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Roberto Croci is one of us. He’s one of many Italians who choose America and the American Dream to live their passion, follow their heart, and fulfill their own dreams.
Without the proverbial cardboard suitcase fastened with cord – as somebody still pictures us -, we accepted to take a leap of faith, even if it means to abandon our native community and lifestyle.
After living 25 years in the U.S., Roberto Croci still misses enjoying espresso at the local coffee bar and keeps strong ties to Italy through his job as a translator, journalist, blogger, and producer. Among his recent projects are the TV series Italiani Si Nasce (Natural Born Italians), the reality show One Of Those Nights, the web magazine Ganzo (Cool), a memoire, and possibly an Italian radio show.
Roberto Croci is Italian but he’s also American. He has become part of the society that welcomed and adopted him in January 1985, when he booked a one-way air ticket from cold and snowy Milan to sunny and warm Venice Beach, California.
Here, he has come across different underground tribes who inspired his documentary series Le Avventure de La Bestia (The Beast’s Adventures), dedicated to surfing, competitive eating, doomsday preppers, fighting, illegal street car racing and similar adrenaline-rush activities. (www.freelabestia.com/works/le-avventure-de-la-bestia)
“It’s not easy to approach such groups and to gain their trust. The point is that I’m one of them, and they can tell it from my attitude and the questions I ask. I just want to know why they do what they do. They’re driven by passion, just like me.”
Roberto Croci is also La Bestia - The Beast. He became The Beast in 1997, while hosting a radio show that featured live phone calls, to defend both himself and the new generation of Italian immigrants against arrogance and fake political correctness. His passion and some fortunate encounters – usually occurring on a plane – have led him from one project to the other, gradually making a name for himself thanks to his professionalism and straightforwardness. “My motto is never give up, if you don’t do it for yourself nobody else will do it for you.”
Back in Italy, after high-school, after discovering an interest in foreign languages, Roberto Croci graduated as a Simultaneous Interpreter-Translator and started working in the fields of cinema and medicine, followed by design and fashion at the newly founded Domus Academy in Milan. He loved this job because “It’s really based on merit rather than connections: you’re either capable of doing it or you’re not.”
Then he entered the world of politics, not as a politician but as the interpreter of then Minister of the Italian Republic Bettino Craxi. While accompanying him to a conference in Los Angeles, Roberto Croci was approached and recruited by film producer Dino De Laurentiis to work at his studios in New York and Wilmington, North Carolina.
So Roberto Croci - aka The Beast, who wasn’t officially born yet – became the translator, ghostwriter, and interpreter on the set of over 100 films produced by the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (Blue Velvet, Manhunter, Year of The Dragon, Desperate Hours, Unforgettable, Weeds, Hannibal...).
A few years later, he started experiencing other career paths, always focusing on American social and cultural trends that could be of interest to the Italian community. From documentarist, columnist and later cool hunter, to radio host for Dario Colombo’s I Giganti del Basket on RAI - Italian Broadcasting Radio&Tv and Luciano Palermi’s Buona Domenica, dedicated to the Italians in L.A.
Since 2007, he has been working as a Contributing Editor for several magazines the likes of L'Uomo Vogue, XL Repubblica, Vogue Italia, Elle, Velvet, Max, D-Repubblica, and Urban, during which time he had exclusive interviews, including his favorite ones: a legendary conversation-feature with the late American writer and intellectual Gore Vidal (Velvet), an interview with Michael Jackson (Vogue), and a fascinating encounter with green architecture pioneer Lloyd Khan (Elle).
Among his enviable collection of pictures and articles (www.freelabestia.com) featuring Hollywood stars, music stars, sport stars, leading public figures, and other VIPs, there’s one that catches our attention. Beside being his first feature ever, it shows The Beast with his daughter Elsa and is entitled Cuore di Mammo - mammo is a sort of word play for those fathers who take on the mother’s role.
Yes, Roberto Croci is a dad, but he’s also played mom for 8 months in 1998, taking care of Elsa while working from home, changing diapers, and strolling her on the beachfront.
We ask him to share his wisdom with the young Italians who make it to the United States: “I’d encourage them to participate in the life of the community, to support each other, and to commit to promoting different aspects of Italy’s contemporary culture. Nowadays more than ever we need to take some risks, to invest in new ideas, and to empower the young generations. As somebody once told me, If one of us make it we all make it.”