Photos by David Nash
She has walked the runway for Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. She’s graced the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, W and Elle. But fashion icon Tatiana Sorokko refuses to define beauty by conventional standards; instead, she attributes her timeless beauty to lifestyle and being comfortable with herself.
The supermodel of the 1990s and 2000s now enjoys life as a wife, stepmother, writer, couture collector and owner and curator of the Sorokko Gallery in downtown San Francisco. She stunned the fashion world with her reemergence into modeling with a four-page feature in Harper’s Bazaar last December. When it comes to her own sense of beauty, Sorokko is living proof that true beauty isn’t about age; it’s about attitude.
What is your personal philosophy on beauty?
Beauty doesn’t come out of a jar or from your cosmetic surgeon. It’s in your attitude, your curiosity, your values, your connection to family and friends, and to the world.
Do you believe that beauty is about looking your best at any age, or do you believe that looking young is always attainable?
At a certain age women need to develop a style which is more about elegance than fashion. I believe it is unappealing for a woman to try to look like a teenager. Obsessively chasing youthfulness in appearance can lead you in the wrong direction. A youthful spirit, on the other hand, can make a world of difference.
How have you maintained your looks throughout the years?
A consistent beauty regime does more good than constant visits to a plastic surgeon’s office. No “extreme makeovers” for me. Take the best care of your skin possible – stay out of the sun (or at the very least, use SPF80 or SPF100), and moisturize.
In your opinion, how has the standard of beauty changed through the years?
Beauty is a universal ideal. In the 17th century, the Rubenesque woman, one with a fuller figure, was considered quite beautiful. Today we have Photoshop, which creates a false sense of beauty and what is really attainable. Being comfortable in your own skin is the most important thing.
As a model, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned about beauty?
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, and never go to bed with makeup on – it’s as simple as that.
How do beauty and fashion relate to each other?
Fashion and beauty go hand-in-hand. Fashion actually dictates the colors in the palates of makeup. Most beauty companies attend the same fabric fairs as fashion designers to see the trends in color to create shades of the next year’s cosmetics accordingly.
How has your health routine changed over the years?
I do less rigorous exercise, and much more Pilates and yoga. Those two things together help sustain me.
What women, personally or professionally, do you look up to as icons, and why?
Glenda Bailey, the Editor of Harper’s Bazaar, for her sense of style and vision for the future; Deeda Blair, the American style icon, for her wisdom and timeless elegance; Mona von Bismarck for her legacy – in 1933 she was named “The Best Dressed Woman in the World” – the first American to earn this title; Pauline de Rothschild for her unprecedented taste level in everything; Belgian artist Countess Isabelle de Borchgrave for her incomparable sense of color and creative ingenuity; and Georgette Mosbacher for her passion and integrity.
You’ve traveled all over the world – what are some of the things that inspire you?
Art and artists inspire me. Obscure museums like the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris – Claude Monet’s rarely seen versions of his famous Water Lilies are extraordinary and very charming – and the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston – the hanging nasturtium vines are simply divine. But, my favorite place in the world is Venice during the Biennale.
What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in life?
Fashion is fleeting; style is inborn – you have it or you don’t. Family and friends, however, are the most important things in life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years – modeling, fashion, your gallery and otherwise?
I see myself anywhere in the world with my husband, Serge. And as long as we’re together I’ll be happy and content.
What are your top beauty tips and tricks?
There are a few things I enjoy regularly: facials from Angelina Umansky at Spa Radiance; manicures and pedicures from Raya at Yelena’s Spa; and acupuncture from Efrem Korngold at Chinese Medicine Works. For hair styling and color I see Melissa Wagner, owner of Secret Agent Salon – she is the best in town. Beyond that – washing my face with both hot and cold water, making sure to get plenty of sleep and living the happiest life possible.