DIAMONDS ARE KNOWN FOR ITS BEAUTY AND HARDNESS. THE CONDITIONS TO FORM DIAMOND BEARING ROCKS ARE EXTREME. HIGH PRESSURE IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY. THE ROCKS, FORMED DEEP DOWN IN THE MANTLE OF THE EARTH, RISE TO THE SURFACE OFTEN BY VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS. IT’S HARD TO FIND THEM, AND AT FIRST GLANCE, BEAUTIFUL AS THE ROUGH STONE MIGHT BE, IT TAKES THE EYE OF A CONNOISSEUR TO RECOGNIZE THE POTENTIAL INSIDE. AND THEN THE DELICATE AND LENGTHY PROCESS OF CUTTING AND POLISHING STARTS, UNTIL THE TRUE BEAUTY OF THE GEMSTONE FREES AND REVEALS ITSELF.
As a young boy and as a teenager Calixto Quan, better known as Calix, suffered from a range of medical issues that led to him losing too much weight. His family in general, but specially his grandmother, was very concerned for him so she made it a point to feed Calix as often as she could very healthy and wholesome foods, but in large quantities, which led to him being somewhat overweight in his early teenage years. Calix was born and raised in a very diverse, mostly Catholic family in San Salvador, El Salvador. One quarter Chinese and 3 quarters Salvadorian he enjoyed international education in a British influenced school, and was lucky enough to practise his English with some cousins that were half American. Until Calix turned 19 and moved to Arizona, USA.
During his younger years, Calix Quan wore braces, glasses and was a bit overweight due to the good caring of his grandmother. Looking back to that now, Calix remembers himself as a bit of a geek. But that all came to a change when he turned 17. When his braces came of and he exchanged his glasses for contacts. And when he grew taller and leaner. Mind you, Calix’ mother owned a gym for 23 years in El Salvador, so growing up for him was always fitness related. At the age of 19, Calix was offered the opportunity to live with his father – his parents were divorced by that time – who had made himself a new home with his wife in Arizona. Calix I made the decision to move to the US in order to pursue my education in Japanese language and to try to make up for the years I lost with my father after the divorce.
The process of cutting a diamond to its final and most unique and beautiful shape is long and delicate. After Calix Quan had started to focus more on a fitness inspired lifestyle and realized his body responded good to it, he tried his first careful steps in modelling. Happy with the result but foreign to this competitive world he felt discouraged to pursue, not in the least due to the fact during these years most advertisements weren’t as diverse in style, ethnicity and look as they are now. At that time in his life Calix allowed himself to be driven by fear and instead he focused on going to school, got involved in real estate, met his ex and fell victim of his comfort zone at work and at life. Calix re-gained the weight he promised he would never regain, and he felt trapped in his own life. Until January 2015.
January 2015 marked some life changing events for Calix Quan. His beloved grandmother passed, one of his best friends took his own life, he broke up with his ex after a 6-year relationship and lost the job in the company he had worked for during the past 8 years. All that led him to ground himself in fitness again: “I set a goal to participate in my first Men’s Physique competition and lost 30lb in the process with the help of my coach, Kelly Schmidt. In November, I walked on stage and earned my first trophy and it was one of the proudest moments in my life. It represented success over struggle, more than the trophy in itself it represented success over the challenges I endured.” Against everything he was used to and against what his family advised, Calix stepped out of his comfort zone and did not allow himself to be led by fear like once before. “I quit my job and arranged another job be lined up when I got back. Then, I went to the Philippines for 3 weeks where I had the opportunity to shoot with excellent photographers, learn to walk runway, go to Miss Universe’s victory walk, and enjoy a beautiful new culture. This was especially exciting because one of my goals in life is to get to know the world, and learn to speak as many languages as I can.”
Upon his return to the United States, Calix Quan flew to San Francisco and had the opportunity to work with Jorge Pereira. “We had an outstanding time during our photo-shoot,” Calix says. “I had never been to San Francisco so Jorge was kind enough to show me around. I was only there for the weekend, but we got a lot done in 2 days.” Jorge Pereira, who divides his time over San Francisco and Sitges, Spain, picked Calix up from the airport at 7 a.m. With his team Jorge took the young model to breakfast and checked him in at his hotel. In the afternoon they all went to the Golden Gate bridge where the first part of the shoot took place. A spontaneous part as Jorge had only planned to shoot inside the hotel. “I happen to always have a camera on me and when we were walking back from the walking tour around the bridge it was windy and Calix's hair was going in all directions,” Jorge says. “We saw those abandoned bunkers, full of graffiti and I asked him to do and stand in one of them. The light was beautiful so I took some shots (all with natural light, I had no flashes with me). Then, as we went on, Calix "got into it" and started undressing... lol... So, I continued shooting and he continued doing crazy things... that is the result of a totally unexpected shoot 1, outside, in the bunkers of Golden Gate Bridge.”
The first shoot Jorge Pereira had with Calix Quan shows the young model as the diamond in the rough he is. Uncut, rugged, tousled. A young men who seems to be shaking off his past and challenge life itself. Or, as Jorge puts it: “He appears to be a very vital and energetic young man, full of life and just getting into the modelling and fashion world. He is new to this, but boy is he enjoying it.” The second part of the shoot too, place in Calix’ hotel room and gives us a very different image of him. More quiet, more sensual, more seductive. It seems safe to say that if Calix Quan was a diamond in the rough, he found the perfect cutter in photographer Jorge Pereira, peeling of the hard edges and revealing the shining gem inside. –BM-
Follow Jorge Pereira and Calix Quan on Instagram.
JORGE PEREIRA | BEAUTIFULMAG
CALIX QUAND | BEAUTIFULMAG