L’Officiel Arabia: When and how did you decide to become a model/actor?
Kira Dikhtyar: When I was a child, I never thought I would end up in modeling. When I was six years old, I began to learn, rhythmic gymnastics, which is actually one of the most popular sports in Eastern Europe.
I was one of the leaders of Russian National Junior team and got a Masters of Sports degree at the age of 14! I finished school with a gold medal and then got a scholarship to study at the Moscow State University (Geography faculty), specializing in Geopolitics.
Then my career as a gymnast ended and I was super bored with my studies (even though, as a total perfectionist, I never had any marks other than A+). But one day another door opened for me: when I was on a trip to New York City, a woman walked up to me at the Nello restaurant and asked me if I had ever thought about being a model.
The next day this woman took me to Click Model Management. They took a very serious look at me and they said that I looked like an actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood, the 1920s to 1940s. At the time, that wasn’t really a trend in modeling. To look like women such as Lillian Gish, Vivian Leigh and the like.Yet, they said that there was something unique about my look and decided to try me. Their instinct to try it proved right! Francis Grill, who was for decades one of the biggest modeling agents in the world, certainly had an eye…
My career in modeling had begun.
In fact, I found I liked my new profession of being a model – a lot! And my rhythmic gymnastics background helped: I knew how to move in front of the camera, making graceful poses while more beautiful girls were stiff like a stick and couldn’t deliver the right image. I still attribute my success to my unique ability to move in front of the camera!
I have now been in modeling for more than 10 years and I have not yet seen a girl who could move better. For sure, they can look better, but how would you beat training in the Russian National Team, which included two hours every day of ballet choreography classes with a Bolshoi Ballet theater instructor? I worked with all of the top fashion photographers on the planet. Patrick Demarchelier took my first pictures and found time to call up a few magazines and Ralph Lauren about the “new girl” in town. (Not to mention “fish” dinners in Paris, but that what Patrick was all about). How lucky could somebody be to start modeling with Patrick’s images! Then Ellen Von Unwerth booked me for Vogue Italia; Bruce Weber booked me for an Abercrombie and Fitch campaign shoot in Hawaii and I worked with Rankin, Tony Duran, Francesco Carrosinni, my dear friend Antoine Verglas, Alessandra Fiorini and many more.
For me, loyalty to people, and to things, is very important. I am delighted to work with the same photographers, stylist, hair and makeup artists. I eat the same food every day, wear the same brands and I’ve been hanging out with the same friends for decades. It’s not that I am against trying new things, but as we say in Russia: “one old friend is better than three new ones”. From around 2008, I had two best friends who both owned private island and planes. One of them explained that the reason why I wouldn’t show up on the island was: “if you would I would have to marry you!!” The other friend I lost….
But I find it’s fascinating that when we do meet now, in 2022, we are the same as we were years ago. And I do have an army of Eastern European Blondes! They are models who work here in the US: some of them are loyal friends; some of them are insanely jealous. But if I were to throw a party it would be hard to compete with all the beauties who would turn up!! So, I am boring and predictable in all aspects of my life. Going back to your question…. modeling…. In 6 weeks (Patrick, Ellen, Bruce Weber!!!) I soon got the lable of an upcoming fashion sensation on the international stage. After that, top model agencies in London (Storm Models who made Kate Moss) Paris, Milan, and Germany signed me immediately!! I started to work nonstop and was constantly booked around the world. Very often I would sleep on the plane from Paris to LA, or from NY to Prague!! And what happened next? I fell in love and I got pregnant. But that’s already another story since I hate questions about my private life and those kind of questions are not polite.
Actress - No! Do not insult me guys! I lived for years in Hollywood and the word “actress” is an insult over there! I am a fashion model! And all acting roles were either Ukrainian Supermodel Oxana, Russian Supermodel Katya and so on. Come on, I don’t have a talent, especially in Hollywood. I can’t do what actresses do! (it’s a total Hollywood joke by the way which is not a joke!)
What is more, with my horrible accent and with my looks all I can play is an Eastern European model or sometimes a spy who is an Eastern European model!!
So, even though I did a few top movies and TV shows in Hollywood, I didn’t presume to have the career of an actress. Instead, I got involved more on the production side. I even had my own company producing music videos for top artists, especially hip-hop like stars like Snoop Dogg, Tyga, Chris Brown and Travis Scott. Honestly, my partner and I enjoyed bossing around Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy and Tyga who I even made jump over fire in our first production together called “servin’ them raw”. I actually cried when I saw him doing it. Our videos had millions of views on YouTube (I will attach few links). But how fun to boss around Snoop Dogg himself telling him: “sit down like that, now light a cigar, now look at the camera”. I even brought a top video director from Russia as a partner in Hollywood. She was directing, I was producing - always with little cameo appearances, or sometimes even the lead role (for instance in Tyga’s “serein them row” “Cash money” and “Rumorz” feat Chris Brown”).
In 2016, inspired by Ari Emanuel, I created my own show called “Model Moms”. Under circumstances that I am not permitted to discuss, I sold this show to MIRAMAX. My modeling career is still successful, even after the COVID break that we all took. For my part, I spent 15 months in Russia cooking and knitting and after the pandemic I returned from Russia (“guess who’s back, back again, shady’s back, tell the friend…”cause we need a little controversy, it’s feels so empty without me!! Eminem). Within six months, I landed a few international magazine covers and cosmetics contracts. At this time, I am not planning to end my modeling career, but in August 2021 I came up with the idea for the Global Legal Age campaign and that now is my priority!
LOA: Who has inspired you the most in your life?
KD: Jay-Z, Eminem, Madonna! Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, my coach Irina Viner - Usmanova. Also, some entrepreneurs who started at the bottom of the pile as assistants or coffee boys and worked their way up to the top! (Please don’t ask me for names, I don’t want to forget anybody or start a fight!)
I am inspired by self-made people, who are in control of their own careers - and the careers of others.
I will let you into a secret: I was my listening and learning English from the lyrics of Eminem, Jay -Z and (loud as I did it my way, world can’t hold me, too much ambition, always been like that since I was in the kitchen, now I live on billboards and I put my boys with me…. Eminem success my only option, failures not, been father prim donna…. But on the surface he looks calm and ready… he goes home and barely knows his own daughter, feed family or NOT maybe that’s the only option that I’ve got, and not matter how many fishes in the sea it feels so empty without me, Madonna American life all song. (Rep part especially).
LOA: Which fashion brands are you associated with?
KD: I am an ambassador for such brands Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and many others, mostly classic European brands.
LOA: Have you ever been to the UAE? If yes, how was your experience?
KD: I was so busy with my modeling career and my social work that I never been on vacations in my life! I don’t take vacations since I am a workaholic and so I didn’t have a chance to visit and enjoy the UAE.
Of course, I would love to take a business trip to the UAE and for sure, I am going to attend the soccer World Cup in Qatar. (By the way, who wants to go???)
LOA: What next for Kira Dikhtyar?
KD: I would like to focus my future life on the correction of injustice in the world. I will deal with changing legislation and would like to start with my homeland, Russia.
Alongside my work as a model, I am currently involved in the aforementioned global campaign that I created! The idea is to prevent the abuse of teenagers and the trafficking that low ages of consent can lead to. In 61 countries (out of 203) the legal age of consent is 14 (32 counties, like China, Brazil, Italy Germany, Portugal) or even lower (13 counties, including Japan have a legal age of 13), in Angola and the Philippines it is 12 and in Nigeria it is only 11 (the population of Nigeria is 120 million people!).
However, the minimum age of marriage in the UAE is 18 and I believe that is a very positive thing. In our global campaign, we are targeting a new age of consent of 18 years old.
My focus right now therefore is the international age of consent campaign. In the short term, I expect the Russian parliament to approve a change this spring, which will see the age of consent there increase from the current level of 14 up to 16 and even hopefully to 18. If the bill passed, it will be a massive accomplishment for everyone that has worked on the campaign and a major step forward (if that happens by the end of March then I will get an award at the Kremlin, the “Pride of Nation” for which I just was officially nominated last week). But to get it there is still so much work ahead and I am not a person who likes to delay things, so I guess I will have to fly few times to Russia to work with Parliament (Duma), Government and of course the media. My agent and I hate meeting via Zoom or Skype. Learning from him, I would rather take a 12 hours flight to talk to people in person than via Zoom.
Looking beyond that, we are working on a number of partnerships, including with the United Nations. Some of the organizations in the UN like UN Women and individual Ambassadors in the UN and other government officials to whom I want to say huge thank you for all their support, advice and open doors for my campaign and me. Teamwork makes the dream work! As well as other international organizations, which will allow us to take our message out to a global audience.
Thank you also to top tier global media for their attention covering the campaign and for helping to spread awareness while we have been waiting for people to get back to work after the Holidays. As I said, I don’t have holidays, I am a workaholic! And I would never name drop, but in all my life I have seen only one person who does work harder than me!
To make a real change is going to take time and lots of effort. It is going to be a long and grueling road, even if the feedback we have had so far has been very encouraging. But I am in it for the long term and the prospects for progress are very exciting.
Finally, modeling and show business remain in my blood so I will not be stepping away from them completely anytime soon! Expect exciting news on that front in 2022! Again, a huge thank you for giving me a chance to appear on such a prestigious fashion cover in the UAE and for the opportunity for this interview!
Thank you so much to my creative team who did photographs and to all who have been involved in this project. You're Kirochka! “From Russia with love or for your eyes only“.