Top model Irina Lazareanu was selected to be the new face of the Puma Rudolf Dassler Schuhfabrik premium line for good reason. Since presenting her friend Kate Moss’ Topshop collection, the Romanian-born model has been in the limelight and is now considered a style icon whose relaxed and hip blend of vintage and designer articles are a ubiquitous feature on the trends pages of fashion magazines. She has strutted the catwalk at all the leading shows and was photographed for Chanel. Lazareanu breaks the mold of what is expected from a beautiful woman in the classical sense. Instead she has a striking gentle quality and casts herself as a “type.” Yet the 25-year-old Montreal-raised personality doesn’t want to make an impression at photo shoots only. She has co-composed music and toured with her friend and trusted companion Pete Doherty (she is the only one who calls him “Peter”). This year her first solo album, a compilation of folksy songs with self-penned lyrics and music by Sean Lennon, is due to be released. Executive Editor Sabine Kühnl caught up recently with Lazareanu during the launch of her campaign.

What has changed since you went into modeling?
I’ve been in modeling since I was 17 or 18 and have worked as a professional model for a couple years. Several things have changed during this time, of course: just consider the fact that there are way more agencies and also way more girls. Nowadays you might show up at a casting with 500 other girls. I am glad to no longer be obliged to go to castings anymore.

...which means the competition has increased?
Of course there is competition, but that doesn’t mean that friendships can’t develop. I am also friends with other models.

Don’t you get a pretty critical look anyway? The modeling business has gotten some pretty bad press.
Of course I take a very critical view of it all. I also know that I am in a privileged situation. I sometimes talk to younger girls who are just getting their start. And I can only advise to try to keep your focus on yourself alone. For example in this whole “size zero” discussion: it is not all about some diets or having to emulate some prescribed image. You have to learn to accept yourself.

You have also branched out from modeling. What profession would you describe yourself as having?
I would say I am a writer, author. I’ve been writing poems and short stories ever since I was very young. And I also write song lyrics as well.

You worked with Pete Doherty and Sean Lennon on your first album. When will the recording finally be released?
Good question. It should be within this year. I wanted to launch the album sooner, true, but it is delayed simply because we are recording at so many different locations. What it is not supposed to be is a perfectly polished studio album. And I would really like to go on tour, too.

It isn’t all that unusual anymore for models to start working in other areas. What else can we expect to see from you in the future?
Fashion, music, modeling, it’s all somehow interconnected now. I don’t plan that far in advance. I have no clue what else I will start doing. At the moment, though, my album is the priority.

And what about a new collection?
I definitely can imagine that. I really am prepared for anything. So far there is nothing planned in that direction, but let’s wait and see.

Thanks to your look, you are viewed as a style icon. Isn’t it strange to be described that way?
Totally. Especially because I have always dressed that way; I didn’t create this style or anything. Only that earlier I always had to put up with weird comments about it. And now, everybody thinks it’s good all of a sudden.

Do you have any favorite brands?
Oh yes, my favorites definitely include Balenciaga, Chanel and Martin Margiela. I am also friends with Nicolas Ghesquière, and to me Karl Lagerfeld is a very important person. I think a lot of him. But I don’t limit myself to designer clothes; I also wear vintage a lot. I think it’s a lot of fun to shop in Paris or in London in the shops on Brick Lane.

Photo: Nagi Sakai.