say to him, to get him to sculpt you, instead of The David?
Why should Michelangelo not sculpt me? He needs to be inspired by a body able to arouse sensations through its elegant posture but even able to inspire strength through muscles density…. well, both features surely belong to me too. Furthermore, physicality and body proportions of David inspire people’s admiration, as usually happens to me too. Yes, I think Michelangelo might see in me the sort of elegance, strength and harmony that his art represents.
- When we see that sexy red hair, and those beautiful alabaster muscles of the North; sitting in nothing but a kilt and a knitted sweater; what is going through your MIND?
I’m feeling definitely comfy dressed like this (even better with kilt and tank top) and I’m enjoying the Highlands wilderness. Actually, I am as wild as nature and my style harmonizes perfectly with these sceneries. I know that people are very charmed by my look, ginger hair stands out very much and my massive and variously tattooed physique recalls the Vikings and, according to some, even the Huns. In fact, the association of particular peculiarities, inevitably generates something even rarer, which never goes unnoticed, wherever my frequent trips take me. Nowadays, due to media overexposure, it’s essential to hit the audience. Standards of aesthetic normality look higher and comparisons increase, so being noticed has become essential to interact and get involved. I know I draw a lot of attention, on the other hand, thanks to my peculiarities, I could never have been a shy guy, of course. Usually, at first glance, people are rather in awe of me, but just till they realize that there’s no reason for !!
ABOUT & MORE INFORMATION:
Facebook: Armando McKenzie
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The staff of MILANO411.COM would like to thank Armando McKenzie for such a warm, thoughtful, romantic, and inspiring sit down. We wish the best in the years to come and know the MAGIC is in your hands and we look forward to seeing those future Red Carpet moments and creative projects you’re working on. You are THE DAVID, reborn. Michelangelo would be proud.
Ciao from MILANO411.COM – KRIS MILANO, Publisher of MILANO411.COM