By looking at Fabrizio Brienza, you might think he’s an international man of mystery–with his slicked-back silver hair, his impressive collection of furs, and this photo of Brienza holding an exotic reptile with an expensive Versace coat over his shoulders. But when Brienza isn’t island-hopping on the Amalfi Coast with European millionaires, dressed in a tuxedo–or giving off that wealthy playboy vibe on his IG, anyway–the Italian-American is also a model, actor, and nightclub owner.
Having modeled for luxury fashion houses in Italy like Armani and Valentino, Brienza moved to Miami in 1997 and became an actor, with his breakout role in The Versace Murder one year later. Some of his best-known works include the films The Adjustment Bureau and Duplicity (with DuJour cover star Clive Owen), as well as a guest spot on the cult-classic series, The Sopranos. “I often play the European guy with the gangster and the look, because of my accent. I can’t very well play the guy from Arkansas,” Brienza told Thrive Global.
Before making a commitment to acting and perfecting his craft, Brienza was in South Beach, running the nightlife scene–it wasn’t until 2003 that he moved to Los Angeles to make it in Hollywood–though he only ended up staying a year, before moving back east to New York City to open a new late-night hotspot. And while he looks the part of a debonair, devil-may-care actor, he’s also had mishaps in his career, telling Thrive Global about a time he spent shooting in The Javits Center in New York. “The director called a break, and I really had to use the restroom. I told the assistant I was going on break … ultimately the assistant director was running all over the place chasing me down. The director was yelling at me for nearly five minutes because I ended up on the far side of the center.”
As for if Brienza has any advice to impart on up-and-comers? “Be yourself,” he says to Thrive Global, referencing the faked artifice of social media, “Always be yourself, being true to yourself is something that many people don’t pay attention to in this day [and] age. It will create a more positive society … be free! It’s a personal sense of freedom, rather than trying to manipulate and impress people that don’t care about you.”