Tag: New talents

Christina Donskov: “A Model Is a Model Whether She Wears a Size 0 Or a Size 14″

For the great majority of us, when we hear a term “model” we instantly start thinking of a tall skinny lady with the pale face and neutral facial expression. We start thinking of someone extremely thin and, naturally, someone having manly figure rather curvy and feminine. Christina Donskov, 26, is a Danish model who breaks such presuppositions associated with models: “A model is a model whether she wears a size 0 or a size 14”, says she, who herself is working for a model agency in Copenhagen, Denmark. 
Miss Donskov

Models, who are employed to display and advertise commercial products have always been the center of attraction and jealousy. They have also been a point of discussion for many centuries in a row as a number of women claimed they cannot imagine how a piece, shown on a runway, would look on them as models usually look much skinnier and taller than potential customers. It seems that standards of 90-60-90 and 172cm have changed (yay!) and therefore plus size models now have the opportunity to step on a catwalk proudly. “First of all I don’t really like the term “plussize”. It has such a negative vibe to it and it makes being curvy sound so bad”, says Christina Donskov. “Besides that working as a model is a job, and the job is the same whether you are a curvy or a regular sized model. So why even have the term plussize? Perceiving a model as no “regular model” just because she is not a size 0, like me, is just wrong. A model is a model whether she wears a size 0 or a size 14. Besides that a size 0 model does not represent the average woman in any way, and no woman or girl can identify or live up to this unrealistic womanly body ideal. Having said that I do not wish to see the size 0 models disappear, I just wish that the model and fashion industry included and embraced diversity in modeling more. We all have different body shapes, so why not embrace that in the fashion industry as well?” she asks with a smile.


The way of being a model

“Last year, 2012, I modeled in a plus size fashion here in Denmark”, starts Christina. “Prior to that I had not done any modeling, but modeling in this fashion show got me some model jobs here and there. Then in February 2013 I modeled in Carmakoma’s fashion show during Copenhagen Fashion Week produced by PEEPERS DENMARK, and meeting with PEEPERS DENMARK and the CEO Mica Oh was the startpoint to a career in modeling”, explains Christina, admitting that every photoshoot, fashion show, styling and location is interesting for her. “I always find things that inspire me at every photoshoot or fashion show, being the atmosphere or surroundings, just as much as I find inspiration in what I wear and how I am styled. Of course I also have my own personal style, and therefore I sometimes get even more excited when I wear something for a shoot or show that I would love to own myself, are we not all like that? The facts is though, I really love and appreciate the inspiration I get from working as a model. I get inspired by designers, photographers, models, styling, clothes, the surroundings and so on, and getting all these different types of inspiration is something I appreciate very much. It is part of where I get inspired, not only professionally but also personally.”


It is thought that models are “empty good-looking dools” (heard it once from a friend), yet Christina can also break this stereotype pretty easy. Without modeling, she is also a singer and writes her own music. “I study in University of Copenhagen, where I major in musicology, so music makes a big part of my life and I could not life without it”, she explains. She simply seems to be fortunate to be good at both areas that somehow complement each other. “I think that being able to express yourself through art, whether this is music, photography or modeling or some kind of other form, is a very valuable talent”, she agrees with me. “Not only do you use the creative side of your brain, but you also express yourself and embody feelings. I think that being artistic is very valuable and something we need to remember to focus on in today’s society and not turn away from.”

Red lips Christina Donskov

The value of a role model

The need of role model, especially for young individuals, have constantly been emphasized of a number psychologists, claiming that younger generation tend to observe someone’s behavior in order to change their own, as the person serves an example. Christina claims that her goal with the modeling is make women understand that they are beautiful regardless of their size, since majority of women constantly worry about their body shape. ”Modeling is not only a job for me. Modeling is also a way that I hope to inspire other people. I came to realize that being a model also means being a role model and I am truly honored if I can help make a change in the way that women and girls perceive themselves.”

Knowing that the average woman wears size 40 EU/10 US, Christina says that she feels and understands the sharp difference between skinny models, walking on a catwalk, and regular fashion customers. “I hope that being able to see women that look like women, with womanly curves, will help to make a change and reduce the unsatisfied thoughts about one self that fill up so many young girls and women. So yes, modeling means a lot to me, because I wish to show these girls and women that a curvy and womanly body is beautiful, explains Christina.

Shoot for the moon

A motivational speaker and former Ohio politician Leslie C. “Les” Brown once said that one has to shoot for the stars; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. Christina Donskov is obviously the one on the way to the moon due to brilliant “targeting” and planning skills. “I am very goal-oriented and I have an overall vision of what I want in life. Sometimes life throws things at you that you are you are not prepared for. Some of them are good and some are bad, but all you can do is to accept it, learn from it, and make the best out of it”, explains she with the smile and adds the phrase her mom would usually repeat:  “What does not kill you, makes you stronger”.

A Photographer, Who Manages To Boost Self-Confidence Within A Couple Of Hours

A photographer and make-up artist Bente-Maj Wøldike knows how to make women believe in themselves. Women of various ages usually leave her boutique Le Fleur in Copenhagen with a smile on their faces and a couple of stunning pictures of themselves. “How is it possible that they gain a huge amount of self-confidence within… well… couple of hours?”, I wonder. “My job is to make them fall in love with themselves”, she says. “Their job – to be in love forever…”

Photographer Bente-Maj Wøldike

Photographer Bente-Maj Wøldike

What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty to me is everywhere and every single one of us have it. Women probably don’t think they are beautiful if they haven’t been told so often enough. A woman deserves to know that she is beautiful and deserves to love herself, and when she does that, her beauty will be reflected in her looks and her attitude. I would say that beauty is when you are not afraid to show that you love yourself.

How important is self-confidence and how is it possible to gain it?

Self-confidence is very important in our lives. I think people are relatively bad in telling compliments. We probably think that we do not need to compliment others since we consider that they might already know it. However, everybody needs to be told that they are beautiful and we need to learn how and what we can do in order to look better. I also observe that we, women, do the same thing everyday for years without changing, we are creatures of habits and we need to break that. I do photo therapy course because I believe that self-confidence is something hidden in every woman and my job is to reveal it and change them, make them understand that change is crucial. If you tell someone that they are ugly every single day they will definitely believe in it, that’s why I want women to look in the mirror and make them realize that they are beautiful. I also want them to learn to receive compliments and realize that people complimenting them are right!

New Faces Bente

What is the process of photo therapy? 

From the moment a woman comes here to the boutique, she does not see herself for approximately 3 hours. I help them realize that they are beautiful – I teach them when and where their faces look nice, the angle, shadow, posture. Every detail is important. I love to see the change of emotions when a woman, who came to a boutique a little afraid and suspicious sees the final picture of herself – she gets the glow in the eyes and get the boost of self-confidence. She sees and realizes that she can be attractive, beautiful and inspiring to other women.

Nina New Faces

How did the idea of business came?

I started it about five years ago, but I was mainly doing it for my closest friends. Yet one day I posted some of my works on Facebook and it turned out to be a huge success, since I got ladies writing me that they want to try a makeover. So it was not intentional, more or less a surprise for myself.

However I sometimes find difficult moments, some of women find it difficult even to touch their neck for the photo shoot. They have not touched themselves and for them it might feel strange to do so. I simply want them to feel comfortable, yet they have to “play” a little in front of my camera and have to try to relax. My job is to make them fall in love with themselves again and keep that love forever.

What is your advice for women who want to gain self-confidence?

To believe in themselves. If it they lack self-confidence I would advice to try photo therapy with a makeover, where they will be advised a certain change according to their looks.

We need self-confidence because we have been too long thinking that we do not fit the standards, that we are too high, too short, too fat, too skinny, too young or too old… Self-confidence is perception. It’s all hidden in our minds and all we have to do is to realize that we all are different yet beautiful – and we only need to embrace it. When I help women understand that they are beautiful and all they need is a small change – they leave me high on energy and believing in themselves. That’s what I love about my job.

Ieva Poriete: From Playing With Wires In Dad’s Garage To Discovering Moms Sewing Machine

Ieva Poriete is a Latvian designer whose garments are full of surprise and contrast.  Looking at her garments, one can notice two sides of the new talent in the fashion industry: feminine elegance and naughty boyishness.  “So, who is Ieva Poriete?”,  I ask her.  “A young and ambitious person that is trying to break ground in the fashion business, and who has a naughty boy sitting on one shoulder and a girly girl on the other.”, she explains with a smile.

Designer Ieva Poriete

Fashion designer Ieva Poriete

Playing in dad’s garage

Ieva chose to follow her passion to create clothes. In 2008, she packed her luggage and left for United Kingdom. It is said that big fish need big waters, and that is probably the best explanation why Ieva followed her dream to study fashion design abroad. Yet the passion didn’t start in childhood; back then she enjoyed playing with wires in her dad’s garage. “When I was a child, I would always wear trousers that had lots of pockets, so that I could store all the things I found in my fathers garage such as screws, little pieces of wood, stones or coins.  I also remember how my cousin and I would take apart electronic devices  just to see what they were made of. It’s so exciting to find how things are made!”, Ieva says.
The days in her dad’s garage ended when the curious teenager found a sewing machine. “I discovered my mother’s sewing machine and that was when I discovered my passion for fabrics and fashion. The first thing I did was putting patches on my favourite trousers. With days and weeks passing by, I found different fabrics like beautiful silk satins and a pleated floral print skirt that mum used to wear. I thought I could make something big and bold like they wear on TV. From then on, it was decided and I was unstoppable. When I was 14 -15, I was regularly buying Burda magazines (a fashion magazine with patterns and construction instructions inside). I offered my friends a choice of some designs, for me to make for them. It was so much fun, we used to stay up until early morning just to get things ready for next day.”, she explains enthusiastically.

silk gold dress by Ieva Poriete

cotton shirts by Ieva Poriete


Perhaps all of us have the duality in ourselves; something contrasting our own thoughts and behavior. Designer Ieva seems to know how to put it to use, especially because the contracts in her life are even stronger as she was born under the sign of Gemini. “Since I am born in Gemini sign, I have a strong passion for things that are opposite or contrasting. I feel it brings ideas that sometimes clash, but many times it comes up as something unique, like the “Restriction” collection I did as final piece while in university.”, she explains.
The collection seems to have been a huge success, as Ieva managed to match and bring outrageously edgy, sharp yet soft looks that have become a great start in her career as a clothing designer.
Currently, the young Latvian designer is still in United Kingdom working under her own brand “Ieva Poriete Designs”, where she designs feminine yet edgy garments. Ieva describes her needs to express her dual thoughts while creating something outrageous: “I think of femininity and graceful looks, but at the same time mix it with something outrageous, or bring practicality into the design. That is what I am doing at the moment, I am making garments that are light and feminine but still have practicality and a little bit of fun element.”, says the designer.

muuse Ieva Poriete


Ieva, who is currently working on a new holiday inspired collection targeted towards working women, seems to know what to do next in order to develop a prosperous future in a fashion industry. “Most of my free time is taken to develop the business. I have a family wedding to attend this summer, and I automatically start to think whom should I meet and spend time with to prosper the business.”
The young designer says that due to the hard work, she sometimes feels the need to balance her time and go on holidays simply to relax and enjoy herself. That is probably the reason why she currently is working on a collection for busy working women, who have had enough of hard working and cold weather. “I am developing a collection that makes it easy to pack the bags in the last minute for women who have bought a flight ticket and are ready to leave.  Products will hit the market for Spring/Summer ’14.”, Ieva says.

“I sincerely think that fashion and making clothes is truly my only passion.”, says Ieva, who has consistently been working towards reaching her goal of becoming a famous and appreciated fashion designer.

Backstage: the Life of a Fashion Model

The fashion industry and its thespians have become idolized in European culture. From an early age many young women dream of becoming models because of its glamourous reputation. Models inhabit an almost other worldly part of our imagination with photo shoots and runway shows in designer garbs. However, few actually have the opportunity to experience life behind the scenes.

Two new arrivals on the fashion scene have caught Fameiva’s attention. Esther Jordan-Muriwai, a Maori beauty queen from New Zealand, competed in Miss World New Zealand 2013. Lijana Norkaityte, originally from Lithuania, is an up-and-comer on the Danish fashion scene and she is signed with First Option Managament in Copenhagen.


Esther-Jordan Muriwai from New Zealand


Lithuanian Lijana

Lithuanian Lijana Norkaityte
Anja Ekstrøm Fotography

Fameiva: When and how did you start modeling?

Esther Jordan-Muriwai (EJM): I started modeling when I entered the Miss Aotearoa New Zealand 2012 Pageant held in the Hawkes Bay. I have been doing it ever since.

Lijana Norkaityte (LN): This is a pretty long story how everything started and developed. Since a very early age I was very tall and skinny and people were telling me from time to time that I should become a model. My first try was when I was 16 [with] a small Lithuanian agency. After I graduated I decided to go to study abroad [in] Denmark. Then I have filled in an application for the 1st Option Model Management. I did not really expect anything serious, just checked my options. Soon I was invited to Copenhagen and apparently the agency liked me. I was offered to sign a contract in summer 2012.  Probably that is the time when my real modeling career started.

F: Was it hard to begin modeling?

LN: I don’t think it was hard. I never tried losing weight or had to experience any painful changes. The only hard thing is that I should start limiting my addiction to sweets. Models should be the examples of healthy lifestyles and I am working on it.

EJM: Well, to be honest, I got involved in beauty pageants as a means to re-discover myself. It was a personal journey for me [and] a way to discover Esther amongst all the difficulties I had been suffering with my lung condition. Achieving something that I prior to now believed I could never do as a young woman with a disability. I have chosen to bring about awareness to the condition and to represent all the people out there with disabilities to show them that if I can stand here proudly and pursue my dreams and make them a reality then there is no reason why you cannot do the same. The only difficulty I have had is being well enough to participate in the activities due to my health, however with perseverance, strength, support and determination one can achieve anything!

Esther-Jordan Muriwai

Esther-Jordan Muriwai

F: How would you define the fashion industry?

LN: The fashion industry is one of the most interesting and the most competitive industries. I have a huge interest in marketing and branding and I think that for me the fashion industry is a very exciting place to be in. If you take a look from a modeling perspective, sometimes it might be hard to understand what are the trends in the market and what do designers look for. It is always unexpected. I suppose after being in the fashion industry for a longer time models gain some experience, get to know designers and can already predict what kind of ‘walk’ or look designers are looking for. Personally, I am still learning and every single minute related to modeling is exciting, challenging and simply makes me happy.

EJM: That’s a difficult question. Knowing what I know now you would almost need a degree in order to define the fashion industry! There are so many facets to it. It can be close-minded, open-minded, and generic but at times it can push the boundaries. It is hard to define it in one simple word. However one thing I have noticed, especially after modeling in the ‘Te Koanga Fashion Show’ that the clothes are more than just garments. After that show, I saw that in the Maori fashion industry, garments have become an expression of who you are. So these days, you find designers articulating their own stories into the garments they make, it’s an expression of identity, of individuality and of ancestry. Designers now take inspiration from the environment and issues that are affecting us. I believe that is amazing.


Lijana Norkaityte
Niklas Højlund Photography

F: Advice for women who want to be models?

LN: Every person is beautiful in his or her own way. The secret is to find that way and be able to show it to others. I suppose it is very important to be healthy and look that way. I have a few tips. Take care of yourself, eat healthy and get enough of sleep. Try to wear high heels from time to time, because there might be some crazy heels in the shows that you will have to look confident in. Learn about yourself- your strongest characteristics and what looks good on the camera and just feel confident in your own skin.

Sashede: A Brand Of A Talented Estonian

In the fashion industry, once you have made it in a prominent city, you have arrived. Designer Viktoria Naumenko is breaking into London’s fashion scene with her brand Sashede. Her new line is an exclusive prêt-à-porter blending sophistication with modern trends to create new timeless pieces.

Fashion designer Viktoria Naumenko

Fashion designer Viktoria Naumenko

Naumenko’s strong passion for design, quality and brand development led her to found the label. The 24 year old, Estonian-born woman began her career as a stylist in the south of France and she has always harboured a love of clothes. “My inspiration towards elegance and quality wardrobe pieces led me to continue styling for private clients when I returned back to Estonia.”, says Viktoria, who got inspired by working with clients and decided to dedicate her life to founding a successful clothing empire.


Sashede’s spring collection features black dresses made from beautiful jacquard fabric that creates an exclusive and intriguing piece. Sashede features ensembles for every occasion. The label is focused on maintaining high quality standards from design to production. The clothes are manufactured in Estonia highlighting Naumenko’s lasting connection to her home country.



Sashede is marketed towards women of all ages and it seeks to provide its clients with elegance and comfort. The brand’s style promotes self-confidence with a timeless edge. Sashede is also practical: pieces can be worn for more than one season and easily remixed with new accessories. The style embraces women’s natural self-confidence with a spark of desire for fresh and edgy clothing while remaining timeless.”, Viktoria explains about her collection.

 Sashede poster

Are you thinking of founding the next big fashion house? Naumenko has some advice: “Be determined and live what you love and just go for it.”