Model: Irina Pavlova.
IRINA PAVLOVA, 30 years ols. Ryazan, Russia.
Irina Pavlova would never have imagined that her intention to learn English would change the course of her life and make her a professional model once she finished college.
The protagonist of this new post is a very intelligent and professional model, who knows the fashion industry very well. Tireless, demanding, and always ready to help others, it is a pleasure to learn about her experiences as a model and learn from the advice that has led her to work for the most important international brands and magazines in the world of fashion.
How does your modeling journey begin?
I was born in a village two hours away from Moscow. I never traveled abroad until I was in my twenties. In fact, the first time I saw the sea I was 19 years old, I had only seen lakes and rivers before. My world was very small, I knew there was much to see but I could not taste it. When I made my first trip to the south of Russia, I discovered that I loved traveling and wanted more and more. I knew there was something wrong, Ryazan, my hometown, is beautiful, but I always felt that I had to go somewhere else. I studied at the University, moved to Moscow, and worked for an international company. I was happy, but I needed more, and above all, I wanted to improve my English as well. The funny thing is that, during this time working, I had job offers as a model, sometimes they would stop me on the street inviting me to the agencies… But I was not really interested. Until a day came when I thought that maybe modeling would allow me to travel and work abroad and learn English. My initial plan was to go back to the office with much better English… (laughs)
You left for a limited time, without expecting all the good that was yet to come …
I signed a contract with an agency in Moscow and then I had the opportunity to move to Milan to work. That was, in fact, my first big trip. I was fascinated, I really did not expect that in this world I would meet such interesting people as photographers, designers, stylists… Sometimes it seems incredible that you get paid for this job because it is truly wonderful, but it is a profession. I lived in Milan for a while, traveling and working a lot in Europe, until one day I got a contract to work in New York, where I have lived for four years.
“You do not have to think about how many times you are rejected but about moving forward with your goal”
How was the experience of moving to the capital of fashion?
At first, it was tough, I had to be much stronger to survive. You have to have a strong character to be a model, especially in a city like New York. You have to be able to cope well with the rejections you may have, knowing that you can go to a casting or to an agency and that many times they tell you no. To cope with this, you do not have to think about how many times you are rejected but about moving forward with your goal. You have to keep moving forward because even though they have told you no twenty times, perhaps the next time will be a big “yes” and that job changes your life forever. I think the world of fashion is a bit of a mystery to people. People really don’t know how it works. Everyone believes that there is only magic in it, that everyone is handsome, it seems easy but it is a lot of hard work.
“It is important for young people to know that having a good personality and character is a strong trigger when it comes to getting a job”
Besides the physical, can the attitude of a model make a difference?
Very much. In fact, I know many people who have lost opportunities because their attitude in the casting has not been good. It is important for young people to know that having a good personality and character is a strong trigger when it comes to getting a job, and now more than ever. Attitude is the way you deal with people, how you communicate, what you post on the networks, how you take care of the image you project…
What advice can you give to aspiring models?
Without a doubt, my advice is that, in addition to having a good portfolio, you should be prepared to make mistakes. You have to be alert and very professional from the beginning. You should not take this job as entertainment or fun, it is much more than looking good, having your makeup done or being dressed in nice clothes… Sometimes the client may not be happy with you because surely you have not paid enough attention or interest. You have to know how to listen to the client, try to understand them to give them what they want. Personally, I like to ask if I am posing well, if they like how the project is turning out … It’s a very competitive world and if you want to be hired for other times, I think you have to pay attention to the little details from the beginning. It may be that I have this thought because I previously worked in a company and perhaps I have that corporate vision, but I always try to be very professional, to be punctual and I believe that all of this helps any career. I also try to always carry my casting essentials with me in case one day I have to literally rush out to a last-minute casting.
What has impressed you the most about fashion and what do you think can be improved?
It amazes me and I really like the power of a model, discovering that a model can really influence the process of a project. That we are much more than just a beautiful person and that we have the power to make sales grow and take them to another level. Also, the number of people who work in fashion with such diverse professions and talents is also wonderful. I love the diversity of this world, especially in New York where there are so many cultures, so many different professionals and ideals collaborating together. New York is a melting place. The things that could be improved are, for me, those related to the environment. At a particular level, I try to work with brands that are aware of the issue and my goal in the future is to be able to choose and decide to work for those firms that are most concerned about the environment and the planet. I hope all designers end up joining in this thought. I worked, for example, for Stella McCartney and I loved her philosophy. They use Vegetarian Leather, which is not real leather, but it looks great. I think that the world of fashion should go in this direction, it is not only about art. And there is still a long way to go.
Do you take care of yourself much more now than before?
I used to do sports before being a model. I am very active in general, but it is true that when you enter the world of fashion you have to take care of yourself much more. You care more about your appearance, about your skin, simply because it is a very big competition and you are always surrounded by beautiful people. When you go to a casting, you see everyone so beautiful and sometimes you may think, “Should I still go home?” (laughs)… That is very positive for me because I am very competitive and that keeps me active. I do yoga, running… I do many activities that make me fit but also healthy. I have never gone crazy or radical with the diet, I try to be careful, drink a lot of water and sometimes I have to say no to a dessert, but I do everything in a healthy way. The secret is to find the balance.
And on a mental level?
There is no rule that explains how to survive in the world of modeling. The reality is that, like everyone else, we have ups and downs. When I have a bad day and I don’t feel emotionally stable, doing physical exercise is my first resource to relax, the second is to take a salt bath, and lastly, my friends. It is very important to have friends that you can trust, who can listen to you, and with whom you can share the things that have happened to you throughout the day. I think doing something that inspires you also helps, because apart from the castings and working, you have to do something that gives you pleasure, meditate, spend time with yourself, painting, drawing…
Talking about friends. Is it easy to make friends in New York?
The good thing about New York is that it is easy to find people with whom you can spend time and who understand you because the people who are living here are people from all over the world. Everyone empathizes with you. On the other hand, in Milan, I only interacted with Italians because there is not as much diversity as in New York. Here you interact with people from all over the world from the first moment and I found great friends that I love. They are my strength, I would even say that we are a team, we help and support each other a lot. Without them, it would be very difficult.
Modeling has always been considered a profession where you retire young, do you think about it?
Of course! I think everyone will agree that the world of modeling has a very short professional life… But I like changes in the world! And the changes that are happening are also related to age, there are new trends because customers now want to see real people. In America especially, there is a lot of market for people of 35, 40, 50… Models who look great, who are doing great modeling jobs. I think you can always do better jobs the more experience you have, so if you take care of yourself, I think that nowadays you can work many years in this industry.
What is your professional future plan?
My plan is to stay in the industry for a long time. We are at a time where everything is changing, great projects are emerging, and personally, I have very interesting jobs coming and I am enjoying my job a lot. One of them is my participation as a model in the Reboot of the series “Gossip Girl”, with which I am also entering the world of acting. The world of fashion can lead you to enter others and that is wonderful and a great opportunity.
As you say, we are in a moment of change, especially in terms of digitization…
Yes, especially in the wake of the Covid. Like all crises, it leaves something positive… In this case, we have seen that the fashion industry has adapted quickly and well to the new reality. Now we have online castings and also online jobs, fittings, photoshoots… I see it in a positive way that we adapt to these circumstances. I think that sooner or later, we will return a little to the old normality, it will alternate, but the reality is that now there is another new way of working in fashion. I used to travel a lot before the pandemic, and I miss traveling to Europe, but now I have extra time that I didn’t have before and I can take advantage of it to do other things, like connect with other professionals through the Internet.
“I have received very good feedback from the client when they have given me freedom to create”
What are your main jobs?
I think I am unique. I feel that I can do everything, I can do catwalks, I can do editorials, presentations, showrooms, I have also done many fittings… I feel that I have dealt with all aspects of the fashion industry and I think that for me the most exciting thing is to do editorials because seeing you in a magazine is wonderful and also its creation process, where I can make strange poses, improvise, have more freedom… It is a more artistic work. I appreciate it a lot when the client gives me the freedom to do my bit on a creative level. I have received very good feedback from the client when they have given me a chance to create, they appreciate it a lot and usually, they will hire you again because they have loved it.
What would you like to convey to people when they see your photos?
I would like to inspire them, motivate them, be helpful, I would like to have a good influence on them. Be a source of inspiration.
Has fashion changed you?
Yes, definitely. It is difficult to say to what level it has changed me, but yes. I have met hundreds of super creative people, I have worked with different people and ideas all the time, every day I try to work on myself and I keep changing a lot. I think I have become more sensitive to beauty because in this job you live, work and connect with many artistic people, who know a lot about it. I try to feel the beauty.
“I would have loved that when I started, I would have had a support like “Model Academy”. It would have been a great help”
How did your adventure at ModelManagement.com begin?
I registered on the platform in the wake of the pandemic. Obviously, I had more time and I checked the web and saw a lot of casting offers. I liked it, I created a profile and started applying to castings. I found it very interesting and very helpful, especially the concept of the Model Academy because they have many professionals who know the world of fashion and who give appropriate advice to all applicants. I would have loved that when I started, I had had such big support like this. It would have been a great help. Also, thanks to Modelmanagement.com you enter a huge community of artists. Later, from the platform itself, they contacted me to be an Ambassador and I was delighted to accept because I like to think that I can help new generations to find their way.
What would you highlight most about ModelManagement.com?
The great opportunities it offers to professionals and security. I love the wonderful diversity of the ease of connecting with professionals and how they give information and help about the world of modeling. Also, the fact that it is an honest platform, with secure contracts… I think Modelmanagement.com is on the right path. The future holds many changes, and model platforms are not exempt from it.