The Model Who Jumps Out Of PlanesRoberta Mancino started modeling at 16 but her career really took off when she started jumping out of planes. The world champion skydiver talks about the best places to jump, the key to a perfect sky diving photo, and never slowing down.
Italian skydiver, BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer, Roberta Mancino splits her time between flying through the sky and modeling for huge brands. She proves that if you need someone to soar through the air and look good doing it, she is your woman. Mancino on the best places to jump, the key to a perfect sky diving photo, and never slowing down.
THE RED BULLETIN: In the past, you’ve said that when you first started modeling, your contracts wouldn’t let you BASE jump. How did you get out of that restriction?
ROBERTA MANCINO: The contracts said I couldn’t do any stunts or anything dangerous. I totally understand that but now I try not to sign any contracts that have that restriction. If a modeling job comes up and they don’t want me to BASE jump or sky dive, I just don’t sign. It’s sad because I have to choose, but I’d rather do my sport than model. I’ve worked hard with my managers to make companies understand that if they want a model who’s also an athlete, I need to keep doing my training and keep going on my projects.
How did the modeling get better after you started jumping?
When I started, I was so young and I was just a model. I really had nothing to say. When I started to do other sports, like boxing in the beginning where I was competing and training, it was interesting for the magazines. My interviews got better. Everybody wanted to know more about it. And then when I started flying it was even better. Everyone wants to fly and to know why I wanted to do it. If you just interview a model, it’s just about fashion and working as a model. Honestly, it’s really boring [laughs]. If you can combine modeling, BASE jumping, skydiving, underwater swimming with animals, and all this stuff I’ve done, that’s the best.
What’s the key to taking a good photo while you’re jumping?
You need to have a lot of experience, both with jumping and with modeling. Skydiving is more relaxed than BASE jumping because you have so much more time. When I do skydiving jumps for magazines, I focus on the acrobatic stuff that I’m doing. But at the same time, I concentrate on my expression so I look beautiful and relaxed. I smile, but that’s not difficult because I smile all the time anyway when I’m skydiving.
In BASE jumping, it’s not as easy. It’s very short and there are so many things going on. You have to focus on safety more. In the first few seconds of the jump, you can concentrate on having a good face for the pictures. After that, obviously not. It’s not safe otherwise. You have to concentrate on pulling your parachute at the right time.
Do you have favorite places to jump?
My favorite place to skydive is Contadora in Panama. It’s a small island. You jump over the sea. There are other islands around, but you can fly your wingsuit pretty much anywhere. You fly above the ocean. It’s really beautiful landing on the beach.
You’ve had an amazing and rather ridiculous career. Do you ever get a chance to sit back and reflect on it?
I keep going and going. Some of my friends ask me if I ever stop in one place for more than a week. I do sometimes, but for no more than three weeks. I always travel. I always come up with new ideas. It’s so fun to travel. Sometimes I want to have my clothes, my kitchen, my routine. I don’t have it, so it’s not easy all the time.
But I love what I do. I love swimming with animals. That takes weeks on a boat and lost of hours in the water. I’m always out doing something. I’m learning how to surf. I’m going to do more underwater stuff with whales and sharks in Hawaii. My next project is a scuba diving project. Then I have another one flying in Chile. It’s always traveling. But it’s fun. I’m not tired yet.