Russian Model: Valentina Zelyaeva
Valentina Zelyaeva is a Russian model born on October 11, 1982 to newly married and young parents in Moscow. At the time of her birth, Valentina’s mother was graduating in college to become a teacher while her father was in the Russian army. At the age of 16, Valentina’s friend gave her a business card from a modeling agency. Although Valentina Zelyaeva had the looks to be in the fashion industry, she was too shy. As a result, she hesitated calling the number on the business card until when her mother accompanied her to the modeling agency.
Despite her tender age and the fact that she was in school, Valentina was signed into the agency because of her beauty. She was then enrolled in a modeling school in Tokyo, Japan where she was taught the various aspects of modeling and acting. Valentina stayed and worked in Tokyo for 2 years although she had intended to spend only 2 months. Later, she moved to New York City.
Her big break came in 2003 when she modeled for Cynthia Steffe, an acclaimed designer. This marked the start of her professional modeling career in the fashion world. Valentina became an instant smash in the modeling world and her face became common on ad campaigns for prestigious firms such as Neiman Marcus and Cole Haan. She was also featured on the cover of Harpers & Queen and Italian Glamour. During the same year, Valentina Zelyaeva caught the attention of Ralph Lauren who signed her as an exclusive model. Since then, Valentina has been the face of Ralph Lauren. Valentina has become a staple in Ralph Lauren’s shows to an extent that she opened the Ralph Lauren Fashion show in 2007 during its 40th anniversary.
Other than appearing on the covers of Vogue, Calvin Klein, Elle, Tommy Hilfiger and Harper’s Bazaar, the beautiful model has won respect and admiration from her modeling peers in the fashion industry.