Liza Kei is our Model Of The Month. With her gorgeous face and stunning body the Russian beauty is already taking modeling by storm. Signed to Women in Milano and Paris, Union Models in London and Modelwerk in Germany, she was discovered at 15 when her mother took her to a beauty school.
Born Liza Kirjukhina she changed her surname to Kei because it was complicated and “never pronounced right”. When it comes to posing for the Camera Kei is a natural, her father was a photographer and her mother an Atelier hence she has been staring at the cameras since forever.
While her foray on the runway has been somewhat limited Kei has appeared in plenty of Editorials and magazine covers for the likes of Marie Claire France, Vogue Germany, Playboy US , Grazia France and Cosmopolitan Italy.
When she is not modelling Liza spends her time reading and with family and friends. So far,Liza is just starting out and with her subtly beautiful features and charming attitude hopefully her career blossoms so we can see more of this beauty.
Liza took the time to speak with The FMD in an exclusive interview in which she discusses herself and her plans for the future.
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?
When i was 15, i was a proper tomboy child, my mother took me to a so-called “beauty school” for teenage girls and i got discovered there. I pretty much had no choice as my dad used to be a photographer and i was staring at cameras since the first day i was born, it’s been my comfort zone all my life.
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)?
Travelling around the world is my most favorite about this job! Though i m quite lazy of “long hour flights”! International models are usually experts in good tv episodes and books because of that. It was awkward when i got my first “celebrity” photographer experience and his assistant told me that he might throw a camera in my face if he doesn’t like me. Thank God that didn’t happen.
What’s the funniest thing that happened to you on a photo shoot or fashion show?
When a stylist who was fixing my bikini on a set saw a string from my tampon, and just pulled it out not understanding which kind of “personal string” it was :)
Out of all the places your career has taken you, where was the most memorable?
Japan is the weirdest place and most memorable for sure! You fly and arrive to “aother planet”. Also i ll never forget a shoot on the Canarian islands. We were sitting on the dunes with the entire shooting crew,talking and waiting for the sunset to get to maximum density for our last picture.
Who is your favorite photographer? Why?
Viviane Sassen! Lines,colors and poses - its an absolute perfection for my eyes and mind.
What was the hardest photo shoot for you, and why?
It was a Glamour Italy editorial. I had to hang upside down “pretending i was flying” in a massive dress and heels, i had a special circus construction wrapped around my chest to hold me in the air under my dress, which was squeezing my ribs extremely.
Did anyone in the industry ask you to change your look, name, etc… If so, what did you do?
I’ve changed my real Russian complicated and “never pronounced right” name to Liza Kei, can’t say it helped a lot :)
What tips and advice do you have for aspiring models just starting out, something you wish someone would have told you?
I was told in the beginning of my career to read as many books as i can, because its the only thing, which will make you truly interesting inside and outside. Its what makes your eyes and energy different. I think it was the best advice still.
Have you had any negative experiences with model agencies, talent scouts? What are top 3 warning signs to look out for?
I try to avoid hypocrates. I’ve always tried to find positive, down to earth people for my team. All my bookers are like family to me, i can trust them with everything and i know they will hear me out and take care of me. All agencies i've met were good in what they are doing, sometimes you just dont “click” and then its better to go for another team.
Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that you've got in life and your professional career?
“Go with the flow”, thats the most important. Love yourself, enjoy the moments, learn how to “stop” and have a break when it’s needed.
What should a relationship between an agent and model look like?
I feel like a loved youngest sister, but somehow with a “business” sight in it as well ! I feel trust and warmth and laugh with my bookers.
Who is your favorite all-time model?
Girls all are so differently beautiful inside and outside that you just can’t pick one!
Do other models inspire you?
Definitely, we hear stories, paths of each other, we get inspired and supported by each other.
How do you feel fashion has empowered you?
I’ve realized how powerful i am physically and mentally by being challenged more and more during my career.
Is the fashion world what you expected it to be?
No, its was shocking how “real” all these girls from the posters and and magazine covers can be! And it’s still shocking to see your own covers and posters every day even after years.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I love nature and i need a lot of it to recharge. I grew up in Russia, so i need wide fields and big lakes around to rest.
Who are your favorite fashion designers?
Rick Owens, Elie Saab, Raf Simmons.
What things in your wardrobe would you never throw away?
Tonnes of black t-shirts… unfortunately that’s how many you need as a model. Also my mom keeps my tiny ballet-shoes from when i was small and danced in a classic ballet, they are completely destroyed but very cute.
What era would you like to bring back?
70ies and 80ies, actresses and music were too good back then.
Who is your style icon?
Miranda Kerr, I like to spy on her street style pictures.
Your favorite store?
BCBG, All Saints.
What are your best beauty secrets?
Water, lots of drinking water.
Do you have any beauty / skin care tips or tricks to look fresh and rested for early morning photo shoots?
There are so many skin types, one secrets fits everyone - never touch your face with dirty hands.
How much attention do you pay to meditation & exercise, or is it all natural? How do you stay in shape?
I meditate a lot, even sometimes on a lunch break, if work turns out to be quite stressful and mentally exhausting. I like running and adding a little fitness with a good stretching.
What makes you feel sexy?
Good make up and good underwear is the easiest help :) right music on a set.
Favorite kind of food:
When models say they eat healthy, what do they mean by that?
For me it means not skipping the meal time, eating lots of greens,vitamins and good proteins, all natural.
How would you describe yourself as a human being in three words?
giggly, true, smart
What’s controversial or unique about you?
Clients tell me my “angel face” doesn’t fit my sexy deep voice, that’s what i’ve heard hahah.
If you could have one superpower, what would you choose?
Teleportation! that would save me so much time!
What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
Spending time with family and friends, sleeping and eating is the best as well!
Do you have a mentor? Who? What is it about them that affects you? Why?
My books are my mentors, and i work with a psychologist from time to time during my career, to keep calm and react wisely on certain situations.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? What could be your next career?
Modelling teaches you so many things that you can end up pretty much anywhere.
Do people act different around you since you’ve become a model?
Definitely, many people around me couldn’t understand the life i live and take me as i am, but that’s problems you have not only as a model.
Do you have any model friend that you would suggest for the next model of the month on FMD?
love is all around
What’s your favorite fashion magazine? Why?
I-D, they are just so creative and modern!
I'd like to meet …
Karl Lagerfeld for a cup of coffee in Hamburg.
Happiness is …
when you are doing what you want and love.
If you could change one thing in the past years, what would it be?
Nothing, everything happened for a reason.
People have said I look like …
Vodianova, Iovovich, Moss, Catherine Zeta Jones.
What would you ask yourself that we haven’t asked you in this interview?
My very old-fashioned russian grandma would ask me : “when you gonna finally stop this weird thing you are doing and finally get married? “ :D
Thank you Liza for this great interview!
note: all answers are original and unaltered - Editor: Iva Mirbach & Clinton Gonsalvez