Tbilisi Fashion Week is known for its army of Georgian models. But Sasha Panika, a 22-year-old from Russia, walked in over 20 shows this season, including Bessarion, The Situationist, and MATÉRIEL by Aleksandre Akhalkatsishvili. And while now she’s a household name, that wasn’t always the case.

“Everyone told me I would never be a model, and no agencies in St. Petersburg wanted me, but it was my dream,” recalls Panika, who hails from a small town of 80 in the outskirts of St. Petersburg, and refused to take no for an answer. So Panika did what any millennial would do; she started taking photos of herself and posting them on her Instagram account. It wasn’t long before fashion photographers took notice, and agencies were lining up to sign her. Three years later, Panika is celebrating her sixth season, is a regular in the Milan, Moscow, and Tbilisi show circuits, and is a budding street style star, with her boyish model-off-duty style. Here, Panika talks us through her pre-show playlist, her skincare routine, and how she unwinds after a day of back-to-back shows.

Favorite beauty trick you picked up from the pros:

To keep it natural and use minimal makeup. Even though I did learn that cheek highlighter works wonders.

The one thing you would never change:

My eyebrows have become my signature.

Favorite way to relax after shows:

Wine! Every night after shows I go out with my friends and have sweet Georgian red wine.

Beauty from the inside out:

Always drink tons of water.

Favorite hairstyle:

I’m always cutting my hair and dying it myself. I’ve had so many colors - red, pink, black, blonde, blue, green, everything.

Describe your style:

Minimalist. I love vintage, but also brands like TopShop, Hood By Air, and COS. I love Tokyo brands, and as for Georgian designers I think Alexander Aryuntov is doing great things.

Best advice from mom:

At first she told it was all a dream and I had to do something real. But now she tells me to keep going after she saw that I made it all by myself. She tells me everything will be ok!

Makeup for a night on the town:

Nothing really, I like to keep it natural.

Skincare routine:

I keep it minimal with products. I use Avene face cream for day and night, and a Clinique mineral face wash to cleanse.

If you weren’t modeling, what would you be doing:

Maybe photography. Shooting fashion and street style.

What songs are on your pre-show playlist this season:

"Sweater Weather" by The Neighborhood and "Empire Ants" by Gorillaz. Those songs always get me pumped for the shows. They make me feel I can do anything.

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