November 27, 2014

Maria Sharapova, (a) model (in everything)

Maria Sharapova is a model. A life model, a professional model and an actual model. And this reality – fact, not subjective appreciation – not only that doesn’t any more have the news quality to it in order to be able to surprise anyone, but is also being constantly consolidated and underscored through ever new breakthroughs.

At 27 years old, the goals reached by the Nyagan USSR-born young athlete that just wanted to play tennis are many as they are varied and valuable. She started tennis at 4. At 6 she was being handpicked as a promising talent by Martina Navratilova. At 9 years old, the minimum age for admission, she was being enrolled into Nick Bollettieri’s tennis academy in Florida, a place where Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, the Williams sisters – future rivals of the player – and Anna Kournikova had already taken their first steps towards tennis records. At 14 she was playing in her first WTA tournament and at 17 was winning Wimbledon, against Serena Williams, – her very first Grand Slam title!

Accompanying these successes, Maria Sharapova was making her way into the elite tops of her field: 30 Legends of Women’s Tennis: Past, Present and Future, 100 Greatest of All Time, and was gathering (so far) over 500 won matches and earnings in excess of 30 million dollars (from tennis alone).

Meanwhile, her on and off court personality – as Maria says both ’’I’m not the next anyone, I’m the first Maria Sharapova.” and ‘’I love street style, seeing how girls wear pieces and how they pair accessories with their outfit.’’ – has many more others than her initial sports lovers absolutely taken! Much, much more – an entire universe of fashion and lifestyle.

Included together with 24 models in an exceptional Sports Illustrated edition, among the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine, the Hot 100 listed by Maxim or the 100 Sexiest Women in the World for FHM as well as on many of the liking and admiration lists of millions of fans, Sharapova has been piling up records that are not exclusively WTA-relevant!

At just 11 she was signing her first endorsement deal, with Nike. In 2005 and 2008 she was the most Yahoo-searched athlete in the world. For 6 consecutive years, she’s been included in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. In 2010 she renewed her Nike contract for a record-breaking sum – 70 million dollars, more than any other female athlete in history. She was named Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme. She’s launched her own candy brand, Sugarpova.

And in 2014, the former or current spokesperson for Tiffany & Co., Tag Heuer, Porsche, Sony Erricson or Evian and generator of an annual income – according to Forbes – of USD 2.4 million from her athletic activity and USD 22 million from collaboration contracts, still says that ’’I know my roots and I cannot forget the journey I made.’’

Maria Sharapova

As before being a cover girl and before reaching the world no 1, Maria Sharapova and her father have set out towards the US with just 700 dollars in their pockets. Martina Navratilova had told Yuri Sharapov about Bollettieri’s school. And the opportunities he dreamt for his talented daughter were not to be found in the recently post-communist Russia. Far away from her mother – who stayed behind for two years because of financial and visa difficulties – the little girl was starting to chip away at her long and minutely worked through – point by point – road to becoming Sibirskaya Sirena – the Siberian Siren.

Starting this year, Maria Sharapova has her first Avon perfume: Luck. Her trajectory doesn’t seem to have anything to do with luck and everything with work and passion. But even a champion must probably feel the need to, for a moment, feel exclusively, simply, a woman…

Avon is the world’s fifth cosmetic company, with annual sales of more than USD 10 billion. And Avon Foundation – fighting breast cancer and domestic violence – is the largest corporate philanthropy dedicated to women’s causes globally.

In her most recent project, Maria Sharapova is the image of the Avon Luck fragrance. A project for which the champion has given me an exclusive interview. It was a pleasure hearing her voice over the phone and having a girl-talk conversation on fashion, beauty, sport, success and family.

Janina Nectara: My first curiosity would be about your memories regarding your first contact with beauty products. Did you used to play with your mother’s make up products or used her lipstick when she was not around? What do you remember about your first contact with beauty products?

MS: Well, actually, from a very young age I was practicing and I was an athlete so make up was actually not a big part of my beauty routine. It was more about taking care of my skin because I grew up in Florida so protecting my skin from the sun, using sunscreen was something I had to do.

As I got a little bit older, that is really when I started, maybe when I was going to events and you, know, I thought maybe it would be nice to put on mascara or a bit of lipstick. So I didn’t actually have a lot of interaction with make up maybe until my middle teens.

JN: I see. So, what about now? What would be your beauty ritual now and what kind of role does perfume play in your beauty ritual, on a daily life basis?

MS: Well, my love for fragrances actually came from my mother. I saw these nice-looking bottles and sprayed them all over myself, probably a few at a time…

JN: I know what you mean…

MS: Yeah, I really didn’t know what I was doing, but that was really my first memory of fragrance. When I think about it, over the years I’ve really developed a love for the final touch to your beauty routine, which to me has always been fragrance and the last few drips that you put on neck and you know, maybe a bit on your arm as well just before you leave for an event or day out.

avon-luck

JN: And do you have a secret beauty trick that nobody could guess? What is your secret champion beauty trick?

MS: I don’t think there are any… I play more into a healthy skin. I think every individual’s skin is different. I always go by keeping your skin clean and, you know, keeping yourself hydrated, because that always shows on your skin. When you’re tired and you don’t sleep enough you can see it on your face and you see it on your skin, you’re dehydrated… So I think it’s really the small natural steps that really, ultimately, make you shine.

JN: And from the latest Avon collection, what is your favorite beauty product?

MS: Well, you know, before I actually started working on the fragrance Avon Luck, I was a huge fan of their mascaras and I continue to be and use a lot of their make up, actually, because my mother used to use it way before I even got aware of it and so I started with enjoying their make up and now being involved in their Avon Luck fragrance.

JN: I know you’ve been endorsing top fashion brands for a long time and your latest global endorsement campaign is for Luck by Avon and my curiosity is about how this whole experience really was. How would describe the experience with Avon?

MS: It’s a very creative experience and because of the products that I’ve used for many years I thought that it was a very organic transition to the fragrance. For me, working with Avon that have so much experience with make up was like that. And I’m not just talking about creating the fragrance but everything: to the bottle, to being part of the campaign, and then seeing the pictures of me and how the fragrance is represented… It truly was a complex process. And, ultimately, when you hold the bottle it’s more of an experience than just a fragrance.

JN: Very beautifully said. On the other hand, you have a model’s figure and body facts that allow you to choose any style or clothing item. How do you prefer to dress outside the tennis court? Do you have any favorite fashion item or fashion designer…?

MS: Well, I don’t have very clearly outlined preferences. I spend my year traveling so much that I feel I don’t particularly have a very specific style. I mean my life in general is pretty casual, because, you know, I’m on the plane… and for the wardrobe that I carry with me, all the pieces in the bag have to go with one another… I layer quite a bit.

Maybe a lot of people are expecting me to wear form-fitting clothing because I work out for a living, I’m tall and I can pull it off. But actually I prefer styles that have more length to them, that are a little bit baggier, with a lot of layers – with a little bit of a masculine look.

JN: I see. Being no 1 must be both highly exciting but at the same time, a huge pressure as well. How do you unwind, what do you do in your spare time, do you have any hobbies?

MS: I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms, so I try to catch up with my family and friends. You know, my mum and my dad are on the road with me and that’s always nice, but sometimes you need spending time with yourself and working on different projects. I like to keep myself busy and I find that I only have time on my hands when I travel and when I’m not practicing. When I’m not playing tennis, I always feel there are so many things I can learn, that I have different skills and I try to do them all when I have the time.

JN: Thank you, thank you very much, Maria. It was a real pleasure speaking with you and I wish you good luck in your future projects. Thank you very much.

MS: Thank you as well!

 

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Photos: Maria Sharapova