Mario Testino used to spend all his money on taxi fares growing up as he was teased for his fashion sense.
The photographer was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and had five siblings. From an early age he was interested in fashion, which made him a target for other young people. He was teased for wearing outlandish clothes and went to great lengths to avoid his tormentors.
“All my allowance went on taxi fares. I couldn't take public transport the way I dressed – imagine David Bowie walking in Rome. Well, I wasn't David Bowie, but the way I looked to them was quite flamboyant,” he laughed, adding things changed when he moved to the UK in the late ‘70s.
“South America was not really that open – you had to fit in, and I didn't fit in. I was different – my tastes, my point of view – were a bit weird, and I found in Britain a sense of calm, that I could just be.”
Mario has photographed some of the biggest stars in the world and claims to have taken a few thousand images of Kate Moss. He has a special affinity with the British supermodel who he counts as a friend.
“She's fun, generous, she has taste, she's beautiful,” he told guardian.co.uk. “I don't know what it is we have, because I'm so much older than her, and she's rock'n'roll, but if we're in the same room we'll be sitting next to each other within five minutes.”
The 57-year-old star has no plans to retire anytime soon. He is proud that he still works 14-hour days, explaining he even gets behind the camera at the weekend.
“I spend, maximum, four or five days in a place at a time, except for my holidays,” he said.