In Memoriam: Jorge Ilich / Dec. 28, 1988 – June 26, 2016
By Tom Peaks @MrPeaksNValleys
Beautiful Jorge Ilich (Jorge Navas) died on Sunday night under mysterious circumstances in Miami, FL. We are heartbroken within the PnV family and our extended family, and send our condolences to his family and friends.
I first met Jorge two days after his 26th birthday on Dec. 30, 2014. As old followers may know, back then I did ‘twitter interviews’ with new and top models since I lacked a web presence. Jorge had caught my eye, and I worked very hard to get his attention. We finally connected on that day. He was very eager to do an interview with me. Despite some language barriers, we got to know each other over the next…what would sadly be… the final 18 months of his life.
One thing I’ve learned about twitter and social media is that you can make friendships and bonds that are meaningful despite no face to face interaction. You can learn a lot through words. Jorge was sweet and playful, yet very serious about his craft. He loved acting. He had appeared on the Venevison soap opera, “Heart Esmeralda,” as well as other Latino programs and TV campaigns for brands and designers. He came to America with dreams from his native Venezuela. He wanted a better life. Jorge was smart. Degreed in architecture, he hoped to one day design skyscrapers. He loved urban architecture from Chicago and New York to Berlin and Paris. He had lived briefly in NYC. But, he wanted to pursue acting first. He took acting classes in Mexico and Miami. He also was committed to learning the English language and took classes in Miami to speak our language.
Jorge enjoyed modeling. He once told me his favorite male model inspirations were Bryant Wood, Lucas Garcez, and Nic Palladino. He wanted to be affiliated with the best. Jorge, I came to find, was a perfectionist. He was very hard and demanding on himself. He used to drive me crazy asking me to remove photos that he didn’t like—and sometimes they were photos he just sent me. I knew if I posted a Jorge Ilich image that the twitter delete button better be on stand-by. He would say he looked too skinny or silly…or he didn’t like the pose or color. He wanted to be the best. I wish I could get one more Direct Message from Jorge asking me to take down a photo and replace it with another one.
On July 5, 2015, I happen to ask Jorge how he was doing with his career and living in America. He said, “Really, I’m happy with my life. I’m doing amazing.” One thing most fans might not know about Jorge is the love he had for his 5 year old nephew. Jorge was helping to raise him, and felt like a father figure to the child. He always became prideful and boastful talking about the boy. The nephew was a big priority in Jorge’s life; they even shared the same birthday. I can’t begin to imagine the void.
Jorge last sent me an image on June 16. I so regret we didn’t have the opportunity to converse that day.
“There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
So, below is my interview with Jorge Ilich from January, 2, 2015. Again, unlike many of my recent interviews, which are intended for long form, this one was designed for me to capture facts to put within tweets. But I wanted to share with you the Q&A in its entirety. Often, especially with language barriers, I like to polish them a bit. However, Jorge put a lot of effort into speaking functional English. I found it charming, and watched him improve over time. Hence, I wanted to present Jorge in his own words.
Jorge, what is your age, height, weight , eye color and hair color?
I’m 26.. 5’11. 160. Green. Light Brown.
Where did you grow up and when did you move to Miami?
I was born in Venezuela and grew up there, as adult I’ve spent some time in several countries for purposes of study and work.
You have a degree in architecture from the University of Santa Maria? Why did you choose architecture and why are you not using your degree?
I love the architecture, urban design my passion and I would someday see a building designed for me, I do not work as an architect because the situation in Venezuela is not suitable for you to live there, much less develop my career.
Jorge, what are the biggest differences in life in the USA compared to Venezuela?
I would not say that is better or worse, but clearly there is a difference in the USA behavior of people, quality of things, and as the country US remains as to order and social stability.
How long have you modeled and/or acted? How did you get into modeling/acting?
I started when I was 15, with Garbo And Class agency, Caracas, Venezuela did many things in Mexico and then last year I decided to study acting and prepared with teacher Alonso Santana (casting director Televen).
What has been your best experience modeling so far?
It would be difficult to choose a better experience, each has something special, however there is a day that marked me and that they newcomer to America I went to LA and I had a day full working with several photo shoots, and of course a magnificent result, it is best that one day I did great things.
What has been your best acting experience so far?
A very comical character I had in a telenovela in Venezuela where character is gay, but was very small part and was very funny.
What are your long-range career goals, Jorge?
I want to be ready from and film actor, I reach the summit of success in Hollywood and be rewarded in the Oscar ceremony.
How often do you work out? What are your favorite exercises?
I try to do 5 days a week, but I’m too lazy to exercise what I required, I like doing squats and crunches.
What 2 body parts do you get the most compliments on? What do you think is your worst body feature?
My legs are what mostly receive praise, naturally are very sturdy and have nice way. For me the worst may be my waist, it never looks as I wanted.
Favorite sin foods for when you are naughty?
Chocolate and nutella, I’m an addict, in fact every day as something of these.
How do you make yourself comfortable for nude or nearly nude shoots?
The truth is that nudity does not cause me shame. To be clear to me that I am a professional and I work with professionals, so the subject is modesty aside.
Favorite style of underwear in your personal life?
Briefs Calvin slim type
How do you balance time?
Almost always I am in the street, between one thing and another I do not have much time indoors, although I would. I am more home and spend quality time with family.
What is your dream place to visit in the world? In America?
In the world Tokyo. In America Chicago. (love architecture, when I travel I am only noticing constructions)
What is it like helping to raise your nephew? How old is he?
Has four years, is a blessing! His birthday is the same day as mine (Dec 28). That I live in the same house, my sisters and I take care of him and he gives us so much joy and love. He is the smartest kid I’ve ever met, apart from being bilingual, he has an obsession with numbers and letters, is impressive numerical and strong reasoning ability.
Favorite American actors/actresses?
Sandra Bullock and Johnny Depp
Tom’s Note: Accompanying this article are a mix of professional and selfies of Jorge through the years. He used to tell me that he was my ‘selfie king.” In fact, here is the first and last selfies he sent me. The first was from Dec 30, 2014 as he was wearing his Christmas reindeer top. The last was from June 16, 2016.
Jorge, may your dear soul find peace. RIP.