When I booked my trip to Los Angeles for five days, the first question I asked my mom was “Is Olesja going to be there?!”Olesja Mueller is a world renowned photographer who has shot fashion editorials for celebs like Dance Moms’ Asia Monet Ray and Lilliana Ketchman and for an array of magazines worldwide. After an incredible first session with her in NYC, I couldn’t wait to see what she had up her sleeve on the West Coast.
Upon my arrival, Olesja gave me a huge bear hug, took me by the hand, and led me to a large table with clothing spread across it. We tried on a variety of different looks, from a turtleneck dress to stripes on stripes. I told her my favorites and she assembled the perfect fashion ensemble while I got my hair and makeup done by the incredible Aga Jakubowski.
My first hairdo was a crimped side sweep paired with natural, everyday makeup. As for the clothing, we settled on a pink dress from Zara a flowing chiffon overlay. My favorite part was the pearl entwined braiding across the bodice. I even wore my pointe shoes with black fishnet socks—as Olesja put it, we were going for a “grunge ballerina” vibe.
We all walked up to the rooftop of the studio (how lucky we were...the elevator wasn’t working); I tied my pointe shoes while Olesja set up her camera. As I tucked my last ribbon in, she shouted to stay right where I was so she could get a shot of me tying my pointe shoes. The sun was beating down on our faces—it was a struggle to keep my eyes open for the shots!
I got to showcase some of my favorite ballet moves from my 12 years of training; I felt like I was floating as I spun around with the chiffon chasing my shoes.
One of the highlights of this part of the shoot was when Olesja climbed up on a tall ledge and took a professional video of me improvising. I remember dancing non-stop for five minutes as Olesja kept hopping on and off the ledge to video different angles: up close, far away, high up, or from below. It was a blast, but I have to say, I was looking forward to drinking my ice water in the hair/makeup room!
When we were all done shooting on the rooftop (after 45 minutes!) we went back downstairs to change up the look. For the hair, we kept the crimped style but pulled it back into a half updo with a twist: a top knot on the crown of my head. As for the makeup, Aga added more bronzer because she knew that it would look great in the light of the golden sunset that was slowly approaching.
The outfit was absolutely stunning: a green high neck romper with a keyhole in the center, as well as an open back. At first I was hesitant, but the bright color ultimately convinced me, as well as the cream colored Miu Miu jacket with pearl sleeves that we paired with it. Lastly, we added a colorful accessory: a baby pink shoulder bag with embroidered birds and flowers. Now, it was time to head out to the shooting location!
Olesja drove us to a bridge that had a walkway on the side, where I would stand for the photos. My mom was extremely nervous, since we were shooting so close to the edge of the traffic where cars were zooming by! I kept insisting that I would be careful and that it would be worth it if we got the perfect shot. And boy, was I right!
My shoot with Olesja was truly an afternoon to remember, full of adventure and style. Viewing the photos a couple weeks later was incredibly thrilling--now I have a piece of LA with me every time I glance at the pic she took of me on my iPhone’s lock screen.