Brains and Brawn: Pietro Boselli by Giampaolo Sgura for VMAN
The term “brains and brawn,” a masculine synonym for “beauty and brains,” smacks of fable—the perception being that if you’re good looking, there’s no use in exercising the mind, and if you’re smart, you need not exercise the body. In other words, having one or the other (God forbid you have neither!) will get you through life just fine.
Talk about a thirst trap. Despite being scouted as a kid by none other than Giorgio Armani himself, Pietro Boselli didnt reach international stardom until a student of his posted his pictures online, dubbing him “the world’s hottest math teacher.” Years later and he’s turned his platform into so much more.
Boselli himself is a living embodiment of brains, brawn, and then some. A few years ago, the Veneto native went viral as the “World’s Hottest Math Teacher,” after one of his students snuck a photo in class.
The image in question paints Boselli as an inexplicably Adonis-like pencil-pusher, perhaps having collided with a Calvin Klein ad on his way down a wormhole. In reality, while Boselli may not have been aware of that photo being taken, he was, in fact, an experienced model—scouted by Giorgio Armani when he was just six years old.
The rest is, admittedly, exceptional: “After studying engineering at University College London, I got a scholarship to do my Ph.D.,” the now-30-year-old tells us. Boselli, perhaps your greatest example of the anti-Zoolander, acknowledges as much:
“When I was 15, I read this book by Einstein and I was blown away by his figures, and [the idea] that people could come up with these theories. That’s why I decided to study engineering: I wanted to combine science with a practical application of it,”Pietro Boselli
He says. “Many people do modeling, and that’s all they do with their lives. They base all of their success on their appearance. It’s very easy to make appearance the center-point of one’s lives…That can create a skewed perception of reality.”
While such keen self-awareness may not be associated with rock-hard abs, Boselli pursued matters of the mind and of the body with equal force: “[In university,] I was doing nothing but studying and working out.
But at 14, my focus was to push through academia, [even though] I had a promising career as a model. I feel like, in a way, the fact that I always put that first, rather than my appearance, has kept [me] real.” In the same breath, Boselli reflects on the negative effects of social media on mental health, which he values as much as he does physical fitness. “[Social media and mental health] is a very interesting topic for me,” says Boselli, whose follower count pushes 3 million. “I learned a lot about myself [by] interact[ing] with a big audience.”
But like those of us striving toward beauty, brains, or some combo thereof, Boselli calls himself a work in progress— particularly in regards to his upstart fashion brand, Petra. “I had to learn everything, from design to shipments…” he says, before stating the obvious: “I’m the type of person who likes to figure everything out.”