Milan is one of the modeling industry's four most important fashion capitals, and it is also the hometown of the ever charming Renata Zanchi. Introduced to the fashion world at the tender age of fourteen, after walking into a Milanese model agency that signed her on the spot, the statuesque blonde subsequently began booking jobs in less than a month thanks to her classic editorial beauty expressed through her incredible bone structure and her svelte runway-ready proportions. Self-described as multifaceted, passionate and professional, Zanchi has since found herself traveling across the globe and has landed on the pages of several style glossies and campaigns including Grazia and Wonderbra. With over a dozen top agencies proudly representing the sport-loving polyglot in major fashion cities around the world, there is no denying that Renata Zanchi is in it for the long-haul.
In an exclusive interview with The FMD, the Italian stunner talks her ambitions, likes and what it takes to be a model.
You are a regular guest at FormulaOne, NBA, the European Football Champion League, Davis Cup and at many more sport events. Which one of these do you like most?
I love all kind of sports. Maybe Formula 1, for its glamorous atmosphere.
What is so fascinating about FormulaOne?
The sound of the engines and the strategy at the time of the race.
Do you consider a career as a sport reporter? If yes, what’s your dream or goal there?
I see my future in TV, as TV-host of shows. I would consider a career as sport reporter and would love to cover F1 or the Soccer World Cup.
You are fluent in six languages: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish and Russian. How and when did you learn all these languages?
I got a University degree in languages with final mark 110/110 with distinction. Always living in different places of course helped too.
Since when do you know FMD? What was your first motivation to visit us?
I have known you for a very long time, since my beginnings. I feel honored to be featured as your next MOTM.
Did you always wanted 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 was 14. I went to an agency in Milan to introduce myself. After two weeks I was shooting Italian Grazia with Aldo Fallai. I didn't expect that. After that came Italian Vogue, French Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire, etc'.
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? What has been your most awkward moment (of your modeling career)?
Traveling, discovering the world, meeting new people. The worst part is loneliness and always being on a diet!
I am sure I have so many awkward moments but now I cannot recall any!
What’s the funniest thing that happened to you on a photo shoot or fashion show?
When photographers shoot and the picture shows something that was not supposed to be seen. Use your imagination!
How would you describe yourself as model in three words?
Multifaceted, Passionate, Professional.
Out of all the places your career has taken you, where was the most memorable?
Wakayama, Japan, for a huge fashion show. It was a spectacular experience.
Who is your favorite photographer? Why?
Steven Meisel. He is one of the most iconic fashion photographers of all time.
What was the hardest photo shoot for you, and why?
Shooting a Jeans Campaign, in December, on a windy beach, at 5am. I was only wearing shorts and a little top. It was freezing.
Is there a difference in posing when you are doing a cover and an editorial?
Usually not. I always like being natural. I have never been a fan of posing too much.
Is there an artistic or general difference in doing editorials/covers in Europe opposed to USA?
Yes. In Europe the style is more sophisticated. In USA It is more easygoing.
Did anyone in the industry ask you to change your look, name, etc… 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?
As Valeria Mazza one day told me: ‘Always listen to the advices of your agent’. I would add to be always professional, humble, and patient. It takes years of hard work to build a solid and recognized career.
Have you had any negative experiences with model agencies, talent scouts? What are top 3 warning signs to look out for?
I have never had negative experiences. 3 warnings: follow an healthy life style, watch out crazy parties and do not fall under the charm of PR and glamorous night life.
Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get you by in life and professional career?
Work hard, expect nothing. And always keep going.
What should a relationship between an agent and model look like?
Professional, ambitious, honest.
Who is your favorite all-time model?
Claudia Schiffer. Eternal beauty.
Do other models inspire you?
The super models of the 90’.
How do you feel fashion has empowered you?
You travel, meet people, learn languages. You grow up very fast.
Is the fashion world what you expected it to be?
Many times it is not as glamorous as it seems! Many hours of waiting at airports, huge casting lines, hard locations, early call times, etc. It is job in the end. It can’t be perfect!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Easy simple life.
Who are your favorite fashion designers?
s an Italian, I have Italian designers in my heart.
Vintage ones. The oldest, the better.
What things in your wardrobe would you never throw away?
My Serena Whitehaven shoes.
What era would you like to bring back?
Who is your style icon?
Your favorite store?
Too many on 5th Avenue in NY!
What are your best beauty secrets?
No secrets: sleep well, drink water, eat healthy, work out.
Do you have any beauty / skin care tips or tricks to look fresh and rested for early morning photo shoots?
Cold water or ice on the eyes after waking up. And drink water. It also helps to reduce dark circles and puffiness.
Do you believe in homemade recipes? Do you have one to share with us?
Sure. My favorite scrub for the face: honey and brown sugar.
How much attention do you pay to meditation & exercise, or is it all natural? How do you stay in shape?
I take good care of myself. I work out and exercise every time I can.
What makes you feel sexy?
The look of my boyfriend.
What is your favorite part about your body?
Favorite kind of food:
When models say they eat healthy, what do they mean by that?
They avoid grease and processed food. They opt for fruits, vegetables and organic food.
How would you describe yourself as a human being in three words?
Energetic, generous and motivated.
What’s controversial or unique about you?
If you could have one superpower, what would you choose?
What would you like to change about yourself if you can choose only one thing?
To be less strict with myself.
What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
Do you have a mentor? Who? What is it about them that affects you? Why?
My boyfriend. He always gives me the best advices.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? What could be your next career?
I see myself hosting TV shows. Could be anywhere.
Do people act different around you since you’ve become a model?
Not anymore. I choose very carefully who is around me.
Do you have any model friend that you would suggest for the next model of the month on FMD?
I have so many model friends that would deserve to be the next MOTM. I really could not give only one name.
Favorite kind of music? Favorite television series or movie?
Pop and chill out music. Series: Sex and the City and Two and a Half Men. Movie: ‘La Vita e’ bella’ (Life is beautiful) by Roberto Benigni.
Stay hungry, Stay foolish.
What’s your favorite fashion magazine? Why?
Vogue. The fashion Bible.
I'd like to meet …
Papa Francisco (Pope Francis).
Happiness is …
... a moment.
If you could change one thing in the past years, what would it be?
I would erase the beginning of the world economic crisis.
People have said I look like …
What would you ask yourself that we haven’t asked you in this interview?
Nothing else. You already did an amazing job ragazzi! Thank you.
How would you describe FMD in one phrase? Your quote about FMD?:
An amazing window to the world of fashion.
Thank you Renata for this great interview!
note: all answers are original and unaltered - Editor: Iva Mirbach, Theo Villegas