It took six seasons for 20-year-old Juju Ivanyuk to catch her big break. But after three years of being passed over, the Russian-born, Ukrainian-raised model opened for Celine and Alexander McQueen during the spring 2011 season in Paris. Between show seasons, she shot editorials for Numéro with Greg Kadel, and Dazed & Confused with art photographer Roe Ethridge. When she returned to New York, eagle-eyed casting director Russell Marsh requested the upbeat Ivanyuk to open and close BCBG Max Azria. Ivanyuk's versatile, accessible look did well in Europe, too, where she modeled for Fendi, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Dolce & Gabbana. She also recently shot with Vogue stylist Camilla Nickerson and British lensman David Sims. We spoke with the rising star while she was on holiday after her exceptional Paris Fashion Week.
Tell us about your childhood.
I had a great and really happy childhood. Until I was 5, I used to live in Pevek during the Russian Federation. I studied ballet and gymnastics. After, I moved to Ukraine to Ivano-Frankivsk, where I finished my music school.
How did you get discovered?
I went to see an agency by myself in my hometown, because it was always my dream to become a model. And then I started to travel internationally, which opened up a lot of doors for me.
Where are you right now?
I took a week off to rest a bit after Paris Fashion Week, but now I am back in Paris again for work.
You had your major breakthrough during the spring 2011 season, in which you opened for Celine and Alexander McQueen; what kept you going in modeling prior to this?
Like I said, modeling was always my dream. I take my career very seriously and refuse to give up.
What was your most memorable backstage moment from fall 2011?
Christian Dior The atmosphere was intense yet energetic. We all had so many emotions during the show, it was all very moving.
If you were stranded on an island and could only bring one person
and one thing along, who and what would you bring?
I would bring a library and my boyfriend, because they are both very useful for me.
What's your diet like?
I eat a lot of porridge and many different types of fruits in the mornings. And a lot of vegetables, soups, and seafood for lunch and dinner. I work out every day for 30 minutes, with lots of stretching. And when the weather's nice, I enjoy running.
Tell us something random.
Sometimes I think something catastrophic will happen in 2012.
What's the hardest thing about modeling?
It's hard to have all your life in one suitcase. I never have enough time to sleep.
Model Profile: Juju Ivanyuk
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