Valentina Zelyaeva was born on October 11, 1982, in Moscow, Russia. She got her start as a model when she was just 15 years old, after a friend of hers handed her a business card from a modeling agency. Though she clearly possessed the looks to pursue a career within the fashion industry, Valentina Zelyaeva’s shyness prevented her from calling the phone number immediately, as she instead kept the card in a drawer for several months.
It wasn’t until her mother agreed to go with her that Valentina Zelyaeva finally took the trek to the agency where she dazzled the various figures there with her beauty, and she was instantly signed to a contract. Despite the fact that she was still in high school, Valentina Zelyaeva decided to take a chance and devoted herself full time to her work as a model. She was sent to modeling school to learn how to act and behave in front of the camera and on the catwalk, and it quickly became apparent that Valentina Zelyaeva possessed a natural inclination for the world of modeling.
In September 2003, Valentina Zelyaeva made her professional debut with a stint on the runway for acclaimed designer Cynthia Steffe. She became an instant smash within the fashion world, and it wasn’t long before her face was being spotted in ad campaigns for high-profile companies such as Cole Haan and Neiman Marcus. After popping up on the covers of Italian Glamour and Harpers & Queen, Valentina Zelyaeva caught the attention of none other than Ralph Lauren, who signed her as one of his exclusive models.
She subsequently appeared in a Calvin Klein Jeans campaign in 2005, and, later that year, opened the Ralph Lauren show in New York City. Valentina Zelyaeva’s enduring relationship with Ralph Lauren continued, as she has became a staple at his fall shows and even opened his 40th anniversary show in September of 2007. She kept busy with a host of other endeavors as well, with appearances in Vogue, Elle and W, which certainly helped cement her status as one of the industry’s most prominent up-and-coming figures.
Valentina Zelyaeva has also managed to win the respect and admiration of her modeling peers within the industry, and in April 2008, she was photographed by supermodel Helena Christensen for a spread in the pages of Spanish Vogue.