Once you’ve taken a good look at Iryna Ivanova (go on, we’ll wait here) it would seem almost a given that the Russian beauty would be a model. She’s the total package. But Ivanova maintains that almost everything she’s accomplished in the industry thus far, including being named a Playboy Playmate, happened by fluke.
“I came to America at the age of 16 to go to university for business,” says Ivanova. “A few years later, to make a little extra money, a friend of mine suggested I try out to be a World Fighting Federation MMA ring girl. I got the job and the whole modelling thing just kind of exploded after that. I decided to send in some pictures to Playboy because why the hell not? They called me to model just as I was starting to work on my masters.”
Balancing her two vastly different worlds wasn’t without its moments of frustration. Ivanova remembers having to take off time from school to shoot her Playmate cover, as well as attending classes the morning after a late shoot. But it was more than worth it if only to have a killer career to fall back on.
“My parents were the ones who really pressed for me to get my masters and now I’m really glad that they did,” laughs Ivanova. “I can speak three languages, so I had been hoping to land in a job where I could be an interpreter for people that need it. Homeland Security would have been a dream job.”
What is your worst habit?
I stay up late. All the time. Early morning photoshoots are very difficult. My brain works best from 2pm to 2am. Anything else and it’s not good.
If you weren’t working as a model, what would you be doing?
I think I would be working in the video game industry. I’ve always wanted to work in their consumer research department, figuring out what buyers want to be released.
What would you say is your most treasured possession?
If it can be a person, I’d have to say my grandmother. She brought me up and to this day gives me the best advice.
What has been your best modelling experience?
Being a Playboy Playmate was definitely the most amazing experience of my entire career. I was just a normal girl from another country and my life was forever changed by it.
What was the best advice you were given?
No matter what you’re doing or who you’re working for, be the best you can be and work your absolute hardest.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I like to sleep in, spend time with my dog, and watch Netflix. I’m working my way through The Americans and Hand of God. My dog is a Pekinese, one of those dogs with the flat face. I have cats with the same kind of face, all my animals look like they ran into a wall! [Laughs]