Iris Strubegger is a top model, plain and simple. One might be tempted to pigeonhole the Austrian native with her short hair and killer cheekbones in the edgy or androgynous category, but while she represents those looks very well, her talents go well beyond that. Each runway season she brings life to the top designers’ creations and does it with great aplomb, regardless of whether the look is flowy or flirty, glamorous or sporty, avant garde or classic. When runway season is over, Iris steps in front of the lens of the top photographers, delivering compelling editorials and memorable campaigns. If that isn’t enough, she adds even more to her agencies’ coffers by snagging high-end catalogs and look book assignments.
To top it all off, Iris Strubegger is a nice person. When her name comes up in conversation, the compliments start flowing with no prompting, Yannis Nikolaou, a director at Iris’ mother agency Place Models exclaims, "she is the nicest girl… beautiful inside and out! Iris is more than just a model to us, she is a friend."
So do you want to know more about Iris? Here she is, in her own words.
Q: What was it like growing up in Salzburg, Austria? How would you describe it to someone who has never been there?
A: It is just amazing, like a pool of nature: lots of mountains, trees, little lakes and streams. It is a source of energy for recharging in between work.
Q: How do your family and the people you grew up with respond to you now that you are a top model?
A: I think they are happy for me. I am also very grateful that all my family and friends are very supportive and understanding towards my demanding and crazy job.
Q: What languages do you speak?
A: German and English
Q: I know you were scouted when you were an exchange student in New York. Why did you decide to accept the scout’s advice to pursue modeling? Were you encouraged you to model before then, and what were your thoughts at the time about being a model when you were younger?
A: Of course people always told me I could be a model cause I was skinny and tall, but that was in the countryside of Salzburg where nobody knows anything about fashion and modeling. I never had the desire to be a model because I was too realistic to think I could ever be a model, an actress, or a princess – these are just the silly dreams of little girls. Even when the model scout approached me, I didn’t think I could be successful, but my family supported me and I knew I could always return home and go to university if it didn’t work.
Q: A few years ago, you quit modeling? Did you actually quit or take a break, and why?
A: I actually quit because I didn’t understand anything back then. I hated the crazy schedule and couldn’t cope with it. I also missed my family and friends. I also had private problems back then, and it was just too much at that time, so it was the best decision for me to quit.
Q: When you decided to return to modeling were you afraid that the industry would not take you back?
A: No, I was not afraid at all, I just wanted to try again and see if I could be successful, and if not, I had many possibilities with my major.
Q: Are you a better model now as opposed to your first stint in modeling?
A: I think so, because I am able to understand the whole business much better than back then… plus I really enjoy it now!
Q: It was exhausting just watching you walk in over seventy shows during the Spring / Summer 2010 season, how did you get through it? What did you do immediately after you walked your last show?
A: During the shows we all just sleep a couple of hours every day because of late night fittings and early call times, but in the end it is worth it – as I mentioned before. The first thing I usually do after my last show is to go for a real and warm meal.
Q: How did the "Iris" tattoo come about at the Jean-Paul Gaultier show? Was it difficult to remove?
A: I guess JPG decided that. The girl that did my tattoo was done with it in five minutes, she was awesome! I loved that tattoo and I love JPG, he is so creative and gifted and his shows are always something special and a lot of fun. The tattoo was very easy to remove although I hated to destroy this little piece of art.
Q: Did you like having hair again at Dior, was that a full wig or just a piece?A: Oh I loved the hair at Dior! They did an amazing job and I was very grateful for it; it was not only one piece, it was thousands of pieces glued to my head – it was an amazing feeling and people loved it. I so enjoyed working with John Galliano and it was incredibly exciting to walk my first Dior show!
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.