Home » Lifestyle » Irina Lazareanu: “Pete Doherty and I have changed in the same way. Before, it was always all or nothing” | celebrities

Irina Lazareanu: “Pete Doherty and I have changed in the same way. Before, it was always all or nothing” | celebrities

Irina Lazareanu: "Pete Doherty and I have changed in the same way. Before, it was always all or nothing" |  celebrities

Irina Lazareanu (Transylvania, 39 years old) was one of those prodigy girls (who in the early 2000s were called it-girls) who managed to be at the same time parading for the most prestigious designers (she was a favorite of Karl Lagerfeld), taking center stage (she has starred in more than 100) and always being at the most sophisticated parties accompanied by the funniest people (Kate Moss and Pete Doherty they were his best friends). She until in 2014 she decided to leave the catwalks to never return. In recent years he has reflected on the speed with which he lived and has stopped to think about his childhood, which was not exactly easy: his parents were forced to leave their country, Romania, because of their opposition to the Ceaușescu regime and during For a time, he lived in a refugee camp with them. She recounts her two lives in a memoir she just released titled Runway Bird (Flammarion). Half of the proceeds from their sales will go to the Ukranian Peace Fund.

You were six years old when you had to leave Romania with your parents to temporarily live in a citizen’s camp before moving to Canada. Was that flight you took to leave your grandparents behind and join your parents in Austria the first of your life?

I had taken some before to go with my parents to Bucharest but the first one I remember was that, yes, and I will never forget it. I felt so many mixed emotions. On the one hand, leaving behind the people who had loved me, who had taken care of me and who had fought so that I could reunite with my parents, like my grandparents, two of whom I never saw again; I remember that, even being so small, there was something that told me that I was not going to see them again and I was devastated by it, but at the same time I was very excited and very happy to return to my parents after ten months. I remember getting on the escalator and seeing that my grandparents were all crying and I remember thinking that I couldn’t afford that luxury, that I had to be strong because it would destroy them to see me cry too. So I kept crying until they were out of sight.

Those kinds of very difficult experiences, were they a kind of training for what her life was going to be later, when she became a model?

They had their positive aspect and their negative aspect. Obviously going through a refugee camp and everything we went through involves a certain degree of trauma that I have only begun to be aware of and recover from much later in life. I’ve actually started to understand things in the last two years. There are sensations, such as the fear of being displaced, the insecurity of not knowing what is going to happen, not being sure what you are going to eat, that stay with you forever. But at the same time, I think that when you’re a migrant, you don’t have just one home and even if you go back to the place you came from, you don’t feel like you belong, because the place has changed a lot and so have you, so you’re left as a book. When I started modeling and traveling from country to country, I felt like a citizen and realized that I could feel good and make a home almost anywhere. I think in that aspect it helped me. You also grow very fast and have a strength that most people at that age don’t have. So good, it made me strong, too, in a way.

The model is wearing a trench coat and boots by MAISON MARGIELA and jewelry by ALEXANDER MCQUEEN. Photo: MIKAEL SCHULZ

Is she grateful to the fashion industry for capturing her so young, or is there resentment at times as well?

There is no resentment at all. Although I was very young, for me fashion was almost like a university degree because I saw Steven Meisel at work, with his incredible team of Vogue Italy, or Nicolas Ghesquière, who developed entire collections for Balenciaga on my body. Having said that, the fashion industry 20 years ago was much more brutal than it is now and I really like that all the problems that girls may have, whether addictions, depression or eating disorders, can be addressed. We couldn’t. You just had to pull, pull, pull. In the book I actually explain what fashion weeks were like: we worked from city to city, from designer to designer, often without sleep, doing 70, 80 or 90 shows a season until we reached a point of exhaustion that we collapsed.

There is something very characteristic of his career and his public figure and that is that he was able to mingle with the same ease with people like Karl Lagerfeld or Pete Doherty [con quien llegó a estar comprometida]

Well, it’s funny, because I think that because of my past as a refugee, I never came to feel that I was in the place I deserved, or that I was worthy of the opportunities that were given to me, or that I really belonged to that environment. I think I was always cracking jokes, smiling, being quirky, always so on top of it, to hide that inside of me was a terrified and incredibly insecure girl who felt like she was riding in a speeding car that couldn’t be stopped. She always thought: I have to continue, I have to continue working, if you stop, everything will fall apart. What did they see in me? Well I do not know. I think I was in the right place at the right time. There were many circumstances. That I met Pete Doherty when I was so young, that we made music together right at the moment of his scene exploding, that I met Kate Moss and she pushed me to do more shows… and the fact that Karl liked me and made me a contract at Chanel. There were many elements at a time, the turn of the century, when I became part of an effervescent cultural community where all those people were.

And what do you think was the glue that united them?

We were the last generation before iPhones, social networks, Netflix and Amazon. We had a very strong sense of community because we were musicians, actresses, poets, musicians and designers who met in person in bars, from London to New York, to exchange ideas. We could always end up at someone’s house, writing a song or on tour. We did not pass a paper and put our ideas. There was a kind of energy between us that only happens when people are around.

Irina, all PRADA. Photo: MIKAEL SCHULZ

I am very interested in that community, where friendships seemed so important. How have those friendships evolved?

Every single person in the book has reviewed first, second, and even third drafts. I have been very transparent. Of course I don’t have the same relationship with Kate Moss right now that I did back then. In fact, now it is much better, because she is calmer, much more peaceful and we have twenty years of life experiences behind us. We are both mothers. She is an admirable businesswoman. I still look up to her like she did twenty years ago but we’re not touring with a rock band anymore.

And what about Pete? Do they have a normal relationship?

Absolutely. I haven’t seen him since the pandemic started but we used to go out when I lived in Paris. It has also changed a lot. She got married this year, lives in the French countryside, has had a child, and sometimes we FaceTime. I think the same changes have occurred for both of us: we are able to be calm. Before, it was always an all or nothing.

What city in the world has made you feel more at home?

My favorite has always been Paris. When I got there twenty years ago I loved the poetry and romance that it houses. I would walk the streets aimlessly and start dreaming about what it would have been like two hundred years ago…

And what about Canada?

I feel very grateful to Canada. I was born in Romania, but my identity is Canadian. The sense of humor, the kindness, the sense of community. I am very proud of how this country received me and my parents.

Jacket, pants and bra by DOLCE & GABBANA, jewels by ALEXANDER MCQUEEN and cap by MANGO. Photo: MIKAEL SCHULZ

How are you going to keep in touch with the Romanian culture?

He spends a lot of time with his grandparents, who speak Romanian to him and I speak it too, although with an accent. When everything calms down, I really want to take him to his great-grandparents’ farm and for him to see the place where his mother was born. Right now is not a good time. People are scared and they also feel like they’ve seen this before. All the countries that were under Soviet influence until the fall of the wall know what torture, lack of freedom, disinformation and the attempt to control everything that comes from other countries are. It’s exactly the same old manual, my parents remember it very well. People of a certain age throughout Eastern Europe remember it perfectly, but for me it was a real surprise. Never in a million years did I think we would come back to this.

And why do you think that people in fashion, an industry that is considered so frivolous, have an obligation to position themselves, as you do?

It doesn’t matter what you work on. There are no gray areas in this. It is good versus evil. As simple as that. He is a madman who has decided to destroy the Ukraine in front of our eyes. All voices raised against this atrocity are useful. And the more people we say, the better.



Dress by FENDI, boots and necklace by MAISON MARGIELA and flower with bow by ZARA. Photo: MIKAEL SCHULZ

Irina wears SPORTMAX dress, ALEXANDER MCQUEEN jewelry, MANGO belt, MAISON MARGIELA boots and WORTH & W hat. Photo: MIKAEL SCHULZ

* Styling: Bernat Buscato. Model: Irina Lazareanu (Elite Model). Makeup: Virginia Young (The Wall Group). Hairdresser: Gonn Kinoshita (The Wall Group). Photography assistant: Ricky Jackson. Styling assistant: Thomas Sit.

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