Grace Models

Eastern Bloc Party


Sasha Pivovarova, Eugenia Volodina, Snejana Onopka, Vlada Roslyakova. You might not be able to pronounce their tongue-twisting names, but you know who they are—a few of the legions of fashion models who have stampeded out of Eastern Europe and onto fashion runways and magazine pages. The pioneer who got it all started, the late Guia Djikidze, founder of Moscow-based Grace Models, began scouting the area in the mid-Nineties. His first great find, the blue-eyed Natalia Vodianova, in 1999, went on to attain supermodel status. “She’s become a symbol for a lot of these Russian girls,” says Grace’s Denis Podkopaiev, who worked with Djikidze. The agency’s success has inspired others. For example, last year, IMG Models had scouts David Cunningham and Jeni Rose followed by a French camera crew for the documentary Searching Siberia: The Next Generation of Supermodels.

Pivovarova, Onopka, Roslyakova: Giovanni Giannoni; Vodianova: Fred Duval/filmmagic; Volodina: Thomas Iannaccone