Who is Leonardo Maini Barbieri?
20 years old, fashion student, from Emilia, influencer.
It is depopulating on Tik Tok thanks to his videos in which he recounts his day.
He is undoubtedly among the most talked-about social faces of recent times.
A lover of fashion and luxury, with her fashionable outfits she has surpassed 400,000 followers in a very few weeks. A true fashion phenomenon, often ironic, who is not afraid of outside criticism.
Among Tik Tok's most original creators, his figure is as unusual as it is authentic.
He speaks about himself spontaneously and creates content related almost exclusively to the world of fashion, with a few very small exceptions.
No dancing or challenge particulars: he takes care to maintain a demeanor and to communicate, as he says in the interview, the idea of beauty. There is no shortage of advice and considerations about the world of haute couture.
In his biography he calls himself "CEO of Good Taste."
Who is Leonardo Maini Barbieri - Tik Tok influencer
Valerio: Hello and welcome, I am Valerio and today I have with me an extraordinary guest, one of the most trending characters on Tik Tok and other social channels.
He is very young, he is from Carpi, he is a super fashion expert or that is what he would like to become.
Today we have with us Leonardo Maini Barbieri.
Leonardo: Good morning, good morning everybody. Thank you for the invitation Valerio.
Valerio: Thank you for accepting it.
Leonardo, you just dropped in on my Tik Tok like that a few weeks ago out of the blue, you immediately seemed super nice, I liked your style and the way you presented yourself.
Obviously, you're having so much success, you have a very impressive escalation of followers. You have an original way of communicating.
Before we get into that, who is Leonardo Maini Barbieri? Tell us a little bit.
Leonardo: So Leonardo Maini Barbieri is a 20-year-old boy.
I am now attending the second year of a fashion course here in Carpi.
I started interning a few days ago at a fashion company here in Carpi, it will last five months, and eventually I would like to move to Paris to continue my studies in high fashion and do a master's degree at the Sorbonne on Flemish painting.
Valerio: On the Flemish painting? How come?
Leonardo: It is one of my favorite painting currents.
Valerio: So you are also passionate about art, not just fashion?
Leonardo: Yes. Of art history.
Valerio: Okay. But what's your story? In addition to taking a fashion class, you showcase your daily within Tik Tok and your socials.
This is so cool! I laugh like crazy. It's nice because I see a cross-section of someone's life. You have a family behind you that has a certain history, a certain culture....
Leonardo: Fashion has always been in my DNA let's say. My family was the first to open knitwear in 1945 here in Carpi.
So let's say it's really in the family DNA to fashion, it's a tradition that I wanted to carry on, we are now in the fourth generation.
By now the knitting mill has been gone for 30 years due to family bereavements. But the tradition for the passion of fashion I wanted to continue it.
Valerio: Why did you start going out on social with your days? What is your goal?
Leonardo: My goal is to bring beauty. I know it's very lofty, but people have gotten used to the ugly now. The ugly models, the ragged clothes-I want to bring real beauty.
I have always been attracted to beauty: whether it is in a dish, a painting, a dress, beauty fascinates and will always fascinate.
Valerio: So your idea is to currently use social media to promote yourself as well?
Leonardo: Yes, promoting myself as a fashion student or however you can be considered an expert -- still I am not an expert of course, I am still learning.
Still a passionate fashion guy, though, that is.
Because all the guys who are passionate about fashion these days, many develop on streetwear, however a more underground style, more street precisely.
I want to specialize on haute couture, which is a very important area of fashion and haute couture; this will be done in Paris.
Valerio: And how did you come up with the format of showing your everyday day?
Leonardo: I copied the trend to an American girl and thought, "I'm wearing it too!"
It's not that I do that much. I take tea, because it's a normality for me to take tea.
Valerio: English style, with a drop of milk!
Leonardo: English-style with a little bit of a dash of milk. And people on Tik Tok, they began to follow me exponentially. I made almost 100,000 followers a week!
Valerio: Wow! Right now how many do you have?
Leonardo: 458 [thousand].
Valerio: Not bad eh! So you use this technique, this format of your day, however, I've seen that you also intersperse occasionally with other things -- for example there was just San Remo, I saw that you did...
Leonardo: Yes, I did the Sanremo looks vows. I really indulged myself!
Valerio: And how did this thing go?
Leonardo: Well, it was very much liked, of course the hating people are there and telling me who are you to judge.
So I replied to one person, "But who are you to prevent me from making my own judgments? Who are you to prevent me from giving my idea?"
Valerio: This opens up an immediate question for me: what is the relationship with your followers and haters?
Leonardo: I try not to give importance to haters, because I would take importance away from the people who love me.
I give the importance to the people who love me, who support me, my fans. They are incredible.
If I indulged the haters, it would be disrespectful in my opinion to the people who really follow me.
Valerio: Do you have a lot of haters in them?
Leonardo: Average. The usual envious, no-nothing people who criticize without knowing.
Valerio: What about haters or offline followers, such as your neighbors, schoolmates or people in your village? Carpi is not a metropolis, everyone will know each other. How many inhabitants do you have?
Valerio: Okay, I am in Macerata, it's a little smaller but we are there! So how is the relationship with them?
Leonardo: They support me. Of course, within the city there are always the haters, it's people who are probably very frustrated with their lives that, how can I put this...
Valerio: ...wastes time hating you.
Leonardo: He wastes time hating and then when he meets me on the street he wants the photograph understood! Consistency-that's Carpi.
Then they also did an article, I went to the newspaper--that is, my city supports me a lot and I support my city.
As I have often said in interviews lately, I bring Carpi not on a silver platter, but on a golden one.
Because I love my roots and I hate to see them put in a corner by the way my city is treated, the way it is presented.
Valerio: Well then you are a strong supporter of local businesses, every day you buy a piece of jewelry, a perfume or a shoulder garment...
Leonardo: I try to help, as much as I can, artisans and stores.
Valerio: Absolutely. What other values are behind your way of communicating, beyond beauty, beyond wanting to introduce let's say a more "decent" appearance to all of us mortals? That is, is there something else behind it as well?
Because for example, in one video you showed the LGBT flag, you talked about the differences of people and the respect there is for others.
Leonardo: I want to bring two main issues to social: elegance, modesty (something that is lacking nowadays) and education, respect. These are four pillars that are very simple but at the same time very complicated to understand. And equally more complicated to put into practice.
Valerio: These are very good values; you are an influencer who positions yourself in a less superfluous and ephemeral way than many others. I like that very much.
Leonardo: I hope so! I hope people don't stop to see what I buy, but also listen to me when I make videos that are a little different.
Because you see, having a lot of following also comes with a lot of responsibility. What I want my followers and the people who follow me to understand is that in life you have to have respect for people.
You may not share an idea, you may not agree with that idea, but that does not justify you to insult and disrespect this person.
I, too, disagree with multiple ideas that are proposed to me every day, even in the workplace, but that doesn't mean I have to puncture my car tires, for example!
Valerio: Well you're welcome to it! I really like this and your followers appreciate it, because I've seen that you interact a lot in the comments to your videos.
Leonardo: Yes, I try to respond as much as possible. I don't put up with (I never used the word "hate" because hate is a very serious thing) those people with even many more followers than me, or even less, who don't respond, are being opinionated.
I also try to respond to people asking me for fashion or style advice.
Hundreds write to me "Look Leonardo, I still haven't found my style... Can you help me?" me "Sure, if I can!", On lunch break or break I answer them.
Valerio: Do I look good so basic? With a t-shirt?
Leonardo: Basic, very Dolce&Gabbana, very Giorgio Armani, I like it.
Valerio: Well, thank you! I liked this so much also because I saw people imitating you.
Leonardo: Yes, no, those are my "pezzi 'e core."
Valerio: They're great, there's the chick who says "I went to my local supermarket today and bought detergent..."
Leonardo: The bologna, the ham, I mean no, they are great.
Valerio: So do you interact with them, have you had a chance to write to them?
Leonardo: Yes, I write to them, "I love you, "I adore you," because they bring a smile to my face and they are really great them.
Family and friends
Valerio: Okay okay. Are you an only child?
Leonardo: Yes, only child.
Valerio: Okay because you don't see other brothers or sisters around, you see your friends, your girlfriends, a lot of little dogs I saw, all your little dogs. Kiwi, I remember.
Your dad and mom, how is your relationship with them now that you are in the spotlight?
Leonardo: My parents always keep my feet on the ground, they give me wings to dream, for sure, however, they keep my feet on the ground.
They tell me, you have to finish this, you have made work commitments to the company so you have to complete them.
Of course, then they give me the free space to say go do it, however, first always complete your work, what you agreed and signed. My parents support me in everything.
Valerio: How old are your parents?
Leonardo: My mom is 56 and my dad is 50.
Valerio: Okay, so you could be my child. How is their relationship with technology, with social, with digital?
Leonardo: Then I'll tell you just one thing, my grandmother, who is my big fan, did Tik Tok at the age of 80!
I mean my grandmother who, you see her, she's just that countess, with the backcombing, with the 100 year old black suit, the brooch and that's it, I mean my grandmother is great! My grandmother went to Tim and said I have to see my grandson, put on Tik Tok!
Valerio: Is it that lady I saw in black and white pictures in Monte Carlo?
Leonardo: Yes, yes, that's Grandma right there.
Valerio: Beautiful, congratulations!
So in the end you produce these videos, do you create them, do you do it yourself, do you have a team, do you have someone to help you?
Leonardo: No I am alone, I am alone.
Valerio: Okay okay. So you edit them, you make, you send, you send, you send, you check the followers a little bit....
Leonardo: That's right.
Valerio: Okay. next steps? What do you plan to do?
Leonardo: I am definitely not leaving the fashion world.
Valerio: Okay, but some format of some video, of some different Tik Tok are you coming up with?
Leonardo: Well, yes, I'm doing my evening now, so now I'm doing my evening coming out tonight.
Valerio: What do you mean? Explain explain!
Leonardo: Eh I usually do video until 7, now I do from 5 to 10.
Valerio: So from tea to bedtime, in short, more or less.
Leonardo: That's right, that there are more costume changes there than in the rest of the day!
Valerio: So how many times do you change clothes a day?
Leonardo: So, well, we leave for the night, then there's the early morning -- well now I can't change several times because I'm at work.
Valerio: Okay let's say until two weeks ago.
Leonardo: It's a tragedy for me, I'm used to changing like 18 times.
So when I didn't go to work I had the night, the morning, then if there was occasion I would change for tea--but okay well that's an exception, let's put it in--change for lunch, change to get comfortable early afternoon, change to go out in the afternoon, change to go to dinner, change for after dinner, and change to go to sleep. 9 times.
Valerio: Fantastic! You are my idol! Do you have other friends like you? Or are you one of a kind?
Leonardo: No I am unique, I am unique of my kind.
Valerio: You are unique. So you are really a gem that came out of carpi like this.
Leonardo: A gemstone I don't know, definitely a semi-precious stone, I don't know.
Valerio: Because it is bad to say character, I prefer to say a gem. Your friends then support you, do you have good friends?
Leonardo: Yes yes, absolutely! Well of course, there is the hilarity moment that they tease me.
Valerio: We would be very much missed.
Leonardo: Because it fits, it fits. I mean my best friend at one point said to me, look Leonardo you kind of broke the balls of doing this stuff, and I told her to fuck off, we didn't talk for two days, then we're friends again.
This is the relationship I have with my friends, however, they are great, they support me.
I told him look, I don't know, Francis (who is one of my best friends), this happened to me, what can I do, he gets on the table and says look I would do 1,2,3,4. They are very present and I thank them for that.
Valerio: Great great. Have you ever been down in a rush and said I'm not going out today?
Valerio: On Tik Tok?
Valerio: Are you a super optimist?
Leonardo: I do, I have always been optimistic in my life.
Valerio: How long have you been doing meditation?
Leonardo: I have been doing meditation for five years now.
Valerio: Ah, well, you are an accomplished meditator. Hobbies, interests, beyond fashion? I saw fashion and art history.
Leonardo: Definitely the history of art, the study and still knowing the history of art. Any historical period of course, we're talking from prehistory all the way to De Chirico, I'll throw one out there.
Leonardo: Then I have my preferences, even in the area of art history. Then I am a big music fan, I listen to any kind of music in the world. You know when they tell you, you listen to everything?
Leonardo: I can go from American rap-I listen to one of Eminem's, it's not that I listen to the repertoire-then I can go to Indian bollywood, of which I am a great devotee.
Valerio: Really? Come on?
Leonardo: Yes yes yes.
Valerio: Well there the clothes, the cosmetic care, the clothes ...
Leonardo: Well I have Indian saris. So going to Arabic musics, going to Indian raga (which is Indian classical music with very particular instruments), going to Italian musics, going to happiness, I mean understood, I do everything.
Leonardo: I don't go to music, I don't have a favorite singer; I have a melody. I like the melody.
Then I also get to opera, opera is one of my greatest passions.
Valerio: Well then you will have to come, as soon as you can, here in Macerata, we have one of the most beautiful outdoor arenas for the opera season in the world.
Leonardo: I know.
Valerio: So let me know then I'll take you to dinner!
Leonardo: Yes yes yes!
Valerio: Listen, look, but do you have any masters, do you have any reference points, a mentor or a figure that is either close to you, in the sense that he's your real mentor or teacher, or a high point of reference? I don't know, Armani?
Leonardo: So, close to me, no. Next to me there is only me, there is only me of mentoring myself.
Valerio: Okay, don't you have a reference point?
Leonardo: I do, I have reference points, they are Valentino Garavani, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani.
Then you know, I have the painters who are Van Eyck, also Vermeer as a character I like very much.
Then I have all the romance, which I really like, even the writers. Talking about English tragedies, Shakespeare is one of my mentors.
Valerio: Speaking of Shakespeare's tragedies, I get the question, are you single?
Leonardo: I do, absolutely, which is the greatest tragedy in the world.
Valerio: What kind of person do you see by your side and what kind of person would you never want to meet?
Leonardo: So, I would never want to meet an opinionated person. In fact, I'll tell you better: I would never want to meet a person like me. Because I would kill myself.
Valerio: Also because then you would be bored.
Leonardo: Yes, a real bore. So one I look first of all for a person who can endure me, just you know endurance in the very real sense of the word?
Valerio: To bear, not to support?
Leonardo: Endure. First endure, then support...
Leonardo: But I would like and desire a person who can cry on my shoulder and that I can cry on his.
Leonardo: A person who trusts, a person who I can trust, which is a really precious thing, more than all the existing Loro Piana fabrics in the world put together.
That trust is really very expensive, and if you lose that trust... (look at the gesture, I hope it is energized in the video) you feel like winning it back!
Valerio: You feel like it! Have you ever been let down by someone just because of that, because of lack of trust?
Leonardo: No because I have always given very little, I have always been very much on my own. I before I opened up with a person in the real, in my inner lotus flower....
Valerio: ...it takes.
Leonardo: My lotus flower opens very rarely.
Valerio: So you are also very selective in friendships?
Leonardo: Very, very much. It doesn't have to come through of arrogance. Because unfortunately I've had some big beatings in friendships, even in my life, that led me to where I am, led me to not give the 100% to the first person that comes in front of you, but give him the 1,2, that is just a spit, to see how he reacts. Then after five years I start giving him something.
Leonardo: I am 20 years old, my best friend has known her for 5 years, I know her inside out, and she knows me inside out. But she doesn't know me inside out for 5 years, she knows me inside out for two, maybe, one and a half.
Valerio: So friendship is an important value that you cherish.
Leonardo: Yes. Almost more than love, almost more than love.
Valerio: Almost more than love. Okay. I have to ask you, what would happen if you suddenly found yourself alone?
Leonardo: Alone without friends?
Leonardo: Look Valerio, I was friendless for 15 years. Because as you can well imagine a personality like mine was not well accepted in a "normal" group of 15-year-old characters.
So I am used to being alone. I used to go out to dinner alone, Valerio, when I was 12 years old. I'm used to being alone, and it's almost better to be alone than badly accompanied.
Leonardo: And then I have a lot of fun being alone, I mean I have fun like there's no tomorrow, the worst laughs I've had by myself imagining myself in hypothetical scenes from my life.
Plans for the future
Valerio: What do you plan to do next beyond your business? Do you plan to, maybe I don't know, write a book, become a speaker, create an online course?
Leonardo: Many people suggest that I be a book reader.
Valerio: Come on!
Leonardo: It is that I am told that I have a very persuasive voice. Now I wouldn't know, and I certainly don't interpret my voice as persuasive, partly because being dyslexic myself, I also slur my words.
Valerio: Maybe if you are dyslexic reading books is not really the best.
Leonardo: No, however, as they say, I challenge myself very often.
Leonardo: Yes because I challenge myself. My first book I read in elementary school was GGG by Roald Dahl. Now do you know how GGG is structured?
Leonardo: It is structured in wrong Italian, because he writes it, the Great Gentle Giant, and at the end you come to understand that he writes it. It's just that it's all the words are wrong! I mean think this 10-year-old boy reading Roald Dhal dyslexic! Like I remember the word pickle, I mean I when I read it I said but why!
So I have always challenged myself since I was a little boy.
Then of course I threw the book into Lake Garda as soon as I finished it, but I tried and got to the end, that's it.
Valerio: I understand. What about other things?
Leonardo: A passion for cooking.
Valerio: Cooking, okay. But the character Leonardo Maini Barbieri, in your opinion, do you see him being transported to a context where you become someone's mentor?
Leonardo: It is a bit ambitious as a goal, however, yes, why not.
Valerio: Absolutely ambitious, I mean, if you don't live by ambition what do you live by?
Leonardo: Well of course you can't live.
Valerio: Absolutely. So I can't write a book? Or become a speaker?
Leonardo: Maybe become a speaker yes, I would love to.
Leonardo: My dream is to be a designer, let's remember that.
Valerio: Yes yes yes, of course, however I speak as a parallel complementary activity.
Leonardo: Ah yes yes come on, the speaker could also be there. To give fashion advice.
Valerio: Does becoming a designer for you mean having your own fashion house, your own label?
Valerio: Okay. And would you go on a classical style?
Leonardo: I would go for a beautiful style, which said like that is everything and nothing.
I would definitely go back to the neo look presented by Dior in the 1950s, however of course I would revisit it in a modern way, with modern cuts, with modern fabrics, however without neglecting that innate elegance that Monsieur Dior teaches, as Monsieur Balenciaga taught us.
Valerio: This is a kind of, as you said, very high fashion.
Leonardo: High fashion, yes yes.
Valerio: And that of course is the preserve of the few, because it's not like we can all afford to have such a wardrobe.
Leonardo: Yes. Because I don't point to who purchase possibilities, because of purchase possibilities there are so many people in the world.
I aim for people who are educated in fashion and have purchasing possibilities. As long as less of the less of the less of the less.
Valerio: And in your opinion can one be beautiful and elegant even having little money?
Leonardo: But absolutely! Valerio, a camel coat is a camel coat, whether it's from Zara or whether it's from Loro Piana.
Then if you have the availability and go to Loro Piana, even better! But a camel coat is a camel coat eh!
Do you know what my mantra is? Colors have no brand. You just have to know how to match them.
Valerio: So we all have hope in some way.
Valerio: Okay. Well, Leonardo, very last question then we say goodbye.
Leonardo: You're welcome.
Leonardo's advice for all of us
Valerio: You have a chance to talk to my audience, to my followers and give one, two, three tips or three pointers or two things, one thing, see you, the thing you want to leave for posterity from this interview.
Leonardo: So: one, black looks good with everything.
Valerio: And go!
Leonardo: Second thing: never be afraid to be yourself. Never. Even God Himself can row against you, but you go forward with your head held high, always.
The family is against it, give a damn! Institutions are against, give a damn! Do like Vivienne Westwood, go against everyone. And I assure you that life will pay you back, always.
But never give up. If you are convinced of a fact, go, bring it forward, even if you have to bring it before the Pope. You carry it forward and never give up. Never.
Leonardo: And never be ashamed to be yourself. In fact, you should brag (of course take it in quotes) about being yourself.
You have to be you in the natural, because nature wins, beauty wins.
Valerio: Well, great! Thank you, thank you Leonardo.
Leonardo: Thank you!
Valerio: Thank you so much, fantastic interview and thank you Leonardo for being here with me, with us, with everybody.
Leonardo: Thanks for listening to me guys! I hope I was helpful.
Valerio: Follow him on Tik Tok because I think we're going to see a lot of great things that Leonardo is going to do from here on out, the evolution of his career, his passions, and then his great days - boy, you can't understand how many perfumes this guy buys!
Leonardo: Today I bought a beautiful Cartier perfume that I had run out of, I bought Declaration!
Valerio: You see, here it is!
So thank you again for being here, if you have any comments definitely find some space below, some way to do it. Thank you Leonardo, thank you everybody. And goodbye.
Leonardo: Thank you, thank you Valerio!
Find Leonardo's profile on Tik Tok here: https://www.tiktok.com/@leonardomainibarbieri
If you want to learn more about social media marketing here is a guide: https://www.valerio.it/social-media-marketing
What is Tik Tok from Wikipedia
TikTok, also known as Douyin (抖音S, DǒuyīnP) in China, is a Chinese social network launched in September 2016, initially under the name musical.ly.
Through the app, users can create short music clips of varying length (up to 15 or up to 60 seconds) and possibly change the playback speed, add filters and special effects to their videos.
Users could upload videos lasting up to 60 seconds and add songs, sounds or voices to be dubbed. Musical.ly also allowed users to create shorter movies called "live moments," which are essentially animated GIFs with background music. Musical.ly also had an instant messaging function between users called direct.ly.
The Tik Tok mobile application allows users to speed up, slow down, or change through a filter the sound or background music, selectable within a wide range of music genres. Through a dedicated option, it is possible to record audio and video of one's reaction while the clip is displayed on the smartphone, while the "duo" option allows video footage from two mobile terminals to be shared in a single video. This feature is used, for example, between two neighboring people to film each other with each other's cell phones.
The application allows users to set up their accounts as "private." The content of these accounts remains available to Tik Tok, but can be viewed only by users authorized by the owner, who, similar to other social networks, can choose whether to make the profile public or to interact only with friends, through comments, messages or "reaction" and "duo" videos.
Tik Tok uses artificial intelligence to analyze the interests and preferences expressed by users of the application so that it can individually personalize the content offered to them.