You know you’re making a name for yourself when fanmade Youtube videos, showcasing a montage of your photos, start popping up over the internet; or when adoring tweens and their even more adoring moms stop you for an autograph on your way to the grocery store. Tell-tale signs that your star meter is on the rise.
Such is the case of actor and model, Andrea Cocco. He has a plethora of those tribute videos and many more of him smiling and taking photos next to his beloved fans. Within the last several years, Andrea has worked hard at acting and his efforts are paying off. He has just returned from the Venetian Film Festival, and will start production on yet another film this October. In turn, Andrea handles his new found fame with both grace and a sheer sense of awe and delight.
And Andrea has much to be happy about. Born in Rome, Italy, Andrea is the son of an Italian businessman and a Japanese opera singer. DNA worked highly in this young man’s favor and indeed, Cocco’s looks have taken him around the world: Paris, New York and Milano as a top male model. Though there is no denying that Andrea is bello, this is not what Mr. Cocco is all about. Instead, he is driven, and has racked up some pretty impressive accomplishments under his belt.. In 2011, Andrea beat out his competition and won “il Grande Fratello.” This year, he worked with director and screenwriter, Vincenzo Alfieri in Forse Sono Io 2, and recently starred in the film, “Io e’ Morto,” a film directed by Alberto De Venezia.
Shortly after returning from the Venetian Film Festival, Andrea sat down with me to chat.
Together, we spoke about his love for cooking (and eating) both sukiyaki and pasta, his new restaurant in Rome, Triplo, and his thoughts on what it is like to work in the world of cinema as an Asian/Italian. World traveler. Model. Actor. Despite all these glamorous titles, there is one thing quite clear about Andrea. After living and traveling-no matter what- Andrea still calls himself a proud Italiano and still refers to Roma as home sweet home Casa Dolce Casa.
Gaya Lynn: Welcome to L’Italo-americano. Tell me about yourself.
Andrea Cocco: I was born in Rome. My father is Italian, my mother Japanese. I grew up and lived in Rome until I transferred to live on my own in Paris. I have also lived in New York, Tokyo, Bangkok and Hong Kong.
GL: How exciting. So you are trilingual?
AC: I speak English, Japanese and Italian.
GL: You have a “viso bellissimo,” this wonderful blend of Japanese and Italian genes. You know, when I was little, I wanted to be blond and blue eyed like all my friends. But in reality, I have dark hair and almond shaped eyes. Did you ever want to be either totally Italian or Japanese?
AC: I never felt the need to be only one nationality; in fact, I have always found to be advantageous for traveling, especially when it comes to food. In Italy, I did experience some form of racism but due to mainly ignorance on behalf of the others.....
GL: Ah I understand. Did you want to go into acting as a child?
AC: I wanted to be an explorer.
GL Well, you are one in a way.
AC: Metaphorically, yes.
GL: And then in 2011, you won il Grande Fratello in 2011. No easy feat I am sure. Did you employ any special strategies that would help claim your victory?
AC: I happened to try out for GF and after six tryouts, I was chosen. It was an unique experience and a rather long one, as my segment lasted six months. I didn’t really employ a specific strategy, but I told myself that I must stay alive inside there and that’s all.....
GL: Well, your strategy worked. During this time and before, you worked as a model for many years. Tell me about your life as one. Also, regarding Italian fashion, it is stronger than ever. In regards to Japan, it seems to have dimmed. Before there were so many exciting Japanese designers such as Kenzo, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto..There is so much talent, but lately, there seems to be lack of new Japanese designers.
AC: Yes, I was a model for years. I began in 1998 in Milano, and this in turn allowed me to travel a great deal. The field of fashion as with any art, is difficult and I believe is one which requires a significant amount of capital..I think it is more difficult to create and sustain a fashion enterprise, and I am sure that the financial global crisis does not help....I do not believe there is a lack of talent, just a lack of willingness to risk investment.
GL: I agree. Now, with two backgrounds, you have the best of both worlds in terms of cuisine. Do you have any favorite dishes and by the way, did you ever eat at Mr. Jiro Sukiyabashi’s restaurant, the most famous sushi restaurant perhaps in the world? I have heard that people reserve up to three months in advanced.
AC: I love Jiro San. You know just the other day, I was going to make a reservation for November, but I needed to do it by October 1st. I have never been there, but it is an experience I definitely want to partake in. Three star Michelin restaurant and the only place without a bathroom. Haha. <In terms of Italian cuisine,> the Carbonara is a dish I prefer to eat and prepare.
GL: I’ll have to try it. Andrea, you go from the runway to the screen, and you are always in the public eye. How do you manage to look so amazing? Don’t tell me you just eat La Carbonara and stay like this?
AC: To keep in shape, I go to the gym, run, and try to avoid sugars, fat and carbs after 7 pm. If I am not working, I eat and how!
GL: You recently starred in Vincenzo Alfieri’s web series “Forse Sono Io 2” where you act along with the extraordinary Gianmarco Tognazzi. I loved the first one and I can’t wait to see the sequel. Plus, you just got back from Venice Film Festival where you were there for your film “Io E’ Morto.”
AC: I just went to the 71st Festival of Venice after showing a sneak preview of a film in which I starred as the male lead. Io E’ Morto is a psychological thriller. Other cast members included Giulia Perelli, Marina Suma, Augusto Zucchi, Valeria Nardilli. Yes, I was at the Fiction Festival in Roma where we presented the anteprima of the webseries, Vincenzo Alfieri’s Forse Sono Io 2. I worked along Gianmarco Tognazzi, Valentina Izumi and Giulio Pampiglione. I also worked on the webseries: Daniele Barbiero’s “F**k.the Zombies that will be shown at the web festival in Miami. I also did a short film in English called “Memories,” a science fiction thriller, and I am about to start filming in October in Puglia.
GL: You’ve been busy. Tell me who influenced you or helped you along the way?
AC: My instructors did. Ennio Coltorti and in New York, Susan Batson, an incredible lady.
GL: I know you are a skilled chef and you have a cooking show also?
AC: I have a cooking show on Canale Alice. Right now, we are working on our second season. Also, along with three friends, I am opening up a restaurant in Rome called Triplo. Whenever you want, you are welcomed.
GL: Thanks. I’ll take you up on that. Sono sicura che con il tuo fascino e quei lineamenti così squisiti, avrai molto successo, ne sono sicura.
Many thanks to Press Manager, Katya Marletta
For more on Mr. Cocco, go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-Hirai-Cocco-Official/157432477629575?ref=bookmarks
After living in Italy for several years, Gaya currently is working on a short story collection, loves coffee, and owns a stray cat who roams in her garden. Stop on by at