Can you briefly tell some of your background: How did you get started?
Maria: My name is Maria and I am from Thessaloniki, Greece. I am from Greece and I was competitive professional swimmer until 19 years old! I never thought I could be a model to be honest, because swimming was all I did since I was a baby. One day our manager, Victoria Lyandres from Creative Talent Model Agency in New York, contacted us on Instagram and asked us if we would like to try modeling. We were laughing because we thought it’s not something we want and it took us a while to realize that maybe we could be good at modeling. She believed in us since we were a zero. We had zero experience with fashion industry. We didn’t know anything about modeling. She made us believe in ourselves and she was supporting us since day 1. Then we signed contracts with some modeling agencies, and we traveled to Milan and we realized it’s all we ever wanted. We loved the whole experience! From that day, we decided that we will chase our dreams and our goals until we achieve them! Fashion industry is for sure a dreaming world, but it’s hard at the same time and we love everything about it. It reminds me the competitive days I had when I was a professional swimmer, and it’s not as easy as many believe. We owe everything to our manager!
Alexandra: My name is Alexandra and I was born and raised in Thessaloniki , Greece. I used to be competitive swimmer since I can remember myself until the age of 19, when I stopped swimming competatively, but I’m still swimming and going to the gym every day with my twin sister Maria! When we were younger, we decided to do an Instagram account and post pictures together! Our account became viral and we attracted many new followers everyday, until we reached almost 300k followers! At the same time, back then, we started to make some musical videos in the lipsync platform (now its Tik Tok) where we gained about 2.2 million followers in a very short period of time. It was very surprising because through that we were scouted by our manager, Victoria Lyandres from Creative Talent Mgmt in New York and our lives changed forever! We never thought that we can be models and we were very skeptical in the beginning, because I thought that modeling was something I wasn’t interested in and I thought that I wasn’t pretty enough for that. Victoria put to us so much faith and she believed in us before we even believed in ourselves. After some time we finally realized that maybe we deserve something more than what we believed until then and when we got signed with the biggest agencies (MODELWERK) and our first feature in Vogue Italia came out, and then went to Milan (with Women in Milan) we met the “modeling world” and since then we value modeling and this world everyday more and more. So basically we met with our manager Victoria through social media and since then our lives changed forever.
What is one thing people may be surprised to find out about you?
Maria: They are surprised when I say that I used to be a professional competitive swimmer I think! And also that I study in the university Finance and Business Science! They seem surprised!
Alexandra: I think when I tell them that I’m from Greece and both of our parents are Greek! They always tell us that we don’t look like Greek at all and that they were sure that our origins are from somewhere in the Northern Europe!!! Also when I tell them that I’m a very good cook and baker! They can’t believe that either 😂
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Maria: The best piece of advice that I have ever been given was from my mother. And it was to believe in myself, to be a kind person, to not let pain make me hate and to have courage because where there is goodness and everything can happen!
Alexandra: The best advice I ever got were from my mother. One of them was to never give up and to always chase my dreams and my goals. And if other people are waiting to see you fail, then prove them wrong and go even further!
What was your first photo shooting?
Maria: It was with Alexandra! Victoria, our manager, immediately after we told her that we want to try modeling, she booked us a VOGUE ITALIA interview that was published on Vogue ITALIA website and Facebook page! We never did a test shoot and it was the very first thing we ever did! It was a experience that I will remember for the rest of my life, we did an amazing video and pictures and the other day it was published on Vogue and I was like “WOW”! We are so grateful! As a paid job our first shooting was a Givenchy Beauty Campaign in Paris and I loved every second of it! Every day I want to do more and more things on the fashion industry because of that! Because you get to meet amazing people! The people involved were amazingly nice and kind to everyone! I feel blessed because my first professional photo shooting was a Givenchy beauty campaign in Paris … there is nothing more you need!
Alexandra: My first photo-shooting was an interview – video – photos for Vogue Italia’s website! I still can’t believe how magical it was and when we actually were shooting it, I couldn’t believe that it was for Vogue Italia and it was my first shooting at the same time. My first photoshooting as a paid job in a studio was a Givenchy beauty campaign in Paris! I was so shocked with how nice everyone was and how many people it takes for some pictures!!! I will never forget this day! It was the best day of my life and I feel so lucky that my first professional photoshooting was such an amazing experience with such talented team in my favorite city, Paris!
What’s your beauty routine?
Maria and Alexandra: Our beauty routine is of course a cleansing gel that we wash our face every day. On the morning we apply a cream and a sunscreen every time we go out, even on the times it’s not sunny, because sun rays are dangerous. We don’t usually wear make up, because we are not big fans of it. Before we go to sleep, we wash our face, we apply an exfoliating toner on a cotton pad and we apply it on our face and neck, then we use pure retinol (vitamin A) one day and a serum of AHA-BHA the other day, and of course eye cream everyday! Twice a week we are doing a face scrub and also a face mask to reduce the possibilities of a future breakout!
What are your hobbies?
Maria and Alexandra: Since we used to be competitive swimmers, we are working out every single day! We are working out together, because we motivate each other and it’s easier to keep on track! We go to the swimming pool three times per week and we do only 4km in an hour just to keep a touch with the water. The other four times we are doing a body weight circuit training (kinda like HIIT) where we train all the parts of the body for an hour! Also, we are going to the university where we study Finance and Business Science. We LOVE cooking and baking together and we develop our own recipes with healthier ingredients most of the time! Also we love movies….especially those where you can actually learn something from them!
What’s one thing you would change about the industry?
Maria: I would love to change some standards the industry has. For example I would love to give to more new faces the opportunity to rise. Not many believe in you and almost everyone eventually will want something to win when they see you rise! That’s why I am SO grateful about Victoria, because the hard thing is to believe and actually support someone since the beginning and not only after they have done major things! Then everyone will want to be part of the success and it’s not fair …wish more people were like Victoria and actually believe in someone since the beginning! When you are rising suddenly everyone loves you…
Alexandra: One thing I would change about the industry is that some, bigger mostly, agencies accept models only when they have proven their worth in the industry and not when they haven’t started to work as much and doing big steps in modeling! I think that the important thing is to believe in someone and want someone when she/he is still new in the industry and not only when she/he has already proven her/his worth!! New faces and new models need more opportunities to proven their worth and start doing bigger steps!
What is some advice that you’d give the next generation of models coming up?
Maria: To believe in themselves no matter what they may hear! To never give up, because it might take years, but the time will come they will shine bright and they will prove everyone wrong! So always believe in yourself, because it’s so easy in this industry to lose the faith in yourself! But that’s the world, there are 10000 downfalls and 1 happy moment, so don’t ever change for anybody! Just have faith, be patient, go after what you want, and do not be afraid to speak about anything you want to say or about your goals!
Alexandra: I would say to everyone who wants to be a model , to always be kind and thankful towards everyone who works all day for her/him! You should always treat everyone with respect and kindness and don’t ever take anything for granted, no matter what! And also they should never stop believing in themselves and never let anyone make you believe that you aren’t worthy, because you are! Modeling is a long and hard journey with many ups and more downs so you need to be humble and patient and with the right people by your side you will make it!