BY LIVA OLINA

The beauty of Latvian women is known worldwide, and the percentage of Latvian models in the world for a country of less than 2 million people is also quite impressive. She could easily look down from above at all of us, but instead she walks along giving a helping hand to the new girls in her model camp and the other to the rest of us, encouraging: “Come, let’s go and do! Together we can get further and become better. Together we can take care of nature and of each other!”

It looks like despite your fast lifestyle and nonstop travelling you somehow manage to live in harmony with nature.

Nature gives us all the best we need in this life. No chemicals or technologies can replace it. Nothing else can give us what we get from being in the forest or by the water. I feel how much it charges me when I come to Latvia and visit my mum who lives by the river and forest. There is a silence and peace that recharges me. It’s the best medicine in moments when I have zero energy left. I used to come home after every fashion month and after doing countless fashion shows just to rest and charge. Although back in the day I didn’t understand why I was doing this. Now looking back I can see it pretty clearly.

Do you feel a difference between the energy of Latvian and Californian nature?

Maybe, I feel the difference of being in the forest, by the water or in the mountains. Now, living in California I also have possibility to be close to the nature, which helps to find inner peace. In LA I really like to hike in the mountains and I feel that it recharges me differently to, for example, being active by the water with my dog.

What encouraged you to start using
natural products in your skincare?

After all the shows and shootings and many hours with a thick layer of makeup on, I started to experience skin problems that I had never had before. After panicking a bit I decided to educate myself by reading books and information on the internet about the plants and their benefits to skincare. It was one of these moments that helped me to realise nature’s power and the fact that it’s the best for us because we are part of nature. I discovered coal, pearl powder, matcha tea that has 10 times more antioxidants than green tea… I became more and more interested till one day I started to make my own facemasks at home from the ingredients I could order from the internet. The beginning was full of experiments and a few failures too, of course, for example by adding cinnamon to one of the facemasks... Gosh, it burns so much! All of my face was red and I felt so stupid. But I guess you need to fail to know what works.

And what are your favourite recipes for homemade facemasks?

The simplest ones! For example pearl powder mixed with water. If you want, you can add some essential oils. This mask will brighten your skin, calm it and heal the problematic areas. I like to mix it with lemon oil. Pearl powder is very good in all ways – I also use it internally. Another mask that I like especially before a sauna is pure aloe. Cut the leaf into pieces, take out all the good stuff and use it together with honey or alone. It’s the best moisturiser.

You speak a lot about the pollution of single use plastic and environment protection. How did you get to this point?

I think it was just after seeing everything that is happening in the world right now… California actually sets a good example by banning plastic straws and not giving out a jug of water as soon as you arrive at a restaurant. Quite often people don’t use the water and then, even if it’s tap water, it is wasted water as they need to pour it out. Now you need to ask for it, and I think it’s nice. I’m happy to see all these small things that are happening and changing in the world right now. It’s important to think about the planet we live on and what we will leave for the next generations. Quite often we think – it’s just one thing, just me, nothing bad will happen, it’s just one plastic bottle; but if we all think like that, nothing will ever change. No, we all need to think about it and we all need to change. It can be just small things, but we need to start with something. Start with refusing plastic straws, don’t use single use plastic – take your own lunch box to work or school and use it over and over again. Buy that one reusable water bottle and save hundreds, thousands of plastic bottles in the years to come.

Do you feel that the fashion industry is changing too?

Yes, slowly everything is changing. I really like to see how big designers are saying no to fur. I think one of the recent ones was Versace, and that’s already a big win! I’m not against the fur you inherited from your grandma or found in a vintage shop, but it’s not right to kill new animals for the sake of fashion. Lots of designers are also searching for alternative and healthier ways of dyeing clothes. For example jeans, which usually uses way too much water in the dyeing process. I like to see that big designers are thinking about this, because they are setting a good example to the rest of the fashion industry. In shooting locations wooden plates and dishes are appearing, or even real porcelain that you can wash und use again. It makes me happy! Finally in my model camp I have also thought about this. I did sin in the first year, because we were using single plastic cups at the water stations… This year we made a reusable water bottle for every girl, teacher and guest. And they went home with them and will continue to use them for many years.

Foto: Aiga Redmane

Do you feel responsibility in front of the followers on social media who look up to you and whose actions you can inspire in one or another direction?

Of course, it makes me think more. I have a lot of young female followers and this gives me a kind of responsibility, but also motivates me. For example, after I launched my design for an aluminium water bottle together with Myprint, I received many letters. Girls were writing to me to say that it really made them think about big single use plastic usage in daily life and how they could reduce it. So yes, I feel a responsibility to be a good example, but as I already said it also motivates me to change. We should grow and change all together!