When I saw the man get out of the limo in a suit of armor for The Bachelorette Season 9, I was intrigued. I know the producers encourage the contestants to find a "gimmick" that will make them stand out. But as I watched Diogo's quiet and humble demeanor, it didn't seem to match the elaborate steel sportcoat he was wearing.
I knew I wanted to know more about the man hiding behind the body shield. In doing this interview I only asked one thing...will the real Diogo Custodio please stand up? And he did...
Tell us about yourself...
I’m just so passionate about living. After having been through so much in life, I am now living a dream. Being in California, with this solid educational background and career, is even beyond all I have desired.
I was so poor in Brazil when I was a child. My family and I had tough times, where we had no food or shelter. It is painful thinking of the past, a past I don’t wish for anyone. It was so hard growing up that way.
On my 10th birthday my father came crying, saying that he couldn't afford a birthday cake for me to take to school. He looked inside my eyes and told me something that changed my life forever. He said, “Son, you can be the man you want in life, if you dream big, believe in yourself, have faith in God and work hard!” That message stuck in my mind so strongly. It was a wake up call.
Since then, through scholarships, I joined private school, then graduated Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD Degrees, in European and US at very-well accredited institutions. I wrote two books and a thesis, I am going for my third book after a few more missions in Africa. I have been to 32 countries and I can speak five languages.
Back in Brazil, my family is now provided with a good life. Mom takes care of less-fortunate people in our hometown. She is always moving like crazy trying to feed the hunger and find opportunities for people to have their lives back on track. My sister is in law school. I am very proud of her and for providing her with the opportunity.
I spend my time engaged with the social cause. I have this need to help hungry people because I know well that hunger hurts so much.
A perfect Sunday is making sandwiches and baking cookies and taking them, with a smile and a hug, to my people less fortunate at the beach, at the park. I dream to share this with my wife and kids, in the future. I want them helping me to help more people. Life is a gift. Life is good.
Love is the only thing missing in my life now. I need a woman who will allow me to make her the happiest girl on earth. Because I will!
Three words to describe you...
Blessed, Dreamer, Faith
Current project you would like to share...
I just want people helping people. If we all do just a little bit, we could save so many lives. Buy an extra bread, a few extra apples and give to people at the park.
Teach your kids that people need help. Be thankful for the life you have, for the food you have on your table every day. Promote life, peace, happiness.
Having once weighed 400 pounds, I also want to help over-weight people. I know how hard and sad it is to be so heavy. I’m still thinking about it and putting an action plan together...
What is the reason for your upcoming trip to Africa...
I will be volunteering in Mozambique. When I was in Europe I was fortunate to meet these grad school friends from Africa. They introduced me to the experience of helping kids in that continent.
I guarantee you, there’s no way to describe the amazing feeling of feeding, playing and holding a little angel in your arms. You could only understand what it's like being there and doing that. I feel so blessed that I can be part of their story. They sure have my heart. When I’m there, we bake cookies, play soccer, have fun... They won’t sleep before a kiss on their forehead, a very strong hug and a prayer. I can’t wait to be back there with them!
Person dead or alive you would most like to meet and why...
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Francis and Nelson Mandela. They all inspire me with their life stories and their passion for helping others.
What is your 5 year vision...
I want to be married. In fact, my wife will have to accept two wedding parties, one here and one in Brazil! I want to have a little blessed and caring family and a dog. I'd like to live in California and take my family to visit my family in Brazil often. I want to teach my wife and kids many languages, travel the world, work hard and help people... I really don’t ask for much more than being happy and making people happy.
Tell us your story of how you came to be on The Bachelorette...
It all happened so suddenly and unexpected. I was in the middle of a very hectic work schedule, stressed out and missing my family. I was in Santa Cruz, CA, chilling at the beach one weekend and some people came to me and invited me for a meeting to talk about the possibility of being part of The Bachelorette.
I’ve always liked and believed in the show. I remember watching some episodes of Jason’s season with my mom in Brazil and telling her that maybe The Bachelorette would be the only reality show that I would say 'yes' to be part of. But I thought there’s no way they would look at me!
Time passed by. I kept getting phone calls from producers and then I was invited for the first casting weekend in LA. I was incredibly sick that day. I could barely speak. I had an awful flu and fever and I couldn't even do the on-camera interview. That also explains some of my crazy answers in my bio (laughing). I was answering that huge questionnaire at 3 a.m., dying with fever.
I left LA certain that I had no chance with the opportunity. Really, I could not deliver at all that day. But my phone kept ringing.
They sent me the contract and had me on the show. I still don’t know how/why. I am sure there were thousands of other contestants with a much better background and much better look, but they chose me.
My winter schedule is working 7 days a week (not joking), from a.m. to p.m. The ski industry is heavy in Tahoe, and I have a lot on my plate. So I had no chance, like the other guys, to watch the past shows, or to do any ‘home work’. I went to the show open-hearted, very naive, not expecting anything, without any strategy. I just wanted to be myself.
What were your thoughts behind the suit of armor...
I was told Des wanted to live a fairytale during her journey. We share a quite similar life story, both came from nothing. I was also living my fairytale in meeting such a princess. I thought it would be remarkable if I was bold enough to make an epic first impression. I believe ANYTHING is valid when expressing love. Wellll...things did not work as well as we expected... (laugh)
By the way, we found the suit of armor in Hollywood, and I am not joking, it took 3 men to carry the entire costume. They estimated that the whole thing weighs 150 lbs. It was a real deal. God knows how painful it was to walk with that! (laugh)
Do I regret it? Yes and no. I wish I wasn't so nervous and could express myself better in words. I speak five languages, English is not the top one. But I promise you, normally I do much better than what you saw.
What I don’t like at all is the bio/official pictures. Man, I look bad. Really bad... (laugh) I am far from being handsome, but I have much better pictures than those by ABC...
Share one experience we didn't get to see...
Well, you guys really couldn't see anything, I left so quickly. Some people say, "I wish you would've stayed more, so we would see more of you". Well, I don’t know. When I first looked at Des’ eyes, I immediately didn't feel chemistry between us. It was right away and I am good with reading feelings. So, what’s the point of staying longer, you know what I mean?
I cannot explain how I ended up being on the show, and why I thought that entrance was the best way to approach. I just know that all will make sense at some point in life. I also know that all went bad and wrong, ha ha.
Something you guys don’t see at all, and I HATE it so much? Make-up. Man, I felt so uncomfortable every time I had to meet with a make-up artist... (laugh)
Which guys from the show are you most connected with and why?
-Jonathan is such a cool guy. Really, don’t judge the Fantasy Suite thing. The show put us in so much pressure and stress. The first night is so long...it starts around 8 p.m. and ends around 6 a.m. next day.
-Drew and Chris deserve only good things! They are really good guys.
-Zak W. is great! I want him to be the next bachelor!
-Among other great guys, I wish I was friends with everybody, but clearly not everybody wants to be my friend. Funny how they don’t even know me and they judge me. I tried chatting and approaching some after the show, but they thought I was too freak to hang with (their words). (laugh)
Three words to describe Des...
Blessed, Dreamer, Faith
(Yes, these are the same three words he used to describe himself.)
Prediction for this week...
I’m just praying and hoping Des will have a happy ending. We all deserve happiness and Des seems to be so special. I hope Brooks comes back for her and they have us all in joy!
Then I hope Chris and Drew are now okay, with their minds at ease. A broken heart is really painful.
And I am hoping for Zak W. to be the next bachelor. He is such a cool guy, friendly, not arrogant at all, humble and fun. The real guy America wants to see in the next journey of love.
Anything else you would like BachelorNation to know about you...
My intention on the show was to find love. I have so much love to share. Hey, I’m not embarrassed repeating the “explosion” of feeling I have inside of me.
I will keep dreaming with the opportunity to find my soulmate, my best friend, the woman that will allow me to make her just the happiest girl on this entire Universe! And this is gonna happen. There was never anything impossible for me, nothing I couldn't make happen :)
Bachelornation, thank you so much for all love and support. Every little follower on my twitter counts, and makes me smile.
Just please promise me that you all will believe in your dreams, will believe that anything in this life is possible when you have faith in yourself. Never let yourself down, as there is always a way.
Life is about miracles happening all the time. See the beauty in others, and PLEASE help the people struggling in life. Feed the hunger! Smile and hug others, expand love.
Many blessing to all of you! :)