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The particular ellegance of Eastern Europe and the natural beauty help a lot of top fashion models from this area to rise up.

Why?

It’s not a secret Eastern Europe is, well, the secret weapon for the modeling industry. While Argentina is quickly becoming a new hot spot for model discovery, Eastern Europe (Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, etc.) will always be a mainstay, the bread and butter.

Eva Herzigova – Czech republic

Karolina Kurkova – Czech republic

Nataliya Gotsiy – Ukraine

That’s because the girls are tall, slender, and have looks that could make any model scout melt. Yes, many of the models are super young, but their beauty is undeniable. Take Russian model Natasha Poly for example; she lends mega oomph to the industry. And those cheekbones — sigh. Here are more of our favorite Eastern European models!

Natasha Poly – Russia

Irina Shayk – Russia

Emily Nussbaum (The unbearable thinness of being a model; New Yorker)

These days, fashion people do not talk about models with awe. Instead, they speak of them with condescending affection, as if they were lovable circus folk. Again and again, I hear that they are “beautiful freaks,” “genetic anomalies”—girls born to be bone-thin, with giraffelike necks and the wide, pretty doll faces that are the latest visual sensation. But there is also pity for the models, who are, many people pointed out to me, basically high-school dropouts, teenagers from poor countries, whose careers last a very short time. They are infinitely replaceable.

Regina Feoktistova – Russia

Although top girls can make up to $100,000 in a week of shows, the vast majority get nowhere near that; some of the more prominent designers pay the girls only in clothes.

Emily Nussbaum on Natalia Vodianova:

Nataliya Vodianova – Russia

At 19, Vodianova gave birth to a son and quickly became skinnier than ever, impressing the fashion world. At five-nine, she weighed only 106 pounds, her hair was thinning, she was anxious and depressed—and she was a runway star with her first major advertising contract. After a friend confronted her, she sought help and got healthier, adding on a few pounds. But when she got up to 112 pounds, her agent sat her down: Designers were complaining she wasn’t as thin as she used to be. “I defended myself, saying it was crazy to consider measurements like 33-27-34 to be normal. I think because I was one of the girls most in demand it helped me to be able to forget the incident quickly. On the other hand, it makes me think that if I had been weak at the time, I can really imagine how it could have helped me endanger myself.”

The models she had met on her way to the top, she told the audience, were more malleable. “They were very young, a lot of them were very lonely, far from home and their loved ones. Most came from poor backgrounds and were helping their families. They left their childhood behind with dreams of a better life, and for most of them, there was nothing they wouldn’t do to live those dreams.”

Denisa Dvorakova – Czech Republic

Railtza Baleva – Bulgaria

Hana Sokoupova – Czech Republic

Petra Nemcova – Czech Republic

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