Olga Pantushenkova, Kult Magazine, Paris 1998
Olga Pantushenkova, was one of the first Russian models to achieve international fame.
Born in St. Petersburg, she dreamed of becoming a model since she was a little girl.
At the age of fourteen she participated in a Miss USSR contest, and was spotted by someone from Red Star, the first modelling agency in Moscow. The world thought that only babushkas came out of the East, but when the Iron Curtain was finally fell it was revealed that Russia held a rich treasure-trove of beauty.
So, Red Star sent her to Paris where she was signed by Elite. Under one condition. That she cut her long hair – the pride of every Russian girl. She chose a radical bob. A star was born.
Her breakthrough came with an advert for Cacharel Eden Perfume. Armani, Lacroix, and covers for Vogue and Elle quickly followed. ‘An explosion of beauty’, as Karl Lagerfeld allegedly once said.
Olga, with her platinum blonde, dyed, and cropped hair, looked nothing like the standard Russian girl she once was: long dark hair, preferably in a plait or pony tail, but had now joined the select group of super models.
In Russia she turned into an idol, a role model, where millions of girls, from Vladivostok to Voronesh, dreamed of nothing other than following in her footsteps.