Happy to have you here, Irina. Tell us your story, how you got started modeling, and where is your home at the moment.
I’m really happy to be a part of your magazine. It’s a big honor. At the moment, I live in Los Angeles, the U.S. I’m from Saint Petersburg, Russia. While I was a professional photographer in Los Angeles, I helped models with their posing. One day, during a photo session for an online jeans store, someone noticed that I train models. They were impressed by my work and offered me to be their model for the next photo session, as well as to photograph the jeans line. And it all took off from there! Then, I started preparing for bodybuilding competitions in The National Physique Committee - NPC, the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States. There, I became a fitness model, and started moving forward with my professional social media. To this day, this experience helps me develop and grow my fitness brand.
Tell us more about yourself. What else do you do next to modeling?
I used to be a professional skydiving instructor, since the age of 15. Now I'm a licensed skydiver and have soared into wingsuiting. I’m passionate about fitness and nutrition. I work as a professional personal fitness trainer. I’m a fit mom of a four-year-old boy, helping women around the world find their inner strength and joy, through fitness, healthy nutrition and mindfulness.
Currently, I’m pursuing my studies at the NeuroLeadership Institute and Brain-Based Coaching (BBC), in order to continue gaining more and more multifaceted knowledge and awareness, to pass on to the world.
What do you love most about being a model? And, what do you least enjoy?
Through my photographer eye, I have had the privilege to see modeling as an expressive, artistic experience of immersing yourself into telling a story: your own story, showing the many facets of you, or becoming someone else for a while. This is so fulfilling and helped me grow so much. At the same time, the long hours and repetition, in search of that magical, winning shot, and even endless traveling, can be tough on the body and mind.
What is the most challenging part of being a model?
For me, being a model - it’s truly a part of me and my character. And I truly keep it up as a challenging, rewarding experience.
The preparation itself for modeling takes great concentration - it's the preparation of outfits, ideas for the photo session, and what you want to express in it. All this requires a long preparation, sometimes over a month. The most challenging part before each photo session is that you have to prepare your body. This was my personal experience and process that I approached with love, even though it was not easy. But now, looking back, I’m aware that despite the challenge of each session, I’ll keep up modeling and grow from it. This keeps me toned, inspired and focused.
If you could change something in the modeling world, what would it be?
I would love to see many magazines, fashion shows and all parts of the modeling industry feature talented, vibrant, unforgettable women of any size.
To me, modeling itself is a joyful, creative endeavor. I always teach my clients, my girls, to love and respect their unique shapes, character, beauty and talent, while caring for their inner health. I’m so glad to see the modeling world becoming multifaceted and even more creative.
Tell us a bit more about your project "The sacred flow of energy, strength, and light". Is there any particular message you would like to get across to the viewers?
Through this photo session, I want to pass on to all women of the world that through their awareness, meditation and body training - they can create this current of limitless energy!!! And that your energy and strength should come from within you - for your own self, while creating endless light within yourself! You - are the strength and support for yourself. I pass on to all women of the world that they aren’t alone and even when it’s tough within - you can light up your own self. The most important thing is finding support beneath your feet. And that support - is you.
The sacred flow of energy, strength, and light - it’s the wholeness that you pump daily - through meditation, fitness and flawless joy for life.
What keeps you excited about life in general?
My young son keeps me excited about life. Each day, I see the world through his curious, magical eyes. My beloved work, studies and even discipline keep me excited about life, because it’s constant growth, creativity and surprises. That’s why sometimes, overcoming challenges keeps me excited too.
Finally, learning languages with gifted Bilingual teacher-writer Zhenya Matt ( Zhenechka).
All this gives me joy.
Looking back, how has modeling experience changed your personal/professional life? Have you grown more comfortable with yourself since you started?
Through modeling, I arrived at becoming a fitness champion, and fitness trainer. I wanted my strength and figure to get better and better.
What kind of life would you like to have?
I would like to have a life most true to me. To continue my passions, my profession, raising my son, overcoming challenges and pursuing new, beautiful experiences.
What are the achievements you are proud of most today?
I’m proud of being a mom.
I’m proud of becoming a professional in my vocation, of having changed more than 200 women. My big achievement is accepting myself as I am. And accepting my close and dear ones as they are, and loving and accepting this world in all of its colors.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
My professional website is: irinaashtariofficial.com
My professional Instagram is: @irinaashtari
My Professional Facebook is: Irina Ashtari Fitness Trainer
Makeup Artist: Donna Sheynis
Hair Stylist: Katerina Grishanina
Model: Irina Ashtari @irinaashtari
photographer's assistant: Monica Henriquez
Photographer: Maryia Danila @maries_danila
You can read The ARTIST EDITION Vol. 503 here: