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Interview

Café BWB: Elena Matei

Scouted in Bucharest, this model is conquering NYC & Miami one glossy cover at a time. 

On a crisp Thursday afternoon, we made our way to the oh-so-chic Le Chalet located just below the brand new Parisian restaurant at Saks Fifth Avenue, L’Avenue. We ordered our cappuccinos and macchiatos, and took in the beautiful Swiss charm of Le Chalet – the perfect backdrop for Café BWB.

Elena arrived right on time, wearing an oversized black graphic tee under a fabulous beige fur coat–looking both low-key and glam all at once. Her golden mane fell pin straight past her shoulders, perfectly framing her sparkling blue eyes. But then she let out her sultry Eastern European accent–we were hooked!

Elena has lent her beauty to the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Numéro and Elle. You can also find her alongside Angels like Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima and Doutzen Kroes in Russell James’s iconic photography book. This season, you’ll catch Elena as the face of Beach Bunny Swimwear’s 2020 Resort Collection. Not bad for a model who was scouted while at university all the way in Bucharest!

YOUR DAY
Wake-up time?

I usually wake up around 8 AM and start by drinking my favorite coffee. After that I head to the gym, then finish my morning off by cooking my favorite omelette.

Morning beauty routine?

When I wake up, I use a great toner, vitamin C and sunscreen. Most days, I prefer to be natural and not wear makeup.

One activity you do every day without fail?

Singing ALL day long!

YOUR ESSENTIALS
Your most overused phrase?

I would say my most overused phrases are “my darling,” “I love you,” and “kaput.” :)

How do you unwind?

I LOVE to take long walks. When I’m in New York, I sometimes will even walk up to 13 miles a day. :)

Guilty pleasures?

Desserts and lots of skincare products.

YOUR THINKING
Strengths and weaknesses?

I think my biggest strength is that I’m a very loyal person. Weakness… I’ll keep that a secret :)

What can men learn from women?

In my opinion, I think women can teach men how to be better at listening, how to trust their intuitions, and how to be vulnerable, even if that means crying sometimes.

One thing you would change about your profession?

I’m really happy with how things are going right now; wouldn’t change a thing :)

YOUR LIFE
What one meeting changed your life?

I would say the meeting I had with my manger and Russell James changed my life. He featured me in his (Victoria Secret) photography book, Angels, and I am very thankful for that.

Biggest risk that has paid off?

I would say I take risks every day, but the biggest one that has paid off was moving to a new country.

Proudest moment?

My proudest moment is helping my family.

Alicia Zhang

Originally from Los Angeles, Alicia lived in Shanghai for 11 years before moving back to the states to attend the University of Miami, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in art and philosophy. Currently residing in New York City, Alicia applies her knowledge of strategic communication and design in her career. She enjoys painting, rugby, exploring, and more often than not, you’ll find her petting someone’s dog.

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