"I think that if you look at me, you don't think about the typical statuesque beauty"
Noticeably different from the typical model stereotype and graced with a strong and extrovert personality, Irina started modelling for “real” almost simultaneously with her first appearances in the music scene.
The people close to her heart are her mother and her first booker in Montreal, without them she wouldn’t have been able to “survive” the first season of fashion shows – she recounts: “I will always be grateful for the energy they gave me and their encouragement which helped me grow my self-confidence”.
At the age of 16, the Romanian-born, Canadian-raised model moved to London to study classical ballet and, thanks to her upbeat personality, she quickly got in touch with the London underground scene.
That’s where she got to know Peter Doherty with whom she started collaborating following the breaking up of The Libertines and the launch of his new music project, the Babyshambles.
Thanks to Pete she was introduced to Kate Moss who suggested her for an editorial for Vogue Paris; in that same year, she also opened the show for Anne Valerie Hash and walked for Chanel. She stayed at the top of her game for 10 years during which she walked for the biggest names in fashion such as Chanel, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Versace, Prada, Lanvin, Givenchy, YSL and many others.
The intensity with which she approached both the fashion and the music industry triggered a great deal of popularity around her; moreover, her friendship with Kate Moss caught the attention of the tabloids when Irina got engaged with Doherty in 2004 and started dating once again in 2007 following a short breaking-off period.
She recalls her first experience shooting an editorial for Vogue Italia in New York with fun: "I arrived on set where I met Fabien Baron and I was told I was going to work with other girls and that the photographer was Steven Meisel, to which I replied Who?! Everybody blasted out laughing. That was my first assignment with Meisel but I still have amazing memories about that great Rock n' Roll editorial where all the girls had to interpret different rock legends and which Steven’s creativity made the whole set look absolutely fantastic".
It’s her look, as Irina herself admits, that helped her rise to such popularity: "it’s thanks to my signature and distinctive look that I managed to carve my special place in this business".
Throughout the years she became a muse for Karl Lagerfeld and Nicolas Ghesquière with whom she established an authentic bond both at and outside work. A smile appears on her face whilst talking about the two designers whom she describes as good friends and with whom she is still in touch.
Her career is divided between fashion and music: besides the collaboration with Doherty, she worked on several albums and covers with Sean Lennon, the son of John Lennon e Yoko Ono; moreover, she supports and participated in productions by Patty Smith and Adam Green.