September 2011 Face of the Month – Anita Proshakova

By Ishira Kumar

Anita Proshakova, September 2011 Face of the Month - Photographed by Ash Gupta 838MGWelcome to the resurrection of our column “Face of the Month.”  We, along with photographer Ash Gupta of 838 Media Group (838MG), will be picking a new face each month. A face can reveal a past, a story, and a desire, all in just one moment. Our mission sounds simple, but it’s not easy. Out of the countless faces we see every month, we have to judiciously pick the one that captivates us the most. It’s a meticulous process, and we avoid pushy agencies and models with their own agendas.  As a result, “Face of the Month” is back with a new twist.

At 838MG, there’s never a shortage of models to choose from, and our goal with this column is to focus on potential. Our pick does not depend on how extensive a portfolio may be, and we never want anything that resembles something that’s been done before. The danger with cookie cutters is that they always crumble. We want to go deeper. We want you to be able to look at The Face of the Month and see past the designer clothes and the production style make-up. The face is where expression resides, and we will not judge our picks on criteria other than talent.

Introducing Anita Proshakova, September’s Face of the Month

Born in Tver about two hours North of Moscow, Anita grew up surrounded by boys. She loves basketball, the outdoors, video games, and fast cars. She describes herself as a tomboy. At first glance, none of this seems in sync with the 5’11 statuesque blonde that just walked in and modeled with the ease of a professional. However, when we sat down to talk—she was in a towel because she had just finished shooting a water-series—I got a sense of the woman behind the model: she is definitely not a glamorous girly girl.

As Anita began to tell her story, she struggled to find the right words—she’s primarily in Los Angeles to learn English. At 18 she began her modeling career when she was discovered by an agency in Moscow. The agency gave her some test shoots and set her up with a few modeling jobs. However, Anita always leaned toward completing her education. Her father told her that when she finished her education, she could pursue a modeling career the minute she set her diploma down on the table.  “A smart move,” she says. “In Russia, the day rate for a modeling job averages about $100 . . . just enough for food and a taxi!”

Anita chose to go to the University of Moscow to study logistics.  Her good grades earned her government grants, which helped pay tuition. Even though she put her modeling career on hold, a friend encouraged her to participate in a beauty pageant, and she thought, “Why not?” Anita says that the competition was rigged from the start; and since she didn’t want to shell out the 20K to win, she didn’t place in the pageant.  But it was through this pageant that she caught the eye of many designers and photographers and landed her new representation with Fresh Agency in Moscow.  This is what she considers her first real start.  Her height is a great asset and led her to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia.  Much to her shock, she was one of the favorite models. She mentions nonchalantly that she has walked in Russia Fashion Week each year ever since.  It’s refreshing to speak with a model who is so humble and appreciative of her opportunities.  Anita’s agency tried to send her out to designers and photographers in Milan and Paris, but she wanted to focus on her studies.  She also tells me with a big smile a story about how there was a big name designer who didn’t like her nose, and that’s why he didn’t pick her for a Milan show. She laughs it off, unfazed.  “I didn’t believe him. But it was good for me.”

Anita’s journey to Los Angeles and to 838MG is a fascinating tale of happy coincidences. She was on her way to St. Petersburg to participate in a fashion show.  While at the airport she waited to meet up with another model who was also supposed to travel with her. As she waited, she saw a tall, beautiful girl with a baggage tag from the same city and assumed she was that model. She struck up a conversation only to find out that this girl was a model but actually on her way to London.  They became friends and still keep in touch.

Anita decided to come to Los Angeles and study English over the summer, and the girl from the airport referred her to Marina Smith, a famous modeling agent in Los Angeles.  Marina had just spoken with Ash Gupta at 838MG that week. When Ash mentioned he was looking for new and interesting faces to shoot for some creative projects this summer, Marina sent over Anita.  The minute Ash met Anita he knew there was something special and intriguing about her face. It was different.  It was powerful, and most importantly, Anita knows how to use it to its fullest advantage while modeling. The rest is history embedded in some stunning photographs.

Anita left for Moscow at the end of August to finish her last semester of college. After that she says, “Maybe L.A., maybe London, Milan, Paris . . . Who knows?”

Morning or night: Night. I like to explore.

Jeans or dresses: Jeans!

Favorite designer: Yves St. Laurent.

Favorite photographer: So many . . . Tommy Richardson.

Favorite drink: Mai tai, especially at The Standard Hotel.

Favorite car: Mustang in LA. BMW in Russia.

Favorite music: Deep funk or electronic music.

How do you like your men: Bad boys with brains.

Make-up must haves: I don’t know how to wear make-up. So, lipstick and perfume.

Vice: McDonald’s after a late night of partying.

Coffee, vodka or xanax: Green Tea.

See the editorial.

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