As one of the quintessential top models of the ’90s, Danielle Zinaich better known as Danielle Z has had the kind of career that upcoming models can only dream of. She rose to fame alongside some pretty well-known peers Linda, Naomi and Kate, just to name a few. She has walked the runways of all the greats, from Versace to Givenchy. And that was just the beginning, because she’s only just getting started. Read on to find out some of her favorite career moments, like being shot by Steven Meisel, as well as one of her strangest: Being asked to bark like a dog.
How were you discovered and how old were you?
Wow, well I was discovered by a photographer in Pittsburgh. And I think I was only 15 at the time, still in high school.
What would you consider to be a career defining moment?
Probably working with Steven Meisel, which I know a lot of girls would say but hes a huge movement in this industry. When you start working with him, a whole world of work opens up to you and everybody wants to work with you.
Are there any particular editorial shoots or runway shows that stand out for you?
Definitely doing the Versace shows when Gianni Versace was alive. It was so epic for me going down the runway between Linda and Naomi. It was a major, major moment for me! And the fashion then was just out of control. Those shows were amazing. Untouchable! And as far as a shoot goes, I know I mentioned before the Italian Vogue shoot with Steven Meisel. Thats a great one, but I also did some stuff with Craig McDean that was really cool. I cant really think of one in particular that stands out in my mind because Ive had many special ones, you know?
Photo: Steven Meisel, Vogue Italia
Whats the most bizarre thing youve been asked to do on a shoot?
Oh my gosh! Something I was asked to do and turned down was to get on my hands and knees and bark like a dog. And I told the photographer well, to put it nicely, I told him no (laughs). I wont tell you exactly what I said, but that was probably the most bizarre thing I was ever asked to do.
Do you have a favorite location to shoot?
I love going to Paris. Ive been to Morocco a couple of times and I love it there because its so extreme. And I come back feeling very changed and very appreciative of what I have and the lifestyle that I have here.
Who are some upcoming and current photographers, models and/or designers youre excited about right now?
Lois Samuels she was a fellow model of mine and she is a designer now. I think shes really talented. Also, a mutual friend of both of ours is a photographer, Joanna Totolici her pictures are really, really cool. She’s from Pittsburgh as well, and I have some of her work in my book. She’s a newer, upcoming female photographer. Really cool!
Is there anyone you would love to work with again or have yet to work with?
Hmm, let me think about this. Oh, well definitely Inez! I worked with her once when she first started, and I havent worked with her since. The first time we worked together she said I looked like Kristy Hinze. I think I had bangs at the time. Or maybe I just had bangs for the shoot. I would love to work with her again. I don’t even remember what it was for, but it was a long time ago, when she was first starting out.
Photo: Amy Troost, The Last
How would you say the industry has changed from when you were first coming up?
Big changes! Its much more difficult now for models to make names for themselves. I think now its coming in 2011 and the years to come its going to go back to putting a name to a face. But for the longest time like for the past 10 years it has just been models who come and go because they want fresh new faces. And I think for those girls, it becomes really hard to establish a career for themselves. They either have to go back to school or find a different passion or something different to do because they cant make enough money doing that anymore.
Are there any designers or magazines that you turn to for inspiration?
Definitely! I actually look at a lot of houseware magazines, and I can find inspiration for my clothing by looking at architecture and different color groupings. I love the magazine Dwell its really cool and has modern stuff. So I find inspiration in different types of magazines, not just fashion magazines and just walking around in the streets and listening to music. Magazine-wise, I still read Bazaar, Vogue, W and Nylon. I read all of the Vogues in that matter across the board. But yeah, I like finding my inspiration in other places so it seems a little more independent and different.
Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.
How about that Im 36 or that Im a mom? (laughs)