At the showroom of Alexander Mcqueen I met the 25-year old Yulia Grigoreva. She told me about her project ‘Brainy Models’ on which she has been working together with her friend Elena Ivantsova. On a thursday afternoon where Yulia and I both do not have many castings we meet in cafe and bookshop Red for an interview.
“I define myself as a brainy model”, says Yulia (on the photo on the right) while she hands me the brand-new stickers of their logo. The logo is colourful, which attracts attention. The cafe where we are also looks very colourful because of all the shelves filled with different types of books. They look really tempting, but unfortunately I can not read Italian. I wonder if Yulia chose this place on purpose. It is quite ironic that we have a meeting about Brainy Models in a cafe which is also a bookstore.
“Besides modeling I draw and do sports. I graduated from university as an English teacher”, she continues. Yulia was always very eager to express this part of herself and noticed that she was not the only model with brains. “I met many models during jobs who managed to combine modeling with something else, for example with a study or a sport.” The brainy model – who lives in Milan since three years (Yulia is originally from Russia) – started talking about this with some friends and got inspired. Now, two years later, she launched the project Brainy Models.
I met many models who managed to combine modeling with something else
“Brainy Models is an interactive platform on Facebook and Instagram”, Yulia’s face lights up when she starts explaining me about the project. There is also a website which is being used as a reflection of the social media pages. “On the platforms models can exchange their interests apart from modeling and we post about the creative models.” What is creative? “It can be anything, from sharing your beauty tips with others to sharing your passion for music. Models can share their hobbies or passion with the hashtag #brainymodels and we repost it on our page.”
Yulia thinks it is important to show your personality to others. “When you go to a casting clients only see your portfolio book. They see us as a fashion brand.” The Russian girl says that models are known for their pictures. “But this shows not who we are”, she tells me while she fidgets at her earring. “You can do a campaign for sports, but the brand does not care if you are really good in doing sports. They never ask about your hobbies or interests.”
Our conversation gets interrupted by a loud noise. The person behind us dropped a coffee mug and I realise it is much more loudly in the cafe then a few minutes ago. “It would be nice to show – not only to clients – that we have more than just a pretty face.” “Exactly like your motto: ‘Join Brainy, break stereotypes’,” I ask her. “Yes!”, says Yulia while a big smile appears on her face.
It would be nice to show that we have more than just a pretty face
The project is sponsored by some brands. “These brands make it possible for us to organise (brainy) events. For example workshops, like learning Italian. Models from all over the world can join us and they can also earn money if they get new sponsors for us.” The Facebookpage of Brainy Models is online since last week and has already over 5000 likes. “We have all the pieces together now”, says the energetic model. The next step will be the Brainy event on the 22th of February in Milan. “This event will be an open event where models and non-models can visit us. There will be an aperitivo and a DJ. We will gather together and talk about our project. Everything is ready.”