Belarusian beauty Katsia Domankova-Zingarevich is our September 2017 Model Of The Month. Born in Minsk, she never dreamed of being a model, but was scouted by a modelling agent who saw her in a Minsk cafe. Thereafter, she began modeling at the age of 17, after winning the 'Supermodel of the World' competition in 2006 which took place in New York. Katsia signed a $250,000 contract with Ford models and landed a four-page Nexxus ad that ran in Vogue and Allure. Fast forward to a few years later in 2010, she was signed by Victoria's Secret as one of its new faces, and was also chosen to parade for its Fashion Show that year.
Katsia has plenty of runway experience having marched for many couture houses and top designers, notably in 2011 for Stella McCartney Autumn/Winter. She also starred in several advertising campaigns of Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, H&M and Kerastase to name a few. In 2013, she was tapped by lingerie brand Intimissimi to front its spring-summer advertising campaign. She has also been seen in fashion magazines such as Allure, Marie Claire, and Harperâ€™s Bazaar.
In 2009, Katsia married Russian millionaire Anton Zingarevich: the former owner of British-based Reading Football Club, whom she met in a social network and with whom she has two lovely children. At present, modeling is more of a hobby for Katsia who is the co-founder of Beautyhack.ru, a website dedicated to beauty and health.
Learn a little bit about her in this monthâ€™s inspiring interview below.
Did you always want to be a model, or did you stumble upon it, get discovered etc.? Who or what inspired you to become a model? How did you get started in the modeling business?
I never wanted to be a model, though of studying genetic engineering after school. I was scouted in the restaurant and the agent was too insistent. That insistence made me come to the agency in Minsk. I got my first commercial contract right away and signed with London agency in 2 months.
In your own eyes, what was the moment that your career took off?
Winning the Ford Supermodel of the World contest in 2006.
What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about being a model? What do you like least? Have you encountered any surprises along the way?Â
What I love about modeling is traveling. My job brought me to some amazing outstanding places I would probably never visit in my life if I wasn't modeling. What I don't like about industry is that it's rather brutal and you have to be strong to follow the way you've chosen. I left my home when I was 15 and know what it means to be a teenager in a modeling world - not easy at all
How would you describe yourself as model in three words?
Professional, organized, easy to work with.
Out of all the places your career has taken you, where was the most memorable?
Who is your favorite photographer? Why?
I adore many photographers but Peter Lindbergh's works are something special, seems like you are a witness of what is happening on set
What was the hardest photo shoot for you, and why?
Physically it was a shoot for one of the magazines when it was +34 in NY and I was wearing couple of cashmere sweaters and a fur coat, I was about to melt.
Whatâ€™s the one job that would get you out of bed no matter what?
I take every shooting very seriously, the only excuse to miss a job is being sick.
Did anyone in the industry ask you to change your look, name, etcâ€¦ If so, what did you do?
What tips and advice do you have for aspiring models just starting out, something you wish someone would have told you?
I came from a country where being super nice was not messed to make a connection. When I first came to US it appeared to be a problem - clients thought I was sad and didn't like what was happening. So, smile no matter what, live a healthy life, be nice to people and be professional - that will definitely help.
Have you had any negative experiences with model agencies, talent scouts? What are top 3 warning signs to look out for?
I always signed with well-known agencies and had no bad experiences.
Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get you by in life and professional career?
Don't betray yourself. I never agreed on doing things on set if didn't feel comfortable enough. My future goals are not connected with modeling any more, it's a huge part of my life, but now it's more of a hobby. I'm mom of two and run my project about beauty, health and maternity. All professional goals are about it at the moment.
What should a relationship between an agent and model look like?
Trustful, no pressure.Â
How would you describe your use of social media?
Reflection of my interests, I like to talk with my subscribers, love the feedback they give me
What are your views on social media? Do you think it is a good way to control your image?
You should take social media seriously. One wrong step might cost you a lot.
Who is your favorite all-time model?
Do other models inspire you?
I love to be inspired not only by the look but the soul as well. Any model that is beautiful inside and outside inspires me.
Is the fashion world what you expected it to be?
I remember having no expectations. What I know for sure is that people take modeling as a beautiful cover story that it is not.Â
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Spending time with my husband and kids is my favoriteÂ
Who are your favorite fashion designers?
Celine, Stella McCartney
Wearing different all the time.
What things in your wardrobe would you never throw away?
Anything that is Chanel.
What era would you like to bring back?
Your favorite store?
What are your best beauty secrets?
Sleep well, eat healthy
Do you have any beauty / skin care tips or tricks to look fresh and rested for early morning photo shoots?
Dip your face into cold weather for couple of minutes
Do you believe in homemade recipes? Do you have one to share with us?
I believe but prefer to buy cosmetics
How much attention do you pay to meditation & exercise, or is it all natural? How do you stay in shape?
I don't meditate, but work out 3 times a week: running and aqua aerobics
What makes you feel sexy?
The way my husband looks at me.
Favorite kind of food:
Great salads, potatoes and pasta.
When models say they eat healthy, what do they mean by that?
They don't eat junk food and make pauses between meals.
How would you describe yourself as a human being in three words?
Kind, open hearted, serious
Whatâ€™s controversial or unique about you?
Beautiful and smart. Some people believe those two meanings cannot exist together.
If you could have one superpower, what would you choose?
Travelling to a different city in 1 second.
What would you like to change about yourself if you can choose only one thing?
What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
Reading, spa, spending time with my friends.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? What could be your next career?
Mom of 3, happy young woman successful in whoever she is doing
Do people act different around you since youâ€™ve become a model?
Some people do, but they have no chance becoming my friends. I respect honesty and dislike disguises.
Do you have any model friend that you would suggest for the next model of the month on FMD?
Many of my model friends can be suggested, choosing one is unfair)Â
Favorite kind of music? Favorite television series or movie?
I listed to very different music, depends on mood. Favorite movieÂ
Whatâ€™s your favorite fashion magazine? Why?
Vogue. Cause its Vogue
Happiness is â€¦
For me it's well-being of my family and friends
If you could change one thing in the past years, what would it be?
I would love to enjoy EVERY second of life
People have said I look like â€¦
Thank you Katsia for this great interview!
note: all answers are original and unaltered - Interviewed by Iva Mirbach; Edited by Clinton Gonsalvez