Meet the creative and entrepreneurial Zuzanna Buchwald!
After winning a photo contest in her teens, Zuzanna signed with Wilhelmina Models and left her native Poland to launch a career that has spanned 14 years (and still going!), life on four continents and extensive travel to fashion destinations and beyond. Zuzanna’s work eventually led her to New York City, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hunter College.
Ever the entrepreneur, today, Zuzanna spends her free time learning new skills and developing projects around self-care, natural health solutions and charity work. For a small sampling: in 2015 she brought Tisane—a natural lip balm brand available in Poland—to market in the US, and this year, Zuzanna became a certified aromatherapist and also unveiled Capes of Good Hope, a collection of stylish capes that support a great cause.
Now onto her details…
Q: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get your first professional modeling job?
I submitted a photo to a teen magazine in Poland when I was 14 and somehow got picked for the cover of a summer issue. I’ve been working as a model ever since.
Q: Tell us about some career accomplishments you’re really proud of.
I started my career with exclusive contracts for Prada and MiuMiu—so awesome! I’ve also checked off the “Vogue box” with my 2003 editorial for British Vogue.
Q: What would you be doing now if you hadn’t become a model?
I was actually a synchronized swimmer for 5 years prior to signing my first modeling contract. I would have probably been in the Olympics now!
Q: Your career has allowed you to travel quite a bit. How many languages do you speak?
I speak Polish and English fluently, and I can curse in Portuguese, French, Italian and Spanish : )
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
Bohemian, wild and eclectic. Friends tell me that I often look like a tribal good witch.
Q: If you could suddenly a superpower, what would it be?
I would be able to get into people’s minds and transform their fear and greed into love, compassion and inner peace. Can you tell that I’m a big hippie at heart?
Q: If you could go back and give yourself some advice about becoming a model, what would it be?
1. Watch the TED Talk by Cameron Russell first. Consider becoming a client (agent, editor, photographer, stylist etc) before becoming a model.
2. Don’t start too early. I would say 17-18 is the ideal age—you should be able to enjoy your childhood and teenage years. There’s plenty of time later to work, deal with contracts, taxes, visas, travel plans and a tremendous amount of stress.
3. If you decide to go for it, don’t settle for the first agency. Sign with the one that is the most excited about you and has the best reputation. Always consult your decisions with an adult you trust.
Above all, my advice is to stay true to yourself, put yourself before your job and have fun with it! Modeling is a great opportunity to see the world, be a part of a creative process and have experiences many people don’t even dare to dream of. Be smart, but enjoy every moment of it!
See more from Zuzanna on instagram.
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