My life is full of challenges, and that's what I love. That's how we lived in Russia; surviving every single day. What I had to face in the fashion business wasn't that difficult. Somewhere deep inside, I always heard these voices calling me.
My father is a musician and composer and my mother makes costumes, so I was always in this world of art and glamour. But it really started when I met a local designer. She was one of the first to introduce me to the fashion world. When I sent my photo to Pierre Cardin for a 40th anniversary show in Red Square, I was wearing her clothes. There were thousands of us; he only chose 15 or 20.
I was refused so many times in Paris: I spent all my energy and effort to succeed. Some girls were going to see Karl Lagerfeld for a casting. My name was not on the list, and I had to get past so many security guards, but there was something inside telling me: if not now, it will never happen. I insisted and convinced them. Before you see a designer, at least 10 people judge you. Finally, I was standing in front of Karl Lagerfeld.
American designers took a chance on my looks: my success in the US is a matter of being there at the right moment. When my modelling career took off, I went to the Oscars to present an award. A casting director offered me Mortal Combat, then I was offered a part in the TV series Third Rock From The Sun.
Growing up in a Communist country you don't have a clear picture of the rest of the world. America was fascinating to me, but with a Russian passport it was not possible to go there. When my French visa was about to expire, I felt my life was only just starting. I stood at the American Embassy and insisted they give me a visa, because sometimes in your life you really have to fight.Reuse content