- Dennison Bertram
50-year-old multimillionaire entrepreneur Gianluca Vacchi is not your average Instagram star – he’s certainly done things his own way.
Having retired from a career in business, the silver-haired, tattooed Italian took social media by a storm last year when a video he posted of himself dancing on holiday with his partner at the time went viral.
He has since gained a huge Instagram following – over 11 million – with whom he shares his outrageously lavish lifestyle aboard private jets, yachts, and fast cars.
Business Insider spoke to Vacchi after he’d just touched down in Italy to wish his mother a Merry Christmas.
Scroll down for a sneak peek inside the extravagant world of Gianluca Vacchi.
This is 50-year-old Gianluca Vacchi, the multimillionaire entrepreneur known to most people because of the lavish lifestyle he shares with his 11 million-strong Instagram following.
- Dennison Bertram
Business Insider caught up with Vacchi just after he’d just touched down in Italy to wish his mother a Merry Christmas before he jetted back to Miami to spend Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve in the sunshine.
Vacchi shot to social media fame about a year and a half ago when he shared this video of himself dancing to Ricky Martin with his partner at the time Italian model Giorgia Gabriele while on holiday. It went viral.
The couple posted a series of videos in which they performed synchronised dances during the summer of 2016. They were viewed millions of times.
Vacchi told Business Insider his life so far can be be divided “very clearly” into two parts: the first one being his life “under the working point of view” which lasted until he was 45.
Vacchi said he went into the “family businesses” at the age of 25 after finishing his studies in economics. Along with his cousin, he took on some of his family’s companies which were in need of deep restructuring and then once he’d turned them around, listed them on the stock exchange.
At 29, he said he decided to become a shareholder instead, and went into private equity, buying and selling companies in different sectors. And at one point had his fingers in pies across 12 or 13 different sectors.
“At 45 I realised that the world didn’t have anything to give me anymore,” he told BI. “I’m not interested in accumulating money at all any more, I’m only interested in what’s moving my curiosity.”
Vacchi said that while he no longer manages companies he still considers himself to be an entrepreneur as a shareholder. For example, he still owns a stake in his family’s Bologna-based conglomerate IMA, which manufactures machines for the processing and packaging of pharmaceuticals and other products.
What really piqued his interest was the world of social media. Now, his Instagram account is a platform where he shows off his flamboyant personality through an array of brightly-coloured tailored suits, velvet slippers, and impressive pyjama collection.
“I wasn’t old enough not to be interested in the ways of dialogue between young people, and the ways of being entertained by young people,” he said. He set his sights on understanding the way social media works and says it became “clear” that it was something he could be a part of.
Now, he likes to think of himself as a “global entertainer and celebrity.”
“It used to be that the first thing people did was look at the newspaper, now they wake up and go on Instagram,” he said. “People are more interested in other peoples’ lives than their own. It is very strange, but it’s like that.”
Vacchi trains for over an hour each day, no matter where he is in the world, and often shares his workouts with his followers.
He has even published his own self-congratulatory book entitled ‘#Enjoy.’
In the book, which came out in 2016, he writes about his decision to retire at 45, after his 20-year career.
His ostentatious lifestyle — known by the hashtag #gvlifestyle — certainly divides opinion, but one thing’s for sure — a scroll through his feed is hugely entertaining.
The endless glamorous settings and parties – where you might catch him spinning vinyl with an anklet-adorned foot or doing a back flip off a yacht – make for compulsive viewing.
Dancing is a big part of his life, though he says he has never taken a dance class. “It’s in my blood,” he said.
Vacchi’s dancing posts, often performed to Brazilian Baile Funk or Latino music, are still popular with his followers – and it’s fair to say some are pretty infectious.
Dancing, he said, reflects just another portion of the philosophy on which he bases his lavish lifestyle and attracts people.
“You can do serious stuff even if you have an ironic or funny take on life,” he said. “I do it spontaneously, if I listen to music it’s just natural to me wherever I am, whoever I’m with.”
Vacchi’s Instagram is peppered with shots of him posing on private jets, of which he said: “I’m not scared of showing myself on a jet — if I do it’s because I deserve to do it.”
He told Business Insider that he likes to ride on private jets because they offer “more flexibility, more speed, and more comfort.”
Asked about the obsession with the private jet lifestyle made popular by the likes of “Rich Kids of Instagram” and celebrities, he responded: “People are aiming [to have a] better quality of lifestyle, but what people often don’t understand is that a picture [of someone] on a private jet is usually the result of something that you have done many years earlier.”
Vacchi said while people out there project a different life online than their reality, that’s not him. It’s important to him and his young following that he is “coherent, with no mask or filter. I just show myself as I am.”
“I never stay more than one week in the same place,” he said. “For me being one week in the same place is already something strange, in the past it was different but now I’m constantly travelling.”
And he always travels with plenty of Louis Vuitton and Mulberry luggage.
While he is often on the go, his two main bases are in Italy and Miami.
- Dennison Bertram
He told Business Insider: “All of my houses are different, depending on where they’re located.”
And this also applies to his outfit choices. “I have no one style, it all depends on my mood that day. It’s the same with music [I play].”
Above, he’s pictured in his “red passion suite” at his base in Milan.
Miami has also served as a base for him to launch his DJ career, and this year Vacchi released his first ever single, ‘Viento.’
“I enjoy all kinds of music, deep house, Brazilian music,” he told Business Insider – though you won’t catch him playing techno as that doesn’t match his “joyful” mood. “I don’t want [to play] very flat boom boom boom music, I prefer strong drops.”
Above he’s pictured DJing at Mia Club. He’ll play at Wall nightclub on Miami Beach on New Year’s Eve, after which he’ll probably fly to Colombia, then possibly the Bahamas.
In August 2017, Vacchi made headlines under less desirable circumstances. There were reports that he had had some of his assets seized to service debts.
The Independent cited reports from Italian tabloid Quotidiano which said Vacchi had had assets and shares seized over a £9.5 million (€10.5 million) debt.
The reports prompted some to react with delight on social media, mocking his flaunted life of luxury.
Yet he continues to show off a hedonistic lifestyle.
Vacchi averages hundreds of thousands of likes per photo on Instagram and millions of views of his videos, but the comments he receives are mixed.
Some are awestruck fans who post endless congratulatory emojis asking for more context on where he is, what he’s doing, and who he’s with, while others appear outraged at the extent of the extravagance lifestyle that he projects.
Either way, Vacchi doesn’t appear to respond to many of them, good or bad.
So what’s next for this 50-year-old retired entrepreneur, DJ, and Instagram star?
Vacchi told Business Insider he now has his sights set on acting.
“Why not? It would be very interesting in this second part of my life as a celebrity, DJ, producer, designer, why not even acting?” he said. “I’m already doing commercials now where I’m acting, I know that a movie is different but it’s not so difficult when you’re comfortable in front of the camera.”