Matteo Ferri, the 25-year-old Italian model, has left behind the quiet streets of Ascoli Piceno to dive into the bustling heart of New York City. Through chance encounters and sudden opportunities, he has ascended the catwalks of the most prestigious fashion houses, from his exclusive debut with Versace to seasons with Burberry under the artistic direction of Riccardo Tisci. In this first episode, he opens up unfiltered, sharing authentic stories and experiences, amidst uncertainties, fears, and both small and great joys, giving voice to the needs and challenges of his generation


What you’re about to read is my personal experience in the fashion industry and beyond. In this space graciously given to me, I’ll rework the contents of my diary, a safe place where I analyze thoughts and organize ideas, where I trace the path I’ve taken and project the future one. I want to shed light on what often goes unnoticed in this appearance-driven world: the experience of a guy finding himself while making a living by selling his image. I hope it can be helpful to someone.
Sunny day in Central Park
Let me introduce myself. My name is Matteo Ferri, I’m 25 years old, and I’ve just moved to New York City. Work and the desire to broaden my horizons brought me here. I come from a beautiful provincial town in central Italy, Ascoli Piceno. There, amidst school, volleyball, and friends, I spend my days until I reach adulthood. I express the desire to work hard and challenge myself with a summer job as a laborer on a farm. This experience, lasting just a month, aligned the timing, at least that’s how I like to think, with what was about to happen. Right during that time, I meet a fashion photographer, Lorenzo Marcucci, in a clothing store on the Riviera, who sees in me the potential to be the face of the world’s major fashion houses. And so it was. I begin my career by debuting exclusively for Versace, followed by Bottega Veneta, Philipp Plein, Dolce&Gabbana, Moschino, H&M, and several seasons at Burberry under the artistic direction of Riccardo Tisci. This, along with an advertising campaign for Salvatore Ferragamo, brought my figure closer to the pinnacles of the industry.

Quite a crescendo for someone who didn’t even know who Donatella was at his first fashion show. I confess that the first few years of this routine didn’t please me. The biggest lesson learned from the start of my career was not to take things personally; after all, it’s an appearance-based industry. In the meantime, I see new places, do things, meet people. But at some point, the environment around me starts to feel constricting. I needed a new experience; the reality I was accustomed to was no longer enough, and I felt it was time to reach a higher level, personally and professionally. I find an agency in New York, not without receiving some rejections first, I plan the trip and prepare what’s necessary. I’ve wanted to do it for years, but I knew it would only happen when I was ready. Now I was. Matteo Ferri, 25 years old, New York City.

Guggenheim Museum
Natural History Museum
To ensure that I maintained good mental health during this experience, I needed to build a routine that provided stability. Healthy food and physical activity are the foundations of my well-being. Once these pillars were defined, I plunged into what my first outing in the Big Apple could offer me.
The L train takes me to Union Square. It’s a beautiful day in early October, warm air and golden light reflected on skyscrapers welcome me to this new reality. Wandering through the boulevards, I absorb as much as I can with my senses, trying to perceive the kind of energy this city emanates. I stop at Washington Square and observe what surrounds me: skaters showing off their tricks, hustlers challenging passersby to chess matches, street artists performing, people walking their dogs, but also those who simply came out to enjoy the beautiful day and take a look at the markets, all accompanied by the pungent smell of marijuana in the background.
As a good tourist, I continue to explore what the city has to offer: Times Square, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, and various iconic places like Katz’s Delicatessen (if you’ve seen “When Harry Met Sally,” this place will remind you of something).
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center
I start a tour of the city’s most famous vintage clothing stores in search of interesting pieces to add to my collection. Where better than NYC for this? As a music lover, especially of house and techno, when it comes to going dancing, I dive into the nightlife of Bushwick. I spend the first few nights alone as I haven’t made friends in the city yet. I don’t mind being in my own company; in fact, I prefer it to spending the night with someone I’m not comfortable with. Plus, I was out for the music; everything else was secondary. Initially, I was intimidated by experiencing this alone, but facing the situation, I realized there was nothing to worry about. I wasn’t at risk of getting shot on the street as stereotypes about the new continent might suggest.
Exploring my interests in this environment so rich in possibilities, I gained a deeper understanding of myself. Activities that were once only imagination were now materialized, and I could look beyond the wall of my past experiences and breathe deeply.
Barclays Center, Brooklyn Nets vs Chicago Bulls
Manhattan with lovers
I start to wonder more and more insistently what I want to dedicate my time to and how I can make the best use of it. I put on paper the goals I want to achieve in the coming months, materializing them, giving myself a clearer idea of the direction I intend to take.
It’s during this period that I discover the importance of writing and how it can help us think more efficiently. When we don’t know what to do, the best step is the most immediate one. Even marginally, we will find ourselves closer to what we want, and the succession of these steps will create momentum favorable to our vision, whatever it may be. If we believe in what we do, and truly believe in it, working hard will soon or later be rewarded. What awaits us is often much better than we thought. Reality can be rosier than fantasy, but we must have patience, willpower, and faith in our path.
The days pass by with gym sessions, outdoor walks, cinema, and simply doing nothing; it’s also important to recharge. In the meantime, I don’t receive any updates from my agency, and just as I’m about to decide to contact them, I receive an email: it was a casting with Steven Klein. The same Steven Klein who was on my list of goals. The ink I had put on paper had come to life; the domino effect had been set in motion. Trying not to get too caught up in excitement and especially trying not to create any expectations, the next day I go to meet him. We exchange the usual pleasantries, take some photos, and I sense his interest. He lets me know that the following week he would be shooting a campaign in Los Angeles and that he would like me to be a part of it. It seemed like a dream. Before leaving, I lingered to cuddle his dog Prince, a beautiful Great Dane. The next day, I receive confirmation from my agent with the plane ticket; I was going to Los Angeles.
Sunset with Statue of Liberty