Ten months ago, Ukranian model Vladimir Grand wouldn’t have considered becoming a model. Tell him that he would be traveling and getting photographed for a living and what he would have for a response would be an expletive in disbelief.
“Look at me, I don’t even think that I have the height to become a model. You cannot be serious,” he recalls his mindset before the designer clothes, the glam team, and constant traveling.
He would have simply continued on with his studies, on the road to becoming a lawyer and selling gadgets in a local electronics shop on the side. But a chance sighting by an agent of his Instagram account led him to becoming a promising face (and body) in magazines, runways, and the Internet.
“I never thought that I would be doing this but I am here and I am enjoying it.” After staying in India for five months, Grand went back to Ukraine for a month before flying to Korea and then the Philippines.
Barely a year into his modeling portfolio, Rank sits down with the 23 year-old male model to talk about his fast rise to the top of his modeling game.
How did it all start?
My agent had spotted me on my Instagram and then talked to me about trying out to be a model. I was asked to send a couple of polaroids. I don’t even know what a polaroid is. And so I Googled it and found out what it is. I basically sent a selfie. Two weeks later, I was told I will be sent to India to model.
Your Instagram account is a testament to your dedication to fitness and the gym. Have you always looked this thousand-likes worthy like you are now?
Absolutely not. In college I was not the guy who got the girls and the friends. I was a skinny kid. I weighed 60kilos and I was even smaller than now. Then at 16 years old I started powerlifting. I did it for myself and not thinking about getting likes on Instagram or even modeling. I even competed in national competitions both in powerlifting and boxing. It was one of the biggest life decisions I have made and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Tell us your experience starting out in a foreign country.
It was really hard. At the time, I have absolutely no idea how to speak in English. Starting from the airport, I had a hard time because no one understood what I wanted to say. The funny thing is, I lived in apartment with five other models who all didn’t know how to speak in English. So we are all speaking one another using Google translate. It was so funny.
Do you still remember your first ever modeling job?
Yes. I booked a job in New Delhi and it was for a catalogue. I don’t have any idea how to work with my face–how to give different expressions. I only knew how to look serious so I was so nervous at the time and I tried not to show it. I did what I think they want and then it is interesting that they were impressed. I still laugh when I remember that.
What is the most memorable modeling job you have?
Well, every job is different. I can’t pick one. I just love experiencing new things every time. Just days before this shoot, I was asked to go nude for a pictorial. That was the first time that I did it and it is very memorable.
How much can you say you have grown in your profession as a model?
I grow so much and that’s why I love it. Everyday is a day to learn.
What can you say about those who consider modeling as an “easy” job?
I can’t blame them. What they see is the traveling, the meeting of people, getting it with girls, partying, posing in front of the camera. Those are good sides of modeling. They don’t usually know the harder part of it. I have to consistently take care of my body. Sometimes, I sacrifice sleep because I have 2 to 3 shoots in a day. And it’s not always easy.
What’s your modeling dream?
I just want to do a lot of good shoots that would help me gain more expereince in what I do. I want to build my portfolio and improve.
While you are in the Philippines, you were part of the Bench Anniversary fashion show. How was the experience for you?
It was unreal. I was really honored because I know that it is a big deal. A lot of people came and I was part of the show in all of its segments–from beginning, middle, and end. It was so great.
Produced, styling and grooming by Leo Balante
Photographed by Marl Castro
Shot on location at DHQ Studio, Makati