Zuzanna Buchwald may have stumbled into modeling on accident but this 11-year modeling veteran has made some deliberate moves in recent years. A dedicated New Yorker she may be but Zuzanna still maintains strong ties with her origins. Her Aunt is one of the founders of Child Solutions, a charity program that is devoted to helping at risk children to live full and happy lives. Zuzanna pledges her time and helps to raise awareness and money for Child Solutions. Over the course of the few days we spent together I found a hard working, intelligent, and extremely vibrant young women in Zuzanna.
Birthplace: Poznań, Poland
Agency: One.1 Management
What did you do before modeling?
I was a girl scout first and then a synchronized swimmer for five years. I then started modeling at fourteen years old.
You just recently graduated from college. What did you study?
I majored in Art History and Media Studies.
What is your favorite period you studied?
I love modern and contemporary art, but I think that four years of undergrad is not enough to expose you to every period. I would love to do my masters.
Who is a contemporary artist you admire?
Louise Burgeois among many others. She is very close to my heart because I wrote a long paper on her in school near the time of her passing. She was a passionate and inspiring woman who conveyed her feminist ideas in various media. I think she was a strong and inspiring individual who knew how to communicate her beliefs through her art very well. Right now, I also am developing a strong appreciation for fine art photography.
Is working in the art world your next move?
Possibly. I just need to figure out what job in the industry would suit me best. I’ve been interning at art galleries and art fair since I’ve finished school, so I’m starting to have an idea what to expect. I love fashion, as well, and have been in that industry for eleven years now, so maybe I could do something with both? It’s really difficult to decide on one future job at the moment.
Do you think your time as a model will aid you in the art world?
Yes. You have to gain a certain kind of confidence, openness and independence when you’re a model, and I think all three will help greatly as I transition into a new career
You started working at 14 and took that very seriously; now you’re able to cut lose a bit more.
When you’re a teenager you are supposed to party, experiment, and meet new people. I was very focused on work and professional at 14 and my parents were not saying no to modeling but they also were not helping with things such as my taxes, visas, contracts. So I had to learn to do it all on my own, how to deal with agencies and clients, it was a lot for a young girl. That really took my teens away from me. I was studying hard and working a lot, I didn’t have time to party, make friends that were not models, travel for fun… Now that I am out of college and slowly transitioning into a new lifestyle, I am doing all of those things (laughs). Which is ridiculous because some of my friends my age are now getting serious. Some are even already married and starting families. For me it was all upside-down. I know it will end soon, with a new job, I will probably have less time and energy for all that. But for now, I am having so much fun.
Do you want to stay in New York?
Yes. For now, New York for me is the place to be. In the future I would like to live a little closer to nature.
Did you want to be a model?
I never wanted to be a model. A lot of girls want to be models or actresses; I wanted to be a landscape designer. My grandfather is an architect and he had all these beautiful landscape design and gardening books in his office. I remember being very young and loving them. I was convinced that was what I wanted to do.
Do you still have a notion of being a landscape designer?
No, no. I love nature, but I don’t think I have the skill to be a landscape designer. Modeling just happened. It all snowballed so quickly and before I knew it I was living in New York and supporting myself through modeling.
Are you grateful for the experience?
Yes, of course. It has been a wonderful experience. It’s just an example of how life does what it wants with you. Wherever it wants you to be it takes you. So I can plan all I want, but who knows what will come to pass. You can just try and make the right decisions and be a good person (aaaaand have fun.)
What was the last book you read?
I re-read “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, which is great and “The Missing Rose” written by my friend Serdar.
Five things you couldn’t live without?
My dog, my friends, music, traveling, chocolate, phone/camera to take pictures, candles, books, accessories… Oh wait, was that more than 5??? 🙂
Where is your next adventure take place?
I’m going to Mexico in 2 weeks for a fun job. Then, hmmmm… Burning man 😉
What would your last meal be?
Breakfast buffet. I could eat breakfast food for every meal.
If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead tonight who would it be?
All of my great grandparents. I only knew one great grandmother and I didn’t have time to ask her all of the questions I had for her.