Jana Voyvodich (fashion model and owner of travel blog Soft Sandy Beaches): “I just don’t see why ALL models should live up to a certain kind of standard size. I’m pro diversity and stimulating health among models.”
Featured image photographer: Michel Zoeter
Hi Jana. Can you tell us why, when and how you started modelling?
Working as a promotion girl and hostess I noticed a new production company in Amsterdam. I decided to apply and I send a picture with my letter. When I visited the company – which I thought was for a job interview – the woman in front of me seemed to be a scout from a model agency. It turned out that the production company had a cooperation with that model agency. The scout saw my picture and wanted to sign me with her agency.
I was 17 years old at that time; I never ever thought I could be a model, neither did I dream of it. I was a chubby teenager and until 3 months before this day, had suffered from acne. And there I was, discussing my international model career with this boutique model agency. I was in seventh heaven.
Photographer: Michel Zoeter
That’s ten years ago now. At this point, which agencies are you represented with?
As many models do, I have agency’s all over Europe. I recently signed with Okay Models in Hamburg and did some go sees there for a week. I’m also working a lot with my Spanish agency Delphoss Models in Madrid. Furthermore, I’ve recently met my Danish agent from Le Management (Copenhagen), who helped me get some great jobs.
What are the biggest milestone in your modelling career?
I guess I would have to say: becoming a plus size model 3 years ago after years of struggling with the fashion model-standards. The moment realised I was never gonna live up to the notorious 90-60-90 (breast-waist-hip) straight-size standard, I felt liberated. It didn’t took long before I found a great model agency who was willing to represent me as a curvy model (Hughes Models, London). From that moment on, the jobs have come forth. Up until this day, modelling has become better every year.
Jana on the cover of Volkskrant Magazine
What are the biggest milestone in your personal life?
A personal milestone was finding something to do beside modelling. As a model it’s often hard to combine modelling with other jobs or commitments. But I needed it; especially when options get dropped and I have a sudden day off. I decided to start blogging about what I love the most: travelling. I have travelled as a journalist, for modelling jobs and for fun. I always wrote short blogs about these travels for personal use. I can literally fill a bookshelf with holiday journals. I now also publish my travel reports on my own travel blog Soft Sandy Beaches. Please take a look! 🙂
Bucket list job?
Bucket list private?
Pfiew! There is still so much I want to accomplish. I try not to be too greedy for life, but I dream of so many things. Travelling to many beautiful places, writing for amazing magazines, my own novel, making a documentary, starting a family…
Where do you see yourself in 5 years in your personal life?
I hope that the next 5 years will bring many exciting projects and cooperation’s with fellow business babes and boys. But who knows what happens the next years. I’m open to everything and I’m sure there will be good things and lovely people coming my way.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years in your modelling career?
Still modelling I hope. Maybe working overseas more …? I got New York on my mind 🙂
Which city do you like best for modelling?
London, Paris, L.A., Madrid, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Lisbon … I can’t choose! Every city has it’s charm. I’m always looking forward to exploring another city.
What do you enjoy most about modelling?
Travelling, working with creative people on building something tangible, meeting new and exciting people every job, getting inspired by them … Modelling can be very surprising: you never know who you are going to meet and which places you will visit.
Do you have any dislikes about modelling and do you see room for improvement?
Too small shoe’s and too much waiting… but hey, that’s part of the job as well 🙂 No, I’m not complaining.
What do you think about Vogue’s BMI 18 threshold to rule out models with eating disorders?
Perfect and needed. It’s a rule that encourages designers to make the clothes slightly bigger, I hope. As a result, agencies hire healthy models. I don’t like to see extremes on the catwalk; nor extremely skinny, nor extremely big. I’m not saying there aren’t women that are naturally build very skinny or big. I just don’t see why ALL models should live up to a certain kind of standard size. I’m pro diversity and stimulating health among models.
What’s your advice for girls that want to start modelling?
Send clean face shots to the recognized agencies. You’ll find out soon after if you’re able to have a career in modelling. Don’t feel sad if it’s not working: I think modelling is just a job like any other job. Besides, life shouldn’t be about forcing yourself into doing something; it’s about getting your best potential.
Is there anything you would like to say to the fashion industry? Speak your heart!
Please book a model based on her beauty; not her dress size. In case you must book a model based on her dress size – because of technical stuff like sample sizes – don’t mention her size in the particular media outlet; a phenomena that is commonly seen in case a plus-size model is featured in an outlet.
We don’t want women to be obsessed with sizes. So many women have difficulties with their body image. They feel ashamed because they don’t look like the average woman in magazines and television. The fashion industry has a big influence on this and has the power to change it for the better. The solution: show diversity in age, body size, skin colour and so on … so that everyBODY can relate.