Words by Amanda Vandenberg
Photographer Nacho Dorado
Grooming Thu Nguyen
Photo Assistants Boris Alexander Packes, Ellie Zuta
Service Production Company Santa Ibiza
Special Thank You to IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar, Ibiza and The Entourage Group
There’s a theory that time passes by more quickly as we get older. That somehow, as we age, the way we perceive the world, reality and the things happening to and around us, accelerate. This phenomenon is universally experienced. It’s not a discussion of if it happens, but why.
It turns out it has to do with our retrospective vantage of events, that is, when we remember a moment later on, those who are novel seem to have lasted longer than those who are mundane. Our brains have the tendency to encode new experiences rather than familiar ones into memory. Adult life has the common characteristic of the routine, so from the retrospective vantage, less seems to have happened and thus, the time washes by in a blink of an eye.
So, what’s the solution? Psychology journals would recommend learning new skills and exploring new places. That’s fine and good, but BASIC would prefer to give you a real world example of how it’s really done. If time is elongated by new experiences, then Gianluca Vacchi is stretching his lifetime ad infinitum.
Vacchi is an extravagant Italian multimillionaire in his 50s who spent the majority of his life away from the public eye as a businessman, and a successful one at that. Just one venture involved taking over a company with his cousin that brought in around $120 million, and over time, boosting its value to over $2 billion, the fifth best performing family-owned company in the world. Up to five years ago, this was Vacchi’s life. It was then he had an epiphany that maybe, he hadn’t really been living. Around the same time, he opened up to the world of social media. Turns out, he’s a natural. Now with over 11.5 million followers on Instagram, Vacchi may be most publicly recognized not for his business, but for doing choreographed dances aboard yachts (often with beautiful scenery and even more beautiful models). He gives his followers an inside look at how he’s taking the reins on living his best life at every party, every sail and every decadent moment.
It would be easy to write Vacchi off as a man indulging in the eccentricities money can buy, but it wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of the person he is. Eternally grateful, he considers this entire experience his second life, one that he has been blessed to receive. And speaking with him about living these novel moments and actively seeking out this heightened sense of being, you really can’t help but step away from the conversation being at least a little inspired.
Thank you for taking time for our interview. I’m sure it’s beautiful in Ibiza right now.
Yes, but you’re in L.A.! I want to move to L.A. The weather and the people are perfect. I travel so much, I actually only get to spend about 60 days a year now in Italy. The constant change is keeping me alive.
Your life used to be quite different. Can you talk to us about the dichotomy and what inspired the change?
To answer this, I need to start by speaking about my philosophy on life. It’s very important because it’s the foundation upon which I base how to live. I consider myself a guest of my own life. It’s like it was borrowed or it’s a loan. I’m going to give it back; I just don’t know when. Every time I feel myself starting to get tired or bored, I try to change something. Life is a huge privilege. I believe in respecting others, but first I need to respect my desire, my dreams and myself.
When I was 45, I was still a financial guy, an entrepreneur. I still am. By that time, I had joined 12 different sectors with many different companies, travel, video games, machinery production, plastic watches, among others. But after a certain point, that kind of life just didn’t move my curiosity any more. I am not driven by an accumulation of money. It was important to me when I was 20 because most young men want to accomplish something. Though it may not be a sole target, it can be a reflection of and a result of things done well. When I reached a certain age, I realized that I wanted to be rich in the moment. And I began to focus on becoming rich in this way instead.
How did you begin to welcome social media to have a window into your life?
I am not so old that I was not interested in the dialogue that had developed among young people. This is why I joined social media. My life has never changed. It was like what it is now even before it all went online. But social media brought me a new life, new blood, new air and water. I did it with an enthusiasm of a 20-year-old man. I caught people’s attention by my dancing, but I was dancing long before social media. Now people follow along with my entire life.
“THE ONLY THING I WANT TO RUSH IS A RUSH TO APPRECIATE MY LIFE.”
Is it a strange sensation letting strangers have such an intimate view?
It’s not a strange sensation. I have nothing to hide. Imagine if each of us would be closed off and show nothing to others. There would never be any evolution. You can show anything; it can be stupid, silly, interesting, funny, sad, but the point is you share. And other people catch onto it. In the end, it’s a beauty we have, the ability to show things, you know? Any time we say a word, we affect one other. If there are millions watching, I don’t care. People are free to keep their life private, but they should not criticize those who do the opposite. Funny enough, they’re typically the first ones to watch others.
Since becoming a viral star, you’ve turned your attention towards other creative pursuits. Can you tell us about those?
After becoming popular, I thought, why not DJ? How about producing? I love to entertain people. Music is a beautiful vehicle for connection because the language and the body movement are universal. I’ve thrown myself into it with passion. If you have a talent for something, I believe you achieve results when you are driven by passion, not the money. Generally, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t be open to doing. If someone asks me to act, I’m gonna act. I’m actually talking to some guys about this in L.A. Acting is interesting to me. It’s fantastic. You have to be so accurate in analyzing a character and I love it. It’s one of the things I can do after 60, if I’m going to be alive. Imagine jumping on a DJ booth at 60? It’s borderline. Maybe I’ll be ready for my third life by then. So acting is a possibility.
Do you find that Italian culture has embraced your lifestyle?
Actually, growing up in Italy is the most difficult thing in the world if your aim is to enjoy your life. Success is not allowed. People who laugh are not serious people. If you strive for the enjoyment of life, you are not considered serious. Growing up in the U.S. is easier because their success is allowed. In Italy, it isn’t. In Italy, in life you have to suffer. It is the most detrimental country to young people’s success. They’ve criticized me for my participation on Instagram and the fame it has brought. I was traveling to other parts of the world when people would stop me to say thank you for believing more in my dreams. I need to be living how I want to live and not as others want me live. In Italy, they think I am stupid, that if you show your life, your house, your accomplishments, then you’re a f*cking idiot. But the idiots are them, not me. I do not need to hide the results of my work or my success.
“YOU CAN’T KILL A SMILING PERSON.”
Los Angeles seems like the ideal place for you to move. We’re probably an entire city of striving dreamers.
For sure I’m moving there. It’s a place you can succeed. In Italy, they want you to fail. I disagree so much with Italian culture, the communist and Catholic influences. (Not in a sense of faith, because I do believe. I just don’t want to be affected by a sense of guilt if I have nothing to feel guilty about.) But none of that will be my problem once I’m living in L.A. And you can’t kill a smiling person.
You always seem to be moving quickly, whether planes, yachts or parties. But you also appear to be soaking it all in. How do you make sure you stop to enjoy the moment?
If there is something I want to watch, or if there’s a person I want to talk with, I stop. The moment is the only certainty we have. If I’m running and I see something that I need to stop for, I stop. I respect beauty. If I see it, I stop. I respect people. If someone stops me, I stop. And I talk. Any time. I don’t want to be in a rush. The only thing I want to rush is a rush to appreciate my life. Time is so limited. I’m obsessed with age mainly because I love my life so much. I always tell myself that I don’t have much time to go. I’m always exaggerated, good and bad. And I don’t do anything I don’t want to do.
You’ve lived so much already, is there anything still left on your bucket list?
I still have to travel; I need to see the world. I started working very hard at 24. When I was 35, I began to pull my head out of the water and I invested ten years in building my houses. Then I started to understand the way that I projected my life wasn’t necessarily the way I wanted to live. So, I still need to travel and see the world while actively living my life. Now that I have a job DJ-ing, it allows me to travel everywhere. Maybe one day, I will have a child. Sooner or later, I want to do it.
What sort of parental wisdom would you want to pass down to your child?
I would tell them, “Respect yourself. You are free to do what you want to do, but remember to also respect others. Don’t feel forced to do things if you don’t want to.” I guess in six words it would be, “Respect yourself and respect other people.”
“THE MOMENT IS THE ONLY CERTAINTY WE HAVE.”
Your personal style is distinct. How do you make sure it comes across correctly over the Internet?
My personal style is very simple, but at the same time I don’t dress in any one specific way. The success of any article of clothing just depends on how you wear it. I can be in a tuxedo or street style, but I’m still bringing me. If you follow fashion too closely, you always risk being out of fashion. What is more important is how you choose to interpret a style and wear it. I’m shopping addicted, but I follow my tastes. I take inspiration from fashion, but I’m not a slave. I have like 40 different tuxedos, a hundred different hats, and I usually only wear women’s watches (they’re so chic). I’ve gone to parties in a skirt and a tuxedo. I’m super free. You have to be free. And I never judge any person. In Italy, they wear a “moral tie”and they judge people that don’t. But I’m not fake. I am what I am, no filter or mask.
Is there a criticism to your lifestyle that you would like to dismiss once and for all?
Things have not been easy, but in the end, I don’t care. Inside me, I have balance. Sometimes I laugh about it. I receive millions of comments. Imagine how many of those are nasty. But they give me energy. About 70 percent of people love me and the rest hate me. Nothing has ever stopped me from being clear about my path and taking positions.
Any last bits of philosophy you would like to impart for those seeking to actively live their lives?
I want to share this message: if you believe in your dreams, you may fall, but once you stand you will be stronger. Believe and you will accomplish. In Italy, they say, “don’t leave what’s safe for an uncertain path.” For me, it’s the opposite. You have to be curious. I’m attracted to what I don’t know. If you are not, you will never learn or experience everything possible.
Order a Print Copy of Issue 8 here.