Moving to another country at the age of 19 was the hardest decision I ever had to make. I felt it was time for me to make a change and challenge myself in ways I never thought possible – in a new country, with new surroundings, and endless opportunities. Even though money wasn’t a struggle in Brazil, I always valued independence and determination as my parents instilled this in me at a young age. In September of 2015, I took the leap of faith and put all my fears, thoughts, and dreams in my backpack and embarked on a new journey. As I did this, I recalled a line from my favorite writer, Paulo Coelho. He once wrote, “it’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
Like most Brazilians who immigrate to the United States, I didn’t speak the language, so I had to immediately enroll in English school. I started my first vocabulary classes in Berkeley. While the classes were challenging, in just over a month I moved up two levels. After five months of intense vocabulary, I was finally ready to enroll in the City College of San Francisco as I felt it was time to achieve additional education at a higher level.
Even though I was taking English classes at the time, it was still challenging to find a job. Many companies (and even restaurants) would not hire people who did not speak English, so I had to quickly pivot and find other ways to generate income. I started cleaning Airbnb apartments, delivering food, among other positions. Driving for Lyft was the best choice at the time as I was still learning the language. Additionally, the flexibility between work and classes was ideal as I could make my own schedule. I drove for Lyft every weekday, about 12 hours a day, for a little over a year. Another great benefit was working for Lyft allowed me to practice English with passengers and gave me the opportunity to get to know more about the ins and outs of San Francisco, the surrounding area, and individual neighborhoods.
Finding the courage to apply for a job in my desired field became easier as I became proficient in English. Since I studied marketing and worked in that field in Brazil, I felt I was ready to apply for a similar position here in San Francisco. While I was still attending English classes and working part time jobs, I found a marketing internship at a local news company. I was fortunate to gain experience as their Social Media Manager over the course of a three-year engagement. My primary responsibilities were to manage clients in South America and in the US, so having a multicultural and multilingual background worked towards my benefit.
After several years in that position, I was inspired and motivated to seek employment in the tech industry. Although it was a risky decision and somewhat scary, I felt empowered to address my fears once again and embark on another journey. After several interviews I was offered a job at Autodesk in Data Migration & Trilingual Client Service-Operations. Autodesk is an international software firm that manufactures architectural and education software products and services. The company taught me how to use their varying platforms, as well as how to implement data.
Working for Autodesk allowed me to expand and build upon my professional skillset and relevant experience, and most importantly, it encouraged me to achieve even greater success in the industry. With that, I took the next step. When I applied to Facebook, I couldn’t believe that I made it through the front door. I had a total of five intimidating interviews and by my last interview, I accidentally made a joke. Of course, I didn’t know that the person interviewing me was my soon-to-be boss’s manager. He asked, “how would you teach a person how to use an iPhone without being around them?” I laughed and said to him that I already do that with my mom. I could tell he liked my sincere and candid response. After my interview, the recruiter called me and asked it went. I told her that I possibly didn’t make it to the next round because I made a joke or two. She apologized and hung up. A few days later, the recruiter called me and offered me the job. She said the managers liked me and wanted me to join their Brand Safety team as a Quality Analyst Lead. Without hesitation, I accepted the offer and realized that the possibility of achieving a dream is always possible with determination.
I hope that my story can serve as an example and a source of inspiration to other people, especially in the Latinx community, that working hard and facing fears can lead to independence. Even without knowing anybody, the language or the culture, all that is needed is a willingness to be open to achieve success.
Twisted Male Magazine: Tell us a little bit about your modeling career?
Matheos: Everything started when I was 17 years old. My parents fed my unique personality by reaching out to a few agencies. As my modeling experiences grew, I had the pleasure of working with one of the biggest Brazilian TV channels, as well as with a few other single advertisements.
Twisted Male Magazine: Have you done something else growing up?
Matheos: I was a busy young person. I used to partake in so many sports growing up, such as swimming, volleyball, and soccer. But my real passion was gymnastics. I started when I was 7 years old, but because of a knee injury I had to stop at the age of 15. I had always dreamed of going to the Olympics.
Twisted Male Magazine: When did you start working as a model in the US?
Matheos: Modeling isn’t my full-time job, but I enjoy the opportunities as they come about. Three years ago, I was assigned to two agencies – one in South America and another one here in the US. I have a great relationship with both, and they always look for jobs that match with my profile and that ultimately would bring me joy and satisfaction. My manager here in the US, Taylor, is a very inspiring person. He believed in my potential even when I didn’t. We discussed the industry so many times, and he instilled in me that baby steps lead to big changes.
Creative designer; @lizcai0