Mariana Voinova: A Model of Adventure and Creativity
"UKRAINE" COVER EDITION - SEPTEMBER ISSUE
Photographer: VITALY AGAPOV & ROSTYSLAV ARNO - @agapovandarno
Model: Mariana Voinova - @mariana_voinova
Make Up: Валерия Рысина - @valeriya_rysina
Marketing and Design Director: Matheus Lopes - @mathlopes
Fashion Director Hooks: Matheus Hooks - @directorhooks
Mariana Voinova is a remarkable figure who transcends the boundaries of fashion and adventure. Hailing from Ukraine, her life's journey is a captivating tale of passion, determination, and exploration.
Starting her life in Lviv, a picturesque city, Mariana soon found her destiny in Kyiv, the vibrant Ukrainian capital. Her career as a model brought her to this dynamic city, where she fell in love with the infectious energy that surrounded her. But Kyiv brought her much more than a career; it also brought love. Fate intervened, introducing her to Sasha, her future husband, at a city restaurant. What began as a chance encounter blossomed into a deep and enduring love that shaped the course of her life.
Mariana is more than just a talented model; she is a dedicated mother to Alexander. Her personal and professional lives are intricately intertwined, and her family is not just her support but her partners in all adventures. Together, they explore the world, make important decisions, and share experiences that enrich their lives.
Beyond the runways and photoshoots, Mariana is an expert traveler who has explored exotic destinations worldwide. Her role as the "face" of a travel newspaper allowed her to share her experiences and write about her adventures, from walking with lions in Mauritius to unique photoshoots in Dubai and beyond.
But Mariana doesn't stop at being a model. Her transition into producing and styling fashion shoots was motivated by her desire for creative freedom. She is a talented producer, stylist, and model who shapes her projects in a unique and challenging way.
In challenging times of conflict in Ukraine, Mariana and her family have chosen to remain in their homeland and contribute in whatever way they can. They demonstrate resilience and dedication to their country despite facing adversity.
Her collaboration as an ambassador for the Fabergé brand in Ukraine is a testament to her elegance and sophistication. She gracefully represents the brand's exquisite jewelry and curates unique concepts for their presentations.
Mariana Voinova embodies the idea of pursuing passions, embracing change, and facing adventures with grace and determination. Her life is an inspiring narrative that continues to unfold, revealing new horizons and possibilities.
Check out the exclusive interview now:
1. Can you tell us about your journey from Lviv to Kyiv and how it influenced your career and life?
My home and favorite city of Lviv is like a quiet haven, where it is comfortable to walk along the old streets and taste coffee in cozy cafes. Here time flows slowly and no one is in a hurry. The first time I went on an excursion to Kiev with my school class, I was 12 years old. I saw Kyiv, but did not fall in love with it. Then my next trip took place from a Lviv modeling agency to Kiev Fashion week. And then we met as if for the first time, I felt the living dynamic power of the city, which was rapidly developing and moving forward just like me. I fell in love with trips to the subway, the big Dnieper River, the hills...
I began to travel to Kyiv often, for 1-2 days, just to walk, go shopping and feel the energy of this city. And in the end, one day my dad told me that I was 18 years old and he wanted to buy me an apartment in Kyiv. My modeling career was moving and I also represented my hometown Lviv at the “Queen of Ukraine” and in The World Fashion TV competitions. I always wanted to achieve everything myself and didn’t want to take money from daddy... but then I realized that this was not just a purchase or a gift, that it was fate that wanted to move me further.
On one of my trips to Kyiv, I came to have lunch at a restaurant, there was no one there - just me, which made me very happy, since I like to be alone with myself. I ordered a salad, I was eating and then someone came into the restaurant... I looked with a very angry look, who was the one who interfered with my idyll... and there was a handsome young man who looked at me and I realized that I knew him -it was sympathy or love at first glance.
But my freedom-loving character and pride immediately threw him overboard. I had a lot of fans and men in love with me, who simply loved me and dreamed of being together, I considered this some kind of punishment and asked a God to leave them all behind. I was very uncompromising and tough on them and their feelings. But, my future husband turned out to be a tough nut to crack and very similar to me - he was persistent, although I gave him a hard time in meeting him and left the restaurant, his driver followed me and asked for my phone number. I gave my phone number and in the evening I left for my hometown of Lviv. Several days passed, I had already forgotten about this meeting and then a call... - Sasha, my future husband, called, we talked, the conversation didn’t go well and I thought that we would never communicate again...
2 months passed, I was in Kyiv, and then my future husband called, we met in the evening. Then we called each other, he came to get to know my city and my parents. He invited me to fly to Dubai and celebrate my birthday. I was thinking for a long time before response... but my feelings took over and I agreed. On my birthday, he proposed to me to marry him, I said “yes”, and from then on we never parted... together all the time, we feel comfortable being together.
After the wedding, my modeling career faded into the background. Then I completely refused to work in the agency, since I was always not comfortable going through castings... I thought that it hurt my soul and that this was not my path. My husband and I started traveling a lot, I was doing marketing and designing shopping centers. But, in the end, the modeling industry took over and they began to invite me and collaborate in this area, but through the social networks Facebook, and then Instagram... Although I admit, I don’t like social networks - only for the sake of work.
What can I ultimately say about Kyiv: it gave me a new line of destiny... a husband, a job, a family, my main person in life - my son who was born in this wonderful city.
2. Being the mother of Alexander and having a successful career, how do you combine your personal and work life?
I never divided this. My life, my trials, personal life and work are all one whole, interconnected with each other world. I have my own individual and complex path. My family is part of this path and they are my soul mates who interact with me, and I with them. My work has never been just about working for the sake of work or money - it’s all for the sake of my spiritual development and growth. We are always together, when I fly away on work projects - we fly together, then we spend time and relax.
I have such a son that he is an adult and understands me from birth, and understands my path, I am very grateful to him that he came to me and with me. He shares all my experiences. We travel together, make decisions together, go to the movies, restaurants, walks, discuss many topic. He is my best friend, like my husband - they complement each other.
3. You mentioned working with elite travel companies and 5* hotels. Can you share a memorable experience or destination that stood out to you during your time as a travel expert?
I was called to become the “face” of the travel newspaper Dream House, as a travel expert, and I really liked this offer. I could develop myself in this area, be a critic, study and analyze, write articles, which I also really love, and of course, be photographed as a model and be the face of a company - in my opinion, the ideal combination. A trip to Mauritius with a team to conduct photography in a famous hotel was especially memorable for me. There was a walk with lions, just in the jungle - I really remembered it for the rest of my life. It was a dangerous adventure, I expected to see a Leo, but two lionesses came to me for a walk, and one of them constantly looked at me, watched and showed attention. At one point she jumped onto a stone, tensed up and looked at me without taking her eyes off... I then quickly began to pray... bowed my head, recognizing her as the main one. My whole life flashed by in a few seconds - it was a special state to die without dying. Some kind of special transformation. There were many other experiences, each trip is special with its own story.
4. As a travel magazine model, what is the most exotic location you've had for a photo shoot and what made it special?
For me, the most important thing in every story is when space interacts and goes one step ahead, opening doors, weather supporting, situations come as need, as if you feel and develop by yourself every minute. This is the mantle of the Universe, the most special for me. In Mauritius it’s lions, in Dubai it’s communication and a photo session with a falcon who participates in falconry - this is a truly unique experience in the UAE, I got unforgettable memories and photographs with these noble birds of prey. Singapore, Norway, a helicopter flight over Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon in the USA left a lot of impressions.
5. Moving from modeling to producing and styling photo shoots for fashion magazines, what prompted this career change and what do you enjoy most about it?
Modeling has always been a manifestation of creativity for me and the role of a model has always been close to me. You either accept the terms and rules of this business or you don’t. The main reason I left was not accepting the established rules, sheer restrictions - it’s not in my character to not have freedom of speech and choice. And in the end I went into free creativity and to do projects that allowed me to realize myself and show creativity and freedom of choice. One of the most memorable shoots was a photo shoot for Officel magazine, Paris, which was entirely my responsibility, it was very responsible. To be in the role of a producer, model, stylist, choose locations, solve difficulties and various situations that try to prevent me from doing everything the way I planned. For me it’s always an adventure, but never just work or business.
6. What can you say now about life and family business in Ukraine during the war?
Now Ukraine and its people are going through very difficult times, which have united them more than ever. I am writing this interview and answering your questions, while in a bomb shelter in Lviv. There is a drone attack on the city and an explosion was just heard, my mother called and asked if everything was okay with us. And so almost every night, air raid warnings and attacks. Now I live with my family in Lviv; the war does not allow us to return to Kyiv for permanent residence. Our unequivocal decision was to stay in our native land in Ukraine, volunteer, pray and do everything possible so that the war would leave our country. My son Alexander dreamed of living in Lviv and unfortunately, it was the war that made his dream come true; we have been here for 1.5 years already. We decided that we would not leave and that we would all be together in our native land.
As for business, it’s hard to do business in Ukraine during war, but we’re doing to the extent we can. Through my husband’s contacts abroad, we are now participating in a project with an American company to restore energy infrastructure and generate electricity, which will be very necessary in the winter.
7. Working as an ambassador for the Faberge jewelry brand must have been exciting. Can you tell us about your impressions and favorite items from the brand that you had the opportunity to demonstrate?
The Faberge brand found me and offered me to become an Ambassador in Ukraine, the cooperation lasted for 2 years. This position obliged me to a lot and caused a lot of attention from people and various magazines. One of my key and main jobs was a photo shoot for Brand in London. I completely created the ideas and chose the shooting locations in different locations in London, acted as producer, stylist and model. I demonstrated the best works of the Brand and especially liked the Hibiscus cuff bracelet. Faberge fully supported the shoot and provided a lot of expensive jewelry. This was an exciting shoot for one of the most famous and oldest jewelry brands in the world, and I felt a huge responsibility and desire to contribute my vision of how to represent the Brand. Today this Brand is already part of me, and everything related to my participation and contribution is already part of the history of this Brand. Which I'm very happy about.