I always try to convey a positive message of inclusivity.
– As a representative of the fashion industry,
do you think the last few years, including the
pandemic, had any positive impacts on the
fashion industry, its pace, creativity or diversity?
– It's been really difficult for the fashion brands
over the course of the pandemic but I think that
there’s always something positive to come out of
everything. People decided to have a more individual
approach to fashion shows, we also had a chance
to think about the environment and how we want
to live our lives.
The overall changes in the industry during the last
couple of decades are obvious. When I started
modelling it was a very different industry. Not that
thoughtful or inclusive. It was pretty much the blond
skin tone that was getting all the jobs. Now, as
we are going towards a very different approach to
things, it's more about someone’s personality and
less about fitting the mould. I am really proud of how
far this business has come since I joined. It is less
judgemental and more open towards individuals.
It's come a really long way, and I would hope that
by the time that my daughter is older, it's gone even
further where people wouldn’t feel pressured to
look a certain way.
– Speaking of quarantine and isolation of
the past few years, how was this experience
for you? Were you able to balance work and
personal life during the pandemic?
– I was pregnant during most of the pandemic, so I
had to slow down so much from travelling all around
the world and start to listen to my body more closely.
If covid didn’t happen I wouldn’t have been able to do
that, so as difficult as it has been for many people, it
was a blessing in disguise for me in terms of giving
birth. For the first time I paid more attention to my
body and it was a very nice feeling. The timing for me
was convenient. Everything suddenly went from real
life to social media, and I was able to connect with
my fans and my followers by doing little workouts
and live streams on instagram, which was really fun.
– Let’s talk about modelling. You started your career
at a young age. How did you first get scouted?
– We had a family friend, who was a model and she
advised my dad to send some photos of me over to
an agency. They wanted to meet me straight away,
so I was excited but obviously I didn’t understand
anything about the business or its realities, because
I was too young. I was a tomboy and didn’t really
find myself beautiful, so it was kind of a shock to
me, but when you are young and you are thrown into
this world of glamour and fashion, even if you're not
particularly interested in it, it definitely seduces you.
– Since then you have worked with names like
Ellen von Unwerth or James Russell among many
others. What things have you pulled from working
with all the different creative personalities of the
fashion industry that you’ve met?
– I’ve learnt to accept myself the way I am even during
negative experiences. You can’t really change who you
are, but of course, I’ve pulled many things from working
with photographers, like how to push yourself in your art
and to try to express yourself. It’s quite simple: if you trust
the photographer to understand you and your personality,
then there is a greater chance of success. For me, this
was the case with someone that is always so positive to
work with as Zoey Grossman, who is one of my favourite
photographers. Because she is a woman, she just gets
it and pushes you in the right way, so that you are 100%
certain that she is going to make it look amazing.
– What do you love about what you do?
– I’m not the most glamorous person during my time
off, so getting dressed up and becoming a character is
fun for me. Also, during the last few years I have been
more involved in design and collaborations with clients,
having a bit more of a say during the process. After
all these years of being a mannequin, it's fun to push
myself and exercise everything that I’ve learned while
watching everybody over the course of 10 years. So it
is definitely that collaborative part that I like the most.
– I take it, we’re talking about something more
than modelling now.
– Yes, I have many projects coming. I am launching my
own brand which is coming out next year but I think
it’s both having the confidence to build my own brand,
being able to do collaborations with friends and to be
a model at the same time.
– What moments during your career would you
say were the major milestones that took you to
the next level?
– I would definitely say moving to New York, which was at
a time when we still had Victoria’s Secret shows and did all
the American press and the morning shows. Back then, it
was the brand to work for, because they really did spend
a lot of time and effort to make us into famous names,
which resulted in a huge breakthrough for me. It put me in
a different league to what I was before and also enabled
me to build up my own Instagram audience, so that was
probably the biggest milestone. Then I tried myself in the
fashion and design worlds increasing my reach, which
I also consider to be an important turning point for me.
– As someone with a very large audience on
social media, you have influence over many
people’s opinions. Do you feel responsible for
the message you are trying to communicate on
– I do feel responsible, which is why I always try to
convey a positive message of inclusivity. When stuff is
happening around the world, I try to raise awareness. I
always get a lot of DMs from people asking why aren't I
talking about this or that. You can’t possibly be engaged
in every single issue in the world but you can do your
part and talk about the stuff that touches you personally,
so I try to do that, although there is pressure on social
media to express an opinion about everything that’s
happening. I love the saying “no one can do it all but everybody can do something”. Having a large audience of young followers, I feel especially responsible and the
most important thing I can do for them is to be real, be
myself without putting up a fake facade.
– I know the human rights issue is a big platform
for you, something you’re very passionate
about. When and how did you first inform
yourself and get interested in this so deeply?
– It all started when I watched a movie called The
Whistleblower, which deeply affected me to the point
where I was moved to do something about the human
rights issue. As a representative of the fashion industry,
I know how incredibly big it is and how much money is in
it. And even comparing to that scale, human trafficking
indsuty is much bigger. So I travelled to Washington to
meet a woman who is taking in a lot of survivors of human
trafficking and helps them to integrate into society and
overcome their trauma of being enslaved for years with
no prospects for their future. I met with her and a few of
the survivors and, honestly, it’s quite impossible not to
get involved after you hear people's life stories.
– Are you doing anything related to this issue
– We’ve been working on a case of a girl, who is currently
in jail because she was helping traffic other girls, but
she was herself a slave and did that against her will.
I uploaded a petition, and we got enough signatures
that she was able to get another trial and is about to be
free right now. It is incredible to see how much you can
influence someone’s life by simply caring, and for me,
this is very emotionally rewarding.
– Looking back and reflecting on your career,
if you could give your 13-year-old self advice,
what things would you tell yourself to be aware
of and watch out for in this industry?
– I would definitely say “Do not compare yourself
– What’s next on the horizon for you? You’ve
been in the industry for over 15 years, can you
name any creative professionals or clients that
you still haven’t worked with but would really
– I’m satisfied with my career as it is. There are
always new goals that I set out for myself, but it
doesn’t stop me from being grateful for everything
I’ve been able to do so far in modelling. And I
definitely don’t take it for granted. Everything I have
in life is priceless to me and all the experience I’ve
been able to go through is an opportunity to learn.
– And finally, have you achieved any long-
standing dream of yours over the course of your
– I have not yet achieved the dreams that I have now
but I tend to always put up new ones. I never really
expected to have such a career in the first place,
so this journey itself has been a dream.