"When life gives you a twin brother, go out there and rock the world". This could be the beginning of the following interview, but it isn't, at least not for these twins. From small town kids to international runway models, there is more to tell besides what most of us think. Get to know the story of Sampaio Twins and how they had to fight to overcome life obstacles. By Mariana Nave.
You were born in France but moved to Portugal. Do you remember that?
Kevin: Yes I remember that, I was six years old when I moved to Portugal with my parents and brother.
Jonathan: My parents were Portuguese emigrants in France but always wanted to comeback to their country. I remember the day we move, we did the journey driving from France to Portugal just looking for a better life. I also remember the first day we arrived to Portugal at my grandmother house, everything was new for us. Everything was very beautiful, the weather was amazing. I have a lot of good memories from my childhood and from my first days in Portugal.
How was it for you?
Jonathan: It was wonderful! I had a lot of family in Portugal (cousins, uncles, grandparents) and the idea of being near all of them plus the excitement of a "new life" was great.
Kevin: It was good, I have good memories of Portugal, my grandmother was there as well as my father's side family so it was very exciting for me to move there.
How do you describe your connection to the village where you grew up?
Jonathan: We grew up between a small city named Felgueiras and a little village named Arnozela where my grandparents are from. I was very happy in the village because I had a lot of liberty and for two kids like me and my brother, full of energy, it was perfect! We could run, play with other kids (fighting sometimes with them too), have adventures, create or own games. At the village I had the chance to be happy.
Kevin: The connection to that village is really strong, I grew up there. I only have good memories from that village, it's a wild and beautiful place at the same time. I remember when I was young I use to ride horses with my grandfather, swim in the river, climb trees, hiking in the middle of the forest, hunt, play soccer with my cousins. Today I realize how lucky we were to be a part of that village.
A memory you never forgot?
Kevin: My childhood.
Jonathan: And the education that we had from our parents and grandparents. That made me the man I am today.
How often do you talk with your family?
Kevin: I talk to my brother and parents everyday, the rest of my family we try to talk at least every week. It's hard to talk to everyone because I have a really big family.
How is the relationship with them?
Jonathan: I have a very good relationship with all of my family and I know I can count on them for anything that I need.
Kevin: Me and my family are very close, our relationship is great. We’re all raised in a way to always be close to each other and never let one of us go down. If one has a problem, we all have a problem. My parents always told me that family is the most important thing in life because they will always be there for you.
As twins how is your connection?
Kevin: Me and my twin brother have a connection that is impossible to describe, only who has a twin brother will understand, it’s really, really strong. My brother is a part of me and I’m a part of him. We did fought a lot as kids but I think it's normal, specially with twins.
Jonathan: Our connection is very strong and very hard to explain simply because not everyone has the chance to experience it.
What's your mother's role in your life?
Jonathan: My mother is a symbol of strength, not only for her life story as for the education she gave us, full of values and principles.
Kevin: She is an example that I try to follow, she always gave me the best advice, she brought me to this world so she’s everything to me. She’s always there when I need, she is the cornerstone of my life and I'm the person that I am today because of her and my father. Also they always made me follow the right path, they taught me to have values, morals and principles.
Would you like to come back to Portugal?
Jonathan: Of course, it’s my country.
Kevin: I would love to come back to Portugal one day. Right now it's hard because I’m working in New York. Also my life is there, I have a lot of opportunities in that amazing city so I have to be there. Every time I have the chance I go to Portugal either in holidays or for work.
At what age did you start working?
Kevin: I started working really young, I think at 12. But it was normal for me because my father had a business so I had to work and help him.
Jonathan: I’ve always worked in my life. I started working on my father's business, not full time of course but I started learning and helping him from a very young. I tried a lot of different jobs as I was growing up. They were experiences, some of them were good, others not so much.
What did you do before fashion?
Jonathan: I was studying sports sciences in the university and working at the same time.
Kevin: Before fashion I was also studying and working, fashion came into my life when I was 17 but I had to study so I couldn't be focus on modeling at that time.
When you started modelling were there any obstacles?
Kevin: Yes, when we started modeling the beginning was hard, nobody in Portugal believed in us and nobody wanted to work with us. Also we’re studying so it was hard for us to come to Lisbon all the time to go to castings.
Jonathan: Apart from us that believed in ourselves, in our potential, no one else did. Internationally we had the chance to start with the biggest brands and we need to be thankful to all for believing on our potential and presenting us to all the Italians brands.
How was your evolution?
Kevin: I think things happened naturally. We were very lucky to get scouted by an agency in Milan and they were very persistent about Jonathan and I going to Milan. We end up by going for the men's fashion week and it was a success. We did a really good season, we worked with a lot of big brands like Dolce&Gabbana, Versace, Dsquared and that was the beginning of everything. After that we went to Paris to work with Dior exclusively, then Givenchy and we never stopped until today.
Jonathan: I think it was very good. Year after year we were working with the best brands all over the world.
What features stands you out from other models?
Jonathan: My personality. I have a very strong character and of course the fact of having a twin is always a plus as well.
Kevin: I think our personality and attitude makes the difference. In this world being beautiful is not enough, you need to be very strong mentally and ready for a long battle, you need to have something that others don't have or something that make the clients want to work with you.
Regarding your past, have you ever consider fashion and modelling?
Kevin: No I didn't, fashion came into my life in a natural way.
In what way fashion has influenced you?
Jonathan: When I started modelling I never expected to go so far. The fact of being traveling all over the world forced me to grow up earlier. The responsibility of living by myself and do everything by myself helped me to become a different man.
Kevin: Fashion helped me to become who I am today. Everything I have is because of fashion, this world opened a lot of doors for me. I think when you start traveling very young you open your mind and start to see things in a different way. In a certain way it helped me to become more responsible and mature, I had nobody to tell me what was wrong or not, what I have to do or not, I had to learn everything on my own so that made me grow even more.
Best professional advice you've ever received?
Jonathan: Always be professional on your work. And that’s something that I always did in everything that I work on.
Kevin: Be yourself, professional, on time, nice to everyone, humble and always do a great job.
What was your favorite work so far?
Jonathan: My first fashion show ever, it was for Dolce&Gabbana and I was very nervous. It was an incredible experience which I had the chance to repeat for many years.
Kevin: I think my favorite work until today was also my first show for Dolce&Gabbana, it was really fun and exciting, it changed my life so I will never forget it.
What part of the world do you want to visit but you never had the chance?
Jonathan: There are a lot of places, the world is huge. But if I have to choose: Japan, Maldives and Australia.
Kevin: I really want to go to Thailand.
Can you name a few photographers, stylists or designers that you would love to work with?
Jonathan: I had the opportunity to work with almost all the biggest photographers and stylists but I would love to work with Steven Meisel and Karl Lagerfeld. They are two big names that I admire, for their work and personality.
Kevin: Well I’ve been really blessed in my career, I’ve been working with a lot of people that I wanted to work before. As photographer I've to choose Steven Meisel and also I would like to work with the stylist Karl Templer.
If you had the chance to change anything on the fashion industry what would it be?
Jonathan: I would change all the campaigns with unhealthy models.
Kevin: If I could change something I would create again a generation of Super Models as in the 90’s. Fashion industry needs that again, models as Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Mark Vanderloo, Tyson Beckford, Naomi Campbell are icons and nowadays we don't have a generation of super models as strong as them.
Plans or projects for the future?
Kevin: I have a lot of projects for the future, big things, I just don't like to talk about it before they happen so for that reason I’m not saying anything about it but soon I will have great news to tell you.
Jonathan: A lot of projects you will hear about it.
What inspires you?
Jonathan: My life story.
Kevin: Music, fashion, art and my familly.
Book you're reading?
Jonathan: 48 Laws of Power.
Kevin: The 48 Laws of Power.
Jonathan: The Godfather and Scarface
Favorite music or artist?
Jonathan: Tupac, Keep Your Head Up.
Kevin: Nina Simone, Madonna, Jay Z, P Diddy, Andrea Bocelli.
Jonathan: Francesinha, a typical portuguese dish.
Kevin: Chocolate and yogurt ice cream.
What's the thing that you never leave at home?
Jonathan: My kneckless.
Kevin: My phone.
When you're not modelling what do you like to do?
Jonathan: Sports like karate, soccer, ect.
Kevin: Boxing, painting, listening to music, reading and spending time with my familly.
What are you proud of?
Jonathan: Everything that I conquer on my profession and my education.
Kevin: Proud of my career and my familly.