By Syune Arakelyan
Model Karine Petrosyan, mostly known as Kari Kari, is living and working in Dubai. She is also an influencer with more than two million followers on Instagram managing over 35 pages on social media. The model, 31, has collaborated with a number of world known brands, among them Gucci, Mac Cosmetics, L'Oreal, Marks and Spencer, D&G, Valentino, and a lot more featuring the pages of Vogue and Elle magazines.
In her interview for NEWS.am STYLE's ArmenՅԱՆs, Karine talked about her international collaborations, latest cooperation with Netflix, raising her 5-year-old daughter alone, and a lot more.
Karine, your mom is Russian, dad is Armenian. Which part of your roots more prevail in your life?
They are always mixed in me. Sometimes I feel more Armenian, sometimes more Russian. But I love to have two nationalities in me... It’s good to have Armenian and Russian roots, I'm using both powers when I need.
You’ve grown up in Russia, and now you’re living in Dubai. Have you managed to perceive Armenian culture, language, and traditions, living far away from Armenia?
I live in Dubai for already two years and love being here. It’s very international. I have two very good friends from Armenia, but we speak English with each other. Both of them have been growing up in the UK, and they know better English than Russian. I understand Armenian, but I don’t speak the language. In our family the main language is Russian because I was born and raised in the south of Russia. But I love Armenian culture and food. It’s amazing. And now, in Dubai we cook something Armenian, or go to Armenian restaurants. I also have an Armenian playlist.
How did you start your career as a model?
I was going to a modeling school in my hometown in the south of Russia (Stavropol), and one day it was visited by a scout who had once also discovered Natalia Vodianova traveling all around Russia to find new faces. He chose me and I went to Moscow with my mom for a competition, which was held between other girls from Russia. It was for Elle Top model 2008, I got the 2nd place there and signed a contract with the best agencies worldwide—Major, Storm, and later on, IMG MODELS, and Next models. Then I started travelling and working all around the world—New York, London, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai fashion weeks, and many more…
You have worked with several renowned brands. What, according to you, made the world-known designers and brands choose you?
Basically, when I have castings, especially for huge brands, it’s a very big competition, and you have only 30 seconds to 3 minutes to make them want to book you for a job—fashion show or shooting for magazines. You need to be very self-confident—which is hard sometimes after hearing 30 NO before, you have to be sure about yourself that you are the best and make the clients believe they need only you. Also, the catwalk and look matter. In my case, I think, my big eyes are a key. A lot of brands loved it. They never guessed right my nationality thinking I’m French, Italian, or Spanish.
To be a model opened a lot of doors and opportunities, but it’s not an easy profession. You need to be mentally strong!
What was your best experience as a model?
I have had a huge experience of more than 13 years. I was modeling for Lanvin for three years, Gucci, Mac Cosmetics, L’Oreal, Marks and Spencer, Vogue, Elle, D&G, Valentino, McQueen, Balmain, Issey Miyake, Alexander Wang, and many more, was a face of Uniclo and Castelbajac.
You’re also very inspiring as an independent woman. You’re a single mom raising your little girl alone and achieving your career... What difficulties have you faced before reaching this point?
Everything was not easy in the beginning. Raising a child is already not an easy task, and a lot more difficult without a husband. Thanks to my family members, who are supporting me a lot. But I think it is better than being in a bad marriage and not being happy. I just wanted to get back to work after six months of giving birth. I went back to Paris and started again; signed new contracts and decided to focus more on the influencer side because now everyone wants to work with good-looking influencers than just a model. So, I decided that I need to go only straight never give up and achieve the life I want to have for myself and my daughter. And I’m on the very good way.
Could you, please, speak about your family, daughter? What hobbies do you share?
My daughter is five and a half, and she is a very active kid. She always wants to go somewhere and do something. My mom is here with me helping with my daughter; she also helps me a lot with the job, with ideas for content and more... Besides, she has a very good taste in choosing clothes, so I have a personal stylist.
As for time spending with my daughter, we love to go to the beach when we have free time and explore new places. Sometimes, when I’m not in a good mood, I just turn on the music, and we are dancing with my daughter.
Have you ever been to Armenia?
I have been there two times. During my first visit I was just one-year-old, so I don’t remember anything from that; and the second time when I came to Armenia I was ten. My dad’s family is from Artsakh [(Nagorno-Karabakh)], so I still have a lot of cousins that I have never met. But I would love to come back to Armenia very soon. I love to be Armenian. My last name is very Armenian, it’s Petrosyan.
What plans and collaborations do you have for the near future which you can share with us?
I’ve had a very productive year already. Got a small cooperation with Netflix for Dubai Bling, and also became the main model for a big Indian music video, which has more than 10 million views. For now, I have a few good upcoming collaborations with two major American and French brands. Will inform you more, when they will be approved.
I plan to do an international social media course. I already manage more than 35 accounts and want to globalize them for a lot of people to be successful on social media. Instagram is a huge power on these days and if you know how to use it, a lot of doors will open for you. We are working on it with my team. So get ready to see my course!
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