Almost two years ago, Rafael Mantesso (33) and his loyal bull terrier named Jimmy Choo – a homage to the famous fashion designer – became a big sensation on the internet and watched their lives completely change overnight. All because Mantesso, who is in advertising, dedicated his spare time to photoshoot with his dog. The outcome of this work created a visual identity loaded with creativity, unmistakable style and fun.
The images, then available on social network, soon caught people’s attention mostly after American actor Ashton Kutcher had shared one of the photos. In less than 24 hours, Mantesso gained almost 16,000 new followers on social media and up to this day, receives an average of 2,000 e-mail per day.
Jimmy is considered one of the most influential dogs on the planet and has already been on the cover of British newspaper The Times. With so much success in such a short period of time, Rafael released the book “A dog named Jimmy” in 2015.
The advertising professional who had always been into Gastronomy needed to reduce dramatically his jobs in the area. Even though he’s still heading the blog Marketing Na Cozinha and also a member of Instituto Ata.
1.How did you come up with the idea of photographing your bull terrier?
It all started after my marriage was over. The empty house and Jimmy Choo as my companion. So I decided to rediscover a hobby that I love – photography, with a little of creative drawings and a good sense of humor.
2. What was the biggest change in your life after the photos became popular online?
Many things have changed, especially related to my work. With all those people following what I do I feel the responsibility of using all this exposure to do something that can help other animals.
3. Did Jimmy get used to fame? Does he have a fan club?
Not a fan club, but I have many followers from several different countries on my social network because of him.
4. Which country is more connected to you?
The United States.
5. How do you manage to answer loads of e-mails per day?
I have two assistants who help me filter what comes to my mailbox. I really take some time to answer all the e-mails.
6. Any unusual story to tell us?
Sandra Choi, Jimmy Choo’s niece, was surprised when a Brazilian dog, holding their brand’s name became a success on the internet! So she invited Jimmy to participate in a fashion editorial for Vogue magazine in London. But I thought all the process could make my dog stressed and then we changed plans and created an accessory collection with handbags and wallets printed with Jimmy’s photos and drawings, just like my art.
7. Has fame helped you to get other international works?
Yes, Jimmy has been on some advertising films in the US (Yahoo), Mexico (Netflix) and Spain (Sony).