Born in Stavropol, Russia, Irina Proskurina has made it all the way to NYC, as an international model, and now a business owner.
As CEO of NYCNEWFACES, Irina recently earned her MBA and has dedicated herself to “helping regular girls become models.”
Q:Tell us about your journey from Stavropol, Russia, to New York City. How did it happen? Were there any pitfalls along the way?
I studied at an English school in Stavropol, and my friend Vika asked, “Why are you studying?” I said “for myself.” She asked if I wanted to go to the U.S. for the summer, and I said, why not?
So we got the visa and arrived in New York. Then we decided to study in New York. I got into a college and she decided to go back to Stavropol. She lives in Moscow now, and I’ve been in New York 7 years already.
Q:Did you parents object? What was it like leaving home so far behind?
I was 19, very young, but I was always a mature child, so of course they worried. But they know I’m a serious person and always make the right decisions. After I became a U.S. citizen, I moved them here to New York. They live in Brooklyn now! It’s great to have my family here. I love them a lot!
Q:What made you decide to stick with your education and earn an MBA?
I believe in education and always tell all the girls that they have to study! I finished my MBA last year and I’m happy to be completing a summer program at Colombia University! It’s great to know how to build business properly.
Q:A lot of girls in Eastern Europe are seeking work as models. What advice do you want to give them? How does your business strategy align with wanting to help girls navigate the often-confusing world of modeling?
As a Russian girl I know many beautiful Eastern European girls don’t know where to start: what they need to do first to start their journey in the fashion world. I’m their first step! I know how difficult and dangerous it is … I want to help. I think it is my purpose!
Q:What do you think a modeling career can offer? What do you think it CAN’T offer?
First, a modeling career can offer you an interesting and happy life … photoshoots, traveling, friends, beautiful and bright people … and of course financially you’re almost always secure. Girls start making money at 15 or 16 … they travel, see the world: I think it’s great!
Q:Tell us about your first shoot, your worst shoot, and your favorite shoot.
My first shoot was in Stavropol. Unfortunately, I can’t use those pictures, as they are totally not New York style, but it was fun. And after you see yourself in beautiful pictures you have an amazing feeling: you feel beautiful and important: a metamorphosis, if you’ll allow. My favorite shoot was done by student in Milano … we rented an old house and it was the whole team, who I am still friends with. Hm, the worst?! I don’t remember bad things.
Q:What is your greatest dream?
My biggest dream is to elevate my agency, not only in New York but the whole world! I think this is a fantastic idea, and I’m happy for the girls (whom I already help), just as I am for myself.
Q:How do you think life in a place like Stavropol compares to someplace like NYC? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Stavropol is a small city: like midtown in New York, where I live. Maybe a little bigger. People there are very sweet and nice; it’s in the south of Russia. Very open. So, of course New York is full of creative people who are the best in the world. This creates competition. And when you have competition, you’re trying to do your best. New York is the heart of the world. You can’t compare it with any other city in the world.
Q:Tell us about your modeling service, and what it can do for girls.
My site NYCNewFaces.com is in Russian and English. I help with visas, model apartments, pictures, castings. I help regular girls become models … models in NYC!