It’s only 10 to nine in midtown Manhattan when model Anne Vyalitsyna comes bouncing into DuJour’s office, beautifully bright-eyed and incredibly friendly, even saying a sweet hello to those non-morning people hunched over and frowning at their desks. “Let’s get started!” she exclaims, arms raised high in a silk black jumpsuit.
Apparently not getting out of bed for less than $10,000 a day is totally passé. As Anne V is proving, it’s the nice girls in fashion who are rising to the top.
Now with her new role on Oxygen’s second season of The Face, Anne V is adding “model coach” to her resume. With Naomi Campbell as head coach and executive producer, the reality competition show puts three teams of aspiring models through real-life challenges while being mentored by some of the biggest names in the business, including photographer Nigel Barker and model Lydia Hearst. In the end, one girl will be chosen to be the face of a major brand and have a signed contract to kickstart her career.
Anne V is more than eager to help these up-and-comers. “You feel a new sense of responsibility with these girls, a responsibility to your team and you hope that you can give them everything they want and need to hear from you.” The charming 27-year-old from Russia is a driven businesswoman more focused on being polite and professional than living up to the diva stereotype birthed by some of her “super” predecessors. She has the direct eye contact and good-natured attitude—smiling, always smiling—of a politician running for office. Indeed, Anne V makes it clear that the most important thing she teaches her girls on The Face is “to always be nice, because this is a job.” She adds, “I can be a bitch [too], but I know that you have to see beyond the modeling and just be a great woman at the end of the day.”
The skills she’s teaching her team are ones she herself had to learn organically over time. Modeling, it seems, isn’t brimming with people willing to share guidance. “I never had a mentor when I started modeling at 15 and I wish I’d had one,” she says. And yet she still managed a swift ascent. After winning the Fashionably Loud modeling competition on MTV in Milan, V’s career took off with a Chanel fragrance campaign. She’s also appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue a record 10 consecutive times.
Though she didn’t have anyone coaching her along the way, Anne V says that she always admired Naomi Campbell, making it all the more intimidating when they began filming The Face. “I was very nervous to coach next to Naomi. I wanted her to really like me because she is a legend, but in the end, even if she didn’t I knew I had to stay true to myself and be who I am no matter what.” As it turned out, Naomi and Anne got along very well and the whole cast seems comfortable during the second season. Note that there’s little of the onscreen drama that’s the crux of other reality TV.
So what’s next for Anne V—is more TV on the horizon? “I really love it,” she says. “I love being myself on camera. Finding something that you really love to do is rare and I have found something I love outside of modeling.” She continues, “Though it was definitely scary at first, everyone, even the coaches, walked away with a mentor in one way or the other.” See, models do know how to pay it forward.
The new season of The Face premieres March 5 at 10 p.m. on Oxygen.
Shown in main image: Blouse, $1,580; Trousers, price upon request, ROBERTO CAVALLI, 212-755-7722. Cocktail ring in 18-karat yellow gold with emeralds and diamonds, $121,000, BUCCELLATI, 212-308-2900.