Danil Uspenskiy is a 23-year-old model from Kostanay, who starred on the cover of Vogue and collaborated with famous brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Rolex, and more. He recently spoke to Tengri Lifestyle about his career path and success in the fashion industry.
Danil was born in Kostanay in 1999 and studied at Kostanay college of automobile transport. He says he got into modeling by coincidence at the age of 18.
"I worked in a store that sold phones. One day, a woman suggested that I do a photoshoot since I was a redhead. She thought I had a unique appearance,” he said.
He sent his photos to modeling agencies and was noticed by six. One offered to fly him to Moscow for a test shoot.
"I didn't even have money to make a passport. The agency funded my passport. They rented me an apartment in Moscow, where I did test shoots. If ordinary shoots are made to show the clothes, then the test shoots are made to show the model. I did five or six shoots in Moscow, and returned to Kostanay," said Danil.
Within a week, the model found a contract in South Korea.
"I agreed without thinking. Of course, my parents were wary. I packed my bags and left without telling them anything. I had just turned 18, and I had never been abroad. It was a completely new world, a different level of development, infrastructure, and mentality. I left with zero knowledge of English.”
Although the first trip proved to be a great challenge, Danil says it was successful. “I earned a large sum of money. Then, I helped my parents well financially, which convinced them that modeling was a real job, not slavery.”
His career path quickly took off. As a professional model, Danil’s priority became appearing on the cover of a popular fashion magazine. He managed to tick off the box when he did a shoot for the January 2022 issue of Vogue Japan.
“It was probably one of the coolest shoots ever,” the model recalled. “We were filmed in 5-star hotels, were provided with everything we needed, and had very comfortable flights. It was a Gucci shoot for the cover of Vogue. The images appeared in Vogue worldwide and Gucci itself also published those photos.”
In Danil’s opinion, the best conditions for models—in terms of pay and guarantees—are offered in Asian countries, especially China, Korea, and Japan. In Europe, brand deals usually go to top models and international celebrities, but, in Asia, Danil was able to sign several contracts with big names.
"I became the face of Samsung for six months, I was also an ambassador for the world-famous BBQ restaurant chain in Korea. We shot TV commercials for them, which appeared on TV channels and street banners. I was the face of the brand for a year, and I was recognized all the time in Korea. I was also the face of the Ssang Yong car brand for two years," he said.
He also did shoots for Rolex and Omega watches and was featured in Vogue, ELLE, GQ, Sense Magazine, and many other Japanese magazines.
Despite all the glitz and glam, Danil chooses to stay humble and focused. “Self-discipline is very important. Models should understand that they go [to other countries] to work and build their career—it’s not a vacation.”