Beauty is often powerful enough to blind people from seeing beyond the surface. Assumptions of arrogance and one dimensional admiration often arises. But every flower has its origins, its own story and journey. Yana Sotnikova is one such beauty who’s journey goes beyond her looks.
Where are you from and how were you discovered?
“I was born in Moscow where my family still lives. I changed school over six times but still graduated with a medal and a scholarship to one of the top universities.
And so here I am at university studying economics, tax and taxation while working in the evenings for one company to get more experienced the field. I was discovered when my mother had an idea to send me to a photographer for family album photos. She loves albums and has dozens of them at home, so I went for her. Even though I never enjoyed having my photos taken.
Destiny lead me to Lev Efimov who then introduced me to Avant which in turn lead to an offer with Women management. I was more inspired by the idea of traveling and seeing other countries rather than being a model at the time. Time goes on, first fashion week went well, first jobs were easy, everything was new and exciting. Next, I went straight to New York no doubts or reservations and signed my second contract with Ford Models. Then with Premier in London, then with Oui in Paris and etc. And now my Mother Agency is IBTM (ibtalentmanagement.com).”
Which countries are your favorite for either having lived or traveled for work?
“I really enjoy every country I visit and each place has a special place in my heart and memory because of that. For now I spend most of the time in London with Premier, as I love working with them so much. They are like my family.”
Favorite designers at the moment?
“I love designers that really make women look beautiful and appreciate the nature of beauty. I wouldn’t name someone specifically as I might not be able to mention everyone’s work I respect and love.”
Diet and exercise routine?
“I like to experiment, so I am trying different types of work out techniques all the time. My week should look like: Monday – cardio on a treadmill, Tuesday – Barry’s Bootcamp, Wednesday – cycling class at Psycle, Thursday – yoga, Friday – pilates, weekend stretching or running or something else. It varies all the time.
Diet is pretty simple, I eat everything that I like. I’m fortunate that I don’t like fast food or sweets, so my diet is pretty healthy haha. I care about what my body consumes.”
“Coffee is my drink, mostly. Trying to stay away from Coca Cola recently as I’ve been drinking it everyday haha.”
Things you enjoy about modeling?
“I love visiting new places, meeting new people. We all are so different and it’s so exciting to meet different cultures and mentalities. It gives me so much. I changed a lot and learned from my friends who I met all over the world. Modelling teaches you to be strong, to love yourself, and gives a lot of opportunities. Also I couldn’t imagine I could earn a living myself at just 18 years old and be able to help my family and fully take care of myself.”
What are some things you dislike about modeling?
“As much as it can give you power, it can in the same force destroy you. So you have to learn to be very confident. There are a lot of people around you, a lot of clients who have different opinions. They judge and it’s normal if they see something else or different about your appearance. They think you should be a perfect mechanism or object.
For example I changed my hair color for the new season. From a dark brunette colour I turned into platinum blond. Some designers love it, some still didn’t adapt to a new style and don’t mind saying how much they liked when I was brunette. Every girl wants to hear only good things or course. But this is business and you should not take every opinion too close.”
Sleep is important, how many hours do you rest per night?
“I’m really bad with it. I can sleep three to five hours and then work non-stop. Especially when flying for a job and can’t sleep on planes which is a pain. But I’m trying to sleep seven hours as the norm.”
What’s your idea of a good model vs. a bad model?
“Good model is patient, hard-working, focused, healthy, friendly, understands business, takes care of her health, etc.
Bad model, all the opposite.”
What was your first big job that made you feel like a model?
“I think my first job in London I would say. The cover of Vogue we did with Milly and Egle. It was a wonderful surprise when it was chosen as the best vogue cover of the year as well.”
Fashion brands you have worked with?
“Again, it’s hard to choose which ones to mention – for example BCBG, DVF, Armani, Dior, Lancome, etc. I have worked with so many.”
Notable magazines you have worked with?
“I have done Vogue Italia, Vogue Turkey, Vogue UK, Elle Russia, Grazia Germany, Glamour, Marie Claire, Wonderland, You, etc.”
Any plans for acting?
“I have done some courses in New York at Susan Batson Studio. It was an amazing experience. I just feel like if you decide to do acting then you should focus just on that. You can’t mix modelling and acting. You won’t have time for both.”
Anything quirky about you?
“I am an amazing auto mechanic! (joking). I played professionally volleyball for a Moscow team. I love diving and trying to dive every time I get a chance. I love drawing portraits of my friends and I love games. So I would be the one in a company that will make you play ping pong, then backgammon, then volleyball, football, basketball and poker in a row. Then I would probably make everyone hike a mountain and finally cook together. That’s my personality.”