Adding some Brazilian spice to the cast of Logo’s new reality show The A List is model Rodiney Santiago. A recent transplant from the land of the samba and Carnival, this busy model took a few moments to chat with me about working on The A List and swapping a photographic camera for a video camera and shares his tales about his first (and hopefully not last) foray into the world of reality television. We struggled through a bad phone connection and a teeny language barrier, but the result is worth checking out (and so is Rodiney…prepare to fall in love – I did!)
Socialite Life: Congrats in advance on the show, it’s very entertaining!
Rodiney Santiago: Thank you!
SL: On the show, all of your dialogue is subtitled. I, personally, don’t think your accent is thick enough to warrant subtitles, do you?
Rodiney: It really doesn’t really bother me, it actually makes me more secure. I’m still learning English, I’ve been in this country for two and a half years, so some words I try to say and sometimes people don’t understand. I’m glad the put the subtitles in!
SL: Where in Brazil are you from?
Rodiney: I’m from Belo Horizante, it’s the biggest city between SÃ£o Paulo and Rio, but before I moved to this country, I was living in SÃ£o Paulo.
SL: Do you miss Brazil?
Rodiney: I go to Brazil two times a year, but, yeah, I miss Brazil a lot – especially the Brazilian food (laughs)! I miss my Mom’s food a lot – her cooking is really good. And in New York, I can’t find a restaurant that can represent real Brazilian food.
There’s more with Rodiney after the jump!
SL: Before you arrived in New York, I know you were working in Miami. How long were you there?Rodiney: I was in Miami for 18 months…well…I went to Atlanta to study English for six months, so it was probably more like two years. SL: Since Miami has a lot of Brazilians living in and visiting the area, did you feel a sense of being “home away from home” there?Rodiney: You know, when I was living in Miami, I really didn’t really know a lot of Brazilians there. I have a girlfriend there – she’s my best friend – she’s from my city (in Brazil). I made a lot of friends with Columbians and Venezuelans and I learned to speak Spanish there – because everybody speaks Spanish in Miami. But, yeah, when I’m around my Brazilian friends, like I had in Miami – not a lot, but some – I really felt at home.SL: Have you found it hard to adapt to life in New York?Rodiney: At the beginning, it was because everything is new. My first and second months here, I was so lost in New York. The weather didn’t bother me, because it was hot like Miami. But now I’m fine, but I’m a little scared about the winter because I’ve never lived anywhere cold, like New York. This makes me a little nervous! (Laughs) My friends say, “don’t worry Rodiney, you’re tan, you’ll look good.” I really don’t care a lot about looking good, I just don’t want to be cold!SL: Since you’re a model – and you’re used to having a camera in your face – was it difficult to have a camera crew following you around for the show?Rodiney: It’s a different camera, you know? I was comfortable with a picture camera, and this was a new experience for me. It was hard to have five people behind you, following you and shooting everything about your life. Yeah, it’s kind of stressful. SL: How do you feel about having details about your personal life broadcast on national TV?Rodiney: I feel proud but at the same time very worried, because, you know, it’s your personal life. You have a lot of privacy in your life, and when you sign this contract, you don’t have any privacy anymore. And it makes you scared about what people are going to think about you, how the TV show’s going make you look, how you’re going to be accepted by the people watching this (show).SL: Has it gotten easier making your way around New York? In the premiere, you go to a party and I absolutely felt for you – you seemed to be having a difficult time striking up conversations with people. Rodiney: In the first episode, the first scenes we started shooting, I wasn’t comfortable with the cameras. I think cameras at the beginning would make anybody nervous. But, after a month, I forgot I had a camera around me and I was being myself. Yeah, at the beginning, it was difficult, but after that, I was fine.SL: This show’s bound to have a lot of female fans and I’m sure I’m not the only woman who thinks that you are a very handsome man. How do you feel being a sex symbol to straight women?Rodiney: You know, I’m bisexual, and for me it doesn’t matter. I hope the girls like me! (Laughs) SL: Since you knew you were going to be on camera, did you feel any pressure to always make sure you looked your best? Rodiney: Ummm…you know, it’s a lot of pressure because models have to look good all of the time and be in fashion, but in my life, I don’t (feel the pressure). I like sneakers and jeans and t-shirts, this is how I dress every day. But, sometimes you have to look nice – everybody likes to look nice – and sometimes I feel pressure for the TV show, but sometimes you just have to be yourself. I’m not going to be in my house shooting and dressed like I’m going to a club. When they shoot in my house, I’m going to be in my t-shirts, my underwear, or my flip flops. I’m not worried about how I’m going to look on TV and how I dress on TV – it’s a reality show and they want to shoot who Rodiney is – and this is Rodiney. SL: If they do a second season of The A List, is that something you’d be interested in doing?Rodiney: Yes…but…the first experience, you learn a lot of things and I did learn a lot on this season. I think if there’s a second season, I’m going to change my mind a lot! (Laughs)SL: What’s on the horizon for you professionally? Are you modeling now in New York?Rodiney: Yes, I’m modeling now in New York and my agent is from Miami and he works with all of the agents in New York. I’m lucky because not all models get that – I’m so happy and thank God everything’s going well!SL: Well, I wish you lots of success, both with the show and your career. I don’t know Porutgese, but in Spanish I can say “Gracias para su tiempo”! Rodiney: Ah, you speak Spanish! I do speak Spanish but I have a t-shirt I bought in Miami that says “No habla espaÃ±ol”, because people look at me and think I’m Latino and they think I speak Spanish, so everyone started speaking Spanish to me and I said “Listen, I speak Portugese” (laughs). But I did learn the language! If you want to hear (and read!) more from Rodiney, check him out on The A List, premiering Monday night at 10pm EST on Logo TV!