From Nada to Prada: An interview with model Diana Noje
With her sky-blue upturned eyes and long hair pouring down her shoulders, Diana Noje is a stunning beauty. Currently a PR and Communication student in Bucharest, Romania, she’s been modelling for almost six years now.
During her modelling career, she’s been everything: from an innocent blonde angel to very seductive women with feline flair. Magazines such as ELLE, Cosmopolitan, All or Rumours, have all featured the 21-year-old Romanian beauty.
The model’s romantic allure has landed her a lasting collaboration with Cherry Chau, a well-established jewellery brand in China. Diana has particularly strong ties to the Chinese brands. She flies at least three months a year, and Hong Kong it’s a top destination.
I sat with her and we talked a lot of trivia. We discussed her career – how she kicked it off, the good and bad that happened along the way; the craziest thing she did for a shooting, and so on. But take a look by yourself.
When did you begin your modelling career and how were you discovered?
It all began when I was 15… A lady owning a small model agency in my city stumbled across my Facebook profile. She then sent few photos of me to a big agency in the capital. I went for a “test shooting” and they asked me straight away to sign a contract with them.
Were you into the idea of modelling before this? Did you expect it would be such a big thing for you?
Like many girls, I fancied the idea of being on the magazine covers or in big brand ads, but I never thought that it could happen to me. When I started, it was all a game for me. Since the beginning, I felt comfortable in front of the camera and I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t realise when it turned out into something this serious.
What about your first modelling experience? How was it?
Actually, I’ve got a job at my very first casting, in Istanbul. I was so excited to be there! And that joy was caught on camera – it was the kind of happiness my client was looking for. I posed for a jewellery brand, and I had the chance to work with an experienced model who taught me a lot. At the end of the day, my client gave me a jewel to celebrate my first modelling job.
Now, do you remember the first time you ever dressed in designer clothes? How did you feel wearing them?
I come from a small city where there are no luxurious brand shops. So, when I started modelling, I had my very first contact with clothes that until then, I’ve only seen in magazines. Like any other girl, I was amazed by how they fit my body and how good they made me look. I remember asking myself when will I be able to afford any of those clothes. (giggles)
What was the first designer item you’ve bought/received?
It was the first time I went to China and stayed there for three months. I remember I was wandering around in a duty-free shop and I felt so happy thinking I was finally flying back home. So, I wanted to spoil myself after all that working. Because it was in winter, I bought myself a pair of boots and a statement scarf from Burberry. It was the best feeling in the world at that time.
Which of your physical features do you consider to be your defining one?
I’m often told that my eyes, and I agree with that.
Do you have a go-to picture pose?
After so many shootings, I’ve got to know my body pretty well and what posture fits me the best. It’s all about choosing a good angle for my profile – like on those times when you take selfies – and focus on the eyes.
What is the craziest, most scandalous thing you ever did for a shooting/ fashion campaign?
Cutting my hair, I. Luckily, it was very long at that time and I ended up with a medium length haircut. Once, I was proposed to cut it short and dye it red. It was for a major campaign in Hong Kong, but I didn’t have the courage to do it.
Can you tell me something funny that happened to you while shooting?
There are many moments that come to my head right now… But I think that time I had to change my clothes in a park full of people. I had an outdoor shooting and there was no place where I could change myself. Of course, the people on the set helped me and they covered me up, but I was still embarrassed. Now when I think about it, it’s quite funny. (smiles)
Do you remember a moment when you experienced a lot of emotions?
I had a lot of emotional moments – especially when I was away from my family and my friends for a long time. I remember the first time I went to China, at 16… As soon as I reached my hotel room, I went straight to the shower and cried for a good amount of time. It was happening all so fast and everything was so different from what I did before. I was thinking I can’t do this.
What was the worst experience you’ve been put through?
The worst moment I’ve experienced so far, was when I worked a whole day with only one break, and at the end of it, the client said he won’t pay my agency because he doesn’t want to use the pictures anymore. I had an outdoor and studio shooting on the same day. A while after this, I found my pictures online and I discovered that the agency for which I worked in that city, lied to me. They actually took the money – my money. I was left with a poker face.
What is your all-time favourite shooting/ fashion campaign?
I think it’s the underwear shooting I recently had in a beautiful mansion by the lake. It was the kind of house that I would love to live in – so peaceful and zen. It didn’t feel like working at all.
Can you tell me something only a person who works in your industry would know?
It’s never what it looks like. Now every time I look through a magazine and see a picture, I know how much effort is put into it. I understand how much work is done before the final pictures come out. Sometimes we would spend hours only to get a good lighting before even taking any pictures…
What do you do besides modelling?
Right now, I’m a second-year PR and Communication student – it takes all of my time. Also, as part of my daily routine, it’s a must to go to the gym. When I have some free time, I like to spend it with my friends and my boyfriend.
With or without make-up? Do you have a signature look?
Umm, I always put on some sunscreen and conceal before I go out. Usually, when I’m not working, I try to let my skin breath after wearing all that heavy make-up.
What’s the one thing you do, and nobody knows you’re doing it?
I like cooking. I must say I’m not the best chef, I know, but I enjoy doing this; especially when it comes to cooking healthy recipes. We must stay in shape, don’t we? (smiles)
What did modelling teach you?
I’ve learned a lot throughout the years… Like, how to live on my own in a foreign country, how to take care of myself… Modelling made a more responsible person and I must say that I was very lucky to have experienced all of this. All in all, it played a major role in my development.
So, what now? What do you do next? Any hopes, dreams, expectations?
I never know what I’m doing next. Usually, I don’t like to make any long-term plans. For now, I want to finish my university and continue with modelling – while I still can. I want to see new places, explore new cultures and I would love to visit America. And why not, have a modelling contract there.