“My worst childhood memory? Having to spend summer in a garden picking currants – my father has always loved making jams and preserves, it’s his passion.” Alexandra smiles. “And all we wanted to do was to be on the beach until dawn…”
Her words take me back to Yalta where Sasha and her sisters were born – the buzz, the cypresses, the flowers, the dark glossy cherries and juicy peaches and apricots, the Black sea full of playful gold sparkles, the seagulls and the salty air that cover the tops of the distant mountains with a soft blanket as the night falls.
She left everything behind at the age of 14 to follow her dream and continue studying flute at the Gnesin Music Academy in Moscow. “I still have absolutely no idea how I managed to talk my parents into letting me go there! I was on my own, a teen, living in halls, totally independent.”
After graduating from the Academy Alexandra decided that she didn’t want to be a musician. Instead a modelling job at Sretenka fashion house became her “school of life” and first step into the industry. She worked with the house designers taking part in numerous fittings, fashion and tv shows. It was a very exciting world to be in.
Fashion has always been a part of Sasha’s life. Her grandmother was a professional dressmaker and loved knitting and embroidery while Sasha’s mother enjoyed making clothes for herself and her daughters as a hobby.
In 1995 she heard about a modelling competition hosted by Cosmopolitan and L’Oreal. Alexandra went for an interview and got through! “I really wanted to get to the final, win and go to Paris to meet Elite. And, of course, work in France if they’d take me on. It was my chance of a lifetime!”
In September 1995 the Cosmo editors proudly announced the winner and Alexandra’s photograph appeared on the pages of the magazine, followed by an editorial and then the much anticipated trip to the city of lights.
In Paris the time was moving at a speed of light: visiting L’Oreal laboratories, Louvre, Opera, meeting the French Cosmopolitan team and, of course, Elite.
Unlike many Moscow agencies and despite the girl’s concerns, Elite felt that Alexandra’s age and height (she is only 1.73cm tall) weren’t a problem and sent her to Nathalie, their sister agency that just opened.
The first 6 months were the toughest. Daily castings, shoots, constant travelling… She reached the top step by step, working hard and staying focused… Small jobs led to fashion shows and opened doors and soon Alexandra found herself working with the most influential photographers, walking for Ferretti, Etro, MaxMara, Miu Miu, Prada, McQueen, Dior, Missoni, Marc Jacobs, Kenzo, Lacroix, Guy Laroche, Dolce&Gabbana and Sonia Rykiel. She also became the face of several campaigns including Alberta Ferretti (where she was photographed together with her twin-sister, Lida, also a successful model), D&G and Missoni.
“This job isn’t as easy as it seems. You have to be disciplined, professional, trust your agent and most importantly learn how to present yourself at castings and meetings. You can have an attitude, but you must remember to use it the right way.”
A few days after arriving to Paris Alexandra met a young man who moved to France from the States to complete his doctor’s degree in chemistry. It turned out that the subject of chemistry wasn’t purely about science because the two fell in love…
She never thought of herself as a star, a top model. When I ask about it she simply admits that her job gave her a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the most talented people. “I am very grateful for being given a chance to work with such unique talents like Steven Meisel, Paolo Roversi, Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, John Galliano… To be able to see the creative process.
I will never forget my fitting for the Dolce & Gabbana show. There was a moment when Domenico decided that he no longer liked the trousers they designed for the collection. He took a pair of scissors and turned those pants into a vest! It was mind-blowing! Not only a fantastic designer, but also a skilful tailor, too.
Those talented people make you realise that everything they do will be perfect. And they will make you look perfect, too. This is what the making of the top-model is all about.”
Alexandra stopped modelling in 2008. She lives in Japan where her husband was offered a job by the Tokyo University. In a few month she will be graduating from a fashion college where she is competing a course in jewellery design making another dream of hers come true.
Photo source (courtesy of Alexandra Egorova): Elle France, Elle UK, Cosmopolitan Russia September/October 1995, Elle France, Vogue Italia December 2000, Alberta Ferretti campaign, D&G campaign, Glamour US