“When are you free to model?” the Instagram message read.
Juan grew up in Colombia and moved to Manchester when he was 14, he had always dreamed of becoming a footballer – modelling had never crossed his mind. But when he got behind the camera, that all changed.
“Gangs, knives and guns are all a part of life round here,” Juan says. He realised modelling could transform his life.
“I love [modelling] because you’re always meeting new people, and interacting with new models and photographers. So it’s like you get the benefit out of the actual job, and then you get enjoyment out of meeting new people and making friends on set,” he adds.
Juan, now 23, was at university at the time.
“I was so confused about it,” he says. Worried it might be some sort of scam, he looked into it and soon realised he had been scouted by the Chief Executive of Nemesis Models agency.
Series two of BBC Three’s documentary series, Models: Street To Catwalk, follows Juan and some other young hopefuls from tough neighbourhoods as they try to make it in the fashion industry.
“I went in for this induction day, to see if you’re a fit for them, and they really liked me. I was so surprised I was potentially going to start modelling,” he says.