with Vivien Rubin
Production: Irma Penunuri – Burgerrock Media / @burgerrock
Photographer: Maddie Young Media
Hair stylist: Danny Newsham – Makeup Artist: Kenna Reef – Lash Artist: TruLash Extensions – Tan Artist: BellaForCare – Stylist: Horacio Aguilar
What encouraged you to get into modeling and what would you consider was your big break? I started modeling and dabbled in acting when I was close to eight years old. However, due to my parents being so steadfast about my education, I dedicated my time more towards my studies. The result being my creative passions were slightly sidelined. So after graduating from high school in Los Angeles, I moved to London and came back with a degree in finance! I thoroughly enjoyed my time at university but thejobs following really weren’t cut out for me. I remember being on the phone to my friend, driving to one meeting after another, and saying, “I want to model full time. I’m not giving it enough energy. I need to give it 100 percent!!” But obviously, it’s easy to dream! Anyone can do it. Then one day after a great reception to a photoshoot I’d done over a weekend, I said to myself, “I’m doing it. I’m quitting!” Then I took the leap, I started modeling full time, and haven’t looked back since. The desire for a creative path never subsided for me and I’m so glad it didn’t because along came my big break. Cue Guess!
Can you tell me more about your upbringing? I was born in Berlin, Germany to Eastern European parents. When I was five years old my parents decided to move to Los Angeles, where I have since spent most of my life. Immigrating to the United States was both extremely exciting but also difficult for my family. Especially as a child, English was my second language and I felt like a bit of an outsider. I got caught culturally between two worlds. Navigating school is tricky enough but even more so when you don’t speak the language! It took a lot of growth and adjustment. Now, as an adult, I am so grateful to have two amazing cities to call home.
Being a model is often glamorized but it’s a job that takes blood, sweat, and tears. What are some challenges you have faced in your career that you are willing to share? It really does take a lot of endurance and people who haven’t worked in the industry do make so many undermining assumptions about it. As the outcome is so creative or alluring, perhaps they don’t appreciate the hard work that’s gone into it. Every job requires a lot of passion, stamina, and artistry. You are also subject to a lot more rejection and ridicule than the average industry, as you are literally putting yourself out there, into the public eye. People think they know you and every detail of your life because of the small blip that you make accessible to them. They’ll pick apart your appearance or tell you you’re not worthy, not skinny enough. Anything! Which you can also hear in any casting room. You are subject to so much scrutiny in this line of work, so perseverance is key. You really have to develop a thick skin and keep pushing yourself each day
Can you share a funny story from your career as well? I have so many I can’t think of one! The most recent was with my friend from Germany who I was collaborating with. She’d flown into Los Angeles to visit and meet with a few photographers etc. Two days after her arrival we met up with our team to shoot. It was quite a risqué wardrobe but it was so early we figured no one would be out. Well, think again.Three guys walked by and were talking about us, making inappropriate comments in German, thinking we wouldn’t understand! And as they were walking away my friend shouted to them in German, “I have a boyfriend but thanks for the compliment guys!” They looked mortified. I laughed so hard I started crying and had to touch up my makeup. It was hysterical.
How did you become a model for Guess? I was discovered by Paul Marciano a few years ago. My popularity online was expanding and more brands were noticing me but nothing caught my eye.Then he reached out! After speaking with him I was brought in for a test shoot and the rest is history. I have since done two campaigns for Marciano by Guess and have walked in three shows for them. It’s funny because to this day I still cannot believe I have been given the opportunity to work for such an iconic brand. I remember looking up at the billboards as a little girl wanting to be one of the Guess models.
What are some values you like to promote through your social platforms? I know that saying positivity can sound super cliché and somewhat hypocritical because we cannot be upbeat all the time. Perhaps, positivity mixed with the sincerity of reality, true admission that we’re all human! We are presented with these perfect lives online and while it can be motivating it’s not attainable. Sometimes you don’t want to go to the gym! Sometimes canceling plans and staying in, watching movies, andeating too much takeout, hits the spot! Everyone messes up. Everyone cries. We all get self-conscious or upset. It’s life. So I think it’s important to not take the online world too seriously. This is why I like to encourage people to spend more time in their physical surroundings. To go on new adventures, take care of their bodies, cook rich and healthy meals, appreciate their family and friends, travel the world! Experiencelife. While knowing that if you want to stay in and have those lazy days sometimes, that’s ok too! It’s life.
What are some hobbies that you like to do in your spare time? Definitely photography. I have been an avid photographer since I was young and am getting more confident in that field every day. I also enjoy creative directing (photo and video shoots) and have done a few projects now. I’ve learned so much through working with a variety of different artists. I find it’s a real trial and error basis because my imagination can run wild but it always works out! When this amazing opportunity with Playboy arose I was ecstatic to have the freedom to direct and put theshoot together! That’s really where I thrive. As much as I love and gravitate towards modeling, being behind the camera is a true love of mine and where I get the most freedom to be innovative and bring the ideas in my head to life.
What is some inspirational advice you can share for aspiring models? I encourage other aspiring models to navigate this industry with focus, confidence, determination, and most importantly, reliability.This industry is inundated with talented individuals but the ones that thrive and stand out are those who are truly dedicated to their careers or businesses. They build respectful foundations with people wherever theygo. They show up on time. They follow through. They don’t just talk the talk, they walk it! Do what you say you’re going to do. There is a lot to be said about having a good work ethic.
Where do you see yourself a year from now? What goals have you set for yourself? A year from now, in an ideal world, I would have done a lot more traveling than I have in the last two years! I have a lot of family abroad who are dearly missed. Many flights are being booked! Work-wise, I would really like to dedicate more time into shooting and directing. I am finding my footing in that world and hope to produce some great work with some iconic fashion brands and inspiring individuals, like Rihanna. And of course, continue modeling. I am really enjoying celebrating my successes. It’s very fulfilling working towards your dreams and better yet achieving them. It is surreal at times but the feeling is incomparable.