Interview With Irina, Mother Of Teen Model Zelda!
Skylar Modeling
Zelda is a 13-years-old teen and recently entered the modeling industry, which doesn't go unnoticed! Agencies wanting to sign her and book great modeling jobs, including a photoshoot for Harpers Bazaar in just 6-months! We sat down with her Power Mom Irina Lopatina to hear all about the last 6-month experience.
Irina Lopatina, Skylar Modeling, Model parent

How did Zelda get started as a model?
In June of 2021, Zelda (12 years old at the time) made this decision and asked me if I would help and support her in this. We had a major discussion about whether she realized what this business entailed. Though I knew nothing about the inner working of this business, I have enough common sense to realize this would not be an easy business to be in especially for a teenager. After having an intensive and in-depth talk with Zelda, I was pleased to realize she really did have the ambition, drive, patience and realization how tough this business could be and showed the will of steel in her determination to succeed. Our initial steps weren’t the best, as we were in the dark about pricing and how reputable some agents and agencies are. Some tried to take advantage of us, in terms of pricing of photoshoots and some fees upon signing, so we did not rush into it and made sure to do more research. And this is when our luck changed, through a friend who spoke so HIGHLY about Skylar Modeling school and especially its owners, and the other people’s experience she was told about, who attended Skylar Modeling Camps, and its most sincere force - the joint team of Oksana and Dennis, who are real life models with an incredible amount of experience and therefore knowledge of the business. From our initial reach out to Skylar, the experience has been absolutely incredible, for most part because we no longer need to worry about being taken advantage of and from trying to figure out what our next steps should be, to which agencies are reputable and how to realize if anyone is trying to scam us or take advantage of us. Zelda was signed to one of the top agencies!!  And every single step of the way since then, Skylars owners, Oksana and Dennis have been most supportive and devoted to us, to Zelda and are still helping with anything that comes up for Zelda. This made us feel confident and we are sure we are making all the right decisions in further pursuit of Zelda’s chosen vocation.

What has been your most memorable moment of Zelda's career so far?
This is a VERY easy question to answer. For none other reason than the first experience is always the most memorable. And we are so very lucky that Zelda’s first major experience in real modeling had been with Skylar Modeling Camp Weekend. From the first day of learning of how to move and pose, to walk, to keep her posture, to the first hand knowledge from Oksana of what to expect when being signed and at photoshoots -  to the second day of the camp where a professional published photographer, stylist, hair and make up artists perform their magic, to the energy on the set, to the every minute attention and direction of the owners, Oksana and Dennis, to the meeting of the real casting agent, I saw my child, Zelda at 12 years old at the time (!!) be on such an adrenaline rush of confidence, incredible happiness and absolute conviction that YES, in fact, she CAN do this and be on her road of success. As a parent, what else would I ever want to see in my child’s face? I was very proud of Zelda, for her stamina and commitment at such tender age - she made it out from these two days of camp with the most precious experience, knowledge of what to expect… and when it came time for finishing edits.. Wow.. The photos we were able to put in Zelda’s portfolio are absolutely incredible!! And they were published!! Zelda got her first editorial print from that weekend and the magazine is on display in our home!! And.. then.. Zelda got signed to one of the top agencies immediately after!! So yes, Zelda’s attendance of Skylar Modeling Camp for the first time is the most memorable moment of Zelda’s career so far - and will always stay that way!

At 13 years and just 6-month in the industry, getting published in Harpers Bazaar is an enormous accomplishment. What was your reaction when you found out?
This is something we wished for of course, this was a goal - but never thought could happen this early in her career, at this early stage and age, and especially with such a huge and reputable publication.. words are not enough to describe our reaction.. speechless, shocked, mind-blowing, proud, and absolutely elated and excited beyond anything words can describe. It was a HUGE honor and we are humbly grateful for this opportunity!!
Teen Model, photoshoot, anna gerbowska, zelda, irina, Lopatina

Photographer: Anna Garbowska

Are you always with Zelda on her photoshoots? What was your experience shooting for Harpers Bazaar?
Yes, absolutely, as Zelda is underage, it is a non-negotiable part of the contract - the parent or guardian should ALWAYS, no excuses accepted, MUST BE present on the set. This is what sets apart a reputable agency and client from someone who is trying to take advantage of a child if parent is told to wait outside. And parents should be very careful about this, as fraudsters would say anything that sounds believable to take advantage - their favorite line? “Mom, in our experience a child model becomes completely open and more genuine and less shy if the parent is not present, so do you mind stepping out and waiting outside, etc?” If anyone ever says this to you, RUN.
The experience on the set when Zelda shot for Harpers Bazaar was an absolute joy. First and foremost because the team for Zelda that we started calling #teamzelda are the best of the best in the business, and all were introduced to us by SKYLAR !!
From the beautiful studio, to the high fashion outfits, shoes and jewerly, to the incredibly done hair and make up looks, to the accompanied music and energy on the set, we knew we would end up with incredible editorial imagery!!

What is your opinion of the modeling industry and the safety of a 13-year-old?
I can safely say due to my having experienced an unpleasant side of it as short as it was thankfully, to the present moment where we are in the very best of hands of our dear Skylar team, Oksana and Dennis, along with the best agency possible for Zelda’s age, that modeling industry in this day and age is safe and comfortable IF you do your research and not rush into huge and frankly, unrealistic promises of frauds and conmen, but devote the time to make sure a photographer and agency you are using is top notch and pricing is industry standard and fair - then you are on the right path. I do wish there were more opportunities for tween/teen aged kids as they are no longer little yet not old enough for adult modeling, and therefore definitely deserve to have a chance to experience the bigger part of modeling, teen show runways, teen editorials, teen fashion shows and more commercial print representing their age group. Luckily, it is picking up so we have optimistic outlook and hope!

Are there things that keep you awake at night regarding Zelda and Modeling?
I would be lying if I would say no, everything is happening for Zelda so I can now sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of our beginners’ labor (so to speak). I want every parent to know - if you are serious about success in this business, if you have time to devote, it is a 7 day a week job. I am lucky to be able to devote all of my time to work behind the scenes and sometimes “on the front lines” to further Zelda’s career. The competition is fierce, yes. But we as a family decided to handle it in one way only - our main focus is Zelda and the brand we would like to build for her. What brands we want her to be associated with, which means we do not accept all jobs offered, we do not accept all photographers that reach out, and we are very, very careful where and how Zelda is seen, especially on social media. We do not engage in any petty behind the scenes going ons with other parents, we are solely concentrating on making this experience as beautiful and memorable for Zelda. To finalize my answer to this question, it is not so much that thoughts about Zelda and modeling keep me awake at night, I do not lose sleep over it, but I can truly say that of course, thoughts of how to help and further her career in the most positive and uplifting way follow me on daily basis.
Teen Model, photoshoot, anna gerbowska, zelda, irina, Lopatina

Photographer: Anna Garbowska

How has Zelda's modeling experience benefited her?
I can summarize this question with few words -  in the last 6 months from the very first day Zelda started, I watched her mature, become more responsible with her scheduled day, prioritize her appearance, skincare, healthcare, diet and exercise, and overall gain so much confidence in making the right choices for herself what she wants to be seen as, represented by and what her future goals and achievements could be. This is a joy to watch.

You have been a great driving force behind the success of Zelda. What are your tips for all the other parents who want to support their child entering the industry, and what should parents watch out for?
I truly appreciate your compliment and acknowledgement of my part in Zelda’s pursuit of modeling. It has taught me that I can be more patient than I have ever thought possible (Laughing at myself :) and truly, I never thought I could even get this far because this was such a far cry from my livelihood, and along the way I realized that if you truly wish for success you can really get there by being consistent and simply not be lazy to do your research. I am in no way an expert in any of this, I try to use my common sense and utilize the greatest gift Zelda and I were given - the meeting of Oksana and Dennis, the safety we feel by having them with us along the way, and this feeling of being safe and protected from any possible harm gives Zelda and I reassurance that we will not fail.   Without realizing I would be asked this question, I believe I already answered it in previous ones. But again, I cannot stress enough, PARENTS, PLEASE USE YOUR COMMON SENSE, TRUST YOUR GUT FEELING, AND DO NOT FALL PREY TO FANTASTIC PROMISES, AND DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Do you have someone you look up to in this industry? 
Without sounding “cheesy”, (as Zelda would say), I am stating without any falter - that Oksana is my choice when it comes to choose someone to look up to in this industry. As time went on, and the more we communicated and the experiences we shared, I can safely say that Oksana’s work ethic is TOP NOTCH, and this was the very first thing I said to Zelda after we actually met Oksana in person.  I do not know many people at all in this business, but from the ones I have met, as a model, as a human, as a mentor - Oksana stands out because of her unwaivering support, manners and always positive attitude, her sense and sensibility to stay consistent and honest - these are qualities that cannot be taught nor bought. And that alone deserves all of the respect. So, yes, Oksana is a TRUE ROLE “MODEL", in every sense of that word, her worth as a human is worth her weight in gold. I cannot possible walk away from this question, without adding that Dennis, is beyond reproach. If you are ready for the most amazing experience to open your eyes to how incredibly satisfying and successful modeling can be - make it your mission to attend their modeling camp - meeting them alone is worth all of the time, effort and energy you will put into it.

Do you have a quote/saying you can share?
As an afterword, but not in the least, I will say this, I have 2 sayings that have persisted with me ever since Zelda decided to take me on this amazing journey with her -  first one is “Carpe Diem!” as in “Seize the Day!” and the second one is “Where there is a will, there is ALWAYS a way!” Good luck.

How can we follow you on Instagram?
You can follow our journey on @zelda_s_model  - Don't be shy to reach out!
Teen Model, photoshoot, anna gerbowska, zelda, irina, Lopatina, Chanel,

Photographer: Anna Garbowska

This site is not a part of the Facebook website or Facebook Inc. Additionally, This site is NOT endorsed by Facebook in any way. FACEBOOK is a trademark of FACEBOOK, Inc.