VANITY FAIR Italia january 2013. English version of the interview:
It-girl, blogger, photographer, and now a great leap into advertizing.
A power-hungry fashionista gives precious advise
about fashion to everyone. Including little Eva. BY CRISTINA MANFREDI
Have you already heard about Cate Underwood? Then it's because you are an enthusiast for Instagram or else you are in search of bloggers who are trend-setters. This Ukrainian girl is one of the new queens of the internet, but don't think she is only interested in praising this or that look online. At 22 years of age, Cate has earned a small segment of international fame because she is a consummate model and, above all, because she shoots super-cool fashion images.
She arrived in Italy thanks to Mauro Grifoni, the brand that wanted her as the protagonist of its most recent two campaigns. Afterwards one of its managers began to follow her photographic posts and was fascinated. Cate Underwood doesn't just represent the new generation of fashionistas from the East, women by now liberated from the bling-aesthetic of the recent past. She was only 18 when she gave birth to Eva, and she talks enthusiastically about her precocious wish for motherhood, something that's in the air throughout Europe and is the result of an intention, not a mistake. Just as was once the case with her own mom, who is also her muse.
Cate, at 22 years old, how do you look after a little girl aged three and a half?
"Well, I chose to marry very young. But when I became pregnant everyone said I'd be sorry and that it would be terrible. That wasn't true. The arrival of Eva galvanized me and was a great motivating force: I matured greatly, in a click. I'm happy to have had her so soon. When I held her in my arms I realized it had been just the right moment to have a daughter."
But is there a devoted husband to take care of everything?
"We separated some time ago. I am a traditionalist and I believe deeply in marriage, but at one point I told myself that my little girl would never be happy if I weren't happy too, and so I made that decision. I would like to say to women of my own age never to be discouraged by human and professional uncertainties. If you think it's the right thing to do, have your children right away. You won't be sorry."
Isn't it possible that raising a baby by yourself has its negative side?
"I look after her, and work and try to help her grow as a person. It's normal that at times I feel a little guilty because I don't devote all my time to Eva, but I think you have that feeling at any age. And then I have a fantastic model to follow: my own mother. There's only twenty years' difference between us, and for me she remains an essential anchor, even professionally."
Tell the truth: Wouldn't you like your own daughter to admire you in the same way?
"And how! One of the most amazing things about motherhood is passing on your own values, even about fashion - why not?"
If you had to give three fashion tips to Eva, what would they be?
"Above all I would tell her always to dress in an appropriate way. Many girls in Kiev have a scruffy look. They reckon they are in the right but, I think, this is only a way of showing their uncertainties. Before going out, I always think about where I am going and I dress myself accordingly. Then, never ever choose shoes that are uncomfortable. At lastly, never try hard but also never neglect your own appearance, even if you are only going to the supermarket for shopping. When it comes down to it, you never know what life might have in store for you in the frozen food department."
Right and above: Cate Underwood, 22, in two preview shots from the Mauro Grifoni 2013 spring/summer campaign, for which she curated the whole concept, as she had already done for the advertising images for the winter collection.