It was after 6pm and I rushed to catch a train to Town Hall. Just before 7pm I’ve entered the Jet Cafe at Queen Victoria Building to see Natalie. I was fairly excited to meet this Russian beauty. She did not fail to impress me in the slightest way – endearingly stylish, but not snobbish, professional, yet approachable. The embodiment of pure Eastern European class.


Natalie by NAT Photography

Profession: model, actress, dancer
Age: 26
Background: Irkutsk, Russia


K. How did you originally get into modelling and where did the idea come from?

N.: I got into modelling when I was about 14. People used to always say that I’m so tall and skinny, and that I should be a model. If people say something to you a lot, it kind of stays with you. Also, my mum is very tall and pretty. It was her who sent me to a modelling school in Russia – it was called The Academy of Beauty. Unlike my mum, my dad wasn’t encouraging me much – it wasn’t his ambition to have a model daughter (giggle). So I ended up going to this school for about a year – they taught us how to walk the catwalk, do makeup and other general skills required for modelling. It was a good experience. I was very awkward as a kid, so this let me develop some social skills as well. Afterwards I’ve joined an agency and I did a test shoot with Sky Models in Irkutsk. They wanted to send me to China, but my dad said I can’t go because I needed to finish school. So I didn’t go and I didn’t model for a while. When I was 18 I’ve moved to Sydney and started to look into modelling again.

K.: Why did you pick Sydney?

N.: It was for my dad. He always wanted me to study abroad. I’m the only child in the family so my parents obviously want the best for me. I’ve passed the IELTS test and then I did a tourism degree at UTS.


K. You’ve worked on the set of The Great Gatsby. What was this experience like and how did it happen?

N.: I was with a modelling agency and it turned out to be dodgy one, so after that I’ve joined MCTV, which is a talent agency. I didn’t get any work from them as a model, but I got a couple of acting jobs. It opened a whole new world to me because I’ve never thought of doing acting before. I’m from a small town in Russia and being on a film set with Leonardo Di Caprio was mind-blowing… When I was 10 I used to watch Titanic! I was quite excited, he was standing next to me, but I didn’t “faint and fall” like other girls did, haha!

K. What would be your advice to the girls who want to get into modelling?

N.: Not everyone is made to be a model. It’s a very harsh world. You get a lot of rejection, sometimes you shoot for 12 hours without eating, it takes a toll on your body. First you need to make sure you are strong enough and you can handle it. Once I went to an agency with a few photos that I thought were great at the time, but later I realised they were quite average. I talked to this very hipster guy there who told me that I will never make it as a model and I should just forget it. I felt truly discouraged and hurt at the time. It was painful, but I’ve proved them wrong. I get paid quite good money for what I do.

Also, you definitely don’t need to invest a thousand dollars into your portfolio, because this investment won’t pay back very soon. It’s more about having a whole variety of photos; it needs to be versatile.


K. Do you follow any special diet and do you do any sports?

N.: I’m actually quite lucky in the way that I do keep myself fit easily since I was little. However, I try to avoid certain foods like milk because it’s not good for my skin.

I don’t really frequent the gym very often, but I like playing volleyball.

K. What’s your favourite drink?

N.: The apple crumble martini from a great bar called In Situ in Manly!

K. What are your interests and hobbies apart from modelling?

N.: I like volleyball, yoga and horse riding.


K.: What would be the most demanding or hard part about modelling?

N.: You have to smile while you’re in pain! Especially when they do your hair – this can hurt a lot! I have really sensitive hair.

Also, I remember having a shoot on the rocks at a beach – on the photos you must look like you are having the time of your life, but in reality it’s super uncomfortable.

K.: If the world was about to end tomorrow and you had 24 hours to spend, how and with whom would you spend it with?

N.: Hm…One day…Well, obviously my partner comes to my mind. Maybe we would have an active day, go for a bushwalk, go horse riding on the beach and finish it off with a glass of wine. I would also like to see my friends. Definitely a relaxing day, though!


  • Interviewed by Katarzyna Sprengel