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New York Fashion Week: Otherworldly Model Tiana Tolstoi Loves New York

Born in Egypt to a family who traces its heritage to Korea, Serbia and Russia, and then raised and schooled in Paris, on-the-rise model Tiana Tolstoi is the very definition of cultured and worldly—which is why I was taken by surprise when her eyes got wide and wild as she exclaimed, “But I love New York!”

Tiana-smiley face pop
All images by Michael Yuri Chard

I’m not sure she’ll stay settled down for too long (though at the end of this post you’ll hear her talk about one very good reason to do so for the time being); she all but belongs to the world. Witness this Vogue Italia spread and this cover for Vogue China.

Still, as we walked around SoHo taking pictures, she listed her three reasons for loving the heck out of this town.

1. “The people, they are so open. They talk to you on the street like, ‘Hey, I like your socks!’ In France they will correct your accent, but here everyone is from somewhere else, so we are all just talking and no one minds if it’s not perfect.”

Tiana-taking tea
Tiana-candy store

2. “It always surprises me. Before I came everyone told me it was so amazing, but all of the things I thought were going to be amazing … that is not what really amazes me. I just like the buildings and the way of life, the normal things are really so cool to me.”

Tiana-black and white walking

Tiana-black and white closer

Tiana-new yorker

3. “It’s so awake! New York—it doesn’t go to sleep! You can get ice cream in the middle of the night—or anything. In Paris everything closes down so early and you are always wishing you had something that you don’t have, but it’s too bad. You just have to wait until the morning. In New York, you can get anything at any time. It’s so cool, I really love that.”

Tiana-peace out metro

Find out what Tiana is going home for in this audio clip.

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—Laura Cassidy

All images by Michael Yuri Chard