Wondering what the best way to get over a break-up is? For 18-year old Russia, it was the ol’ trick of getting randomly scouted by People Agency and kickstarting her modelling career. “I was shopping at Savers, and I was really upset that day because my boyfriend at the time had just dumped me. While I was shopping, my agent walked up to me, gave me her card, and that’s how it started. It felt great. Screw that guy.” If that isn't a clear sign from the universe, we don't know what is.
Although born in Brisbane, the model has been dwelling in Footscray, Melbourne, for the last seven years and considers it home. A neighbourhood known for its creative scene as well as being a foodie haven thanks to the melange of international cultures found there, it's easy to see why the young model has made such a strong personal connection to the area.
During her childhood, Russia was always pushed to be creative and express herself through all kinds of outlets like drawing or playing music. Her passion for the arts has only grown stronger coming into her adult life. As someone who always had an interest in acting, she explains how this came with a natural draw towards modelling. “Modeling just seemed like acting without learning all those lines,” she quips, and finds that the most rewarding part of being a model is getting to be involved in someone else's artistic process. “I love making my own art, but being around other creatives all the time is inspiring.”
The best piece of advice she’s ever received is, “You, and you alone, are responsible for your own mental well-being. Waiting for happiness to come to you is unrealistic.” Her idea of happiness is being content with life, loving others, and being loved.
Read on for more of the model’s refreshing worldview, and catch her effortlessly rock a Chanel swimsuit and Prada silk set in these piccies styled & shot by longtime CPC friends Cecile Huynh and Amelia Dowd.
Where do you live now, and where do you consider home?
I live in Footscray, Melbourne, and I consider Footscray to be my home.
How do you think your upbringing helped to shape your worldview?
During my childhood, I was always pushed to be creative, draw, play music and express myself. Coming into my adult life, my passion for the arts has only grown stronger.
Where would you take someone visiting your hometown for the first time?
Well, my hometown is actually Brisbane; however, I wouldn’t call it home. I lived in Footscray for about seven years now, and I've built a personal connection with the area. If someone were visiting the area, I would take them around the suburb as there's a fair bit to take in. The beauty of Footscray is the diversity and the overwhelming sense of community; to experience that, you just have to come and see it for yourself.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
Being a part of someone's artist process. I love making my own art, but being around other creatives all the time is inspiring.
And the most challenging?
The long work days can get extremely exhausting.
Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
I do consider myself spiritual however I still have so much learning to do and spiritual growth yet to come. I am only 18; I feel like there is only so much I can know at this age.
What is your idea of happiness?
My idea of happiness is being content with life, loving others and being loved.
What would happen if you had to give up social media for a week?
I think if I took a break from social media, my mental health would improve. I try not to use social media too much, as it can negatively impact anyone’s life.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
When I wake up, I roll around in bed for longer than I would like to admit. Aside from that, I drink as much coffee as I can fit, then I get ready for whatever I need to do for the rest of the day.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Chicken Katsu curry. Best meal, hands down, and it’s pretty good nutrition wise… I think.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am 100% a night owl. The mornings are simply not for me; they never have been and never will.
How can we make the most of our time on Earth?
Spend time with those you love most, focus on the present and try your best to understand others.
If you could say something to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?
You are capable of doing what you put your mind to and stress less about school; you’re going to drop out anyway [laughs].
What are you most looking forward to this year in 2022?
I’m really excited to leave Melbourne and go for a proper holiday in another state. Like a lot of other people, I haven’t had the opportunity to get out of here in years.
What books are you reading at the moment?
I haven’t read a book since high school, I would say it’s because I haven’t had the time, but to be honest, I just spend too much time on TikTok.
'Walkin' by Denzel Curry.
Castle in the Sky – Studio Ghibli.
Are there any social or cultural shifts you hope will happen in the next ten years?
I want equality, whatever it takes; I just hope this world starts accepting everyone for who they are.
Why do you think friendships are so important?
My friends are incredibly important to me; they are the core of my life. I honestly would not be where I am without them. Healthy friendships are necessary for living a fulfilling life; even if you only have one, genuine human connection is vital.
What values do you look for in friends?
I look for people that actively listen and people who can crack a good joke.
Features Writer: Sabina Sysantos Photos: Amelia Dowd Fashion: Cecile Huynh Beauty: Kat Bardsley Photo Assistant: Tom Hunt-Smith Fashion Assistant: Paul Summers
Russia is represented by People Agency
We acknowledge the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of land on which this shoot took place.