Are you happy with how your shoot turned out?
Yeah, I’m very happy. It was my first time with nudity—like, total nudity—so I was kind of shy. [laughs]
You’re based in L.A. now?
Well, for now. I usually travel back and forward, but I make a base here.
Where’s home for you?
Wherever. That’s the thing; I’m traveling all the time. So New York, Miami, L.A. I go to Russia sometimes to see my family.
How long have you been here? When did you leave Russia?
I’ve been traveling for five years. I came to the States two years ago. It’s been Miami, then L.A., then New York.
Why Miami first?
It was winter, and I wanted something with nice weather. [laughs] But Miami’s too much for me. Too crazy. And New York, I don’t know, the big city is kind of tough.
Where do your family live in Russia?
In St. Petersburg. Well that’s a big city. But it’s not New York. Yeah, New York is totally different. I came to New York last winter, in January and February. It was my biggest mistake. It was even colder than Russia. I left New York for Russia. [laughs]
When did you first become interested in modeling?
It was actually by accident—I started modeling by accident. I had a friend on “Russian Facebook,” he was kind of modeling and I never met him in person, and then he started to work as a manager in a model agency—and he said, “Yeah, come model. You’re pretty good-looking, so you can try.” And I was like, “Ah, whatever.” I didn’t really want to.
I didn’t have this “Oh I wanna be a model” or “I wanna be an actress” thing like every other girl.
What did you want to be?
I wanted… well, at that time I was studying hotel service and touristic business. I didn’t even think about being a model. One day I was just talking to my mom and she said, “Why not, go and try it.” So basically because I was bored—[laughs]—I went to the agency. It was kind of a typical Russian agency, you know, creepy and weird. You had to learn in five days how to be a model and then they gave you certificate or something, like a bit of paper that says you became a model. That’s how it works. [laughs]
What do they teach you in five days?
Catwalk, and you know, they teach you how to take care of your skin or whatever.
Do you still have that certificate?[laughs] I’m pretty sure I do, somewhere. So after that they took my picture and we did some test shots and they put me on an agency’s website, and this is where a scout guy found me. He said that he wanted to send me somewhere, maybe Europe, or Asia or wherever. I didn’t believe it, because I saw the kind of modeling we had. I didn’t expect much of it.
You just went for that certificate.[laughs] Yeah, exactly. Which I paid for. [laughs] So yeah, once I met with this guy, the scout, we went to their office and I saw girls who were really traveling, you know, and they told me the stories that they were traveling to Asia and Europe and I thought it’s really for real, you know; it’s not just a fairytale. That’s when I started willing to be a model.
And here you are.
Yeah. But it was really a long time, you know, because I spent the first two years in Asia. It’s really hard: it’s good money, maybe compared to Europe, but it’s hard. Asia is hard.
When did you start your Instagram?
Instagram I started when I was in London. It was because of the filters, basically. [laughs]
And now you have all these followers.
Yeah, I know. I didn’t really work on it.
I know, I was looking at your feed—your first photo is of a car. [laughs] Are you surprised that this many people are following you?
Well, it’s mostly because of my friends who are photographers that I’m shooting with—they’re posting my pictures all the time. That’s how it works, I guess. I was never, you know, “Oh I gotta keep up my posting,” this kind of thing. When I feel like posting some pictures of my friends and family, yeah, I do. But I don’t have a strategy.
Why do you think your most “liked” posts are so popular?
Probably because people like my professional pictures, most of them. Beauty shots, you know: I get direct messages like, “Oh my god, you’re inspiring,” “It’s really great what you’re doing,” “I want to be a model.”
Do you reply, or are there too many?
Ah no, sometimes it’s too many. I get a lot of photographers, you know, but weird photographers. [laughs]
Would you say Instagram has transformed your modeling career?
Yeah definitely. It’s all about Instagram and it’s all about who you know now, in this industry. Unfortunately, it’s not about your talent or your face or something. It definitely helps a lot.
Do you think your Instagram reflects your personality?
No, now it’s more professional. I’m posting a lot of professional pictures. I don’t post a lot of selfies or stuff like that.
But it’s expanded your work horizons.
I think so, yeah. A lot of photographers follow me, and a lot of work clients follow me
If it was just you and a bunch of your friends, what would you post?
I would probably just post my dog. [laughs]
What kind of dog do you have?
A Yorkie. But he’s in Russia with my mom.
Do you like shooting?
I’m very happy. I love my job, I love shooting.
Do you feel comfortable with your image? In control?
Yeah. Well I’ve had five years of experience modeling, so now I know what side of mine is better. [laughs]
Which side is that?
The right one. [laughs]
So when you’re taking social photos with your friends, do you automatically snap into the correct side pose?
Automatically yeah, on the right side. [laughs]
It’s not a bad skill to have.
We all know how to do the tricks! And everybody else looks terrible in comparison. [laughs]
What would you never post on Instagram?
I dunno, probably nudity I guess. Total nudity. I’m trying to keep it very classy, you know. Not dirty or anything.
I noticed that the first person you followed is Channing Tatum. So you’re a fan?
Oh yeah. [laughs] He’s a very good actor. I really like him.
Does he follow you?
Ah, I don’t know. I don’t think so. I’m not that famous.
You seem to like cars, too.
Oh yeah, I’m a big fan of cars. I love driving. I’m about to buy one here.
What are you gonna buy? What’s your favorite kind of car?
Well I really like sports cars, like Ferraris. I used to drive Ferraris. I love fast cars. I’m a big fan. In Russia I used to have, you know, I used to drive stick, but I mean in L.A. it’s impossible to have a stick because of this traffic. I took my friend’s car once with the stick, and I was going two hours from L.A. for a casting and I got stuck in the traffic on the highway, it was terrible. So I decided no stick.
But you can’t drive a Ferrari with an automatic transmission.[laughs] Okay, once I get a Ferrari I will get a stick! I’m working on it.
So who inspires you in your career?
I really like Naomi Campbell, she’s one of the greatest, I think. Naomi’s still killing it. It’s amazing. She’s so beautiful. And I really like Candace [Swanepoel], she’s amazing as well.
What do you aspire to do most? Keep modeling?
I want to keep modeling. I really do love it. In the future I want to have my fashion brand. So this is my dream and I’m going for it.
Yeah. Unfortunately I don’t know how to paint yet.
But you can go get a certificate for that.
Yeah. [laughs] Anything for your money, as they say.
What’s your favorite look?
It’s classy. Elegant. I really love dresses, but you know, really elegant dresses. This is what I really like. Blouses, skirts, and those really big, classy hats.
What’s the strangest experience you’ve had in your career so far? Have you hung out with a lot of famous people?
I have a very good friend who’s a good actor and quite a famous actor—I’m not gonna say who—and he’s amazing. Which is very surprising, that he’s a nice person, because most of the people in L.A., —and especially in this industry, in Hollywood and everything—people are very trashy, let’s say. It’s very sad. I’m very picky with my friends, and I’m picky around my circle of people. My best friend is Russian and she’s quite older than me, and she’s not a model at all. I’ve always found the really famous people tend to be the nicest, ’cause they don’t have to prove anything. It’s the people in the middle you have to watch out for. Yeah, they’re always bullshitting.
So finally, what inspired you to shoot for this issue of treats!—apart from the fact that it’s such an amazing magazine, of course?[laughs] Well… it is an amazing magazine. It’s just, I went to do a casting here—I dunno, like four months ago, ’cause I just signed with Elite and got sent here—and then we went to a treats! party and Steve was like “Yeah, let’s do a cover, let’s shoot.” And I was still not sure because, yeah, it’s kinda nude, but then I decided “Why not?” It’s a beautiful magazine. You guys keep it classy. It’s all about art; it’s not about naked girls.
See, that falls in line with your classy philosophy.
Exactly, yeah. [laughs]