Pure beauty talk with… Valentina Zelyaeva


via fashioned by love | Exclusive interview with Valentina Zelyaeva on beauty and fashion | Image D de la republica September 2013
I don’t think Valentina Zelyaeva, the darling and beautiful Russia-born New-York based top model, the face of Ralph Lauren and a picture-perfect nature-loving raw food and yoga enthusiast, needs a long introduction.

She is a star and one of my favourite models of all times, beautiful inside and out. We share the same passion for healthy eating, juicing and holistic approach to life and I felt incredibly fortunate when she accepted my invitation to be a part of Pure Beauty series.


What does beauty mean to you?
Physically beautiful person with an ugly personality doesn’t have a place in my heart. Beauty to me is glowing skin, toned body, beautiful posture, charming attitude, kind heart, politeness, compassion, kind acts in everyday life – this is a truly beautiful person to me.

When do you feel most beautiful?
Right after a yoga class. I live for this peaceful moment, when no every day stress can affect me, the energy running through my body after doing intense yoga poses, my hair is in a messy bun and I just feel happy and blissful.

The feel good factor, Harper’s Bazaar UK, August 2012 (photography: Yu Tsai, styling: Martina Nilsson)
What kind of impact, in your opinion, fashion has on our perception of beauty?
Fashion magazines tend to overglamourise things. People have to realise that every picture is retouched. There is no such a thing as a perfect woman without pimples, cellulite or a single wrinkle. If you get caught up in this dream and try to follow it, I think you’ll never find true happiness.

Love yourself, eat healthy, exercise, be creative and stay connected to nature – it’s that simple.

Wouldn't you agree, though, that it can be very easy to be lost between the fantasy created for the editorials and adverts and the reality? What would you say to the girls and women who would do anything to look like a model on a photo simply because they believe that this is what beauty is all about?
It is easy for people to fall for the idea of beauty that magazines and media try to project. But everything is photoshopped and retouched. Models are in a perfect pose hiding their body flaws, light is perfectly illuminating their facial features. It’s a moment. It’s a fantasy.

Enjoy looking at beautiful photo, but please DO realize that it’s not real.

Discover what works for you.
Become the best version of yourself.

Drink lots of water for the beautiful skin, eat raw organic food, enjoy the sunshine, exercise, find your passion in life, surround yourself with positive people.

Enjoy your life, not somebody else’s.

What was it that made you choose the fashion industry in the first place? Do you still feel the same way about modelling and fashion now as you did then?

I think the idea of traveling the world got my attention at first. As I turned 15 people started to suggest that I try to become a model.

At first, I was really into modelling, but I didn’t expect to be turned down and being criticised every single day. So, it was really difficult.

Once I learned not to take things personally and never compare myself to the other girls, things got easier. I learned English, I was working with clients who were booking me constantly. I started to travel a lot…

I really love my job. I know it’s a fantasy world, I love being a part of it, but it is not my life.

Modelling is a job. After the shoot I go home, I remove makeup, I wash my hair, then I look in a mirror and see myself surrounded by friends and family. And that is what makes my happy.

Having had an experience of facing a lot of criticism, from both the industry and the public - what advice would you give to those trying to deal with it?
You can’t satisfy everyone. To me, the most important person I have to please is myself because I’m stuck with myself for the rest of my life. So I treat my body really well: I eat organic food, I sleep a lot, drink juices and plenty of water, I exercise and take days off to relax.

via fashioned by love | Valentina Zelyaeva | russian top model | exclusive interview
As the face of Ralph Lauren do you feel extra pressure to be in best possible shape 24/7 (not just for the designer, but also because your appearance might be scrutinised by the public)? 
Ralph Lauren is the world known fashion brand. It’s an honour to represent it. Yes, I do feel the pressure to look my best at every single shoot. Ralph Lauren embraces an idea of a healthy, beautiful, happy, glowing woman which I resonate with myself SO much. I do my best, I make wise choices and that’s all that it takes.

via fashioned by love | Valentina Zelyaeva in Ralph Lauren Holiday campaign 2013 (photography: Rochard Phibbs)
Would you ever go on a diet?
Never. Diet is something temporarily, it doesn’t work, it affects the mind in a negative way and is just lame. I’m all about adding to my experiences and expanding the horisons - not taking out and depriving my body and my life.

You are very particular about your nutrition and lifestyle habits - how did you discover the benefits of healthy eating?
I came across a book about raw food about six years ago. I was so amazed by it. I never thought about cooking destroying essential vitamins and minerals. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. I love my zucchinis raw, my beet juices and green smoothies.

Some people think it’s insane to have 1L of orange juice for breakfast, where as I think that eating at McDonalds and drinking Coca Cola all day every day is.

What was it like to become a raw foodie? How did you find this transition?
Discovering raw food was the best moment of my life. I love raw eating, it just makes me feel alive. I went raw over night, and stayed raw for 2 months, though found it extremely difficult to maintain when I was traveling.

When I’m home I eat raw all the time, but I don’t stress about having an occasional pizza or pasta when I’m on set working.

Just be kind to yourself, love your body and don’t make your life ALL about food.

Elle Italia March 2012 (photography: Matt Jones)
Do you have any food indulgences or treats?
I love pizza with truffles.

When do you feel the healthiest? What is the meaning of “being healthy” or “being a picture of health”, in your opinion?
I feel the healthiest when I wake up full of energy, with plans and goals, without bags under my eyes, my skin is hydrated and I feel very positive. “Being healthy” means being happy with yourself and your life.

Elle Russia March 2013 (photography: Kayt Jones; styling: Daria Anichkina)
Are there any health or beauty tips or word of advice you would be happy to share?

Love comes first – love yourself, accept yourself with all your flaws and weirdness because that’s what makes you YOU.

Find your passion in life and dive into it completely. Quit your job if you hate it. You will only do a favour to yourself and a company that you work for.

Follow your goals, dream, make plans, travel, discover, learn, be creative, eat organic, eat raw, drink water and veggie juices, go out in nature, surround yourself with beauty, do impossible for others.

For a daily mind nourishing dose of fantastic health & beauty tips follow Valentina on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and check her blog.

Photo source: D de la Republica September 2013, The feel good factor, Harper’s Bazaar UK, August 2012 (photography: Yu Tsai, styling: Martina Nilsson), V magazine, Special edition, September 2009 (photography: Paul Rowland; styling: Nicholas Grasa), Ralph Lauren Holiday campaign 2013 (photography: Rochard Phibbs), Elle Italia March 2012 (photography: Matt Jones), Elle Russia March 2013 (photography: Kayt Jones; styling: Daria Anichkina)


  1. A very inspiring interview. She sounds very wise and her beauty is shining through her words.

  2. I posted a new article, I'd love to know your opinion
    would you like to pass from my blog?

  3. What a beautiful person,inside and out!and i think that this is what the notion of beauty resumes to,i don't care how cliche it sounds. I like the way she insists on the importance of making a difference between the image fashion displays and reality.

  4. What an empowering and inspiring series Natalia. Valentina's answers make so many important points, I found myself nodding as I read about posture, health, skin and a toned body. Not enough people recognise these things are important aspects of 'beauty' xoxox

  5. She is amazing!!!!!
    Great post!!!!
    Happy friday!

  6. She is so beautiful, very interesting to read, thank you.

  7. She is really beautiful :)


  8. She is really amazing


  9. She is so amazing, have enjoyed her answers. Id love to add more raw food into my diet and take yoga classes too. She is very inspiring. Have a great weekend Natalia xo

  10. Kакая же она красивая, просто ангел! Информативное интервью, есть чему поучиться. Я пробовал заниматься йогой, но это занятие у меня не пошло.
    А еще мне кажется по твоим статьям в блоге можно учить английский:)

  11. She's beautiful and brilliant, loved her answers on this interview!

  12. What a gorgeous woman - inside and out. I love her views on beauty.


  13. she is stunning xx

    New post on:

  14. She's so beautiful!! And so nice.


  15. Another fascinating and thought-provoking interview, Natalia - thank-you for sharing this insight into Valentina with us, she is clearly a woman after my own heart!

  16. Really, Valentina is very beautiful inside and out! <3
    kisses Gi.

  17. She is just wow.


  18. What an inspiring interview! I love it! ;)

    New Blog Post: How To Start An Exercise Routine & Not Give Up

  19. IMPRESSED!! You have the greatest and most important asset, that woman may have, that exceeds beauty, your intelligence and your rich inner 5★Girl

  20. Firstly, what an honour to interview her, she is exquisite and these answers were truly engaging. Thanks for your kind words...Wishing you a warm and wonderful weekend!

  21. Many thanks for this interesting and enlightening interview, dear Natalia, this sounds like as if she is really a wonderful woman with a good soul and many positive energy and an impressing way to live her life. I agree to the points she mentioned, no woman should compare herself with the pictures in magazines and I think also that a diet doesn´t makes sense. True beauty comes from much more things than having a nice face, I agree absolutely to her that a beautiful person must be at ease with oneself :)

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena


  22. Great interview! I agree with her on the raw diet, I have heard it works wonders!



  23. i respect her. what an amazing interview. i truly agreed with everything she said. beauty is both inside and out. i really need to try yoga. everyone talks about its amazing benefits. raw food is best. food in it's own package. just look at her hair, skin & body! that's living proof. what a great interview. loved this.

  24. Loving this post, beautiful!
    Wish you a great weekend dear!


  25. Wow, she is really beautyful! :) I like women who are natural and gorgeous :)

  26. She has such inspirational views on beauty - it really is more about what happens on the outside, sometimes it really does shine from within.

    Gems x
    Fashion, Well Done

  27. Great post!!

    Marisa Silva

  28. She is so beautiful!


  29. she's so beautiful ! I really love her hair.
    It's amazing that she has as beautiful character as appearance <3



  30. Great post! She's beautiful inside and out. I love her honesty about Photoshop especially as she is a model.

    Yasmeen x

  31. I love this post !!!

  32. She is s beautiful! Like most of the Russian models:)


  33. thanks for sharing. xo


  34. Wow what an amazing post, I haven´t enough time to read them now but when I come back home I will read the whole article! But what I read is ahmazing.

    Lovely Patricia

    Liebste Grüße


  35. What a wonderful attitude she has, I really admire that <3

    Sophie xo soinspo

  36. Amazing girl!!

  37. Nice photos ;) Thanks for your comment ;) xo

  38. I found this so inspiring. I love her attitude to beauty, and the emphasis on being healthy and happy.

  39. Her skin and hair are gorgeous.

  40. wow what an amazing opportunity to interview her, she seems like an amazing woman!


    ♥ Ellen
    Facebook + Instagram

  41. Have a nice week


  42. Wow, she is beautiful and what an amazing interview! So cool you got a chance to interview her!


  43. Natalia, thank you so much for such a beautiful interview. I love Valentina, she is so inspiring, i am so happy that so many girls consider her to be their role model. Healthy super model, how amazing this is!!!

    I discovered Valentina's blog about a year ago and have been following her ever since. I write my own wellness blog in Russian (although i live in Sydney), and i even included Valentina's blog in my top 5 wellness blogs (http://thinkingcreature.com/5-my-fav-health-blogs-nov-2013/). And she absolutely deserves it.

    Thank you again for this beautiful interview. Really glad to discover your blog. Always happy to see my fellow Russians :) doing amazing artistic and creative things in the world.

    All the best,


  44. wondeful interview, enjoyed reading it!

  45. Interesting piece xx
    Love dani www.huntinginheels.blogspot.it

  46. Love this interview so much! We just did interview with Valentina as well and linked back to your post. xo