Fashion week is over. What’s next for Ukrainian models?

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Vika Reza, a model who took part in the Dior Spring/Summer 2022 show in Paris, was due to fly from Kiev to Paris on February 24 for fashion week. Instead of quietly packing her bags that day, she was awakened by the sound of falling bombs. She managed to flee Ukraine by car with three friends. Due to the exodus, fuel shortages and road safety issues, it took them three days to get to the Slovakian border on a journey that usually takes nine hours.

On the third day, she crossed the border on foot to avoid spending more days in the car. Her Paris agency Women 360, in conjunction with its parent agency System, arranged a driver to pick her up as she drove through Slovakia and take her to Košice airport. “When I arrived in Paris, I thought it would be fine, that I would eat and that I could work, but I couldn’t. Every time I hear a loud noise, I get scared. I can’t go to the restaurant. I can’t live my life when my friends and family are in a bombed out basement. She is staying with a friend in the 1st arrondissement of Paris with two other Ukrainians who have just arrived.

Ukrainian models face complicated logistical and psychological situations: where to live, how to bring their family to safe places, how to work when your family’s life is in danger. Reza and Ukrainian models Cate Underwood and Pacha Harulia held rallies in support of Ukraine at Place de la République in Paris. Harulia, who took part in the Miu Miu fashion show on Tuesday, said via Whatsapp: “It was a bit difficult to concentrate, the state I’m in at the moment is far from calm and serene. I’m sad and angry, all my thoughts are dedicated to the war in my country. The show was beautiful anyway, and it was nice to participate in something like that. Bogdan Pysarenko, 20, was supposed to come to Paris for fashion week but postponed due to Covid.In the meantime, Ukraine has enacted martial law, ordering men over the age of 18 to stay and defend their country.

Model Pasha Harulia held rallies in support of Ukraine at Place de la République in Paris.

THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

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