Russian top-models: Inna Zobova

06/11/2012

via fashioned by love | Inna Zobova | Russian top model | exclusive interview
The day Inna Zobova was born her parents were told that their baby girl had a hole in her heart and was given 13 years to live. Full stop.

Three decades later, on a rainy October morning I was meeting Inna to talk about her life, modelling and projects she’s been working on recently. Dressed in a black sweater and trousers, beautiful elegant watch on her long wrist, blond hair, soft eyes, gorgeous smile… She is every inch of a top model who walked for Armani, Thierry Mugler, Valentino, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Balenciaga, Hanae Mori, Marc Jacobs, Nina Ricci, Hermes, Sonia Rykiel, Kenzo, Givenchy, Dries Van Noten, Vivienne Westwood and Christian Lacroix, appeared in dozens of campaigns from Dior, Armani, Hermes, Cavalli and Malizia to Wonderbra, L’Oreal, Nivea, Sephora and Gallery Lafayette and was photographed by the most influential fashion photographers for Vogue, Elle, Allure, Marie Claire, Glamour, Amica, L’Officiel and Glamour. A superstar.

via fashioned by love | Inna Zobova | Russian top model | exclusive interview
We go to the very beginning, to the childhood of a kid who, until she was operated aged 6, had “a heart that was too big to fit” her chest. Whenever I read about it on the web, the story is presented as very dark and tragic, so I ask Inna what it was like back then… “I was a very active child,” she recalls. “So I had to be restricted, not run too fast, avoid exercise – there was always somebody to hold my hand…”

As she continues it becomes very clear that Inna, no matter how delicate she looks, is fearless and strong and there was no way heart pain or anything else would stop her from living her life the way she wanted. “I never felt like an outcast – if we had a fight at school I’d always hit back just like any normal kid would” she laughs. Then her voice softens as she talks about her mum: “She was the one who lived with a constant reminder of my health problem, it was the hardest time of her life.”

Every year was precious and for a very long time nobody would make any solid plans about the future. Inna dreamed of ballet having fallen in love with performances in Bolshoi Theatre, Tchaikovsky and “The Nutcracker”, but the reality meant that she could never be a ballerina.

“When you live with a hole in your heart, you just have to deal with it.”

And so they did… With a laughter and a smile and a few sweet jokes. For a while Inna thought of becoming a vet and work with animals that she adored, but once the school was done with, she entered MGGU (Moscow State University for the Humanities) to study psychology and anthropology. She did some modelling as a side project to earn some money, won “Miss Russia 1994” and came 12th in the “Miss Universe” competition.
via fashioned by love | Inna Zobova | Russian top model | exclusive interview
These were the first steps into the world of fashion that soon became a part of her life. In the mid 1990s Inna moved to Paris to work as a model and was surprised by the offers that followed. Viva Paris was the only one that didn’t promise to make her a super star overnight, but assured the young Russian that they would do everything in their power to make her a good model. “Becoming a part of Viva felt right. I was very serious about everything they told me and I owe them a lot. From learning about model management and working in the industry to becoming good friends – we’ve been together for 15 years now, it’s a long journey.”

When I ask her for advice on becoming a successful model, she explains: “Modelling is a business, just like any other business, so must be taken seriously. It is essential to find the right agency, the one that believes in you. Lets be honest, 70% of making it to the top depends on the agency and its strategies of creating a top model. Any good model agent knows the rules and how to apply them in order to get the results. That is why there are models who work for decades, reach the top and maintain their position for years and there are others who get into the industry to make quick cash and leave. Before you do anything else – find the right agency.”

via fashioned by love | Inna Zobova | Russian top model | exclusive interview
In 2002 Inna Zobova became the next Wonderbra girl following the steps of gorgeous Adriana Sklenarikova and Eva Herzigova. “I didn’t want to go to the casting, but the agency made me. I came, saw all these 600 girls, turned around and left. I said to myself “I am not going to sit here wasting my time”. Two hours later I received a call from the agency. “They want you to be there, they want to see you tonight”.

The process of choosing the right girl took days. “When I came to Wonderbra, it was the time of Kate Moss, the grunge was out, the pin-up Wonderbra image was dated and very different from everything portrayed by Vogue and the fashion industry in general. As somebody who did a lot of runway shows and editorials I knew that straight away. They chose a slogan for me, “No body is perfect” and we shot the campaign. When I saw the photos I told them that I didn’t like the result. “If you want young women to buy your product, you need to make it more natural, sensual and strong, not pin-up style,” I told them.

I knew this project meant a lot of hard work and the times were changing, but at the end, we had 4 wonderful years together.”

Although Inna had to leave University after two years, she never stopped leaning and after moving to France continued her studies Sorbonne and currently attending art history course in the École du Louvre. “Eventually I will graduate. It’s not even about having a degree. I think, most importantly is to never stop learning, all your life, no matter whether you are following your initial path or change it adapting to your life, so your brain doesn’t go stale.”

Being an intelligent model certainly has its advantages including a brilliant career in the fashion industry, movie acting and several projects including “Russia’s Next Top Model” where Inna was invited on a role of a fashion expert mentoring the young models (apart from good advice she also brought a touch of class to the show) and her own “baby” she is working on as we speak. “It’s a kind of… salad… ” she says about her life, “I don’t follow a certain path.”

She’s been living in Paris for almost as long as she did in Russia. “Moscow is my mum and Paris is my dad”, she says. “I love Paris and its magic and charm. The beauty of Paris with its monochromatic streets draws you in. It’s very cultural, a little bit snobbish, very intellectual and doesn’t accept or open up to everyone. But for those who stay, Paris gives an air of freedom like nowhere else.”



I jump on one of my favourite subjects as soon as Paris is mentioned… The Parisiennes… Since Inna is often referred to as the “Russian Parisian” in the media, I simply have to ask if she could share any style secrets.

“French style is always about being a little bit imperfect that, in reality, takes a lot of thinking and planning.” she begins. “And, of course, colours. Living in Paris made me realise that fuchsia and blonde hair don’t go together, but the colour would look beautiful on a brunette. Everything about this country is very subtle and everything, its beauty and culture, takes time to understand.”

via fashioned by love | Inna Zobova | Russian top model | exclusive interview
It was in Paris where Inna met her partner, film director Bruno Aveillan. In 2007 the couple welcomed their new born, Maceo. Becoming a mother was an emotional experience: “After I got Maceo I realised how strong I could be, I turned into this oak tree,” she smiles, eyes filled with love. “It felt as if I had a mighty power inside that gave meaning to everything I’ve done so far.”

And so after a whirlwind of projects and a successful career spanning over almost two decades, Inna is still unstoppable and full of fresh ideas.

She is currently working on a new TV project as a producer. “My team (the same one that made “The Artist”) is very supportive and believe in me and, although being a producer is something very new to me, I hope to make it work, to prove to everyone including myself that I can make a brilliant show from scratch.”

She also works with the Heart Fund, a charity that provides resources to disadvantaged children born with heart disease. The mission felt incredibly personal to her… “I thought of flying over to Haiti in December when the 14 children have their surgeries, but am not sure I am ready to enter the operating theatre yet. Thinking of it brings back memories I thought I no longer had. It touched me too deeply.” – she confesses.

And just like the little girl from the past, she still doesn’t make any plans for the future. “I know too well that plans never work. I hope I will have enough energy to complete the projects I am working on and that’s as far as I can go…”

Photo source: courtesy of Inna Zobova, Vogue Russia 1998, Burberry campaign, Vogue Germany

57 comments:

  1. So beautiful! Now following.

    http://everydayrachel21.blogspot.com/

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  2. She's so pretty:) I didn't know this facts about her. She is really smart:)

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  3. Wonderful piece! Inna is soooo beautiful - but then Russian women are some of the most beautiful in the world.

    NLxx
    www.my-changing-room.com

    Little giveaway on my blog this week :-)

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  4. A very touching biography of an incredibly beautiful and strong woman!
    Love
    Juneli from Fashionably Yours

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  5. She is gorgeous, loved this post.

    creamyclothes.blogspot.com

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  6. Wow. I Love it! You have so so great blog! <3

    Would You like to follow each other? :)
    http://linde-lo.blogspot.com/

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  7. thanks for you comment about sleep patterns! i'm trying out your advice :)

    happyleeliving.blogspot.com

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  8. Мне очень нравится Инна Зобова как модель! Спасибо за пост!!!

    xxx

    http://bonnie23blog.blogspot.ru/

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  9. Wow! Her story is so inspiring. Great article, fantastic writing as always.

    Have a lovely day!
    XO, Gina
    http://classyeverafter.blogspot.com

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  10. Very inspiring! What a beautiful woman.

    LUXESSED

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  11. Absolutely gorgeous! I just pinned all of these images!

    xx
    Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  12. I can see russian models are really best!
    She has got such adorable facial skin - like a porcelain doll :).
    About lash extension powder you could read for few days from review of it and photos :). So follow carefully my blog cuz' it can appear as soon :)

    Kisses and hugs Victoria ♥

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  13. Amazing blog hun!! I opened a new blog and would love to hear your thought of it!! Would love to follow each other and stay in touch! xx

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  14. Inna is a very clever and well educated lady apart from a gorgeous Goddess!
    Hope you had a lovely day :)
    xo
    Anastasia
    http://natbeesfashion.blogspot.co.uk
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/NatbeesFashion

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  15. such an inspiring person and wonderful role model. not to mention she is absolutely gorgeous!

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  16. very inspiring...beautiful pics!!kisses

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  17. Great feature! I really enjoyed reading about her life and her photos are so gorgeous!
    -Jamie
    http://chatterblossom.blogspot.com/

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  18. it is so interesting to read about her. everybody has an interesting story. all of us. and hers is particularly intriguing!

    and, of course, SHE IS GORGEOUS!

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  19. Какая красивая девушка!
    Спасибо большое за поздравление!
    Целую!)

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  20. Эх, горжусь я все-таки нашими девченками! Яркие и узнаваемые!


    http://rumas-sacvoyage.blogspot.com/

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  21. Great post. Inna Zobova is so beautiful!!
    Thanks for commenting on my blog!!!
    Alessia
    THE CHILI COOL
    FACEBOOK

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  22. This post is so beautiful. I love reading people's backstories. People seem to think that models have a perfect life, and I love how diverse her backstory is. Such a beautiful person inside and out!
    xo TJ

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  23. beautiful!

    xx, rebecca
    awayinparadise.blogspot.com

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  24. Such a lovely interview Natalia. Inna is truly beautiful inside and out.

    xo Mary Jo

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  25. Wow, what an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing this, loved reading it. Fab pics too!

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  26. they are gorgeous!

    xx

    blog: www.aroundlucia.com
    shop: www.shoplumo.com

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  27. she's beautiful.
    I'll be happy if you check out my blog too =)

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  28. Wow, not only is this young women amazing and gorgeous, but she has such a strong spirit! (I love that she had such input in her campaigns, it seems like she had a very firm grasp on what she wanted.) I love that you've featured a Russian model, it seems like it's the French and Italian ladies who get all of the love and this woman is amazing.

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  29. Wonderful post, Natalia! I enjoy these glimpses into the fashion models world. xo

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  30. Great article, she is such a strong woman! Love your writing:)

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  31. What an inspiration, she really didn't let anything as big as her heart problem get in the way of 'living', love that about her and the fact that she's gorgeous!

    - I also stuck my head in a bag shortly after I wrote that post, ha!
    x.o.x.o

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  32. She has a perfect face!
    http://namelessfashionblog.blogspot.it/
    http://www.facebook.com/NamelessFashionBlog

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  33. That was a wonderful and inspiring read, there is obviously so much more to her than being a model.

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  34. so pretty! :)

    Visit my blog? xx Miss Beatrix (http://missbeatrix.blogspot.com)

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  35. The bold rep lip is gorgeous! And what an amazing story!

    XO
    Pearls & Paws

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  36. She is exquisitely beautiful. LOVE her Burberry advert! :)

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  37. Wow, she is gorgeous! Such a different look! x

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  38. What an inspiring story! She is stunning.

    Sea and Swank

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  39. She's so beautiful!!!
    xxx
    S

    http://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.it

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  40. Wow what an interesting post, very inspiring.

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  41. So many stunning ladies! Great post! Hugs from Cali! xx The Golden Girls

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  42. What an exemplary woman, both inside and out! She has overcome a lot and is very successful. The first thing I noticed were her striking features. Her eyes and bone structure is GORGEOUS!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  43. Definitely an exemplary woman to follow!! She's beautiful inside and outs. Thanks for sharing!
    xoxo
    Patricia

    http://misstoptenimage.blogspot.com

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  44. Yes, she is Russian fashion diva) like ur blog! wellcome to my blog) can we follow each other?
    http://antonboldirev.blogspot.ru/

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