Meet alfredo flores: bieber’s bff, ariana’s homie, everyone’s fave videographer
At any stop during Ariana Grande’s Honeymoon Tour, you can find her friend Alfredo Flores roaming through the arena, snapping photos while weaving his way through hordes of Arianators dressed in cat ears and customized T-shirts. But not all the T-shirts and signs are for Ariana — every night, he spots a “Fredo” shirt in the crowd. As it turns out, Grande’s personal videographer has fans of his own.
“I’ll go up to them and they don’t know that I’m there. I’ll sneak up behind them and they’ll freak out, they start crying,” Flores, 26, told me, calling from North Hollywood where he’s spending some time before heading back out on the Honeymoon Tour in Europe in a few weeks.
Fredo, a New Jersey native, has toured the world with Ariana, Selena Gomez and with his good friend Justin Bieber. Scroll through his Instagram and you’ll see him relaxing in tropical locales, partying with the Jenner sisters at Coachella and hanging with the likes of Big Sean, Ed Sheeran and Jaden Smith. He just won a Shorty Award for Best Director. But just five years ago, Flores was a kid in college, dreaming big and taking every opportunity he could get.
After transferring from New York to Santa Monica for film school, Fredo locked down an internship his second week there, helping out Geffen Records in their video department. Before graduating, he was shooting with artists like Mariah Carey and working on sets of films — that’s how he met Bieber.
Alfredo put together a behind-the-scenes video of Justin on the set of “School Gyrls,” a made-for-TV movie in which he made a cameo, and sent it to Bieber’s team. Shortly after, they were asking him to shoot Justin’s photoshoots and document his concerts — all while he was going to classes at 8 a.m. and doing homework.
“Some people told me to leave school, quit school, but I didn’t want to, so I kept going til graduation,” Fredo said. “It was tough. I barely slept, but it was cool.”
Fredo graduated on a Tuesday in 2010. That Thursday, he left to work on Justin’s first tour. Most of his footage ended up in “Never Say Never,” and after the next tour, his footage was featured in “Believe,” both Bieber’s concert docs. “I was out there everyday shooting. [Director Jon Chu] was telling me what to shoot, what to get, what he needed. We just worked together to make ’Never Say Never’ cool.”
Because he was rolling with Bieber, Fredo began to get noticed. Fans knew his name, people associated him with Bieber, and tabloids even printed stories about a rumored romance with Selena Gomez, with whom he also toured. He now has nearly 3 million followers on Twitter — many of them prod him about his high-profile relationships, making his life not-so private.
“It’s crazy because social media has changed so much. It changed everything,” he said. “When we were younger, we weren’t into artists, they didn’t have Twitters or Instagrams. They weren’t posting pictures with their friends. It was more private… This whole fandom thing is so deep. They’re so protective and so committed. It’s cool to see them have fans that are so committed and loyal.”
He doesn’t comment too much on Instagram, he told me. But in between every person asking him to get Justin to follow them, he gets someone thanking him for being a role model.
“It’s awesome when I get a tweet or a letter or something that says ’you changed my life, I’m going to go to school for film or go to school for photography. I want to do what you do,’” he said. “That’s really cool I think. When I was young, I used to look up to so many people. My favorite director was Paul Hunter and I was able to sit down with him and have a good talk with him, and I was like, ’Man, I looked up to you. You’re the reason why I wanted to shoot music videos.’ He was like, ’Man, thanks so much.’ So to see that now, some view me the same way I viewed him.”
Not only did he get to meet music video director Paul Hunter through his work, but recently, he got to pick the brain of Ryan Murphy, the creator of “Glee” and new TV show “Scream Queens.” Ariana plays Chanel #2 on the show, and Fredo spent a week on set taking pictures of her and the show’s other stars, Lea Michele and Emma Roberts.
Fredo met Ari on the set of “Problem,” which just celebrated its first anniversary. Since then, they’ve become super close. You can find her quoting him on Twitter and they make multiple cameos in each other’s Instagrams. He shot her “Santa Tell Me” video, which, according to him, was a spur-of-the-moment endeavor:
“Ariana just called me around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, said, ’Hey, what are you doing,’ and I said, ’Nothing, I’m grabbing food.’ She’s like, ’Will you come over to my house? I want to shoot a Christmas video.’ I was like ’What do you mean?’ She was like, ’I want to shoot a music video tonight. I’m about to go buy some Christmas supplies. I want to shoot a video tonight.’ … We just knocked it out super quick. We shot that in like two hours. It was super fun.”
Life with Ariana on the road is exactly that: super fun and spontaneous.
“It’ll be random. We’ll just be on the road in a random city and she’ll be like, ’Let’s have a photoshoot today.’ I’ll be like, ’Yeah, let’s do it.’ That’s what’s so fun about her. She loves to do spontaneous videos, photoshoots.”
Alfredo is also the mastermind behind Justin Bieber’s viral Carly Rae Jespen spoofs. In the 2012 video — starring Justin, Selena and Ashley Tisdale — you can see him dancing around in a fuzzy hat. Alfredo edited a 2015 version too — this time with Jespen’s “I Really Like You.” The video was filmed backstage at the Forum after Justin joined Ariana onstage. Another part of the video was filmed on Justin’s 21st birthday on March 1. He packed a bunch of celebs in the clip, including Frankie Grande, Kendall Jenner and the guys from Rixton. Fredo, of course, makes multiple appearances (his dancing is amazingly ridiculous, by the way).
Working with his friends makes everything easier to shoot, but they only became friends after they started collaborating. “It’s crazy when you’re on tour with someone, you’re with them every day. You see them more than you see your own family,” he said.
“Working with artists for as long as I have, you get to learn their personalities, what they like, what they don’t like, when to film, when not to film. I’m able to capture the truest form of video. I know them so well,” Flores said. “I work with new clients all the time, too. I have experience from working with so many different artists so you kind of get to figure it out, but once you get to actually know them and become friends with them, it becomes easier to shoot.”
Now, it’s off to Europe, where the fans are noticeably crazier, he said, admitting that it’s a bigger deal for Europeans to get American acts to come to their city. He’s heard all the screams in all the countries — especially at Justin’s concerts. “I’m pretty sure I have permanent ear damage,” he joked.
So get your Fredo shirts ready, guys. Alfredo Flores may come to your town — he’ll be the guy with the camera.