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Model Q&A: Olinka Lickova

Olinka Lickova | VIP Member | Verified Credits (36)


Model: Olinka Lickova; Photographer: ToddEatonImages

Where are you from? Where are you based now and do you travel for shoots?

I am from Slovakia, a small country in Eastern Europe, better known as part of former Czechoslovakia. Officially, I reside and operate primarily out of Brooklyn, NY. An unexpected chain of events changed everything for me with my first ever trip to Seattle last January, and I’ve been hooked ever since on traveling for work. I can hardly claim to be a resident of NYC without feeling like somewhat of a fraud. My current nomadic lifestyle has taken me to seven countries outside of North America, ten US states I’ve only seen on a map, and dozens of cities overall.

Who or what inspired you to become a model?

Fashion was always the most fascinating thing out there for me, having admired my mom for looking stylish no matter where she went. This trait was inherited from her own mother because she also put much effort into taking care of herself. It wasn’t until my parents and I had emigrated to the US that I was exposed to the fashion industry through magazines and later, fashion week. For me, the models were everything I was not but desperately wanted to be: effortlessly stylish, poised, feminine and at the same time very powerful forces that commanded attention wherever they went. I was the out-of-place immigrant kid, an outsider stealing furtive glances into a world that was out of reach no matter where I went.


Model: Olinka Lickova; Photographer: ToddEatonImages

How and when did you start modeling?

The first seed was planted when my parents entered me in a contest for Barbizon modeling school in Manhattan at 9 or 10, at the onset of what I named my “ugly duckling” stage, so a complete long shot. Fast forward to age 14, the aforementioned phase finally behind me and partially attributed to the switch from glasses to contacts. This time it was me begging my parents to let me enter a contest for one of those portrait studios at the mall. Despite not making the finals, I had my first photo shoot under my belt and got to select almost ten prints to take home. Around the same time, my volleyball coach’s son mentioned that his girlfriend was pursuing modeling through a free ModelMayhem account and that I should try it too because of my slender figure and height. I had zero confidence that anyone would be compelled to shoot with me, but put up the GlamourShots pictures anyway and created a profile here nonetheless. It took forever, but eventually, my persistence and tenacity paid off.

What type of modeling do you enjoy the most?

To this day, my favorite kind of modeling would have to be fashion/editorial. Despite the volume of nude, fetish and erotic work that permeates my portfolio, I love clothes and the way they make me feel. I can be having the worst day ever, but dressing up transforms those negative feelings into a more productive and proactive mental state. I love the range of emotions and meaning you can convey solely by using the garment itself, by moving, manipulating, deconstructing, styling it. It’s a prop that inspires creativity and poses a challenge for me because no two pieces are identical. Every time I do a fashion shoot, I’m thinking how to use the characteristics of the item(s) to my advantage in order to convey/set the mood that is desired by either client or photographer. How can I incorporate a piece of myself into the shoot and make it unusual? Fashion shoots allow me to step outside of myself, play a different role or character, in a story other than my own. It’s a form of harmless escapism.


Model: Olinka Lickova; Photographer: RenegadePhotography

What do you look for when deciding to work with a photographer?

I first verify that our artistic visions are compatible and preferred genres overlap to some extent. In their portfolio, they have to either shoot the kind of themes I already enjoy shooting or have under their belt some new and intriguing concept that I haven’t shot yet, but have always hoped to try. I always make sure that the person’s photos are crediting models, hair stylists, makeup artists, etc. I’m decent at discerning someone’s general character based on their writing, so their “bio” would be my next go to, sometimes even preceding their images entirely. I’ve always been taught that presentation is everything and I look for writing that denotes some degree of passion for their craft, avoids grammar/spelling errors, remains succinct yet informative and has a healthy dose of confidence without an overbearing arrogance or condescension which many profiles are guilty of exhibiting. Remaining humble and honest will get you far.

Which models or other artists currently inspire you?

I’ve always been an enthusiast of Julia Yaroshenko‘s work. She was the first traveling model I ever stumbled upon and she has resonated with me ever since. Her range of emotions and moods she can embody is incomparable to anything I’ve seen since. Her versatility made an impact on me years ago that I cannot shake.


Model: Olinka Lickova; Photographer: Studio53x

What would be your dream shoot?

My dream shoot would be in an antiquated and derelict church or castle in some remote countryside of the UK, with some extravagant couture or high-end ready-to-wear collection.

How important is social media in your success?

Social media is a necessary evil nowadays, especially for freelance work of any kind. There is no way around it without an agent. I hate that I spend what feels like forever sitting in front of my Mac and poring over messages and profiles, but Instagram and ModelMayhem are indispensable when it comes to booking shoots for me and provide great exposure for minimal cost.


Model: Olinka Lickova; Photographer: ToddEatonImages

What else do you like to do outside of modeling?

There is no “outside of modeling” for me, unfortunately. This is what takes up all of my time. If I am not shooting, I am prepping for a shoot, researching locations/photographers/ideas, going through photos from a recent shoot, editing photos, practicing makeup looks or posing, answering emails, etc. It never ends. I remember that I used to have hobbies at some point! It’s definitely a full-time occupation that seeps into all aspects of life for me. Even on the rare occasion when I find myself at leisure with a friend or parent, my mind is in a frenzy because I’m thinking of all the work-related tasks I could or should be buried in at the same time. I’m a bit of a nut, victim to the all-or-nothing mentality.

What’s the best career advice you can give to new models?

The number one piece of advice I would give is to never let money or flattery cloud your judgment. That nagging voice at the back of your mind or uneasy feeling in your gut telling you something/someone isn’t right is not just paranoia — listen to it. There will always be another shoot, and another chance to prove yourself. Don’t risk personal safety just because you don’t want to cause ripples or offend someone with more experience/credentials than you. I have always chosen my collaborators instinctually and if I come across anything I deem off-kilter, I abort the mission. There are so many red flags in a person’s online presence that go unnoticed because people try to talk themselves into something they really weren’t okay with in the first place. Secondly, beginners have to pay their dues. It’s imperative to humble oneself and realize there is a unique set of skills and knowledge necessary prior to monetizing this endeavor. You have to put immense amounts of money, time and effort into yourself and your work if you want to turn it into a source of income. There is no skipping steps and setting arbitrary rates the day you make a profile.


Model: Olinka Lickova; Photographer: nycphotographer

Check out Olinka Lickova’s Model Mayhem portfolio to see more of her work. You can also follow Olinka on Instagram.

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