No one likes to have dry chalky skin otherwise we as Lheritier Skincare wouldn’t be in business. Men equally have love and adoration for their skin, even though the common stereotype is that our African men -or that men in general are less bothered about the look and feel of their skin. This Man-Alogue segment is a platform and a useful resource for men to draw inspiration from when it comes to maintaining a youthful skin. Also, stay tuned for our all-inclusive product line which will also address skin related issues for men.
What/Who inspires your trendy outlook?
My father, Armando Lucarelli, is my fashion icon. I was never that much into fashion, but by learning and getting inspired by my dad now I am. I am always bringing out a blend of African and Italian in to my every day look.
Tell us more about the inception of your modelling career and its eventual realization.
I didn’t know I was ever going to be a model up until I tried for Mr/Ms USIU in 2013. I didn’t win. Many people could have just given up, but this turned out to be a platform of exposure for me. I was picked by an agency called Strut-it Africa, it was a small firm but super vibrant and dynamic at the time. To keep up with the demands of my new found career in the fashion industry, I felt that I needed to enhance my strategy in the fashion world. Some of the strategies included: shaving my Afro and going to the gym. Up until now these strategies have worked for me really well. I have also come to realize that I have the creative mind of fashion. Fashion is not just about how you dress; it is about how you express yourself –as in how you speak, walk, talk, and feel in your style. This mantra has really positively moulded me over the course of time.
How do you work on your personal brand expansion and its awareness in modelling (through self-expression)?
I am my own boss, I used to have an agent and I learned a few good lessons from it. I also have an agency that we work with on a contract basis. As a model I’m aware about the need for my personal presence in certain events -I go for industry related events (whether fashion, networking, and culinary events (I am a chef)). Being strategic about the motive for attending an event is very key such when I go to such places I try to make a lasting impression without being too brush nor impertinent. I must say that after attending these events I do end up getting calls for jobs. For my social media, I am still trying to build up my brand to a level where I can feel comfortable.
As a self employed student, how do you ensure discipline between the tricky balance of working while schooling?
Being previously broke made me be so disciplined because being deprived of a financial status is a big motivator to me. I must always keep on going no matter how my day looks like. I am very dedicated to school because I want to be a film maker, and I have to fund such an endeavor by getting a job after my schooling. So in a nutshell, I always plan my time right and I never deny any of my objectives (school/work) the equal attention that they need.
Holistic health is key to living a balanced life. Tell us more about your wellness routines.
What is your daily beauty regimen?
I never liked water but now it is my number one source for my good skin. I am also an avid milk drinker, so this healthy habit combined with my regular intake of water keeps my skin youthful. I also rely on fitness -on a daily basis as I go to the gym quite early in the morning.
How do you pamper your beautiful, natural hair?
I no longer use petroleum jelly. I use olive oil, shea butter, and coconut oil. At night after a shower, I let my skin breathe by not applying any oil on it. When it comes to my hair, we have had a challenging relationship. This unhealthy relationship started while in high school. At my senior year I shaved bald and this move was a big oversight on my end as I started having a nest of ceaseless fungal infections on my scalp -no prescribed treatment helped, and this embarrassing infection took 2 years to disappear. Once healed, I decided to grow a big Afro. This spring of new hair gave me so much life, I literally decided to show it a lot of appreciation by constantly changing different hues of dye on it. When I finally got into the fashion world, I decided to crop it to my current box cut. At some point again my hair started breaking because I barely put anything on it. I tried a product by Cantu but I didn’t like the consistency as it would leave a white residue on my hair. These days I don’t do anything to my hair.
What about your exercise routines?
I go to the gym every morning, and I am very disciplined about it.
Share with us a 3 step routine you involve yourself in to maintain your skin tone
I drink my milk and water; I avoid petroleum jelly/Vaseline; I work out; and I invest in expressing myself through fashion (this gives me a positive outlook, so I tend to remain stress-free).
Would you consider incorporating natural/organic products in to your routine?
I definitely would. There are many products out here that barely add any value to our skin. What I realize is that your skin stays with you till you grow old; it is like a system of its own. So you have to take care of it by using ingredients that add value to it’s overall health.
What are some of the hacks you use to ensure that you do not have any razor bumps?
I used to have those! Its been a while.. whoa! It starts with your barber. I think it is also how they shave and what they use on your skin as they do it. I mean right now I have a beard because at some point I decided not to shave any more. I avoid harassing my skin. My hack is -grow a beard-.
As an African man, what words of encouragement and inspiration do you have for young girls and women about self-awareness and brand-building particularly when it comes to acceptance of the-self?
I am attracted to a woman with natural hair. It is true that we are in the world where women decide on their own in terms of what to do with their bodies and I cannot force a woman to change from braids/weaves to natural hair. I would encourage a woman to be bold, I mean one day, shave it and let it grow because natural hair is very easy to maintain. It is true that the weave business is not going anywhere any time soon, because they keep mutating by providing products for all types of needs. I can say that women who feel pressured to conform to Kardashian-esque standards of beauty don’t want to be themselves. I don’t know why they feel being themselves is not good, yet it is the most beautiful thing to do. I am happy that in the local fashion industry, most girls have natural hair, and some do put on wigs/weaves just for the short time in which they are on the runway. I have also noticed that many local runways are increasingly featuring women with their natural hair as part of the looks.
How can people find our more about Mr. Black Pepper?
Oh gosh, I knew that name would come up! Let me give you a short story on how that came about. I was at a friends house, and we were playing a drinking game. So one of the questions was about the name I would adopt if I ever became a male stripper (I am bad at dancing as we speak). I said “Chicco long” as I was cooking and looking for black pepper. As this turns out to be my favorite spice, they all concluded on “Mr. Black pepper” as my appropriate name. This newfound moniker was very unique to me such that I went ahead and used it as my Instagram handle. Anyone who wants to reach out to me can do so by searching for @Mr.Blackpepper Instagram and Facebook. I am also developing content for my new website which will bring out my projects in film, modelling, and fashion.