River Viiperi is one of fashion’s most successful young models, whose career sky-rocketed at just 18-years-old when he was tapped to be the global face of Calvin Klein. With piercing blue/ green eyes, chiseled face, a swimmer’s physique (his daily work-outs are watched by thousands on Instagram) and off-the-charts charisma, the Ibiza-native emerged the go-to body for designers and fashion houses around the world, appearing on runways, glossy advertisements and magazine covers. So recognized did he come, marketers and casting agents need only hear “River” to know their front man. The model soon appeared in dozens of campaigns for Versace, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, among many others.
“I got very lucky with modeling,” he says, modestly. “It all happened so fast. In just a few months I landed major jobs. My first client was Calvin Klein and It’s something that still blows my mind till this day.”
A favorite of editors (he appeared on the cover of Attitude magazine with Kylie Minogue, and in the pages of Vogue, GQ, VMan and ELLE magazine), River’s magnetism, humor, disarming warmth and mischievous smile melted the cameras of the industry’s biggest photographers, including Testino, Meisel and Klein, to name a few.
“Be yourself,” he says. “Always. No matter what. Do you. Listen to your intuition. And live YOUR life.”
The multi-hyphenate talent (add chef, designer and social media star to that list), River is returning to New York this summer to resume his modeling career after a couple year break and pursue his long-time dream of becoming an actor.
“If we don’t take a shot, we will continue to think what if but if you take it, even if it’s a miss or a fail,” he says. “I feel like it’ll be easier to go on to the next thing knowing that at least you tried. I’ve accomplished a lot, and I hope that with the knowledge I have now I can learn how to balance both modeling and acting to begin the transition. They are perfectly compatible.”
In addition to his acting pursuits, River is re-invigorating his designer brand RV, which will feature T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, hats and later underwear all adorned with the RV logo-- a sexy, symbolic representation of his lifestyle and philosophy. “My logo was created to symbolize a community of dreamers,” he says, “ but those that aren’t scared to do, and to fail. Specially, dreamers that will never give up. People that perhaps would feel more empowered by just having a piece of me. Wearing something that will remind them to not give up and chase their dreams.”
The brand “started as a way to connect with my followers to empower them (young individuals) to go after their dreams,” says River. “Some people are very fortunate; they rarely encounter any bumps along their life. But on the other hand, there are more of us who have to learn the hard way and so many give up along the way because they see failure as the end. And it’s not.”
It certainly wasn’t the end for his dreams of New York.
Returning to the city is a no-brainer River, for it’s where his career first exploded.
“I fell in love with the pace of it,” he says. “It’s been a decade since I started my journey, and for some reason everything puzzled up for me to be here in order to start the next one back where the first one began. I’m hoping to be able to hit the reset button and use all that I’ve learned in the past 10 years to grow and work towards becoming the best version of myself.”
His life in the Big City is sure to be captured on his social media, including 500,000 Instagram followers and 80,000 on Twitter. “I’m pretty known for not staying quiet,” he says. “People still appreciate the fact that I always keep it real. Like it or not. This is who I am. I’m not here to please everyone, that’s not possible.”
Except for the half-a-million followers who savor his every post.