John Economou made the life changing decision, at just 19, to drop out of college, leave home and pursue his dream of fame and fortune.
Economou went straight to California but found things difficult once arrived as he had no money, and no job. Looking for shelter he went to Venice Beach with his few meagre possessions, a sheet, toothbrush and his skateboard.
Economou explained his choice to move in an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: “I modelled my whole life locally in Milwaukee, then as I got older I knew that L.A. was the place to be and Milwaukee didn’t offer what I wanted… so I packed up a bag and moved to L.A. to live the hippie life, no rules, no nothing, just living free.”
The young drifter claims to have enjoyed his life on the beach but one summer day Economou got the opportunity of a life time. After going for a swim in the ocean, he decided to relax on the beach, not too far from where models Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid were eating a picnic.
He said: “I was just chilling on the beach and watching the water, minding my own business and then I see these people come over. They looked all presentable and good looking… Then I saw seagulls swarming around the girls because they brought the food out and I started walking over there to shoo them away.”
Catching the attention of Jenner and Hadid they began talking and he told them his amazing story of moving to L.A. The models were there for a shoot, and were accompanied by Jenner’s modelling agent, Ashleah Gonzalez, who set Economou up with Two Management, the same agency that launched Jenner’s modelling career years ago.
Though Economou now has a contract with the modelling agency he still chooses to live on the streets of Venice Beach. The young man doesn’t consider himself “homeless” though he prefers the term “traveller.”
I like saying I’m on an adventure… My parents thought it was a little odd that I wanted to come and live the hippie lifestyle out here but they knew I’m super independent and super driven and motivated so they support me and believe in me. So I took that and worked my magic and made stuff happen.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.