This is a interview for inFocus Magazine with model Evgenia.
Cover photo by Mike Fotowerks
inFocus Magazine: How did you get your start in the business and what goals have your set for yourself?
Modeling for me started from looking for Wi-Fi at Starbucks after having just moved to a new place not equipped with internet yet. After I asked a gentleman sitting next to me to watch my things for a moment, we soon started a conversation, and he offered me to try myself in modeling and do some yoga theme photo shoots. We enjoyed our creative photo sessions and made friends, and James then introduced me to some other photographers. I practiced more and more in TFP sessions, and then, upon getting more involved, started getting some modeling projects, here and there, including being in some advertisement videos, nightclub posters, and showcasing some local brands of clothing. I was also approached by a couple of new brands on Instagram to be an ambassador. And here and there on Talpool or ModelMayhem I receive offers to collaborate, both in TFP and paid formats.
inFocus Magazine: What are your goals personally and with your modeling career?
I am one of those people who have many different things going on in life, many hobbies, and projects. I am involved in the fields of education, language tutoring, translation, film (as a background and photo double; learning acting), video production, vlogging, and, of course, modeling.
I am working towards being able to travel more and participate in different projects to make a change. I believe in life based on projects, where you can do many different things at the same and follow your passions. As a polyglot – I speak four languages fluently (English, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin) and am learning several more – I love cross-cultural communication and collaboration. There are so many things that can be done in the world to improve quality of life and help protect the environment.
I believe in responsible fashion and am working towards promoting it. I would love to show that to be beautiful, fashionable and stylish, you do not need to keep consuming countless seasonal trendy items, you can keep and use items of wardrobe for many years and choose environmentally friendly brands and environmentally friendly beauty products. Consumption is also a theme that I am trying to write a book about. I would love to represent events, things and products that I believe in. I would also love to work on breaking some harmful stereotypes and conveying messages that would be healthy, both physically and mentally, allowing for more peace and balance in one’s life.
Also, I find that modeling has helped me learn a number of things, such as how to be confident, know your strengths and weaknesses, know your wardrobe and combine well, be creative, and keep in mind photography aspects, light, etc. As I am also learning photography, video production, and acting, I look at it from different perspectives now. One thing helps another one; they all connect in some ways and allow you to improve and get closer to your goals.
inFocus Magazine: Posing 101, any suggestions to newer models coming into the business?
Have a clear communication with photoshoot organizers and photographers and get a good idea of the purpose, style, and other details of the photoshoot. Think of what clothing, hair styles, and poses would be appropriate. Don’t pack your whole wardrobe; choose several options and think them through, with all details. Do not forget about shoes and accessories.
While making your best effort to look and dress well for a photoshoot, feel comfortable and confident with how you look, when you arrive at a photoshoot. Your mood reflects in your creativity and work. It is better to not look ten out of ten, but be confident and shine, rather than be tense.
Be natural. While we all do our best to learn many simple and complicated poses – some of which do require effort and feel weird – many poses do feel natural. If you are not comfortable with more complicated poses yet, go with ones that are simpler and feel natural. An uncomfortable look on your face or a forced pose will not look good.
Always have in mind several poses you are good at. Look for shapes that look good. Practice them in front of a mirror and remember what looks good. Then you can bring in minor changes and variations while keeping the concept. Keep in mind that a pose should be balanced. If your whole body gravitates to the left, or the right, it may not be as good as if there is a balance, for example, with the left hand on the hip and right leg or hip slightly to the right side. Look for an S-curve; it is classic.
Think of smooth transitions between poses. Remember that every time you move a lot, photographers may need to re-adjust their equipment and light. Try to first make some minor changes to your pose and then go for bigger ones. For example, if you are standing tall, do not go lie down for your next pose and then sit and then stand again. First, do the poses where you stand and only change angles, hands, and other minor details, and then transition to other poses.
Be open to feedback and creative. Analyze the environment and surroundings and see what objects and colors around you can be used and combined with your poses and wardrobe options for good pictures.
Don’t be afraid to mess it up. Try, try, and try again. As long as you are open to feedback and are creative, you will constantly improve.
inFocus Magazine: When working on concepts for upcoming shoots, how much thought or effort do you put into it? Where does your inspiration come from?
I always try to put as much time and effort as I can without overdoing it. I try to make sure I have a clear understanding of the photoshoot purpose, expectations, setting, and details. Once I do, I kid of let it sink in a bit by allowing myself some time to think about it in the back of my mind, while doing other things. Often some ideas and images some to my mind at that stage. Then I do the actual planning, decide on the wardrobe, hairstyle(s), makeup, etc., and refresh in my mind poses that may be good.
inFocus Magazine: What are your thoughts and issues with implied and nude posing?
While I may rarely consider implied posing, depending on the type of it, I do not do the nude genre. This is my personal choice to not reveal my body publicly more than I feel comfortable with and in a way that I consider to be private. I have been approached with offers but have not taken them.
inFocus Magazine: Have you had the support of family, friends and significant other in regards to your decisions for your modeling career to date?
I have been lucky to count on the support of my brother and friends, their honest feedback, advice and motivation, which has been making me grateful and inspired.
inFocus Magazine: What gets you motivated every day to stay in shape and look your best at all times?
Having an image of my better version in my head helps me with this. I know that life is short, and each moment is unique and deserves that you give it your best. So, if not now, then when?
inFocus Magazine: How do you handle the inappropriate offers and sometimes rude individuals when they contact you for a session together?
I can be polite but firm. When being contacted in a disrespectful way, I explain to the person that if we are to communicate with each other, we should do so with mutual respect. At first, I give them a benefit of a doubt; misunderstanding may happen. However, if the person remains disrespectful or insists on making indecent offers, I let them know that I will not communicate in this way and will stop the communication. In some rare cases, I had to block the person on social media.
inFocus Magazine: Your thoughts on TFP or TFCD sessions in general?
TFP/TFCD is a format of photo sessions that I like quite a lot. These are sessions where models and photographers can get to know each other and practice their skills together with no pressure. As none of them gets hired with specific expectations and themes are usually flexible, there is normally a lot of space for creativity, improvisation, and fun. I believe that this is the best way to practice and improve your skills, as well as get to know the community of photographers and models.
inFocus Magazine: Do you have any thoughts or suggestions to models about wardrobe? Such as what to have and where to find deals?
When I just started modeling, I would to try squeeze half of my wardrobe into my suitcase, “to be on the safe side.” I highly do not recommend you doing the same. Photographers will not particularly enjoy digging through your wardrobe helping you make decisions on the time of the session. And you will have an extra amount of stress.
A much better idea is to come up with several outfits carefully thought through, with all details – top, bottom, shoes, accessories, hairstyle. You can pack these outfits accordingly. If you would like to take it to a next level, you can also think through what you start with and how you change to the next one in a smoothest way possible, as there may be overlapping details between sets, such as accessories, shoes, top or bottom. I also like taking neutral and colorful pieces, so that I can combine them. A pair of jeans, for example, would go well with a number of things, as well as a pair of black or nude color shoes. And do not forget nude color underwear if you are planning to wear anything white or very light.
There are many different places and stores, and everyone will have their own preferences. Among those that I particularly like, are H&M and Ardene. They also align with my values, as H&M is now doing the fashion recycling thing, where they process and reuse any pieces of textile brought to them, and Ardene, as far as I know, donates its unused pieces. These places are also very affordable. There are many more stores. One thing to keep in mind is that when modeling, you normally need clothing with no visible brand on it – unless you are advertising this specific brand. So, when choosing your wardrobe, think of brands that do not tend to put their logos and names on the outside. And one more thing, please do not feel like you constantly need to buy new items; you can definitely combine and recombine those lovely pieces of wardrobe that you already have.
inFocus Magazine: How do you handle imperfections? How important do you feel professional make up is to a model?
I think we should all learn to be at our best with our imperfections. Be confident, charismatic, creative, and open to feedback and improvement. It is good to know your strengths and weaknesses, better sides and angles, etc., know what to put focus on.
As for professional makeup, for me personally, I prefer to do my own makeup. I believe that too much makeup can make you look worse, not better. However, it depends on each specific photo session and the setting. In the nature, I believe, it is better to look more natural, especially under the direct sunlight. For fashion shoots, professional makeup may be very important.