“Hey mom, I’m on MTV,” Diego Barrueco cheekily tweeted.  It was the premiere of the music video for music superstar Ellie Goulding’s new song “Beating Heart”, and Diego, the 23-year-old Spanish native, had been cast alongside her thanks to his social media fame.

I sat down with Diego in London to discuss his meteoric rise, eclectic career, and of course, the new music video for Goulding’s song “Beating Heart”, which she wrote for the newly released film Divergent. “I knew Ellie before the video,” he said. “She had followed me on Instagram and then Twitter. We text a few times a week… she had the idea for this video shoot, and asked if I wanted to be involved.”

The tattooed, dark haired boy following around Goulding in the woods left everyone asking- “who is that boy?” And based on the stream of tweets and comments on the video wondering just that, it’s safe to say that Diego’s on the verge of becoming a household name. Hell, if you just mention him on Tumblr you get a fury of responses- real life is bound to kick in soon.

If Samantha Jones’ little maxim of encouragement to Smith Jerrod on Sex and the City was “First come the gays, then the girls, then the industry,” the modern day equivalent would be “First come the followers, then the gays and girls, then the industry.” Diego is what’s known as ‘instafamous’- after all, having over 100,000 followers on Tumblr and Instagram is no small feat. Diego isn’t just another pretty boy; he’s got a following, which makes him incredibly attractive to clients. And he’s determined to prove to them he’s not just another passing model: he’s here to stay.

So how did he get to this point? From a small town in Spain, Diego started posting pictures of himself on Facebook and Tumblr.  “This guy saw my pictures on Tumblr,” he said. “He asked me if I wanted to be in an editorial for Candy Magazine. Things snowballed from there.” After getting signed to IMG in New York City, agencies Sight in Barcelona, Why Not in Milan and Established in London quickly followed. “For a new face, I think I’m doing quite well,” Diego says. “I’m ambitious. I always want to work.”  So he relocated to London six months ago to start pursuing modeling seriously. “I love London. I love it,” he says, quite seriously. “I lived in Salamanca, which has about 200,000 people. It’s quite small. And I love big cities.

I actually feel more comfortable living here than I did in Salamanca,” he says. “I feel like this is my place. Back home, my friends and I were the weird ones, the guys that listened to different music, that dressed differently and liked different things- we were the weirdo’s. But here, it’s kind of normal. No one’s looking at you or judging you.” But of course, he tells me, he still misses home and his family.

As for what’s in store for him in the future, Diego says he’s just ‘going with the flow’. “I’m not trying to see myself in one year, two years,” he says. “I’m not worried about tomorrow. I’m focused on here, today, right now.”

But asked if he has any plan B given that modeling and celebrity is so precarious, he smiles and says, “You know, I always wanted to be a Spanish teacher. My mother used to be one. I always wanted to be that cool teacher,” he says, with an impish smirk. Whether he’ll pursue that remains to be seen. But for right now, he’s enjoying his time in London and his newfound success as a model- which, if he continues along the same trajectory, will be a pretty epic career.