Irina Lazareanu was born June 8, 1982, in Transylvania, Romania, but emigrated with her family at age 5 to Canada where she was raised in a Montreal suburb. It was there that she first distinguished herself as a dancer, and she left her adopted hometown in 1995 to study ballet at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, England.
Unfortunately, Irina Lazareanu’s ambitions were soon derailed when she suffered a devastating knee injury. Unable to dance, she retreated into London’s infamous party scene where she met a motley cast of characters, including Pete Doherty, who was then a member of The Libertines. The pair hit it off immediately and engaged in a torrid love affair that was well documented in the British tabloids.
Although their relationship was ultimately short-lived, it did lead to a budding friendship with Doherty’s future lover Kate Moss. The British supermodel took an instant liking to Irina Lazareanu’s striking appearance, and she helped launch her career in 2005 when she selected Irina to appear in an issue of French Vogue that she had been asked to guest edit. The editorial transformed Irina Lazareanu into an overnight sensation and she was soon strutting her stuff down the runway for a number of top international designers including Chanel, Alistar Carr, Betty Jackson, Karen Walker, and Robert Cary-Williams.
Irina Lazareanu’s career received another tremendous boost the following year in 2006 when she was photographed by Steven Meisel for the cover of Italian Vogue. The magazine affirmed her place among fashion’s elite, and she went on to appear in more than 65 shows that year, adding A-list designers like Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, and Louis Vuitton to her already impressive resume. She also began working with Sean Lennon on an understated folk album entitled Some Place Along the Way.
2007 was another banner year for Irina Lazareanu as she appeared in more than 100 shows, earning her the nickname “the fashion tornado.” She also added to her increasing visibility by gracing the covers of several glossy magazines including Sleek, W and Woman.
Although Irina Lazareanu has lessened her workload over the past year and a half, she continues to model for major fashion houses such as Burberry, Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Fendi, and Oscar de la Renta. She also appeared recently in high-profile advertising campaigns for Coach, Joop!, Just Cavalli, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tiffany.