A few months back, I had the pleasure of meeting Maria Lankina, aka the Russian photographer from Miami Social, at the Scott Barnes book launch in Bal Harbour. She had just begun the show Playboy Shootout, which has since wrapped. I caught up with Maria and decided she was perfect to interview for my site. Maria is a Russian bombshell in the strongest sense of the phrase. But, as you’ll see from my interview, she is much more than just a pretty face. Readers, I welcome you to learn more about Maria Lankina. I promise you won’t be dissapointed!
Ten Questions with Maria:
1. So, you recently finished filming Playboy Shootout. How was that experience?
Surreal to say the least. It became a dream come true I didn’t know I have had. I learned a lot about Mr. Hugh Hefner. Production was terrific and overwhelming. Lots of hours of waiting–being separated from other contestants, only to rush and complete an impossible task of brainstorming the shoot, choosing location, styling, make up , actual shooting and then editing — all in two hours. I was lucky to have the assisting team for Arny Freytag helping me out. They were fantastic and extremely helpful. Best team I ever worked with so far. Other then that it was like a paid intense vacation with all the phenomenal views from the Malibu Mansion we were filming in.
2. In the future, which type of show would you rather be involved in, something like Playboy Shootout or your other reality program, Miami Social? Why?
Perhaps less of a competition and more of a reality; or perhaps act another character rather then myself in a real film production. Competitions are highly stressful and judges often don’t agree and productions costs dictate who stays and who leaves. It’s a game more than a competition. (But) It was fun to do, and I would do it again without a question. I learned a LOT on both productions.
3. On Miami Social, we saw your teenage daughter Angelika leave for boarding school. What was behind your decision to send her to Switzerland rather than go to school here in Miami?
Angelika was a cosmopolitan child from the get go. She is highly versed and intelligent (went to school in 5 different countries), and I wanted her to be surrounded by people that had similar experiences so that she wouldn’t have to struggle to fit in; to instead use her energy on studying, learning new things, and generally evolving. It worked well for her and it’s her third year at school and she is planning to stay all through high school there before she goes off to a creative writing program in NYC.
4. So, we’re all familiar with your photography, which is amazing by the way. Tell me how you got into painting. Which of the two mediums is your favorite?
Thank you for the compliment. I have had a project in mind for mixed media ( photography and painting ) and had to explore various mediums before I found my favorite for abstract painting, and of course my beloved silk screen. Art for me is more about improvisation than thinking, and I had successfully merged the two. After well received art exhibits in Miami, I am moving onto my new project — from abstract to merging my photography, silkscreen, and abstract painting together. It will be highly intellectual project with wide mass appeal. Can’t wait to share it with everyone when it is ready to be presented to public.
5. You’ve traveled all over the world. What’s one place you would love to return to and why?
London, England without a question. People breath an air of creativity there and it never stops.
6. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
It’s everywhere. Look around, take it in, and you feel inspired. Bertolucci movies, old Italian films, contemporary and modern art, intellectual conversations, and the internet…
7. You’ve spoken openly about overcoming struggles when life get tough rather than quitting. Who has inspired you to give 100% of yourself to your dreams?
My daughter and my family, and a true belief that I am special and I have a path that I am destined for. I had always known my life will be experiential and so it had been, and continues to be, and I consider myself truly blessed.
8. Miami is a ridiculously sexy city. How do you stay in shape?
I watch what I eat and drink, I frequent Equinox everyday ( gym — yoga, pilots, kettlebell workouts and lots of spinning ); I take long walks and sometimes jog on the beach and Venetian causeway. I meditate–which is perhaps one of the utmost important activities to keep your mind from rushing a thousand miles an hour.
9. What are your favorite local spots to go for dining/dancing/people watching?
It changes every few months. I often visit new art gallery openings in the Design District, MAM events, the Wolfsonian on Washington Ave (they have fantastic cafe inside that makes you feel you are in Soho New York for a moment), Soho House, The Standard (which is great for Sundays for people watching), Nespresso on Lincoln Road is few steps away from my artist’s studio and a great meeting place, Meat Market for lobster mashed potatoes, Bardot in downtown is great for live bands and underground atmosphere, Jo Allens and Ice Box (ask for the green tea with syrup–its to die for ! ) for lunch, Sardinia for late lunch. I am not much of a club person, but if I do go, I choose old staples like Mynt, Set, and LIV, the new place Arcadia that opened up recently, W and Setai Hotels great for late night drink or two and Gansevoort’s pool parties during day are good.
10. And finally, last time that I saw you, you were missing New York City. Has Miami grown on you? If so (I hope!), what do you love about living here?
I still miss New York and London and Europe, however nothing beats Miami weather and light, so I am sticking here for a while 🙂 If you dig deep and are persistent, you will find a magical circle of friends that warms your heart and calms your soul.
So, there you all have it. Not only is she beautiful and talented, she’s also ridiculously intelligent and has such great appreciation for life and creativity. She is an artist, a mother, and a hard worker, and manages these roles fantasically. You can read more about her and see some her work at www.lankina.com.
Happy weekend everyone!