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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)