This month we’re proud to feature yet another exciting combination of brains and beauty! Anna Handshy (Mezentseva) is an incredible talent. You’ve seen this Russian beauty as a finalist on Germany’s Next Top Model with Heidi Klum, and in modeling gigs around the world, not to mention that she’s also Miss Moscow. She’s a hardcore fashion model with a university education and gives a modeling lesson in her interview. Find out what she thinks men don’t get about women and so much more. Check it out!
I am originally from Russia. I was born in Saint Petersburg but studied in Moscow. I used to live in Germany, as well. I currently live in Miami Beach.
What’s your family background?
I’m the daughter of a couple of wonderful doctors, a laboratory doctor and a micro surgeon. I grew up with my younger sister, who is a famous ballroom dancer in Russia and an international ballroom dance judge too.
Any big family news you’d like to announce?
I live with my husband and son, and I’m pregnant with with our second boy! 🙂
How did you get into modeling?
I was basically discovered by a German photographer when I was 15. At that time, our family was living in Germany. He came to our school to create an article about alien students for the school newspaper. He asked me to improvise for the camera and took some shots. I will never forget what he said to me after the shoot: “You will be a model someday!” However, because after high school I became a student of Moscow State University, I couldn’t start modeling until I turned 19, when I was picked up at an open casting held by the best modeling school in the country (Slava Zaitsev Model Management). So, March of 2005 was the official start date of my modeling career.
What type of modeling do you think brings out your sexiest looks?
I know you’d love to hear me say “lingerie and swimsuits!”:) . Oh no, I’d say it’s actually the classic fashion catwalk (still used in the shows for haute couture and high fashion collections). It’s rare that models know what that actually is nowadays. Well, it is an art of presenting high fashion in a way few models know anymore. The catwalk is based on ballet, the movements and flexibility are on the top level and the only tool allowed to show sexuality (not in a sassy way:) is… the arms and face (the hips usually don’t move during catwalk). And don’t forget that most of the time those are the collections of evening wear and gowns, where models are completely covered. So, there is no easy way to “conquer” the audience like models do with swimwear fashion shows 🙂 I believe only that this kind of modeling can truly embrace the real inborn sexuality and feminine energy.
Choose 3 words to best describe your appearance on Germany’s Next Top Model.
Sophisticated, self- confident and unexpected (to be in the show, because I am not even German by birth!).
You’ve been in a lot of beauty pageants/competitions. Which have been the most influential on your career?
Nationally, it would have to be winning the “Miss Moscow” competition which was my very first pageant. It put me on top at a national level. I would also say “Miss Earth” as the international break. I made it into the top 16 and became a semi- finalist.
What advice would you give to newer models?
Girls, I know every celebrity screams: “Be yourseeeeeelf!” And I want to agree with that statement. But let me add something to it too. Dears, please feel free to be what you really are, but be better selves!
Before becoming a part of the industry, learn the best catwalk: Straight and strong legs, “pantera cat” movements, flexible back, don’t be shy and don’t be obsessed with thoughts about the audience judging you (people come to see the collection!). Don’t just be a “walking marionette.” Every look is a new movie role for you. You have to create a personality of the look and you have to act on the runway and in front of the camera.
Please, don’t think that styling and make-up is someone else’s job. Learn how to apply different types of make-up and do your hair. Those skills will save you and the designers you will work for so many times when there is no time to be helped by professionals! Also, don’t forget about some self- education: read the history of fashion, discover and learn about today’s gurus in the fashion world. It is really sad to see young models not knowing creative directors of the top brands or companies. Remember that modeling is an art. I call it “acting for a moment.” It is not a job, it is a profession.
What’s your dream job?
I would love to be a movie director. I wouldn’t even call it a “job.” It is more a destiny, a life path…
How long can you stay away from your cell phone without going crazy?
Ha! Ha! Ha! I guess I’m not that different than other busy young people and moms: 15 minutes, tops!
What celebrities would love to meet?
Well, here would I go with my two biggest celebrity crushes: Cindy Crawford and Angelina Jolie. Whether you like them or not, those are the greatest examples of women born with amazing beauty, an exceptional mind and incredible feminine energy. Usually ladies are gifted with just one of the characteristics. I would love to have a chance to learn from them.
Give us a fun fact about you.
I don’t drive a car. Yes, yes, you heard me right! For example, I play the piano, but I can’t drive:). Like 16-year-olds, I still have a learner’s permit! Thank God, I am not alone though: Rihanna had the same problem for years!
What’s the most common question that people ask you?
These days they ask me “how do I stay so skinny and fit being 8 month pregnant?” It is just so funny to me, because I can’t satisfy people’s need to know with an interest answering. They expect me to say that I work out. But, it’s all about nature, my dears. It’s in your genes. I don’t work out at all!
Worst pick-up line used on you?
“Hi, how are you?”- usually comes in Facebook:). Nothing is more annoying…
What 3 things should every man know about women?
1. Women are not big “talkers.” They express their feelings and emotions with words instead of actions.
2. Women are not “aliens.” They are just different in some ways (enigmatic), but are still human beings. Gentlemen, don’t say you can’t understand what “women want.” We have the same values, we want to love and be loved!
3. “Beautiful women” is not a separate category. They are not difficult to approach, impossible to be in a relationship with and hard to be good enough for. Many beautiful women were “ugly ducklings” in the past which is why so many are actually shy. And one more thing: many gorgeous women don’t even realize they are “gorgeous.”
Give a shout out to your fans…
Dear all, to those who have followed my career through the years and have always believed in me (you are so few!), let me be philosophical (I love it and you know). Always keep this quote from John Updike in your heart: “Dreams come true! Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them…”
Favorite upcoming projects?
The most exciting “project” in the near future has gotta be my second son coming into this world! There’s only one month left! On a professional level, I’ll be in a photoshoot with an Italian photographer and other models for a European photo exhibition. It is a fashion photography project which is my favorite photography style!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
As a celebrity, traveling non-stop together with my husband Kaelan and our boys. Some modeling with a little bit of an acting, movie directing and being involved in charity work. I still see us coming back to Miami because all of us love the ocean, the beach and pretty much being in one season all year. The rest of the plans for those 5 coming years, if you allow me to, I’d like to keep them a secret for now!