Tanya Serbina: Dior Asked Me if I Could Dye My Hair in Red
I’m a 25 y.o. Ukrainian model, being in a modeling business for over 10 years already, and that’s kind of a lot, so my roommate-models jokingly call me a “grandma” sometimes. I find that pretty funny and cute! Sometimes, I get really tired, or at least I do act like that, so they won’t mind helping me out with some stuff, and sometimes even cook for me, which is really nice.
So, how it all started? One day, a modeling agency found me on Facebook and invited for an interview. They genuinely liked me, so we signed a contract when I was just 15 y.o. I started to work on my portfolio straight away, and three months later I flew to Seoul, South Korea, for my first contract, which was also my first ever trip abroad!
I remember that time… I was almost 16 but knew nothing about Korea, so I didn’t even understand the country, and spent all my free time staying in the area near my model apartment, as well as had no intention or interest to come back… It was such a big mistake to think and act like that! However, now Seoul is one of the most favorite cities of mine and I just adore it!
After the first Korean contract, through the next six modeling years, all my trips were mostly to Asia — Japan, Taiwan, China and Singapore. At the same time, I’ve been a student at a university in my native country, Ukraine, so I was able to travel only twice a year, during my university vacations. It was tough to combine all that, but when it got possible to take classes online — it made it all easier and I became able to travel more.
When my experience grew, I realized that I want try modeling in Europe as well, so I thought… why not?! I changed my mother agency then, and it was a hard decision for me because I’ve been staying with it for over six years and got some really cool friends there. On top of that I was also nervous, thinking: what if, maybe, I would not be good enough for another agency, or what happens if my modeling career will get slower due to such a decision… Anyway, I took the risks and signed a contract with a Polish agency called “Selective Management”… and it worked really well for me actually! The agency brought me some new opportunities in Paris, Milan, Madrid, New York and London. I have got a chance to take part in the casting for Gucci runway show in 2019. It didn’t work out for me but, however, I was very happy to be there and meet all those talented people. The creative atmosphere was super nice and friendly, and I’m going to miss it!
With the new mother agency, I finally started to get contracts in Europe more often… but then the Covid pandemic took place. Every other model hates that time as well, because all the European contracts got canceled, and it lasted for quite a long time due to the strict quarantine rules.
However, South Korea gave a “green light” for travel in 2020, and the situation with the Covid was pretty much okay there, so I decided to come back after a long break. That became exactly the time when I really loved Korea! I wasn’t thinking that it’s gonna work good for me but I was able to get some really good contracts in there.
That trip was the most funny and craziest among all the others I had, haha! My roommate-models in a model apartment were super funny and nice, and we had many crazy parties at home, as well as were going out from time to time to some bars. It was prohibited because of Covid… but we still needed to have some fun and relax after work! After one of those crazy weekends, we found out that almost 20 models got Covid, so we’ve been scared as hell… because if you get Covid — it means you will have to go to a hospital for like two weeks for a quarantine, and that all your jobs will be cancelled. However, I was lucky not to get sick!
A Korean trip went so well that I decided to get there again in 2022 and, sadly, that was exactly when the war started on February 24… so, I wasn’t able to get back home because all the flights to Kyiv got canceled, as well as I was worrying about my safety… so I decided to stay in Korea for the additional eight months to live and work there. That time there I met two of my besties, Inga and Sofi! We had so much fun, hanging out together a lot, went to different parties and stuff like that!
And at the same time, Dior (!) was doing a first show in Seoul, and I got lucky to get for a casting there. I knew about the casting one month in advance, so I started to work on my body to lose some weight and had to cut off almost any sugar, allowing myself only one little candy a day, no junk food, no gluten, and reduced the size of my meals too. I also started doing some physical exercises every day, so at the end I managed to loose 4.7 kg in just three weeks, and my skin became much better and softer!
Dior, by the way, really liked me and asked if I could cut my hair to look boy-alike, as well as dye my hair in “Chinese Red” color. So, I told them “Of course!”, haha! It was a crazy change, but I didn’t mind it! Great memories!
After eight months in Korea, I went straight to China for the next three months, because China finally opened its borders. The craziest thing about that trip was that Guangzhou city, where I had my job at that moment, got closed for a quarantine just suddenly, in the middle of the night at that time! So, I had to stay at a model apartment the most of my time, and get tested every 24 hours, and the test should have been negative if you wanted to go outside for grocery or emergency situations only! After 20 days in that quarantine hell, I decided to take a break and get back to Ukraine where I spent three months with my family, had some rest and, yeah, here I go again, back on track, starting a new contract in Japan!
Japan is amazing, it’s like a totally different world, a whole new universe when you get there for the first time! I really love Japan… because I’m a bii-i-i-ig anime fan! And I like the way one can spend one’s time off here, in a really crazy and wild way, exactly the way I love it!
My modeling routine is something like that: I wake up early, do some exercises before breakfast, just because I like this feeling of being a bit like weightless and I do think that this way you can burn a bit more calories!
After having a meal, I start getting ready for my castings. Usually that’s something from three to eight castings a day, even though due to Covid restrictions, the casting system in Japan has changed: the clients now have to request or reserve you for their casting after checking your portfolio online, so with a system like that you have more chances to get a job, which is just great!
My lunch is usually really light because I have time to eat something only between the casting, so it’s usually a cup of coffee and some healthy snacks.
After castings are over, I usually go to Shibuya district to meet up with some friends, have dinner together, something like sushi or sashimi.
The modelling jobs here are super cool! The makeup session starts with some face massage… I adore that! And the staff here is always very gentle and nice, we always have a lot of snacks and some healthy food during the photoshoot. The photos from the photoshoots are always great because Japan is the country of fashionable and stylish people, and a beautiful aesthetic of life. As a result, here you can get some really good portfolio while doing some great jobs for big cosmetic brands or hi-tech companies!
Weekends — those I like spending in a club — there are so many cool techno and electronic music parties here. A fun fact: the boss of my model agency is also a DJ, so from time to time we go to her parties, and that’s just super cool! Sometimes we also go singing some karaoke while wearing elegant dresses, because in Japan it’s kinda a “need to do” thing!
There’s a saying: “Keep the stone rolling!”, and that exactly fits my lifestyle!