In the morass that befell Ukraine post USSR collapse, Marina Victoria’s mother moved to Canada to find a better life.
For two-and-a-half years, the future exotic model would have to wait to join her mom in a new land.
“My mom was different from when I saw her, but that was one of the happiest moments in my life,” Victoria says. “I was waiting for her for so long and especially when you’re a kid. That was definitely one of the hardest things to overcome.”
While learning English, adapting to the ways of Canadians, Victoria admits there’s one negative with North America: food and lack of inactivity.
“In Ukraine we would always run around, constantly be outside, go swimming and then here, I didn’t have any friends, I couldn’t speak English and the food was so different that I actually gained a lot of weight,” she admits.
But Victoria would transition from ugly duckling to swan with a trip back to her motherland.
“I was there for about two months, I was eating healthy, I was constantly swimming with my friends, and I didn’t even realize that I had lost a lot of weight,” she says. “So when I came back, it just so happened that we moved to another location, so I had to move schools; I had lost a lot of weight, I was tanned and it was like starting a brand new life.”
By the age of 17 she was getting modeling offers, but Victoria was a little apprehensive at first.
“I got so nervous and excited. I was like, ‘Is this guy serious?’ and I was scared at the same time. What if he was a serial killer or something? So I had to leave his address of where I was going with some of my friends,” she says.
What seemed less than professional started her modeling career, which has given her the opportunity to be a Budweiser girl, to be featured in Maxim magazine and in music videos with German sensation Fabian Buch.
The 24-year-old Ryerson University student, studying global management, admits she’s had some help along the way, especially from photographer Jamie Watling, GQ Hair Studio and Nation at Life Media.
The latter helped give Victoria a fresh outlook on her chosen industry.
“(Nation) helped me look at the modeling industry very differently,” she says.
A self-confessed social butterfly, the Korean-Russian mix admits to having one vice when she’s got spare time: Poker.
But ask her if she’s a card shark, she’ll only offer a giggle.