Russian-Born-New York Based Model And Plastic Pollution Activist


Plastics: The Future of Fashion.

In today’s fashion business, brands and influencers alike are taking progressive steps to incite change; by implementing advancements in science and technology. In a word, the fashion industry is ripe for revolution. Fashion brands must now look beyond the experience their products and style create for consumers, to seeking out ways they can use technology to connect more deeply and show that they care for the people and the planet. In fact, now, more than ever, mankind is turning to nature to help solve the environmental challenge that mankind itself has in fact created. Forged through a longstanding relationship between modeling and environment, Ria Serebryakova’s inherent ethos of plastics consumption and waste has grasped the importance of the issue at a global level.

Ria Serebryakova first came to my attention when she hit the New York fashion scene. Over the years, I enjoyed watching her modeling career unfold, Moreover, she is a delight to watch on set while shooting editorials. Although modeling is a fast-paced and demanding career, Ria does it with passion —that has set her apart from others in the same field. Nevertheless, what is important to her fanbase- is that Ria is more than just a beautiful face but rather an environmental advocate working towards a sustainable goal for the betterment of the planet.

As a fashion model, Ria walked shows for some of the best luxury fashion houses in the world including Tory Burch, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. In addition, she has been the face of advertising campaigns ranging from L’Oréal to Ray-Ban. 

Being a creative person at heart, Ria is now using her voice to take action within the fashion community. In short, beautiful pictures have always captured her fascination. She is indeed a very expressive person. Unsurprisingly, she also has an emotional depth, and maturity recently portrayed in her first photo exhibition held at the Van Der Plas Gallery, New York. “The 2084” was the name given by her to the exhibit. Each image highlighted her deep environmental concerns. She used her influence to inform people about the ecological impact plastic has on the planet. In fact, Ria has tackled the topic in a completely different way than most would expect, causing a stir of excitement among those who had the chance to view her exhibition first-hand.  

For the last decade, I have been exploring the various ways of how fashion brands and style influencers develop strategies by using their voices to defend the beloved planet earth. Ria had been on my radar for some time. I am thrilled to see that she is focused on her mission for a sustainable future.

In speaking about The 2084,  Ria says, “the convenience that plastic brought humans has already taken a toll. Human intervention is needed more than ever to prevent the environment from being totally overpowered by the thoughtless disposal of plastic materials before nature could even heal itself.”

The issue of worldwide plastic pollution vs the fashion industry is beyond complex. But water bottles spun into yarn can be repurposed into modified apparel to meet today’s sustainable consumer tastes.

I recently had the chance to speak with fashion model and plastic pollution activist Ria Serebryakova about why she she enjoys a connection on stage while modeling high fashion and why she believes that her 2084 exhibit will make the world a better place!

Joseph DeAcetis: Tell Forbes about yourself: Why did you decide to become a model? What interests you most about being a model? 

Ria Serebryakova: In the beginning, I did not consider modeling as something serious in my life. I definitely wasn’t the type of person who dreamt about it. The only side of it that was familiar was the creation of a beautiful picture. Otherwise, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it was a great opportunity to try something new and to see the world.

As I was working, the jobs I enjoyed the most were the ones where I had room for creativity. I really liked working for editorials, as I could really express myself in them. I think the best thing about these kinds of jobs is that you meet people with vision and you help them express it in the pictures. I really enjoy the connection that happens on the stage, when all team members work together to create something beautiful. 

Joseph DeAcetis:How will you describe your modeling career so far?

Ria Serebryakova: Since I started modeling at the age of 18, my career has developed rapidly. I was traveling to different countries and working non-stop.  I think my first year was so busy that the only reason I have ever paused work was because I got sick from physical exhaustion.

The biggest success I achieved was working in New York City. My agency Official Models (former Silent Models NY) has done tremendous work in providing me opportunities to meet some of the greatest people in the fashion industry. I think in modeling, one half of success is to have an agency that truly believes in you. I was lucky enough to have one.

There have been different challenges that arose during different stages of my career. In the beginning, it was about making an impression and getting everyone interested. After that, it was about proving to those who believe in you that you’re worthy. The most recent challenge that I faced was the realization that I have to give meaning to what I do. Not everyone has an opportunity to be heard, so that’s why I decided to take this opportunity and use it.

Joseph DeAcetis: Why did you decide to move to New York? Has moving to New York helped advance your career?

Ria Serebryakova: Since I first came to New York, I’ve noticed that many doors have been opened for me. I haven’t been bored since. I did not plan to stay, but as time passed, it became clear to me that this city can provide the most opportunities for me.

Joseph DeAcetis: What are your future goals and how do you plan on attaining them?

Ria Serebryakova: I try not to tell anyone about my goals until they come true, so let’s keep them a secret for now!

Joseph DeAcetis: How do you keep fit? What is your secret diet? How often do you exercise or go to the gym? 

Ria Serebryakova: In my opinion, the best way to keep fit is to eat healthily and be active. I think diets often have a negative or even opposite effect on metabolism. I know that the best way to lose or gain weight is to do it slowly. I try to work out three times a week, but if I’m exhausted after work, I think it’s 

Joseph DeAcetis: Tell Forbes about your project “The2084” and why you think it’ll make the world a better place.

Ria Serebryakova: First of all, this project would not have been possible without the team that helped me implement it. I especially give credit to Alexey Glebko, who brilliantly photographed the project. I am very proud of the work we’ve done and am very grateful for our accomplishments.

When I was choosing the topic for this project, I thought of something that would be visually striking, yet would also play the role of stumbling-stone of our age. I decided to make it about plastic because I think it is a great example of how such a revolutionary invention became a curse. 

Plastic enabled people to mold any shape, color, and texture out of it. It replaced many expensive materials, which made a lot of things more affordable. Moreover, plastic has shaped the appearance of our world. I wanted to show that the problem with plastic arose because its indestructibility meant that the consequences of our irresponsibility will not disappear. Instead, they will be engraved in the face of the planet. 

One of the greatest challenges was to create a style that would consist of plastic, yet look post-apocalyptic. I wanted to show how plastic penetrated every aspect of a person’s life. Together with a talented stylist and my very good friend Daniel Akinshevych, we created the style that tells the story.

Growing up, I was excited because there were so many books and movies that spoke about the time that I was living in. I always wanted to see if any of those stories would turn out to be real.

Today’s young generation is very upset with the world they inherited because they have to fix many things left by other generations. Plastic pollution represents one of the distinct problems that our generation has to address for years to come. 

It would be a shame if modern civilization’s footprint, instead of cultural heritage like ancient civilizations, mainly consists of garbage. With this story, I’ve tried to show it, as if terracotta vessels would be replaced by plastic bottles. Our future will be someone else’s past, and if some people don’t care about the environment, I still hope they would care about how history will remember them.

Another message that I tried to incorporate with this project is that each one of us is responsible for our future. I wanted to take a step forward and do something within my own power to address this issue. As a model, I can create a visual message, and I encourage everyone to. 

Joseph DeAcetis: You appeared at the Van Der Plas Gallery, how was the response to that and do you think you passed a message with the appearance?

Ria Serebryakova: I’m glad that the project generated a lot of discussion. I was really happy with the audience’s reaction because I wanted them to grasp the importance of this issue.

Joseph DeAcetis: What advice do you have for young girls and boys out there that aspire to become environmental activists?

Ria Serebryakova: I think that everybody’s path is different, and each person has to find his or her own way. I want to encourage everyone not to be afraid of challenges. Don’t look for easy ways out. Only something achieved by hard work is really worth doing. Keep your mind sharp, always question yourself, and remember that the moment you stop evolving, you start to regress.

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