There's something admirably misanthropic about getting a face tattoo. You really need to be fully committed to having a somewhat shitty life to let a stranger draw something on your face forever. Whether it's a teardrop, or the name of the softest rapper in the game, having a face tattoo defiantly screams: "You may never trust me with your child or gainful employment, but I'll be damned if I care!"
Of course, there's the rare occurrence when people with face tattoos have not just succeeded despite their regretful life choices, they have excelled as a result of their facial ink. Would Gucci Mane's rep as "the coolest rapper in jail" be secure if his face didn't have a triple scoop ice cream cone on it? Would Miami rapper Stitches' video for "Brick In Yo Face" be as insanely popular if his mug didn't look like it was decorated by a tween with an unhealthy obsession for Tim Burton and assault rifles? Could Zombie Boy have parlayed his association with Lady Gaga into his own brand of overpriced bath towels, condoms and energy drinks if he had just been some random non-skeletally decorated Montreal skid living on the streets? The answer is a resounding: "Hell-to-the-no!"
Enter Canadian model Vin Los, the latest in the honorable lineage of people who have done stupid things to their face because, who gives a fuck? According to his YouTube video – a budget version of that Zombie Boy video that includes the very Quebecois directive to "BE ADDICT" – the 24-year-old's goal is pretty straightforward: to become the most famous man on earth. His face and arms already look like a buzzword checklist written by an ESL student with things like "FAME", "LICK" and "BAISE MOI" (fuck me) tattooed in handwritten font all over his toned body – which is hairless unless you count all the tiny fake follicles he got tattooed on his chest.
Objectively, without the tattoos, the man is a total babe. In fact, I admit that – even with the words "ICONIC FACE" scrawled on his cheek – one look into his deep brown eyes gave me a ladyboner. After spending hours caressing his Apollo's belt on my HD screen, dreaming of the day where my name finally finds itself on his right inner thigh, I decided I needed to see his "iconic face" in person and find out why a man with such a beautifully chiselled jawline would want to permanently walk around with the words "SEX BOMB" on his neck. Here's how it went.
Photo via Instagram.
VICE: How old were you when you got your first tattoo?
Vin Los: I was about 16 or 17 years old. I got the Le Coq Sportif logo. Then I got words tattooed on my arms, and that's when I decided I would never get another image or drawing tattooed. Drawings don't mean anything to me. It may sound like I have bad values or something, but my tattoos aren't just for me. I want to be an image for people to look at, something that has an impact. Everybody who sees me is bound to ask questions: "Why fame? What's his life like?"
So you like it when people look at you that way?
Yes. A puzzled stare is one that's gonna last. I want to create a myth, a mystery. A lot of people ask me if I'm scared I might regret it one day. If I was indecisive, I don't think I would write on my face.
How do you pick the words or expressions that go on your body?
It's very superficial. I'll go on YouTube and listen to all the big hits, and I'll just take words from these songs. For example, "Top of the World" is from the song by The Cataracs, but it's also what I want. I want to rule the world. As for the city names, it's to show that we are all on the same level. Borders still exist, but not to the same extent. Whether you're, like, in Zurich or Sydney, I personify all of that. I want to embody pop culture. You could look at me in a hundred years from now and really get the idea of what pop culture was like in the early 2010s.
You say you want to be the most famous man on earth. Why are you so fascinated by celebrity culture?
I'm still trying to figure out why I'm so passionate about it. Ever since I was a kid, I've always been fascinated by Marilyn Monroe. And not just people, but also fame which applies to products – like Starbucks, for example. It's all around the world. The marketing aspect really fascinates me.
So you're more interested in the process behind creating celebrities than celebrities themselves?
Yes. I would like to create celebrities one day. I'm only 24. I've done a bunch of press in the past few weeks, but I still haven't had a single modelling contract out of it. I don't think I'm the problem – it only means that there is no industry here. I could go to New York and say, "Fuck Quebec", or I could be more of an entrepreneur and create my own market here. It takes more time, but I think that's what I feel more strongly about. It's a shame that, considering the number of people living in Montreal, we don't have an actual star system. I don't ever see celebrities being chased by paparazzi.
You'd like to see more of a TMZ thing happening in Montreal?
Yes. I want to create that. I could be the founder of this sort of culture and perhaps become a millionaire at 45 after launching a bunch of magazines, TV channels or whatever.
Do you have a plan to make that happen?
I want to create a mainstream media outlet meant to get a lot of shares and likes, something super American, nothing "quétaine" (kitsch).
Would it be about American celebrities or would you try to keep it local?
It would be local. For those people who want to break into show business but can't because it's too hard. If you're an unsigned model and you write me, I may not be able to pay you at first, but eventually I will. We can do a photoshoot and I'll write a short piece about you, "Montreal's hottest new model", etc. It would be a way for people to break through. My job is to make people famous. The power is currently in the hands of the same people, and those people are boring and stupid.
Photo courtesy of Maxime Girard-Tremblay.
Do you consider yourself superficial?
No, not at all. Show business is the path I chose for myself. That's what I'm interested in. I work at a supermarket right now and I want to die. I drink a thousand coffees a day just to get a little kick. I need something that's more stimulating. I want to wake up in the morning and have meetings with people, take pictures and make your dreams come true. It's the job I chose, but I'm not superficial. Like my parents, for example, they don't want me talking about them.
It's a weird feeling. I always thought my parents were very open-minded. But turns out they care a lot about appearances. I may look like I base my every decision on looks, but it's a job. If my friend were to get into an accident tomorrow and end up completely disfigured, I would not give a fuck what he'd look like. I would take care of him. I'm not gonna judge people. I always tell myself people do things for a reason. But that's what my parents did. They judged me based on my tattoos and we haven't seen each other in two years. I talk to my mum once a week, but my dad has stopped all communication.
Did you ever try to have a conversation with them about your career path?
No. There were two months at the beginning where we didn't speak at all. The reason my mum doesn't want to see me in person is that I think it would be too hard for her. I went through a voluntary transformation. If I got disfigured in an accident, would they have stopped talking to me? No, because it's involuntary. I don't want to keep going in life with people like that. You live your life, and who cares what other people are doing? I'm not here to judge. Things only go wrong when you start judging others.
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