When we discovered that Valentina Zelyaeva, the stunning face of Ralph Lauren, is a healthy living advocate and nature lover who shares beauty tips, healthy recipes and travel diary on her blog, we had to interview her. Effortlessly combining style and wellness to be the best version of herself, she inspires and leads by example. Originally from a small town in Russia, Valentina is now a New Yorker, and a jetsetter at that – we caught up with the beauty in between her trip to the Cannes Film Festival and the Ralph Lauren Resort 2015 show in New York.
Did you always eat healthy, or was there something that inspired you to make the switch? I think my job itself inspired me to make the switch. It takes a lot of energy to travel long distances, wake up at 4 am and shoot all day on location. One day you’re shooting in freezing cold mountains, another day you’re in hot, humid tropics. It takes a strong and healthy body to do this job. When I started getting into it, I thought that eating only salad is good enough to stay healthy. But it’s much more than that – it’s a combination of proteins, carbs, good fats, superfoods, pure water, fresh air and exercise. And I’m so grateful to discover this way of living, and I really enjoy sharing it with everyone who reads my blog.
What’s your food philosophy? Everything in moderation. Yes you CAN over drink even water, and NO, occasional slice of pizza won’t kill you.
5 foods that you always have in your fridge/pantry. Lemons, kale, flax seed oil, hemp seeds, raw almonds.
Please share your favorite healthy recipe. I love kale salad. Here is how I make it: remove hard stalks part of curly kale. Cut the leaves in smaller pieces. Using your hands, massage with the dressing (2 tablespoons olive oil, juice of 1/4 lemon, 1 teaspoon raw honey, salt+pepper) into kale leaves until they become darker green color. Massaging kale will make it softer and easy to digest. Sprinkle salad with hemp seeds. Add raisins and cherry tomatoes. Ready!
What’s your secret for staying in great shape? I do yoga and train with personal trainer ( lots of cardio and light weights), and I drink water and vegetable juices. I eat everything in moderation (except I don’t eat meat) and occasionally do 1-2 days juice cleanse.
What are your favorite beauty products?
BODY: Jojoba or coconut oil, Dr. Hauschka.
HAIR: Wen Cleansing Conditioner.
You’re the iconic face of Ralph Lauren – what is that like? It’s a dream come true! Ralph Lauren is a fashion icon and to work with him and the brand for over 10 years is amazing. I feel proud and lucky. I’ve been on every ad campaign since 2004. As a model, to have an exclusive contract is a major carrier accomplishment.
What is your most memorable career moment so far? Shooting for Pirelli calendar in Rio de Janeiro and a shoot for Vanity Fair in 2005 – big story about Eastern European models.
Do you have a style icon? I like how Kate Moss makes everything look so chic and stylish.
When it comes to days off, what’s your everyday look? Something simple and comfortable: jeans and T-shirt with v-neckline, flats and Ralph Lauren mini Ricky bag. With some accessories and sunglasses, of course!
What inspires you? Nature, ocean, trees, books.
Words to live by?
“Happiness is real when it’s shared.”
“Don’t compare yourself to others.”
If you weren’t a fashion model, who would you be? A photographer.
What charity do you support? Sea World Kills by PETA.
Tell us something you’re normally not asked about during interviews, but would like to share. So far no one asked me why I do yoga and meditation. Since my job can get very crazy , yoga helps me to balance busy modeling life with what matters for my body and soul. Whenever I need to get in touch with my inner self, I do meditation and yoga. Simple words by wise yoga teachers bring calmness and peace to my life.
Bonus question reposted from Fashioned By Love:
What does beauty mean to you? Physically beautiful person with an ugly personality doesn’t have a place in my heart. Beauty to me is glowing skin, toned body, beautiful posture, charming attitude, kind heart, politeness, compassion, kind acts in everyday life – this is a truly beautiful person to me.