Lio (Lionel), 19, is a former competitive European football player who currently works as a barber in a town in Western Slovakia. In his mid-teens, Lio aspired to play for a higher foreign league, but unfortunately, he went through a number of setbacks, including a broken arm and later a broken leg. While representing Slovakia, Lio at least got to travel quite a bit and played in Israel and Holland.

One evening, as I was on my way to a college nightclub, Lio’s ex-girlfriend showed me a shirtless photo of him and asked what I thought about his looks. I told her, “Oh yes, I’d definitely love to photograph this guy.” And so it was arranged. When we had our first call, Lio had a tough “bad boy” demeanor and seemed very hesitant and sceptical, thinking that the photoshoot would be some sort of a scam. He eventually agreed to “try thinks out” and showed up at my place together (“with the protection of”) his ex-girlfriend.

Once we met in person and talked for a bit, things quickly felt much less tense. He completely warmed up, his “female bodyguard” left, and we got on with the photoshoot. It turned out to be a very pleasant experience. Lio seemed to genuinely have fun and had an exceptional amount of energy, saying he’d definitely want to come back for a repeat.

With his career in sports mostly behind him, Lio is focused on becoming independent (he still lives with his family) and he plans to open his own barbershop, although he says it will be a big challenge as there already are 30 barbershops in his quite small town.

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