Glamour: What’s the most important thing at fashion shows?
Anja Rubik: The most important thing is that it’s not me who walks down the runway. It’s the dress I’m wearing. A good model doesn’t present herself, but the designer’s collection. You have to play with the clothes, show their possibilities: look, there are the pockets, here is a unique decolletage, and look how this skirt is composed...
Glamour: Which shows are the most prestige for models?
Anja: These ones without castings: Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Versace... Models are invited at them, it’s usually a permanent group.
Glamour: Who usually chooses you?
Anja: I always walk for Stella McCartney, who probably likes me, for Valentino- because my type of beauty suits to classical things. I used to work a lot for Alexander McQueen, but I haven’t been doing it for 2 years.
Anja: You never know. Everything depends of designer’s idea, of luck, even sometimes of a caprice.
Glamour: How close is the contact between model and designer during the preparations for the fashion show?
Anja: It depends of the designer. Stella is impulsive, spontaneous, she often asks „What’s up?”. She’s very direct. It’s not that she’s vulgar, but in generally... Karl Lagerfeld is very nice- kind, open-hearted.
Glamour: It’s hard to believe- Lagerfeld has an opinion of inaccessible person among the journalists. And this stone face, dark glasses, a fan...
Anja: I think it’s a pose for media. It’s such a nice person. I was very nervous at his show once and it was him who saw it, he started talking with me: how I felt, what I though about my outfit? He explained that I can wear it with long gloves and immediately, by using a few lines, he drew a part of a woman in this glove. I spontaneously exclaimed: “Oh! It’s so beautiful!” He smiled and asked “Really? You like it? So I will make another one for you”. He signed it and gave me! He was very open-hearted for us. But it’s true- when the journalists and the photographers came, he was very official and stiff.
Glamour: Does every model have a one dresser?
Anja: At least one. When model is falling, all of the “free” dressers are running to help her: one of them is unbuttoning her buttons, the other one is taking off her shoes, the third one is holding the etceteras...
Glamour: What do you mean “model is falling”? Literally?
Anja: It looks like this: Your last steps, you’re falling, you are dressed up and undressed. Dressers are very important. We rarely talk about them, but a good dresser is a half of success. The best ones are experienced, older women. If there is a young woman, she’s nervous, her hands are shaking and then the model is also nervous: you start thinking that she can forget about something or she won’t do something at time, you’re nervous because they’re calling your name.
Glamour: There is often a motive of rivalry backstage in films about models: someone steals somebody’s shoes, block on the runway. Is that all true?
Anja: It’s nonsense. The show is a collective work. Everything has to run perfectly- only then we’ll do it great. Girls help each other. I’ve done a bridal show of exclusive Spain label “Pronovias” lately and Karolina Kurkova was changing a tail of her dress- she was asking us when it looks the best. She’s a professional, she can perfectly sell every clothes. She’s one of the best models and she’s worth it.
Glamour: So even queens of fashion have to work today. We used to hear about Naomi Campbell’s caprices, about being late, about broken contracts...
Anja: A lot of things are changed. We don’t have star top models like Naomi, Linda Evangelista or Cindy Crawford today. Okey, maybe we have Gisele Bundchen, but there are a lot people that don’t know her name. Even my grandfather knew who is Claudia Schiffer in 90’s. Everybody has to work hard now, the rivalry is pretty big. It happenes that the model at the casting has got a 200something number and there are a few or more castings per day, from 8:00 in the morning to late night!
Glamour: How it’s technically possible for you to be at so many castings in one day?
Anja: I have a driver in Paris and Milan, I come to casting, reserve a place in queue and we speed to another casting. I just sometimes must to jump the queue. However, in New York all of the adresses are close to each other, so the driver put out the models on the airport.
Glamour: What are the differences in style of working at fashion shows between Milan, Paris, and New York?
Anja: They are really different. Americans are the most proffesional, everything is perfectly prepared and planned. Of course, there are some mistakes, but not as important as in Italy. Italians treat fashion very loosely- a break for dinner, coffee, realxation... It sometimes takes a half of day, and they start working in the night. I had a cold during Milan Fashion Week once and I asked everyone to be one of the first girls at Jil Sander’s fittings- it was something about 11:00 pm. I went home to get some sleep. But I had a phone call at 2:00 am: “We’re sorry, but we gave you wrong clothes by an accident. You need to come now!”. Of course, I went there.
Glamour: What about France?
Anja: French style is between these two ones: there’s more discipline than in Italy, more leeway than in America. I think I like the French style the most.
Glamour: How much a well-known designer pay the model for a fashion show?
Anja: Rates are very different- from 800$ for an aspiring model to 20-30 000$ for a top model. Okey, maybe I exaggerated with 30 000$, but I think that model like Carmen Kass doesn’t earn less than 20 000$ for a show.
Glamour: Is the Fashion Week the best time for earning money for models?
Anja: No. You earn more at look-books production. They make them 2-3 weeks after fashion shows. Look-books are small books with pictures that show every detail from the collection- that’s how the clients are placing an order. But the best paid are concern catalogs. While I was living in Paris and I was finishing my school, I had a lot of costs: my flat, a very expensive English school- “Ecole Active Bilinque” where one term cost about 18 000 francs, and I had no time for work, so my agency found German clients to help me.
Glamour: Why German?
Anja: Because they pay very good.
Glamour: Bella Freud, an English designer, said once that she gave the models her clothes from the collection to pay for their work. Do you often get the clothes, not money?
Anja: Mostly in New York. Rarely in Paris, but Isabel Marant often pay using her clothes for that. Of course, these clothes is from the previous collection- this one currently in shops. Clothes that we shows- for the next season- can be ordered and retaken after few months, when they will be in production. We often can ask for shoes or etceteras- they aren’t sent to fashion magazines offices.
Glamour: Have you ever asked for something that absolutely amazed you?
Anja: Lanvin’s shoes! (this fragment I couldn’t translate...) I just had to have them! I had a similar situation with Yunko Shimada’s shoes: I was so amazed at the fittings that they gave them to me after the show. I also got in the same way Kenzo’s belt and Moschino’s bag and clips.
Glamour: Do you often talk with other models about the future- after finishing the career?
Anja: Rarely. These are very windy conversations. It’s something like small girls conversations about their future. Of course, it’s really cool to say: “I decided that I’m gonna work only for a year. I will earn some money and quick!” But it’s not real, nobody thinks about it seriously.
Glamour: What a crazy life: if you have a work, you don’t sleep enough, you don’t eat enough. If you don’t have a work, you’re stressed, you have no money, you still visit new places, meet new people...
Anja: That’s true. I sometimes wake up and think where I am and for who I am working. You can’t plan anything. I had a lot of situations when I was at the airport, I was getting to the plane to come to my country, to my family, and, suddenly, they call me from the agency and my travel doesn’t come off. They called me on Sunday once, said that in the evening I’m flying to Brasil for 2 weeks... You can’t be sure about anything. Clients are very capricious today. Agents called me in midday and said I won a casting. They called me again at 5:00 pm and said that the client changed his mind, at 8:00 pm- that, however, I’m having a shoot in the morning, at 7:00 am next week they cancelled it, they called at 11:00 am and said that I need to be at studio for 2 hours! It’s a well-known practice and I even don’t ask why the decisions are so weird. A lot of girls can’t stand this situation.
Glamour: It’s such a crazy life, but beautiful like clean adrenaline. Do you like it?
Anja: Very much. I work more and more, for better clients, my agency believes in me and supports me- I’m gonna be in NY’s NEXT in autumn- all these things really make me feel happy! (courtesy of tfs)
Anja with the shoes