Iryna Stevens is a studio and catwalk model from London. Despite her incredibly busy schedule both working as a full-time commercial model and pursuing her new projects as a fashion photographer and stylist, she kindly agreed to complete a spotlight interview for Urbanity Chic. Read the full interview below to discover which modern day fashion designers she is inspired by, what it was like growing up in the Ukraine and her weirdest photo shoot where she was asked to immerse herself in a bath full of beetroot juice!
Q: How did you get into fashion modeling?
By accident, I moved to UK and I didn’t speak English that well so couldn’t get an office job (thank God I didn’t). I decided to try modeling and it took off for me .
Q: Who inspires you?
The gorgeous Adriana Lima and breathtaking Claudia Schiffer.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
I love Alexander McQueen’s work. It was a huge loss to the fashion world when he passed away in 2010. Alexander McQueen’s label is known for its dramatic and gorgeously constructed pieces. You can recognize his Signature looks included billowy dresses cut in hourglass silhouettes, frock coats paired with skinny pants, sharp, angular suiting, and darkly romantic gowns covered in intricate embroidery and lace. Alexander McQueen designs are known for their raw energy, femininity, sensuality and emotional power. I love the edginess and avant-garde presentation of models on a runaway… Totally up my street.
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
I love studio work. Definitely studio! If you can make a white studio wall “talk” and “give you a story”, you can call yourself a professional model.
Even so, I love shooting in exotic places too. Nothing can be more exciting than sun sea and palm trees :-).
Q: Do you have interesting stories about a particular photo shoot, or a casting you’d like to share?
Yes, my agency messed up a casting call once. I actually turned up to a casting where they were looking for only Afro-Caribbean models. After an hour sitting between gorgeous girls who obviously had completely different skin colouring, I started to realize that maybe my Agency had it wrong. I asked the client and sure enough they were not looking for Caucasian models like me. A waste of a day.
The weirdest photo shoot I’ve ever done was with the Italian photographer Ronin Gorou. I was lying in the bath, covered in beet-root juice, imitating a dead body. I must admit I really enjoyed the shoot although I’m not normally into stuff like that. The photos though were really artistic! Sadly, the beetroot juice had gone deep into my pores and didn’t want to come off even after a lot of rubbing with soap, so I left with pink skin for a couple of days :-).
Q: How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show?
I spend a lot of time on my nails and general grooming anyway, so I am usually fairly prepared for any eventuality.
I think shoots and shows are so different. In the photo shoot you have so many ways to express yourself. You are given a chance to use all the skills you have to create a particular image or story. At a show you are given one look, so you cant really do that much to embellish. During a show you must walk proud with a bit of attitude and do your best to compliment a garment.
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
I actually have 2 favourites! One of them was shot by Jim Carter in his studio in Manchester. The other one with Axl Stone in Egypt. They both had a huge influence on my career, became my best friends and I have truly appreciated their advice throughout my career
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
I have a few…. David LaChapelle, Markus Klinko, Helmut Newton, Jim Carter and Axl Stone are my favourites
All so different but so amazing!
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with?
Yes, my dream to work with David LaChapelle and Markus Klinko.
If ever I had a chance to work with them I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to say “yes” :-). Once I met Markus Klinko in London, while he was shooting his TV reality show Double Exposure (he was shooting Lady Gaga and Naomi Campbell). We were talking for hours about the industry. I can honestly say he is very artistic and totally inspiring.
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is my life. I think about what I am going to wear the next day before I go to sleep, what I am going to wear to go out with friends on Saturday, etc.
Fashion is my dream. Fashion means creativity, inspiration, freedom of expression and so much more. I like to feel beautiful, sexy, or modest. It all depends on the way feel during a particular moment. I put emotions into the way I dress and try to give my clothes personality. I believe if you dress right, you feel more confident about yourself. Be free, go crazy, wear what you think is the best for you but never forget to flick through the pages of Vogue or Bazaar for the latest trends …
Q: How would you define your personal style?
Sexy but sophisticated. Sometimes a bit daring..Well we are only young once!
Q: Where are you based?
I’m based in London, UK
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Well, I was born in Ukraine where we all learn how to look good from a young age. We all wear high heels and makeup. We do our hair, dress to impress and look after our bodies. Then I moved to UK, where I realised this place has enormous modeling opportunities.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
My CV is quite long and I have done a lot of commercial, fashion shoots, catwalks and music videos. I guess one of the most memorable is being a main character for England’s world cup song in 2010. I had so much fun as I had an opportunity to play 3 different characters and think the end result was truly great!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
I’d really like to pursue any acting or presenting opportunities. Also, I’d really like to continue to develop myself as a photographer.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I go to the gym, I work out a lot, and my favorite thing is doing hula-hoop whilst I’m watching TV :-).
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
I like Adele, Pink, Queen and Hurts. At the moment though I can’t have enough of 3OH!3. Great energy!
Q: Do you have interesting hobbies?
I do. I discovered I am good at photography and make up and I am trying to develop my skills at the moment. I have had a chance to work with one of the best hair stylists in the UK, Robert Masciave, who in fact represents Revlon in UK and Ireland. The latest show we did for Revlon was amazing.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring models what would it be?
Be sure what you want and be confident about yourself. Fashion is not just beauty. Personality is so important. I learnt that a great smile, positive attitude and professionalism are the green ticket to success in this industry. You have to believe in yourself and be strong because you never know when work will come.
Always learn new things since its important to know your industry. Once my agent said – modeling is lazy money… Well I think every type of work both has bad and the good sides. The fame and the pay are a good side of it, but people will be mean to you and when you’re young you sometimes don’t know how to defend yourself. So my advice would be to try to stay headstrong and let all the negative side of modeling bounce off you and not affect you.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
I embrace all aspects of my desires, wants and needs through modeling. I know how to pose to create the perfect image. Posing is not about looks—it’s about exuding a feeling and an emotion.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
One of the things I’d always wanted to do was to shoot for Playboy and my dream came true a few years ago. It may sound unrealistic how you can put both fashion and glamour together, but please check my website out and decide for yourself!
Editor’s Note: Iryna’s prolific and varied array of work showing both her versatility and creativity in front of the camera. By working as a top hair model, continuing to work with some of the industries finest photographers and taking initial steps into working behind the lens as a photographer and fashion stylist Iryna will definitely be one to watch both throughout this year and beyond.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Iryna just follow the links below:
Iryna Stevens website: http://www.iryna.co.uk/
Axl Stone Photography (more images showcasing Iryna): http://www.axlstone.com/