On the Rise, Fitness Model Pedro Pertile
by Peter Renault
Blessed with classic good looks and a stellar physique, newcomer Pedro Pertile is already making quite a splash in the fitness modeling scene. Since snatching top prize at the NPC Panhandle Showdown in Florida last spring, this handsome Brazilian-born bodybuilder has caught the eye of several top photographers, most notably Pat Lee and Michael Anthony Downs. Perhaps it is his relatively clean-cut appearance and no-nonsense approach to training that cause him to stand out. Or maybe it’s his innate ability to command the stage as well as the studio. Pertile, who is 5’ 11” and 22 years old, seems primed to be one of the more popular figures in the field.
Born in Sao Paolo, Pertile came to the United States with his family when he was eight years old. Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, he took to sports early on, including, of course, soccer, but also wrestling, surfing, and one of his favorite activities, wake-boarding. Now fresh from high-profile appearances in the bodybuilding circuit, he is eager to put his modeling talents to the test. He recently came back from a shoot in Hawaii with fitness photographer Richard D. Whiddon. And it’s just been announced that Pertile will be featured in Michael Downs’s next Masculine calendar. Luckily Masculine Magazine had a chance recently during a break in his busy travel schedule to catch up with this rising star:
MASCULINE: You have such a strong, clean, healthy look, Pedro. How long have you been modeling?
PERTILE: Actually, I have only been modeling for a few months. My first photo shoot was in Fort Lauderdale right after NPC Nationals and my name has really blown up in the industry since then!
M: What motivated you to get started in the fitness field?
PP: At first, it was really just to gain size. I started going to the gym, but like every beginner, you don’t know exactly what you have to do, or what you have to eat. So one of the personal trainers helped me and also got me to step on stage for the first time last year. Starting in January 2013, I got a nutrition and workout coach, who set my standards very high, and helped me achieve them, including my first place wins, national level shows, and, of course, the physique I wanted, which then got me featured on FitnessRX magazine.
M: Were you always in good shape or did you have to overcome certain obstacles to achieve the physique you wanted?
PP: I have always played sports like soccer (since I am Brazilian), wake-boarding, and surfing, but I was always on the smaller side throughout high school. All my friends either played baseball, football, or basketball, and I wasn’t interested in baseball, too small for football, and not tall enough for basketball. I have always been strong, but never had a good size, so I did wrestling up until my senior year. But that did not help me gain weight. I still remember the first protein tub I got, and walking around school drinking protein shakes, ordering twice the meals, and everyone looking at me like I was crazy!
M: Who were some of your role models when you were younger? And today? Have they changed?
PP: My biggest role models were of course the great Arnold, Tom Platz, Don Long (who is now my very motivated coach) and all of the other guys I would see in bodybuilding magazines. Today, I really look up to Steve Cook, Jaco de Bruyn, Matt Christianer, and lately Ben Pakulski, because of his knowledge of muscle building, hypertrophy and his suggestions of what workouts to do and and why. Another big influence has been a friend of mine, IFBB Fitness pro Kelcie Gahley. She is very caring, and big-hearted and pushes me to become better, gets pissed at me if I say “I can’t,” and supports me no matter what.
M: Tell us a bit about your exercise routines? What does Pedro Pertile do differently from other guys to get his sleek look?
PP: I separate all of my workouts. Constantly. I don’t stick to the same workout routine for more than 4-5 weeks or until I notice some plateau. You don’t necessarily need to change the whole routine, but even just changing up the tempo, number of sets, as well as incorporating some supersets makes a difference. I also don’t work out with my ego like I see a ton of guys doing. You may be able to throw up 405 on bench press, but my chest is still bigger than yours and I don’t go that heavy. It’s all a science. Once someone learns about muscle breakdown and recovery down to the neurological blueprint, muscle growth becomes much more efficient (still tough though.)
M: How do you maintain that smooth, well-toned skin? And how have you managed so far to avoid getting tattoos?
PP: I have honestly never been the kind to put any lotion or sunscreen on my skin until just recently when a few photographers told me I should. I now use a bit of lotion to help keep my skin moisturized and sunscreen while on a boat or at the beach. Regarding the tattoo question, I actually have one! Haha. It’s on my left calf. No more tattoos for me, however, until I decide that fitness modeling is not my thing anymore. This one was very sentimental and I have gotten tons of compliments on it, especially from photographer Michael Downs. (He laughs.) I’m a little afraid he might want the same one on his leg.
M: Tell us a bit more about yourself. Your background and education?
PP: My father’s side of the family is originally from Europe, though he met my Mom in Brazil. I was born there. I speak Portuguese, and, of course, English, which I now consider my first language. I am currently in school to get my business degree, and my goal is to franchise a restaurant when I am older.
M: Outside of the gym and the studio, what does Pedro do for fun? Any special hobbies or interests?
PP: I really enjoy traveling, and it’s something I just recently started to do and I am now addicted! I also enjoy going out to the driving range with the guys, skating down First Street in Jacksonville Beach, and I still go out sometimes. But I also enjoy being a homebody. So staying in and watching a Redbox sounds like the perfect night to me.
M: People always have pre-conceived notions about what a bodybuilder or fitness model is like. What is the most unusual thing about you? The most unexpected?
PP: The one thing people think we don’t do is go out and have fun. Just because we look pissed off in the gym when it’s go time. That’s just because we are focused, but outside of the gym, most of us are humble with awesome personalities and even big-hearted. My friends still give me crap every time we go out, asking if I’m allowed to have a beer, or able to eat chicken wings, which I still do from time to time. The most unexpected thing about me, I would have to say, is this whole fitness lifestyle, modeling and getting to travel to shoot. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing at all, but it is taking some getting used to considering that three months ago I never even thought about modeling.
M: How do you train for a modeling shoot? Do you have to alter your routine or diet significantly?
PP: I eat clean for the most part since it has become a habit to always meal prep and pack my meals for the day, but the thing I change the most is my cardio time. i would rather be out doing sprints on a field or at the beach, but when I don’t have time I just do HIIT or Stairmaster.
M: What’s it like for you working with a photographer? Was it difficult at first? Some models get hung-up about posing in underwear. Has that ever been an issue for you?
PP: I actually really enjoy it because I get to learn a different side of myself whether it be the daydream look, seductive, happy, focused, whichever it is. The hard part was learning what works best for me, but I promise you that gets easier with every shoot. I really don’t mind doing the underwear modeling unless it’s out by a pool or somewhere that the public can see me. I still get nervous sometimes but I have been pushing myself to do better.
M: Aside from anything too scandalous, what was the funniest thing that has happened to you yet during a shoot. Or perhaps the craziest concept for a shoot?
PP: It’s always funny to get attention from people when you are shooting because they all assume you are famous! I have had a few experiences where people have asked me to take pictures with them and one time I actually got a small line of people. In my mind that was very awesome and I felt very blessed to know people liked my physique. The craziest shoot I have done was a gladiator look, and I had everything on — the helmet, all the armor, shield, the whole nine yards!
M: How have your friends and family reacted to all the attention you are getting?
PP: “Famous” is the first word I get from friends (although I really am not famous) and for the most part they all support me. My family is proud that I found something I enjoy doing and support me 100% even during contest prep when I can get annoyed or stressed and they know when to leave me alone.
M: Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance? Or advice to those just starting out?
PP: I wish I would have started earlier. I am very competitive and I think about the other guy who is competing for that first place spot or that cover shoot, and it drives me to a different level. My advice is to stay focused, and don’t forget why you started! I have met the nicest, most motivating people in this industry. Yes, it’s competitive, but at the end of the day we are a big family in a community that thinks we are crazy to be able to eat so healthy and stay so dedicated.
M: How does it feel to know you are going to be featured in a Masculine calendar? Is it something you ever expected for yourself? Are you excited about it?
PP: I never expected to be on a calendar unless it was a personal one I had made at Walmart or something. LOL. It’s an amazing opportunity and I feel so blessed and thankful for everything that is happening in my life right now.
M: Where do you see yourself going with all this modeling and fitness? Do you see it developing into a career?
PP: It’s hard to believe I get paid to do something I love and enjoy doing. I am starting to see the career side of it now but the best thing is that it feels natural, and as they say, “Find a job you love to do and you will never work a day in your life.”
You can see exclusive images of Pedro over at the Masculine Platinum website.