Popular model Valeria Kovalenko embodied a special floral photo project in the middle of colorful dunes in Desert Safari Dubai especially for Ellements magazine. And in an exclusive interview she will tell about peculiarities of work in modeling around the world and participation in the international beauty contests.
Valeria, you are considered one of the most beautiful models in Russia, tell us about your modeling career, how did it all start?
From the age of 11, I was part of a team in a modeling agency that once had Irina Sheik, I was always singled out, even the photographer who took my first photo told me that I looked like Pamela Anderson in her early youth. We are actually very similar, comparing with the time when she was before plastic surgery. In the end, I was in Playboy magazine three times, that can happen!
I couldn’t go unnoticed and I was a model for various brands of teenage clothing, participated in a beauty contest.
However, it so happened that my photos were lost and the jury did not know who I was, apparently it was not by accident.
At that I decided to take a break from my modeling career and became interested in horseracing and then swimming, I even won second place in swimming competitions. To be honest, I did not like this kind of sport, I really missed riding, but my parents worried about me that the horse can behave unpredictably and it is dangerous, so they thought.
During your career you also managed to become a model of the legendary men’s magazine Playboy. Tellusaboutthiscollaboration?
I was 19 years old, I was noticed by a scout in the mall who offered to go to the casting, I became a model with Playboy, we have shot 3 wonderful magazines. I want to tell my story about this magazine as it was my dream. As soon as my career in modeling school began I watched the movie “The House Bunny”, about how Playboy bunnies live in the mansion of Hugh Hefner. I was captivated by the carefree and colorful “vanilla-caramel” life of a seductive model girl in the Playboy mansion, though in an instant it turns into living in my own jallopy (smiling). It was funny to observe how the fate of a simple girl from the Alfa Zeta Alf dormitory could change in a flash.
Tell us about the shooting for the Cover of Ellements, in search of unusual shots you crossed the desert and were dressed only in Flowers…
Honestly, it was the most extreme photography session of my life, first of all, it is a Muslim country with its harsh laws and specific views, but for the sake of the case I am ready to take all the risks. At least I do not think we did anything criminal, filming in only flowers in the middle of the desert. We had a local driver who specializes in safaris in the desert, we hid with my photographer behind the sand dunes. Fortunately, he did not see the whole process, but only tourists did. I can think there wasn’t enough to see the whole desert for them and they preferred to enjoy the process of my photography session. Having had different shooting experiences, I honestly did not pay attention, but my photographer, he tried to cover me very carefully with a towel from the approaching jet skis and cars, I was so involved and busy with the shooting process that I just did not see anyone around and did not pay attention. I believe that readers of the Ellements will appreciate our work, this is a very specific shooting. However, it was rather hard as it was rather a windy day, we were constantly annoyed by sand in our eyes, ears and mouth :), but we have managed to do that!
How do you feel about the fact that models have to leave the comfort zone during the photo sessions?
I love this process, aftermath I replay the memories of each shot in my head and there is always something to remember 🙂 I treat this process creatively and with enthusiasm.
One of the most beautiful and at the same time difficult shooting for me was a photo shoot for the cover of L’officiel Baltic magazine. We filmed with the team on a hot summer day in the famous historical park of cultures Arkhangelsk, which is under the protection of UNESCO.
The idea of the shooting was to show a Russian girl alone with nature in a rustic style.
I remember how my stylist and I were dragging the mattress for shooting all over the manor, in search of beautiful locations.
And another thing that could also help to get out of the comfort zone, it seemed such a simple thing as peaches, which we used for picturesque shots. Here, ferocious bees intervened in the situation, trying to eat me and those peaches, and someone used to constantly run out of the grass.
Which brands would you think of cooperation with?
I have a dream to become a model of the GUESS brand. It is an American company brand of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, as well as watches, jewelry, perfumes and shoes. And GUESS girls are all incredibly beautiful. Apart from that, I myself buy clothes from this brand.
Tell us about your recent participation in the international contest “Miss Eurasia 2020”?
Miss Eurasia 2020 was held in Istanbul, only 24 participants this year, I want to note that this is the only international beauty contest-survivor in a pandemic.
This is a colossal work of the members of the competition and the jury, in particular to survive under conditions of the global pandemic, because this year there is neither Miss World, nor Miss Earth Universe, Miss Globe…. All of those have been canceled! I represented Siberia at the competition, blue color dominated in my costume, which was associated with those lands running along the Pacific Ocean, and from the north – washed by the Arctic Ocean.
What title did you manage to win and what interesting offers did you receive after the competition?
I won the title of “Miss Eurasia 1-st Runner up 2020”, I was very happy that my preparation was appreciated by the audience and the jury of the competition. I was able to achieve such a high result and prove myself, which inspires me and motivates me to new achievements. After that, I received an offer for the cover of one international gloss, our cover was placed on the city lights of a big city and in shopping malls. I was very proud to star wearing a crown and with the title of international competition in front of a huge number of people. I hope that I can motivate other girls to self-development and self-realization as individuals.
Impressions of the contest are the best, thanks to the contest I made new friends and became an honor of the Miss Eurasia team. The participants are selected from all over the world, the girls were different, the majority were rather worthy.
I treated the preparation for the competition with full responsibility, not missing a single rehearsal, so I felt completely confident.
Is it more difficult for you to participate in advertising shootings as a model or in beauty contests?
Of course, It is much harder to partake in Beauty contests, the casting lasts from 10 days depending on the level and complexity of the contest. It is a robust competition that lasts daily throughout the contest, it is a kind of lottery ticket. You know, it is very difficult in moral and physical planes, but it is an impetus to develop not only your personality and achievements, but also the development of such qualities as the ability to communicate with many people, the ability to present your best features and appearance, these are useful skills for all girls in life.
Participating in a beauty contest differs from the usual modeling because you get new emotions every day throughout the preparation for the finals, every day you look forward to the upcoming day “X”, the results of which no one knows. The contest offers new and interesting acquaintances. I am trying to perfect myself every single day gaining new knowledge together with other contestants. You plunge into a new environment, step out of your so-called comfort zone, develop your communications with the people around you and above all it is healthy competition.
Apart from modeling you also try yourself in property development business, tell us about your occupation?
We are consultants in the field of luxury real estate around the world. Our company in the field of luxury real estate differs from just construction companies as we have knowledge of the entire market and can advise on all real estate and developers in our segment. The company is the primary source of private sales, discounts and much more, and we help to obtain a residence permit in any country through real estate investments. By contacting our company, the client receives the entire real estate market, as well as legal support of deals and transactions. It is much better than when the client applies in 1,2,3 and more companies and his personal data is in the whole real estate market and all intermediaries. I always recommend our clients to get hold of their expert/consultant. In addition, the client does not pay us a fee for Services – it is our best interest to help buy real estate for happiness. We help find one his/her housing or premises, and sell business centers, shopping malls as well. We have a single database of objects, including we have our own personal database of private sales, which cannot be found in advertising.
What places do you like most for your rest?
The most important criterion is the sand and the beach, the sun to keep me warm. In winter I prefer the Emirates, and in summer and autumn I choose travelling around Europe.
What are your plans for 2021?
I am planning to take part in one prestigious competition, which is in TOP-10 in the world. So far I keep this information secret. And I also plan to take part in one interesting TV project, while it is also confidential. I really hope that in the near future I will be able to share with my friends and readers my new projects. This is what concerns the creative part of my life, I am mainly developing my career in Real Estate. In parallel, I make plans for a TV and a contest.
Model and project producer: Valeria Kovalenko @valeriakovalenko_
Photographer: Tagir Talibov @tagirtalibov.ru
Boudoir by Alinailina @boudoir_by_alinailina
Location: Desert Safari Dubai
PR: Masha Borovenskaya @mariborovenskaya
Ring : Chopard, happy spirit
Earing Kongo: Tiffany & Co
High hills shoe: Casadei