Our wider community continues to be more important than ever. As a branch of our Community Connection initiatives and building on our brand heritage, our AW22 'I AM' shoot spotlights individuals from our wider community, celebrating their talents, unique personalities, stories and diverse backgrounds - adding to our support of emerging talent.
Tell us a little bit about yourself...
I’m Anja Konstantinova, model and a mother. I was born in Russia but raised in Australia. The whole time at school I've always wanted to travel. I couldn't wait to finish school, save up some money and go to the other side of the world and learn all about it. When I was working at a hairdressers, a lady came up to me and asked if I wanted to be a model. Being only 5”4 I didn't take her seriously and said “Sure, why not”.
After this moment my life turned into the most amazing rollercoaster. I worked for everyone in Australia and in 2010 I finally made it overseas and I've never left. I’ve got to travel all around the world, meet the most incredible people, work for iconic brands and magazines. And now I'm a mother of 2 incredible boys and I'm so excited to show them how colourful, fantastic and breathtakingly beautiful our world is.
Do you remember French Connection / FCUK growing up?
I remember coming to London for the first time in 2010 from Australia. This is when smart phones only just came out (I still didn't have one), online shopping wasn't a thing. So I would walk around city and I would see the French Connection stores everyone. The play on words, FCUK, really amused me and a lot of other people as I remember seeing FCUK shirts everywhere. In 2012 I was lucky enough to shoot with the brand and it was a real honour. I loved the images that we created together. I thought the brand was a perfect balance between sophisticated and cheeky. Walking past the French Connection store with a huge poster of myself was very surreal. I still think about this memory frequently and feel very special.
Who/what has inspired you the most?
People inspire me the most. The people in my life are super creative and caring. They are all very different and teach me new things all the time. Also my children inspire me. A child's innocence is something so special. The way they see the world, notice tiny little things and live in their own little bubble. I feel like I notice a lot more now, notice colour and people and nature, smells. Life with children is crazy but also in the weird way a lot slower.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is always changing depending on my mood. Pre kids, you wouldn't catch me without platforms on. Now they are not so practical in the playgrounds. I love to dress in all block colour outfits. I love to be comfortable with a touch of both masculine and feminine.
From people you’ve worked with in the industry, peers or role models, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Don’t take rejection to heart. It's part of our job. One person can't be perfect for every single job, so we have to be true to ourselves and love ourselves. This goes not only for modelling, it's for everyday life. You are never going to be everyone's cup of tea and that's ok.
What causes are close to you heart? How important is community to you?
Community is very important to me. It takes a village to raise kids and grow together. During the pandemic I helped locally in a charity that helped families in need. It was super special seeing the whole area come together and help each other. Community helps hardship feel a little easier and achievements feel a lot more special.
What hobbies do you enjoy when you’re not modelling/outside of work?
Before the pandemic I helped Simone who owns Fjura (@fjura_). She is an incredible woman - gentle and hardworking. Watching her create magic with flowers was remarkable. During the pandemic things slowed down for everyone, so I started quilting. I love working with my hands. Now I’m putting both my love for textiles and flowers together. I’m hoping to launch something special I've been working on in the next few months.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us…
My favourite subject at school was maths and I had a crush on my teacher who had a moustache. To this day I still have a soft spot for a man with a moustache.
Spring summer or autumn winter… Autumn (I love a cosy jumper).
Currently binge-watching…The Great
After work, you’ll usually find me… On the couch
What's the one thing you can't live without? My family
Career highlight so far…When people talk about modelling world changing and shorter models in the industry that helped changed that, my name comes up alongside Kate Moss and that's very special.