Your sweet smile
conjures a smile
on my face.
Meet Ukrainian model Zhenya Vincent, currently based in Hong Kong, who tells us about her first impression when she moved to Asia and her youth surrounded by nature and freedom in the small village at her grandparents place.
Photography, wardrobe styling & interview by Lauren Engel
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Ukraine and I lived seven years in Kiev where I also did my studies. But originally I’m from another city called Krivoy Rog.
What were you like in your childhood and youth?
I was a good student. laughs. I didn’t have much choice. Actually I always wanted to dance but my grandparents told me that it’s better to do mathematics and English. There was no pressure from my parents though and I always had a lot of time to go out and enjoy with my friends as well. I also spent lots of time in nature at my grandparents place. In the small village where they are from everybody is really kind and they all know you. Well, even if you don’t know them they know you and what you did today, yesterday, and last summer. laughs. So you can’t do a wrong step. We were a lot kids there and that was fun, a lot of horses, and cows too. For the kids and people there of course summer also means a lot of work, but for me it was just a fun time as my grandparents were so happy that I was with them.
How old were you when you moved to Kiev?
Straight after school when I was seventeen. I stayed there for the university and studied marketing. Well, I also had this dream then to be a pilot or stewardess, but it was too complicated and not the way of lifestyle I wanted so I decided to stick to the city and not the profession.
How did you start modeling?
One model agent gave me his card after seeing me on the subway and then I started to work in Kiev in some exhibition and events. I was nineteen at the time. Then I got my first contract. I haven´t thought about modeling before but to earn some extra money seemed appealing and so the fact that I could travel. Well, these days it is easier to be a model as with iphone, instagram and facebook it almost seems that everyone can be a model somehow these days.
“I bought my first camera so who knows I might end up being a photographer.“
Did you decide modeling fulltime?
On my third year I got two contracts. One was for Korea and the other for Japan and both together for a time period of 7 months, so I decided to quit school and go to Asia. My parents weren’t that happy but they agreed in the end. My friends were already in Asia so they were saying lots of good stuff about Japan and Korea. Soon after I also got a contract for China. After 6 months I came back to university as a part time-student though as well.
What was your first opinion of Asia?
My first trip was to Korea and I really liked the people. They were so kind and cute. But at first I couldn’t recognize anyone because it was my first time to see many Asian people. laughs. But everything was so cool, free and nice.
When did you come to Hong Kong?
I came to Hong Kong nearly four and a half years ago because of my husband. We met in Ukraine and he came for a football championship in 2012. Then by chance he’s now living here in Hong Kong and my next contract started in Guangzhou. So I went to Guangzhou and he was visited me there and after a few months he asked me to move to Hong Kong. I said yes and here I am now.
When did you get married?
In 2013, in Las Vegas. It was pretty fast. We both wanted this “drunk wedding” and it was a fun small wedding which was great for us, even though this might not be something for everyone.
Are you still modeling full-time?
Yes still full-time. Maybe we will stay here for another year and then let’s see what comes next. I bought my first camera so who knows I might end up being a photographer.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Being Queen and Majesty Zhenya. laughs. I want to make something good for people, help in one or the other way. In case I become a good photographer that people like my pictures and get inspired by them.