Rubina Dyan Is The Artist You Need To Know

Armenian-born Rubina Dyan spent her formative years in Barcelona, Spain where she cultivated her love of the arts. Currently splitting her time between Los Angeles and New York, Rubina balances her modeling career with her passion for art. I spoke with her via email to find out how her unusual childhood influenced her work and how she would describe her style to the uninitiated.

Tell us about your childhood.

My childhood was quite an adventurous one. My parents come from very humble beginnings, and they always strived to give my brother and I better lives. I was born in Armenia and brought up in Spain, and after my little brother was born, we moved to California, which was almost 6 years ago. I recently moved to New York, but I go back to Los Angeles for work and to visit my family quite often. I have been very fortunate throughout my life not only to be able to travel so much but also to be raised by such incredible and exemplary parents that made all those transitions as easy as possible on me and my brother.

How do you think your background influences your art?

I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Barcelona—even before I found painting to be one of my deepest passions—I was constantly surrounded by the incredible art and architecture of the city. From Miró’s and Dalí’s surrealist and modern art to Gaudí’s fascinating gothic architecture, it was impossible for me not to get inspired to create as well. The color palette I am currently most inclined to use and the style I have developed throughout the years are clear examples of the influence my background has in my art, like Picasso’s deep and cold blues or vivid reds or the city’s mosaic-like architecture.

Do you think social media has helped showcase your work or made you more self-conscious?

I think social media has had a positive impact on my work because I have never really seen it as a way to get affirmation for the work I’m doing, but rather as a way to reach out to those who see it on a deeper level. I hope my pieces can somehow resonate with them or even bring out the inner artist in them.

What movements in particular do you identify with?

It’s quite hard to pinpoint a specific movement I could identify myself with as an artist. However, I have always been very fond of the following movements throughout the years: the impressionist era, which always stood out to me because of its purity, intensity, and richness; surrealism, which always fascinated me because of its imaginative way of expressing itself by analyzing the psyche; and abstract expressionism, which is mostly about expressing oneself through emotion.

Describe your artistic process.

It is as simple as keeping my eyes open at all times and carrying a sketchbook with me everywhere I go. There is always something that will catch my attention, reminding me that even the littlest things can be inspiring, and that I will hopefully develop into a new piece or style later.

What do you do when you’re in an artistic rut?

I recently got in a major artistic rut where I felt like I had a bunch of ideas I could develop into pieces but could not get myself to transfer them onto paper or canvas. So, after a few weeks of writer’s block or painter’s block, as one would say, I realized the best way to get myself out of that rut was by using all the pent-up inspiration on another artistic outlet, which is film photography. It definitely helped.

How has modeling and fashion influenced your work?

The fashion and modeling industry was always such a distant and unknown area for me. I never knew much about it or paid enough attention until I started drawing portraits or illustrations of the models in magazines I found around the house. When I began modeling myself, I found a lot of inspiring moments when traveling and getting to meet and work with incredibly talented artists and being around large sets, interesting backdrops, unique clothing, and intricate concepts…There is a lot that can be learned and absorbed from the fashion industry and applied and expressed in any other form of art.

How would you describe your work to the uninitiated?

Ah, that’s always a hard one!  My current style of work revolves mostly a blend of abstract expressionism and portrait work.

How does traveling affect the type of art you produce?

It is always easier for me to have all my supplies in hand, enough space, and good natural light…luckily enough, I mostly travel between California and New York, and I have little studios set up in both apartments. When it comes to the style of my work, it naturally tends to vary every time I paint. Traveling doesn’t usually affect it much.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I usually paint while rapping to Nas.

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Top Models Join Forces To Host a Panel On Female Empowerment For Foster Girls

On June 20, 2017, Select World and The Lions Model Management teamed up with Project Glimmer to create a day of empowerment for young women with the nonprofit’s community partner, Ticket to Dream Foundation, which serves foster kids in need.

This marked the first time Project Glimmer and Ticket to Dream partnered to celebrate and honor 2,000 foster girls nationwide who graduated from high school and college. Graduation is an exceptionally big milestone for these young women since statistics show that less than 50 percent of foster children exiting the system will graduate high school, less than 3 percent will earn a college degree, and 1 in 5 will be homeless within one year of aging out.

In New York, this partnership is poised to help foster youth take their first steps toward success after graduation. The day included a panel discussion with a group of successful women and a career development workshop. Project Glimmer, The Lions Model Management, Select World and Ticket to Dream united to give these young women useful tools, actionable advice, and support to help them reach their goals.

To promote Project Glimmer’s mission, Select World donated services to create a PSA campaign with the theme, “Share Your Glimmer,” featuring models from The Lions Model Management and graduating women from Ticket to Dream. GLAMSQUAD, the on-demand professional team for hair, makeup, and nails, was a beauty partner for the event, and donated the services of its beauty professionals who provided work-appropriate beauty tips during the career development workshop, and provided styling for the PSA photo shoot.

“For so long I used to hide and be ashamed of my past. But every mistake you’ve made – use it. Don’t hide it…No one has a perfect life. When we share our stories it creates a space for everyone to exist. I think that when we start sharing our diverse narratives and our stories, there’s going to be a place [for everyone]. Don’t feel ashamed,” model and activist Ebonee Davis stated.

The panel included Sabrina Yu, Managing Director, NY, Select World, Kelli J. Bartlett, Director of Makeup Artistry for GLAMSQUAD and Octavia Yearwood, artist, author, and motivational speaker, and was moderated by Isabel Gonzalez-Whitaker, Deputy Editor at Billboard. They talked about career paths, challenges, and gave advice for the young women of foster care who are embarking on their next step post graduation.

Introducing Kouka Webb

Globe-trotter Kouka Webb spent her formative years in Tokyo before settling in New York and signing a modeling contract with The Lions. Whether she’s in front of the camera for Anna Sui or covering the Cannes Film Festival as a correspondent for ELLE Japan, Kouka balances her modeling responsibilities with her studies at New York University, and if that wasn’t enough, she fills her spare time with travel. I spoke with her via email as she made her way across eastern Siberia on the Trans-Mongolian Express.

Tell us about your childhood.

My formative years were spent in Hong Kong running around on the Star Ferry and eating dim sum for breakfast. My family then moved to Tokyo, where I went to school and spent time running cross country and eating sushi (running and eating being the recurring themes in my life). After graduating high school, I moved to New York at age 17 and signed with The Lions.

How you were discovered?

I was discovered in a flower shop in Japan when I was 12. I didn’t start modeling full-time until I was done with high school, but I’m still with the same manager who scouted me, and her son is the cutest.

How do you balance modeling and studying at New York University (NYU)?

I am always much more productive when I’m busy. Having worked in Japan from a young age, I find that I learned to juggle my commitments early on and the crazier my schedule is, the better my grades are. Although striking the right balance in work and play is difficult sometimes, I cannot complain as I really enjoy what I am doing right now.

Why did you choose to major in Nutrition and Dietetics?

Nutrition allows me to combine my love of food with my favorite subject. It is a fascinating field that is constantly evolving and is important because it applies to all of us—we all need to eat to stay healthy. I love reading the food labels in supermarkets and understanding what I eat. I truly believe that we are what we eat. The adage I live by is: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

A lot of the forums online praise your personal style. How would you describe your aesthetic?

My love of colorful clothes was instilled in me by my mother, who never liked to dress me as a child in black, gray, or navy. I would say that my aesthetic depends very much on my mood. Some days I like to pair my Nike sweatpants with my best grandad sandals, but other days I adore getting all glammed up.

What’s on your radar at the moment? 

My upcoming semester abroad in Ghana with NYU. My plan is to intern with a charity working with HIV patients in hospitals. I am looking forward to going to Africa for the first time and immersing myself in a completely different culture and environment.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am currently writing this piece on a cramped bunk bed aboard the Trans-Mongolian Express from Irkutsk in eastern Siberia to Ulaan Bator in Mongolia. It is admittedly very shaky, but there is nothing like the open steppe to get over the stress of my finals.

What are your goals for the future?

My goal is to complete my 4-year degree at NYU and become a registered dietician. I would love to continue working in modeling alongside this and traveling the world in between. Another goal for me is to climb Kilimanjaro, as I have been bitten by the adventure bug.

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Jamie Bochert – Model, Muse, And Musician

New Jersey native Jamie Bochert’s lithe frame and angular features have drawn comparisons to Patti Smith and Shelley Duvall. As a muse to several designers, most notably Marc Jacobs, she has been a mainstay in the fashion industry for close to two decades. The former ballerina come model turned musician talks about how she got her start, what inspires her, and what it takes to be a muse.

You were studying dance in New Brunswick before you started modeling. Why did you make that transition?

I studied dance from the age of 11. It was a creative and emotional outlet for me. I made the transition into modeling because I had the opportunity, and it seemed like if it worked out it could be lucrative and I would be able to travel and see the world.

You’ve served as a muse to many designers, most notably Marc Jacobs. How do you see yourself and what does being a muse mean to you?

I’m not sure. I think maybe because I’m patient and present.

You are an inspiration to many people. What inspires you?

I can’t exactly say what inspires me, but I’m driven by people who create and are authentic, and by music, art, books, life, and nature.

How have you maintained your identity and sense of self in an industry that constantly shapes how you are perceived?

I focus on things that are important to me and keep good friends in my life.

Tell us about the genesis of Francis Wolf.

I started experimenting with music and writing a while ago. I usually write alone and then collaborate with other musicians. I play piano, guitar, keys, bass and harmonium. Other instruments included in the sound are drums, cello, and violin.

What were the challenges you overcame when transitioning into your music career?

Challenges I’ve overcome in music are feeling that I’m good enough and having the confidence to share what I’ve made.

Of all the incarnations you’ve had, which do you find the most fulfilling and why?

Music is the most fulfilling because I can completely lose myself in it.

What have you discovered about yourself through this process?

I feel like I’ve discovered many things about myself through the course of writing. I feel like the more I create, the closer I get to myself; or maybe it’s just me maturing and hearing it through what I create.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I have no idea and I’m happy about it.

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Introducing Carson Aldridge

Hailing from the Deep South, this Georgia peach has been heating up the fashion world with his smoldering looks and easy charm. Now residing in New York City, this former athlete has been shot by photographers Bruce Weber, Rick Day, and Al Bruni in addition to appearing on the cover of V Man and Italian Vogue.

Tell us about your childhood growing up in Georgia.

I love that I grew up in Georgia. I grew up in a small town and I lived on a lot of land, close to family. I rode four-wheelers, dirt bikes, and stuff like that. I was always playing sports such as baseball, basketball, and football. My childhood was awesome. 

How were you discovered?

People kept telling me I should model, so I thought I should give it a shot. I sent a few good photos I had to agencies in Atlanta, and one agency contacted me. I met with that agency, and they wanted me to sign with them. 

How have your family and friends responded to your new career?

My friends love it—they are happy for me. My family supports me and are always very happy for me. I have wonderful family and friends. 

Tell us about adjusting to life in New York City.

It’s a lot different from home, but I love it. New York is full of so many different people from everywhere, and there are so many cool things you can do here. That’s why I’m glad I grew up in Georgia and then was able to live here now that I’m older. It’s such a great experience, and it teaches you a lot. 

You recently shot with Bruce Weber. Were you cognizant of who he was and his legacy?

I had heard of him but I didn’t know who he really was until I started modeling. The next thing you know, I get to shoot with him. Bruce is awesome, and so is his team. The shoots are such a great time.

What do you hope to get out of your career?

I just hope that I am able to live here for a while, travel a little bit, meet some new friends, then move home, get married, and have some kids of my own. 

What’s currently on your radar?

I just want to enjoy the experience living here and make some money and travel. 

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I’m really good with kids.

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