Model Interview with Zirconia Starfighter by Dj Rex

Hello, I know you’re very busy, so I’d like to thank you for taking some time out for our readers.

Always welcome and, I like to thank you too for the interview. It’s a pleasure to meet old/good friends from past gigs and remember the old-good times.

How long have you been modeling?

As far as I remember, it all started by chance. Officially from 2000, with four years break for my art-school and graphic design University studies. It was at this time (somewhere between 2001-2003) that I received my Bachelor and Master Degree for my main profession as a graphic designer and visual artist. Modeling had always been my second (part time) job.

Photo by Art-In-Black text, Germany Photo by Art-In-Black, Germany

I remember you performing when I first Djed in Athens, that was a long time ago, and you seem to have not aged since then, what’s your secret to staying young looking?

Believe it or not, everyone in my circles keeps asking me the same thing. But no-one ever dared to ask that during an interview and now you find me in complete shock. So, congratulations for your courage to ask that! The answers are many.

Photo by Art-In-Black, Germany Photo by Art-In-Black, Germany

The most important of all is a common-known «secret» we have as family. I have a rare DNA for which my mother is responsible. My mom is older than 56 years now and she looks like she is 37-40 maximum. Everyone gets confused, but this DNA privilege is not passed to all.

It’s also a matter of lifestyle and how much you love yourself and your health. I am a no-smoker, never did drugs in my whole life and I rarely drink (probably you’ll see me drinking at clubs, during parties, once or twice per month, in weekends). She is also an aesthetician and taught me some tricks to remain young. Never get Botox.

I never had a plastic surgery in my life. I am such a chicken to do that. But finally, this was a «trick» as well. Plastic surgery doesn’t make us look all younger. And it’s definitely not the answer. So, no surgery, no Botox, not even aesthetic facial cleansing. Although my mother is an aesthetician, she never had a facial cleansing (or face-lift) and she still has not a single wrinkle on her face. Same happens with me.

Of course, if a client asks her for this she will do it as a professional but never to herself. The more you put your face into, the more it asks.

Photo by Art-In-Black, Germany Photo by Art-In-Black, Germany

Photo by, ChronosGr (Greece) Photo by, ChronosGr (Greece)

What is the secret then? The answer is: mind control. That doesn’t mean that you try to remain young by forcing your brain to «think young every day». It’s exactly the opposite. As far as I remember myself during scholarship, all kids tried to look older as fast as possible, by using make-up, smoking, drinking etc. at a very young age, in order to look cooler and more «experienced», if I could say so. I never found it interesting or cool. Being relaxed about everything, cheerful, creative and optimistic should mostly be a child’s way of view.

Remember yourselves as when you were kids, how innocent and willing you were to explore life. Never lose the child in you; never hurry for things to happen, never act in a competitive, hostile or negative way about others, never think about enemies or how to get sexier every day like it’s necessary. Let things happen naturally without being control freaks with compulsive tendencies. You will be very disappointed with the results. These are adult’s matters.

Believe me, it works. I don’t recommend you of course to not act and behave your age. Just watch around some girls who are killing time and money to look sexy, attractive (and older), in every step they do. In the meantime you may hear them talking shit about others, (cyber) bullying, complaining about everything, harassing people, taking advantage of situations/others, lying (mostly to themselves), caring too much about what others are doing, being all-time-stalkers forever. Believe me; they may have cellulite even at the age of 19. Same happens with men, doing all that stuff again and, being miserable in general. All these behaviors make them look older than their age. At the best of cases they may look good until the age of 25.

Later, they do age, in the worst way you can imagine; that’s the cost of vanity. Beauty is temporary. To make it permanent it needs personality skills. Be grateful every day for what you have, who you are, focus on the things you love, have no hate inside your souls (as much as possible).

Photo by, DS Photo (Greece) Photo by, DS Photo (Greece)

Photo by, DS Photo (Greece) Photo by, DS Photo (Greece)

How has your performance developed over the years?

I started as a go-go dancer, only because I liked it. Later I thought there were many go-go dancers around in my country, as well as in all countries of the world, so, I concentrated more on what I liked. I enlarged my wardrobe according to my taste and creativity I had in my mail job and interests (graphic design and arts). My mini-sculptures and drawings always represented some fictional characters with extravagant clothing, dark and strong characteristics. Sometimes they were represented as heroes of medieval ages, or more futuristic from outer space. I tried to do on me all things I did in my drawings, sculptures and designs, after it worked out I stared playing with fire and sparkles.

My robot suit with my angle grinder offers an extraordinary grinding show with sparkle effects. My cabaret outfits combined with some of my favorite music and choreographed moves offer a complete burlesque show. I add fire shows (fire breathing, fire spitting) and some tricks to these shows and they turn to be more spectacular. Rehearsals always help in each case and the point is to be creative and as unique as possible in the entertainment field. To love what you do and pass your positive energy to the audience is the best thing to do. Instead of a diva you got to be authentic as well.

Photo by, John Tsilidis Greece Photo by, John Tsilidis Greece

Photo by, John Tsilidis Greece Photo by, John Tsilidis Greece

Your shows are very visual, do you believe people should be encouraged to express their individuality in public more?

People should express themselves in the way they prefer. We are all unique. Every single person has different experiences, interests, skills, habits, live events, taste etc. and of course, profession.

There are people who prefer to remain anonymous, working backstage, or at an office in their own serenity and security. I don’t want and I cannot pass such a belief to anyone. We all should be encouraged to do whatever makes us happy either in public or privately. Our individuality should get better, day by day, by hard work.

Photo by, Anthony David Photography Greece Photo by, Anthony David Photography Greece

Photo by Anna-Sofia Koumbarou (Greece) Photo by Anna-Sofia Koumbarou (Greece)

What got you first interested on modeling and performance?

My family’s lifestyle included lots of concerts, travels, exhibitions, parties and clubbing, they were very open-minded. Visiting places as a viewer and fan with the curiosity of a child put me later into the «bug» of creation and self-creation. I was never given anything as a gift, I created everything by myself.

My father is a journalist and, I assure you, he never even contributed to my promotion as a performer…not a single penny. He actually was against it all and, so was my mother, not because they followed some kind of conservative standards but, because of my other -more important- skills in grammar, literature, languages, writing, design, sculpting (and more to mention). It was a matter of over-protection. They didn’t want me to expose myself to so much hype. Nothing was offered to me, I earned everything with my own efforts and hard work.

My first interest into modeling happened by chance. I had a photo-shooting proposal by the owner and administrator of a webpage in United Kingdom. I was a very shy kid of –almost- 18 years old. My answers were continuously negative. So, in order to get me as a model (although I had not even one image of myself for a descent basic portfolio) was a paid shooting. My career as a model started with paid assignments, model release (although I wasn’t a model yet) and no portfolio at all. And the story follows on my website (www.zirconia-starfighter.com).

Photo by Anna-Sofia Koumbarou (Greece) Photo by Anna-Sofia Koumbarou (Greece)

Photo by Anna-Sofia Koumbarou (Greece) Photo by Anna-Sofia Koumbarou (Greece)

Zirconia Starfighter is a great name, what was the inspiration behind that name?

Thanks for your kind words! A variety of different things inspired me for that nickname. My first entry on the net was in music forums, near 2000. I needed a nick to write on each topic. So, based on my surname (which starts from ‘Z’) I wanted to think about something more creative and rare than a super-hero’s name (like Zorro).

I always preferred the cyber subculture in my styling. Cyber styles include lots of cyberlocks and CT. Cyberlocks look like pipelines, rexlace looks like wires. Zirconium is a chemical element with the symbol Zr which is used in small amounts as an alloying agent for its strong resistance to corrosion. It is used in electricity issues (as well as pipelines) and, it is also referred to as zirconia.

This colorless solid has exceptional fracture toughness and chemical resistance. It is a common diamond substitute and my favorite gem. Zirconia was also an infamous monster name of an anime, Sailor Moon. It was the ugliest and most mysterious of all with no specified sex. It was a cool challenge of mine to use it as a main nickname.

As for «Starfighter», I admit I am a huge Welle:Erdball fan and “Starfighter F-104G” is one of my favorite tracks of theirs. So, it turned to be my imaginary surname, also since I’d been a «fighter» my whole life. I had performed for them on stage at Leipzig (Germany), during Wave Gotik Treffen festival at the Kohlrabizirkus stage, as the double of Frl Plastique and as a shadow dancer as well. This performance was in 2008 and I had the nickname since 2000.

Photo by, Anestis Chatzibeis Photography (Greece) Photo by, Anestis Chatzibeis Photography (Greece)

Photo by, Anestis Chatzibeis Photography (Greece) Photo by, Anestis Chatzibeis Photography (Greece)

I see that you have presented yourself as a – graphic designer, visual artist, fetish/alternative model, go-go girl & burlesque performer, let’s talk about that for a moment … so graphic designer? How long have you been doing that?

I studied at Vakalo School of Art & Design (www.vakalo.gr), the first graphic design school (a 55 years old University) in Greece after finishing school. I received a Bachelor Degree from the University of Derby (UK) close to 2002, as they co-operate together as schools and continued with my Master Degree right after. In 2003 I had a Master Degree as well and started graphic design for prints between 2003 and 2004. Since then I never stopped. Officially, I count 8 years of working experience. Un-officially I had been a freelance graphic designer since 2002.

Photo by, Art-In-Black, Germany Photo by, Art-In-Black, Germany

Photo by, Art-In-Black, Germany Photo by, Art-In-Black, Germany

What kind of things do you tend to design?

Poster and flyer design, labels, logos, building stickers, professional cards, book covers and almost anything I might be asked in the digital printing domain. Also women figures, outfits, fashion, anything that my imagination asks me to try to materialize. My retouching skills are also very useful and memorable.

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

Could you describe what you mean by visual artist?

Visual artist’s work is involved with anything related to the image. It can be a brand ID, a picture, a building, a decorative object, a wall, a label, a presentation or even a person. I do my whole styling and other people’s styling as well.

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

You’ve also said you are a fetish/alternative model, in what way does fetish and alternative modeling differ from more mainstream modeling?

Don’t mention it. Fetish is a reason why all «mainstream» fashion started getting a bit more interesting nowadays. I see lots of fetish elements in daily fashion at the moment. So, I don’t know if we can easily speak about fetish as it is special anymore.

For me fetish fashion is darker, elegant and sexy without being vulgar and boring. It invades our darkest fantasies, it’s artistic at times. It differs in many ways with its originality in textures and designs. I was always attracted by queerness in my whole evolution in fashion from my childhood and not by the usual stuff. So, of course it differs from mainstream modeling. However, mainstream copies a lot from fetish lately and we tend to get confused.

Photo by, Constantinos Vergakis, Greece Photo by, Constantinos Vergakis, Greece

I see you’ve said you also do burlesque performance, burlesque has a rich theatrical heritage, do you draw any inspiration from the years of history that burlesque offers?

Yes, I do a lot. I am a great cabaret-fan. My burlesque show has some elements from Steve Antin’s “Burlesque” movie with Cher and Christina Aguilera. As a kid I always watched old classic movies, with famous divas starring in them. I loved old classic pinups and sometimes a few newer ones.

Some who caught my attention were Veronica Lake, Bette Davis, Jayne Mansfield, Bettie Page, Betty Grable, Jean Harlow and of course, the fabulous Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe! I also was very into Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford who were –in my humble opinion- a bit more special as pinups, far from the classic pinup looks. This “film noire” attraction of mine connected to my taste (which was filled up with my love for mystery since my childhood) put me into a deeper search for all kinds of art in general, not only in fashion, music and lifestyle(s). In time, I adapted my own creative ideas to my own style and created my own Persona.

Photo by, Constantinos Vergakis, Greece Photo by, Constantinos Vergakis, Greece

The Independent Voice also features a lot of music, so could you tell what kind of music you love to dance and perform to the most?

They are too many to mention. Electro-industrial is my favorite genre but I also like industrial (industrial for the masses such as Soman), EBM/TBM, aggrotech, power noise, noise, techno, psychedelic, trance, gabber, gothic, electro, old-school electro, minimal electronics, electro-goth, gothic, avant garde, experimental, dark ambient, tech house, deep house, synth-pop, future pop, mainstream pop and some –very- selected mainstream sounds as well.

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

Do you have any wild stories from your time performing in clubs?

There are too many good and bad ones to mention since 1996 as fan and 2004 as a performer. Let’s say I was an under-aged fan who became a well known Persona later (that was a cool story for me). I can mention that I only visited clubs as a music lover and not a dj-lover wannabe like most silly girls tended to do. Most of them came for the dj’s and, to show off their clothes and not for the music.

This lame habit (to become the dj’s girlfriend) is noticed to all female generations. Not to mention that, nowadays six out of nine people in the clubbing domain have become «dj’s» and brag too much about I, which is a bit ridiculous and lacks of originality. But I believe these cases are all time classic. The wilder ones had to do with fights between politically placed individuals hungry for bloody brawls.

There were many misunderstandings then and now. The rest is just childish gossip for morons. The good stories have all to do with some precious qualified musical moments we all shared in the «golden» times.

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

How about the modeling shoots? Any crazy stories from those?

I have done one-hour and twelve hour photo-shootings in every possible place and weather conditions, with lots and few clothes as well. I have been body painted for 5-7 hours for photo-shootings and catwalks which made me very patient and taught me how to freeze my movements. There had been passengers looking at me and the photographer when we had an outdoor shooting at few special places but, I never cared. I was always comfortable in front of the camera, even from the day I started.

All the photographers I co-operated with (and trust me, they are many and from many places in the world) were real gentlemen and professionals. If anyone wanted to have the 100% full portfolio in his lifetime (speaking about Greece) included me in to fulfill the «alternative» fetish, or extravagant of his/her work. I am grateful to all of them and no, I have no strange or crazy story to tell. Or I never regarded them as crazy.

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

So, what about your spare time, what kind of things do you like to do?

I read a lot, listen to a lot of music, retouch images, watch movies, hang out with friends and make plans for special self-made fashion designs to complete.

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

You want to let our readers know where they can find you on-line?

My official website is www.zirconia-starfighter.com where I keep all my galleries up to date. The fastest way to get in touch with me, either for a booking or a simple message is my email (info@zirconia-starfighter.com).

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

To watch my videos you can go on Youtube channel

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

Some other external links and blogspots where you may find more pictures, news and updates of mine are here:
Tumblr
Blogspot:
Myspace
Twitter
Modelmayhem
Altopedia
Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

Any last words?

Be original, creative and have fun. Try to give so much time to the improvement of yourselves that you have no time to criticize others, be yourselves in every step you do, in every decision you make. I wish you all the best for your life and career.

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

19. Thanks again for your time.

Always welcome!

Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece) Photo by, Tassos Oreopoulos (Greece)

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