They’re the tastemakers, the leaders of industry, the real movers and shakers of Los Angeles. And sexy South American import Luciano Costa is the man behind it all.
On a warm, sunny afternoon in Los Angeles, cover model Luciano Costa is buzzing around his two-bedroom Hollywood apartment, making last-minute phone calls, sending out reminder e-mails and tying up every loose end to make sure that his evening plans roll out seamlessly. After all, how often are you charged with showing a group of 200 gay men a good time? Well, often—if you’re Luciano Costa.
Now, before you get the wrong idea about Luciano—or the Instinct editorial team, for that matter—you should know that this hot South American import is no hustler. The 37-year-old is actually an entrepreneur, networker and sometimes Abbey bartender—and right now is simply putting the finishing touches on the latest outing for his SoCal Social Club.
“I was seeking to further myself professionally, longing to further connect with the city of Los Angeles and looking to create a group of friends with whom I could participate in all those things,” Luciano explains. “As I began to discuss my idea with my peers, I learned that many were looking for the same thing. Everyone seemed to be looking for a better way to engage with others in more meaningful ways than bars.”
Rather than just griping about the gay nightlife like everyone else, Luciano saw an opportunity. He began stitching together a business plan for what he hoped would become the leading social activity club and online networking destination for LGBT professionals and tastemakers in Los Angeles. Four years later—and 3,000 members in—the SoCal Social Club has been meeting regularly for events like Tuesday Night Supper Club, a monthly dinner outing giving LGBT foodies a taste of different restaurants across L.A., LGBT VIP Night Out, a co-sponsored evening at the theater for those looking for a little culture, and In The Mix, a rotating cocktail mixer giving professionals a chance to rub elbows.
But there’s more to the SoCal Social Club than an endless itinerary of cocktail parties, dinners and live theater. Luciano wanted the group to feel the sense of accomplishment afforded by providing community service. “The concept of giving back has always been at my core,” he says. “I believe, innately, it’s in everyone’s core, but we lose touch with it. Giving back is important because it nourishes the soul and directly connects you with the world around you.”
In that spirit, Luciano often uses his mixers to raise funds for nonprofits or donates a portion of theater ticket sales to local charities. In 2008, he and his SoCal Social Club devotees transported hundreds of West Hollywood residents downtown to attend Join The Impact’s demonstration in protest of Prop 8. The Social Club has also partnered with Gay For Good, an LGBT volunteer organization more focused on having its benefactors roll up their sleeves and provide community service rather than simply write checks to charities. Eventually, Luciano hopes to take his club to other cities in Southern California before striking out across the nation.
Read more about Luciano in our March issue, out now!