In our ongoing series
Born in the small West African nation of Guinea-Bissau and raised in Portugal, Armando Cabral has an infectious smile and a very familiar face—you've probably seen him in the J. Crew catalog, for starters. When he's not posing for our favorite retailers, the in-demand model is parlaying his fashion experience into an eponymous line of luxury Italian-made men's shoes.
Hometown: Lisbon, Portugal
First modeling gig: Meltin'Pot and Ozwald Boateng ad campaigns.
Career highlight: Getting an exclusive runway contract for a Calvin Klein show.
Career lowlight: Never felt that way, thank God.
Do you prefer the runway or photo shoots? I like both, but runway allows you to show a bit of vanity when wearing a good piece of clothing.
What's your secret to walking a runway? The secret is to be yourself, exhibit confidence, and, especially, charm.
Any preshow or preshoot rituals or superstitions? Breathe deep and just go.
About how many shoes do you think you've modeled in your lifetime? I will take a guess here—maybe about 300 or 400.
Do you find inspiration for your own line from what you model? I'm always attentive to great shoes. I find inspiration everywhere.
The most challenging part of balancing modeling with running your own shoe company? Balancing the schedules. I have to travel a lot for both modeling and business, and sometimes I have to prioritize one over the other.
The one pair of shoes you would save in a fire? Our signature Papel woven oxford.
If you could raid anyone's closet, whose would it be? Young Sidney Poitier—I would take all of his gray suits.
Your best quality? Friendly.
Your worst quality? Stubborn.
If you could change one thing about your body, it would be? Nothing, nada.
The song/album/artist getting a lot of play on your iPod right now? African artist Koffi Olomide from Congo.
Best piece of advice (either work or personal) you've ever been given? My father constantly reminds me, "Be yourself and trust your abilities, that will take you far."
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—Todd Plummer, follow him at @toddkingston