Moscow to Columbus - Viktoryia
UNPLUGGED: So what got you into modeling?
Viktoryia: Um, I don’t know. I just like being pretty. (Laughing aloud). I’m just kidding…kinda. But seriously, It is a form an art and it is art. What goes into modeling takes a tremendous amount of work. Working with designers, make-up artists, and stylists just to bring to life a certain vision is truly exciting. Finally, when you see the end result, you say to yourself, “This is better than what I could have imagined”.
UNPLUGGED: Was modeling part of your life plan or was it something you just fell into doing?
Viktoryia: To be honest, I fell into this. I had a friend recommended we take some pictures. So scheduled a time and we did a couple photo shoot. Later, I started getting noticed by other photographers connected to studios and other fashion organizations and here we are.
UNPLUGGED: How long have you been modeling?
Viktoryia: It’s been three (3) years now (smiling). Oh my goodness, it’s been 3 years (in a shocked voice). Time goes by so fast!
UNPLUGGED: What have you learned about the fashion industry in the last 3 years, particularly as a
Viktoryia: (Taking a deep breath with a huge smile). It’s a lot! First of all, you can do a lot in a short amount of time. You can work with great people who know what they want and can give you good direction to making their vision a reality. Then there are those people who feel they are too good to work with you. They feel you’re not worthy of their time and you’re not worthy of them taking your photo. Yet with those same people, when you look at the quality of work afterwards, you’re glad you didn’t decide to work with them. Humility is great trait to have in this industry. Working with humble fun people is a great experience and the end results are always quite memorable.
UNPLUGGED: How do you identify perverts in this industry?
Viktoryia: Well, when I started modeling, I didn’t know the difference. I had no reference to build a good conclusion of what perverts are in the fashion industry. Remember, I fell into this by accident. Being a model was never my plan. However, when I met people, I realized what I was willing to do and what I was not willing to do. I guess perverts are perverts no matter what industry you find yourself. I’ve done some photo shoots where I felt extremely uncomfortable and I just walked out of the photo shoot because it felt like it was all kinds of wrong. They were way to close to me. I felt unsafe. I felt alone. I didn’t know exactly what the shoot would consist of until I arrived. Those are situations in which, a woman never wants to find herself. Comparatively, I’ve worked with other photographers who tell you what the photo shoot will be. No surprises. They even ask permission to touch you or adjust your clothing.
UNPLUGGED: How has being Russian impacted modeling for you in the States?
Viktoryia: Because I had a thicker accent when first got started, people assumed I couldn’t understand English all that well. So they talked about me while they were in front me. No restraint. No consideration for what they were doing. The belittled me to my face amongst themselves because they thought I didn’t understand them. To the contrary, I spoke and understood English very well. So I understood all the insults and jokes they made about me. Ultimately, it taught me just how rude people can be if they think they can get away with it. That notion alone made me think, what else would people go as far to do if they felt they could get away with it? Beyond that, I think my ethnicity and my style of modeling create a unique visual that’s not like American women or women from other countries. That the beauty of being different in the fashion industry. It can all work together if you allow it.
UNPLUGGED: How is modeling in Russia different from modeling in the States?
Viktoryia: It’s much more competitive! In Russia, there is pretty much one standard of modeling. In the States, you have a diversity of pathways in the fashion industry. Runway Fashion. Editorial Fashion. Alternative Fashion. You have so many different ways you can be creative in the States. In Russia, models typically are one type of models – Commercial Pretty. Commercial pretty means the model is a certain height, a certain body build, a certain weight with a certain kind of look. However, in the States, the fashion industry is much more open to different types of models. Short models. Full-figure models. Non-Commercial models and so much more.
UNPLUGGED: What’s next for you?
Viktoryia: (Laughing) I have no idea. Wherever life takes me. I enjoy what I do but I don’t stress over it. All
I want to do is have fun with this until it’s time to do something else. I would love to model in places like Milan and do this for a living but you never know where life can take you. So I’m just ready for the journey and we’ll both see what happens next!
To contact Viktoryia Vasilzhenko for modeling events and more interviews, contact Unplugged magazine for further information.