Monday, November 18, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Irina Liss

Russian supernova Irina Liss appeared like a bolt out of the blue during the European Spring/Summer 2014 collections debuting as a Prada exclusive in Milan. The sixteen-year-old 181 cm brunette bewitched all with her glacial stare, sculptural bone structure, and stealth-like runway presence. Scouted a year ago via Facebook, Liss has wasted little time in joining the ranks of modelling's elite via a sensational Spring/Summer 2014 show season which included enthralling appearances at Céline, Jil Sander, Miu Miu, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, and Alexander McQueen. The runway rookie's sharp angular features, svelte athletic frame, and imposing runway glare made her a standout as she blitzed her way through 24 show bookings during Milan and Paris Fashion Week.

Liss' meteoric success was predicted early on by her agency Elite NYC when IMA visited their headquarters prior to the Spring/Summer 2014 collections. It's no wonder given Liss' sleek runway swagger, versatile beauty, and her dynamic presence both on and off the runway. In addition, Liss' steely resolve to succeed, her incredible work ethic, and the maturity she exhibits beyond her sixteen years, will ensure her continued favour amongst fashion's elite as she juggles schooling commitments with her burgeoning modelling resumé. In the aftermath of the month long fashion frenzy, Liss has continued her dream run with a strong editorial presence in publications including Interview Germany and Intermission. IMA caught up with Liss post-fashion week to dissect the epic season that was, her love of volleyball and comfy footwear, and the thrill of Cara Delevingne rescuing her from the perils of hairpins.

Irina Liss
Photographer - Eytan Jan
Image courtesy of Elite NYC

Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Irina, congratulations on an epic debut at the Spring/Summer 2013 collections. You were the sensation of the European runways logging a total of 24 show appearances, how are you feeling now that you have had the opportunity to wind down from the shows?
IL: Thank you, I am very really happy! I had an absolutely amazing season! I am blessed to have so many professionals and simply great people helping me with every step in my career. My success could never be possible without their support.

IMA: Would you mind sharing your backstory with IMA's audience?
IL: I am 16 years old and come from a tiny military town names Lukhovitsky-3. I started modelling a year ago but as I am still in school, I'm only modelling part-time. I was found by a scout on Facebook. I actually never thought that I could become a model. I first started modelling in Moscow through my mother agency, Point Model Management.

IMA: What were your expectations heading into your debut show season, and could you have imagined that you would be walking the runway for shows including Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Jil Sander, Alexander McQueen, and Valentino to name but a few?
IL: Of course I was nervous and I knew how important this season was for me. My success is the result of hard work from a whole team of the most amazing professionals in this business - all my agencies around the world (Moscow, NY, Milan, and Paris) worked extremely hard for me. During the shows, I was so concentrated on doing my best and had such a crazy schedule that I actually did not quite realise the level that I was participating in. When it was over and I looked back, I had this realisation and it felt like a miracle. I could not believe that I actually did all these incredible shows!

IMA: Russians continue to be  major presence in modelling. What do you feel are the qualities which are contributing to the on-going popularity of Russian models?
IL: Russia is a country where the most beautiful girls live. In Russia, we have good genes and at the same time it's in our culture that if you do something you have to do it in the best possible way. Russian girls are really motivated, they are hard workers and they are smart and beautiful - that's why they achieve success everywhere, not only in modelling.

Prada - S/S 2014
Photographer - Monica Feudi
Source -

Christian Dior - S/S 2014
Photographer - Yannis Vlamos
Source -

Louis Vuitton - S/S 2014
Photographer - Fablo Iona

IMA: Prada is known for the power of its exclusives which have the capacity to propel a newcomer into the modelling spotlight. What was involved in the casting process and what was your initial reaction when you discovered that you had been confirmed for the show?
IL: My agencies were preparing me for Prada for a long time - they worked on my book, on how I should present myself, how I should walk and a million other things. After the casting, I did not have any news for a long time and I was getting quite nervous with the uncertainty. And then I had a call from my NY agent saying I had to get prepared for my trip to Milan, but she did not tell me why. When I was struck by the realisation, I could not speak, and all I wanted was just to hear those magical words - you are confirmed for Prada... I was sooo happy! It felt like pure magic!

IMA: You got to wear some pretty amazing clothes this season, if you could have walked off the runway with any of the looks that you wore, which collection would it have come from?
IL: It's a very difficult question for me. I had the chance to work with the best designers in the world, all the clothes that I wore for the shows were so different and so beautiful! It's a hard choice to make!

IMA: A model needs to be presentable at castings and even more so off-duty due to the rising presence of street style photographers and bloggers. How would you describe your personal style and what is your most prized item of clothing?
IL: What I wear depends a lot on my mood. In general, I like to wear comfortable things - unisex style. I am a volleyball player and I have a lot of sportswear. Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I feel romantic and feminine, and on those days I often wear dresses. With sneakers of course! I love rock music and sometimes I want to feel like a rock star! I also like Dr Martins and men's shirts!

Intermission - F/W 2013
Photographer - John Scarisbrick
Image courtesy of Elite NYC

Interview Germany - November 2013
Photographer - Joachim Mueller Ruchholtz
Image courtesy of Elite NYC

IMA: What do you enjoy most about modelling and have you considered what career path you would eventually like to pursue as an alternative to modelling?
IL: What I like most about modelling is that I have the opportunity to meet amazing people, talented above anything that I could ever have imagined! Modelling affords the opportunity to try different styles, discover myself, travel, study languages, and to see inside from different cultures. Modelling has helped me to become more concentrated on what I do and to always believe in myself. I realised how important it is to have people around me who support me. As an alternative, I may consider journalism as I am extremely curious, and I love reading and writing.

IMA: Elite NY predicted major things for you when IMA visited their headquarters during NYFW. How have Elite NY been instrumental in guiding you through your first show season, and what is the most valuable piece of advice that you have received from your agents?
IL: I had non-stop support from all of my agencies literally 24/7. For the Fashion Weeks in Milan and Paris, my booker from Elite NY came to Europe with me and she was with me all the time, like a mother! My NY agency gave me the most valuable advice ever - always believe in yourself and never jump to hasty conclusions. I realised that it's brilliant logic - if you do not love yourself, you do not believe in your strength, and you do not try to overcome obstacles and everything becomes impossible. Only those who keep trying can reach success!

IMA: What are your interests and passions beyond modelling and fashion, and what do you like to do when you are being a normal 16 year old having out with your friends?
IL: I like to play volleyball, the guitar, and to write poems. I also love track and field, and I am in love with old Soviet cars! I dream of learning archery and to learn as many languages as I can. I spend a lot of time with my friends, we go hiking, picking mushrooms, fishing, or just sitting around the bonfire in the evening while playing the guitar.

Irina Liss
Photographer - Eytan Jan
Image courtesy of Elite NYC

Mariana Santana & Irina Liss
Source - Santana

IMA: Did you have the opportunity to form friendships with other models during the mad rush between castings, fittings and shows?
IL: Yes, I met a lot of models and made friends with many of them! Before this trip, I was under the impression that model friendship was impossible, but when I actually started meeting the girls I realised that it's totally not true. Most of the models were absolutely adorable and totally friendly. For example, I was shocked when Cara Delvingne herself was helping me to take the hair pins from my hair because she thought it might hurt me if was was to do it by myself! I miss my model friends very much and I really look forward to seeing them again.

IMA: What do you hope to achieve in the course of your modelling career, and are there any key industry figures that you dream of collaborating with?
IL: I simply want to do my best. I know that my agencies will guide me and get me the best possible jobs and I totally trust them. I just started modelling and I would like to work with legendary photographers and stylists, and for me this modelling job is one big adventure!

IMA: What were your most memorable moments of the Spring/Summer 2014 season both on and off the runway?
IL: The most memorable moment for me was at the end of Fashion Week, where there were people that started recognising me in the streets!

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
IL: I think that every person on this planet is special. It's difficult to say why I am different. I think that it's up to other people, not me, to answer this question ;-).

Irina Liss
Image courtesy of Elite NYC

Special thanks to Alvin Fung at Elite NYC. For more information on Elite NYC, please log onto and

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