How did your modeling career start? Was it always something you wanted, or how did it happen?
My modeling career started as an answer to my desire to see the world and live the life outside of the box. I won a beauty contest in my hometown in Russia and agent from modeling agency from Moscow, who was a part of the jury, offered me a contract. After that things skyrocket and in less than 3 months I was on the plane to my first modeling trip to Asia.
Modeling may appear wonderful, but few truly understand its essence. What aspect of modeling do you like the most?
Indeed modeling industry is a very multifaceted world where it’s so easy to lose yourself. Despite that I feel so much gratitude for everything it has to offer. Opportunity to travel and experience the world on a much deeper level, connection with talented and creative people, ability to work together in order to achieve the desired outcome.
Modeling is often seen as glamorous, yet its reality is multifaceted. What particular facet of modeling brings you the most satisfaction?
I get the most satisfaction from the deep connection with people I work with. When you share the same goal to create the best results, alignment in energies on set and pure joy of creativity while working with the team.
Could you recall your initial experience in front of a camera?
I remember standing in front of the camera for the first time as a model, feeling very nervous if i’m gonna meet expectations of the people who hired me. Doing test shoots in Russia for building my portfolio felt very different, where I could just play and be myself. But first job is so scary, I thought. It turned out to be one of the most welcoming and encouraging experience in the beginning of my career. Everyone was just so nice, considering I barely spoke any English back then.
If you were to highlight a significant moment in your career, which one stands out the most?
I would say the highlight for my personal growth was my job for Playboy Magazine. We all have opinions, judgments and assumptions until we actually experience things ourselves.
I’ve never felt so cared for, so safe and so free. Sometimes the most freeing thing you can do for yourself is to face your fears, do what scares you (being judged, misunderstood, criticized) In the photoshoots like that, what matters is the intentions behind them, what’s the message that you are trying to sent to the audience. Our bodies are beautiful, our sexuality is powerful and with the right intentions, we have the right to create art through images, including those aspects of our being.
The fashion industry is often associated with high-pressure environments. How would you describe the unique mental health challenges that professionals in this industry face?
Probably the biggest challenge, especially if you start young, is self-image, the way you perceive yourself, trying to meet high standards that you build in your head, never being satisfied with your body, knowing and seeing that there is someone
out there (next to you) who is more skinny, more pretty, taller, with better skin and etc. That race between You and Your ideal image of you never ends.
Are there any specific factors within the fashion industry that contribute to mental health issues among designers, models, or other stakeholders?
Probably competitive nature of the industry, thinking that we are against each other, instead of supporting one another.
Traveling, runway shows, and castings are integral parts of the modeling profession, often requiring physical resilience. How have you adjusted your lifestyle and eating habits to meet these demands?
I think it’s the journey we start once we start working in the industry, that never ends. You go with the flow, you adjust to circumstances, you listen to your body and do what matters the most at this present moment. At times I feel the need to exercises 5 times a week and sometimes I go for a month without doing anything but stretching. Eating healthy and having strict routine can be replaced with ordering 3
different types of desserts at the restaurant. Overall balance and enjoying whatever choice you make, no guilt, acceptance of your cravings and having an honest and real conversation with yourself. Prioritizing healthy habits over destructive ones. I find sleep to be a very important one, no matter what, you’ve got to sleep at least 6 hours, ideally 8. Drinking a lot of water, taking vitamins and minerals. Meditations became a very important part of my morning routine.
“We all have opinions, judgments and assumptions,
until we actually experience things ourselves.”
Social media plays a significant role in shaping the fashion industry today. What are the primary ways in which social media has impacted the business?
I think social media opened a lot of doors, opportunities to be
a part of community that before you only heard of. I remember as a kid buying magazines every month to see editorials with top models, see what’s gonna be a trend next year. Now you go on Instagram or TikTok and you are presented with so much information, you feel overwhelmed. Besides that, you don’t need to work in the industry, to have portfolio or know people, all you need is good light and your phone and you can be anything you want. Photographer, makeup artist, model, actor…you name it. I feel that industry as a whole expanded but at the same time lost its value as an industry itself. Boundaries are erased, skills are often neglected and following on social media became the most important criteria for validation.
How do you see the influence of social media on fashion evolving in the next few years?
Honestly, I have no clue. I don’t think any of us can predict what direction the wind will blow few years from now. Fast develo- ping AI, our dependency on virtual world make everything look so different from what we are used to, so the only thing we can do is to be open to change and adjust. I think flexibility is the most desirable quality in our times and I’m sure we all experienced it during the epidemic lockdown.
With the rise of social media and its influence on the fashion industry, how do you utilize platforms like Instagram to enhance your modeling career?
Don’t ask 😉 My Instagram page was hacked last year, so I was forced to let go and practice no attachment. That was hard. Created a new page, tried to develop it, gave up a lot of times. Now I just let it live on its own,grow as fast as it wants to in a natural way. I do believe that social media is very beneficial and important in so many ways, but it’s not the most important one and also can be deceiving. Real human connection still wins the game.
In your experience, what are 5 characteristics that a model should have?
SELF-DISCIPLINE / CHARISMA / FLEXIBILITY/ ABILITY TO LISTEN / CREATIVITY
What recommendations would you give to someone who wants to start a career in modeling?
Stay true to yourself and believe you can.
What is your career aspiration? Do you have any goals planned?
I’m planning to start working on a limited series about modeling industry. I do wanna share with the world what actually being a model means, share the sides of business that are not being exposed, tell stories that need to be heard and overall share a piece of reality that I’ve been into for the last 12 years.
If you weren’t a model, what would you have become?
I would dedicate my life to acting, which I started doing in the last few years.
What do you consider to be important elements of your style?
For me, it’s very important to feel comfortable, yet look like I know what I’m doing. I love to combine different styles, mix and match and the most important thing, listen to myself. Every day is different and it deserves its own expression through the style.
What does beauty mean to Daria?
To me beauty means connection with your inner self, when you feel the light of another person, their openness and humanity and it can be expressed in so many forms. Being authentic, being true to yourself is beautiful. Of course, I appreciate physical beauty and again it’s a very wide statement. Every single flower, plant and tree is beautiful in its own way and they can’t compete against each other. We are all so beautiful in our own unique way. The problem is we don’t see that beauty in ourselves so others having difficulty seeing it too.
What do you typically do when you are not working?
I love having time for morning routine, meditation, journaling, taking my dog for a long walk, preparing a breakfast at home. Living in LA, spending time in nature, going on a hike became a very popular option for a day off. I always try to squeeze in a yoga class when I can.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
WHITE / DEEP / SOUL.