Interview With Pierre Francois Jacob | Free Spirit

I knew very little about PFJ when we met for the first time in Barcelona. His professional profile was something that drew my attention, but more I researched, more facts would come out which made me want to know who was there behind that handsome, weather-resisting face and an impossibly athletic body.  But that was not what it all came down to, it was his spirit, the aura around him – his innate freedom.

PFJ is an international model counting 34 years of his professional career. Now in his fifties, he says he’s never had a break, he’s been always working. That can probably be contributed to the classy looks, his Bond-like attitude and strong muscles which never had a day of rest.

Photography by Andrea Varani
  • Do you practice sport every day?

Sport is my lifestyle, it’s been a part of me since I first stood on a ski when I was two years old, since then it’s been my biggest passion. Though I also love surfing, and I never miss on a chance to be in the sea.

  • These are physically demanding types of sport.

Yes, quite, that’s why you need a strict discipline. Also, because it’s not the type of activity you can practice on daily basis you need to be in proper physical shape if you want to get the best out of the experience.

  • How do you maintain your physical stamina?

I run, this is something everyone can do in any conditions and under any circumstances, so there is no excuse. Then I do biking, swimming… pretty much everything there is under the blue sky! All this keeps me going. I see it almost as my philosophy of life.

  • What gives you the most satisfaction?

Nature. This is what freedom means to me. At the end of the day, no matter how complicated life can get, I know that I always have nature – the mountains and the sea.

  • So, you believe in the escape?

Of course, I think it´s a primal necessity of life. Everyone should have something to turn to.

Photography by Andrea Varani
  • There are two kinds of escape – constructive and destructive one. Apart from the skiing and surfing, you also like speed boats and racing cars?

I see where you are heading, he chuckles. I think risk is something you either go along with or you simply stagnate. I love risk, and I do take it rather lightly. I believe when your time comes then it comes. Plus, if you never risk, you’ll never do anything with your life. But you need to see the boundary, foolishness is never attractive.

  • Sport is not the only thing you take risk at. For the past couple of decades, you’ve had several business ventures, involving boats, cars and now your latest PistaNera ski-wear brand and Le Bistro de Pierre in Sitges (Spain).

Every business opportunity involves some risk. I did invest in things which I lost on, but I have no regrets, it´s a part of life and I don’t linger on disappointments. I see life as a constant motion, and in my case, it’s literal as I haven’t stayed more than three days in a row at one place. Since my early twenties, I’ve been constantly on the go.

  • Does it have to do with you being a model?

Not entirely. It is, definitely, a job that requires a lot of traveling but even when I’m off work, I go from place to place. I love the feeling of freedom it gives me.

  • You are a co-founder of PistaNera ski-wear brand. Are You involved in the process of creation?

I do take my part in it, mainly by testing everything on myself.  PistaNera is a mixture of comfort and fashion. The right image counts for a lot and we try to make it timeless. Though there is more to it because any sports-wear products need to be technically well developed and this is where PistaNera doesn’t fail.

  • Now you´ve been living for over a year in Sitges where you opened Le Bistro de Pierre. Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?

No, it’s rather more of a business opportunity and, also, I do want to settle at one point, so I thought to invest in something that would give more stability in life.

Photography by Robert Palomba
  • It is true that for the past year you’ve been spending a lot of time in Sitges. How does it feel?

Look, every change has positive and negative elements to it. What I love about being an owner of the place is the communication part, I love people that come to my place, I love creating this “joie de vivre” vibe, it’s my nature. The fact that I need to take care of the place, its administrative side, taking control of things – the responsibilities –  It does at times drags you down emotionally. I’m a “wild spirit” and anything that has a routine in it can make me feel uneasy.

  • Le Bistro is situated right by the sea. It has a lot of advantage for you, I believe?

Yes, and it makes all the difference. Since it’s situated right by the sea it gives a picture of work combined with pleasure. And I take advantage of it to the fullest! I start my morning by going to the sea to surf, waves provided, then I always have a moment having breakfast when I normally read the newspapers and admire the sea in front of me.

  • How Hedonistic of you! Here in The Hedonist, we believe that you can be, do or have anything you want. What are your thoughts on that?

Well, that depends. It’s an inspirational concept on its own but let’s be real, if you are born in a wrong place, in a misfortunate family, when daily survival is your major priority, when you are deprived of even basic opportunity to advance in life, then honestly, no matter how much you put your mind to becoming anything you want, it still looks like a slim chance. To me it’s more a matter of destiny and luck.

  • You are quite skeptical.

I call it realistic. It’s good to have dreams, but thinking that you can become anything you want can lead to the ultimate disappointment in life. I think it’s more important to see the situation for what it is, to see your own abilities and make the best of what you can out of it.

  • Is that what you teach your sons?

Absolutely. As I said, I think having dreams is important, having a focus in life, an ambition. But you need to stay on the ground. Nowadays, everyone seems to have a talent. Social media has gone completely out of proportion. As a matter of fact, only a few have real talents, the rest is a deplorable attempt at acceptance.

Photography by Robert Palomba
  • What about you still being on the market as a model. Doesn’t it make you be a part of the system?

Yes and No. I’ve started my career in such a different era, where you had to work very hard before you got to have any type of recognition. The value of success has changed.

  • What’s your definition of success? Do you see it more as a realization of one’s dreams or it rather has a different form?

The definition of success is rather a personal matter and it does come in different forms. To me, success can mean several things. If you succeeded in your career – yes, it is a success at some level, or you made it as an actor or an artist – sure, it does look like success. The only question is How satisfying this success is to you? Because very often, success doesn’t necessarily come together with personal satisfaction.

  • So, it’s about how it feels like and not how it looks like?

It’s all about the right state of mind. It’s when you can live in harmony with the current events of life when you manage to stay emotionally in balance regardless of how your life is going and find the way to be fine. If you can work yourself up into such emotional balance and stick to it throughout your life, then you made it!

  • Where do you think confidence comes from?

From within. By feeling good in your own skin. Once you are good with yourself, everything starts falling into place.

Photography by Andrea Varani
  • Is this your idea of happiness?

I wouldn’t say it as for the whole idea of happiness but it’s probably the starting point.

  • Human nature is complicated. It tends to succumb to depressions, wrong influences, outside reactions etc. How do you keep yourself away from negative?

Nature. When you feel the connection with nature you expand your personal integrity.

  • Do you think it’s easy to preserve one’s own integrity in the world we live now?

It’s never been easy. But I do believe there is always the way. You need to find your own inner resources to make it work for yourself.

  • Personal integrity often goes along with a certain alienation from the “crowd”….

 ….Which is the best thing that can happen to you!

Pierre Francois Jacob
Cover Photo by Andrea Varani