Samuele Bartoletti on Instagram is called Calypso. Calypso was a Greek goddess, he is creator. Two hundred thousand follow him on social networks. Someone admonishes him: “You dress as a woman, but you speak of yourself as a man”. And he replies: “You can consider me a man, a woman, or an alien”, he assures him, “so nothing changes for me, I don’t feel I belong to any gender”.
Someone else, on the other hand, simply defines it as a work of art. And he does so precisely by virtue of the soul with which he himself tells the world, between love for fashion, for painting and for cinema: a journey of awareness that he has like fil rouge the visceral passion of creative expression. And perhaps it is the latter who have understood the 24-year-old from Florence the most. Because souls have not had sex since the time of Lucio Battisti. And they continue to have none today on TikTok, where the zeta generation is thinking more than the others, more than the previous ones, on identity and gender roles. Samuel is free.
What is “gender” for you?
“I don’t like to identify myself in a gender, because I feel that neither male nor female represents me. Neither one nor the other belongs to me. It doesn’t change me to consider myself male or female. into something that I don’t completely belong to. Then I realize that gender exists, but to me it is something irrelevant. That’s why I always tell people that I don’t care about paying attention to masculine or feminine pronouns. I usually use masculine for habit but, when I think of myself, I think of a person with a thousand facets “.
On TikTok you are creator and activist on the themes of fashion and costume, on the catwalk you wear clothes that, traditionally, are feminine. Who are you talking to?
“I started telling myself on social media to be able to express myself freely, without thinking about the judgment of others: in me people find a small example they can rely on to commit themselves to finding the courage that I myself have only found over time. dress, I don’t consider if it’s masculine or feminine: I just wear it. I wear it because I like it and it makes me feel good, regardless of distinctions. There was a time when skirts, dresses that are now considered feminine, were worn by men. And I sometimes feel I belong to another era, or to a multiverse in which these distinctions are not so fundamental “.
So there was no real “coming out” for you, perhaps as a non-binary person (the definition “non-binary” identifies those who reject the male-female binary pattern in the sexual gender, regardless of the sex attributed to the birth, ed)?
“I don’t like talking about coming out. I understand that it is necessary, in a context where many expressions of freedom are not accepted, and I understand that it serves to explain what one is. But it is an idea that I do not like, because I Over time, I simply showed what I wanted to be, without having to specify it. If you know respect you can be what you want. We are all unique and different and, instead of discriminating against differences, we should value them “.
“More than my body, it was the mask I was wearing that made me feel inadequate, I felt I had to take it off“, you told in a video. What mask was it?
“Just thinking about it makes me uncomfortable. Remembering the face I had built makes me feel anguish. Sometimes my mask was firm. Sometimes it was less so. And in the latter case, someone saw what I was and tried to target me. Which is why I, by reflex, tried to hide even more. It was a difficult time. ”
It was a time when you got to know the arrogance of bullying, as you imply on TikTok. Those are the years when you are surrounded by parents, teachers and schoolmates. Who did you feel supported by, of all?
“From no one. But because I myself didn’t talk about it with anyone. I kept everything to myself, I shut myself up and tried to hide those parts that I considered defects because society made me believe they were defects. Even my friends did not address the subject, because they saw that I myself didn’t want to, on the contrary I was offended if it happened to talk about it. Then I realized that those defects were not really such. And I transformed weaknesses into strengths. That was the real turning point “.
“My parents? There wasn’t a moment when I told him ‘this is it’. I made him understand, through small demonstrations, that what I wanted to be was nothing wrong. It was just me “
And how did your parents react?
“There wasn’t a moment when I told them ‘this is it.’ I made them understand, through small demonstrations, that what I wanted to be was nothing wrong. It was just me. They struggled to understand, because they were used to a different reality than mine. In particular my mother was afraid that someone could hurt me even more than what had happened in the past. But I explained to her that that Samuel from the past was not me. I still think about him and I seem to remember another person “.
Do you remember your first show in “feminine” clothes?
“I remember that they mirrored me, it was beautiful. I was in Florence, the location was beautiful. But the thing that moved me most was to see that the people around were happy to see me, while I was parading. The same designers were happy to let me walk the runway. . The fact of feeling appreciated gave me further strength to continue to express myself. There I understood, once again, that those defects that society considers as such are no longer valid, when you are happy with yourself and who you are. ”
Below, Samuele’s first fashion show
In the journey to discover ourselves, the icons from which we find inspiration are fundamental. What are yours?
“There was one in particular, around the age of twenty. It is Frida Kahlo. My journey of awareness began there. Thanks to her I discovered that diversity is not a defect. I looked at her self-portraits, in which he immortalized himself in an overwhelming way in all his beauty and diversity, and I too began to paint self-portraits in which I represented myself surrounded by flowers, just as I wanted to be. And I wondered why I could not be like that image that I depicted of me. Then a journey began thanks to which I tried to reflect that painting in reality “.
And today did you manage to become that self-portrait?
A creativity, yours, which today takes shape in the videos you publish on TikTok and Instagram. What is a typical day for a creator?CopyAMP code
“Inspiration comes from everyday life, even taking a walk, or listening to music. It comes from anything. Then I start writing, brainstorming, writing the script and drawing a storyboard. There is also a study on how the message can reach people more effectively. The design of my content is all mine, I have no authors. ”
Below, some self-portraits of Samuele
How do you imagine your future? Trivially: what do you want to do when you grow up?
“I’m a bit problematic on this, because I like to do many things. The only certainty is that I want to continue expressing myself through an artistic medium, but I don’t know how to identify a precise field. More than acting, however, I love being behind the camera, therefore to take care of direction and screenplay “.
On TikTok you said that the future scares you.
“I fear it if I think of social and environmental issues, not in a personal sense”.
In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about the rise of politicians on TikTok. Do you feel represented in some way?
“It’s a sore point. I hear speeches that make me shiver even in the way they are delivered. In 2022 it makes me feel that we still have to fight to ensure that everyone can enjoy the same freedom. Then, of course, I know that there is. is who is worse off, outside Italy: there are areas of the world where some forms of freedom are still suppressed and condemned with the worst penalties. It makes me anxious to think that, on the other side of the world, there is a person like me who cannot express himself freely “.
«A child must be raised by a person who loves him, who teaches him respect for himself and for others. And this doesn’t necessarily come from a father or a mother. This comes from a good person, without looking at gender “
What goals do we still have to reach in Italy?
“Some forms of freedom are suppressed because they are branded as anomalous. Going into the merits of a delicate issue such as adoption, for example, there is still a lot of confusion in our country, because it must be linked to a father figure and a mother figure. That’s right, but we need to reflect on the fact that a child must be raised by a person who loves him, who teaches him respect for himself and for others. a mother. This comes from a good person, regardless of gender. ”
Do you believe that these prejudices are the responsibility of politics or do they belong to the citizens themselves?
“They arise from the mentality, because diversity risks frightening, distancing us. Often what we are not used to scares us. The idea that adoption may involve two men or two women, and therefore distances us, frightens us. We should analyze the fact that a child must have been raised by a person who really loves him. Which not all parents, however, are able to do “.
Do you still perceive prejudices even on your skin?
“Yes, but I live it with enormous tranquility. I am not affected by the eyes that fall on me when I walk down the street. The other night, for example, I was dancing and, next to me, there were some boys they looked and joked trying to guess from what it was clear that I was a man. One of them said from the veins, the other from the calves. . This pains me because I think they could do the same thing to someone else more fragile. But I am proud of who I am and no offense, not even the worst, could take me away from the person I am now, because it is me, for good or I can’t please everyone, not everyone will accept me, but I know that I am a polite person, I respect others and above all I also respect myself. I hurt anyone so, even if the others won’t accept me, that’s fine with me: I’ll give them a smile anyway, but they certainly won’t change who I am “.
«I can’t please everyone, not everyone will accept me, but I know that I respect others and above all I also respect myself. And so, once that is cleared up, I can be whatever I want, because I don’t hurt anyone. Even if the others won’t accept me, that’s fine with me: I’ll give them a smile anyway, but they certainly won’t change who I am “