I want to offer my deepest appreciation to Sam Wren for translating La Celeste Blog’s interview with model Martina Graf into English. He put great effort into making sure that the translation was as accurate and accessible as possible to our English readers. Sam, thank you for helping us with this. To the rest: enjoy the interview!
LCB interviews the successful model Martina Graf. The most notable among her recent works are her calendar with Sebastián Eguren, photos with Quenonino and a new commercial for Grappamiel Vesubio. She also participated in the competition for Miss Universe Uruguay in 2010 among others.
Do you use a water heater or does the water heat itself when you take a bath?
Hahaha. The only things that I heat are the shower water, the water for the mate, and the water for washing greasy dishes. I also make an extra donation for the outside showers of the Conrad Resort and Casino [in Punta del Este] y también hago una donación extra para las duchas de afuera del sauna del Conrad
Tell us a little bit about your agency.
Actually, I am not going to tell you MUCH about my agencies. I don’t work exclusively with agencies ; my best-known works were almost always obtained outside of an agency and I would directly negotiate with them myself. Here in Uruguay, the topic of agencies is a big topic. My first agency – and one to which I still belong today – is called Karina and it is basically for actors. I began there when I was 15 years old. Two years ago, I joined Velentino Bookings due to a reality of the business. There are things that Valentino monopolizes and, well, to be a model here you have to be a part of it.
As a result of what happened to Jazmín de Grazia, the media revealed the intrinsic demands of practicing your profession. What can you add in respect to this? Have you felt pressured to adjust to the standards of modelling at the highest level?
By no means. The reality in Uruguay – as I say to everyone – is that a model is lying when they say that they earn their living on the runway. Here, commercial and publicity models get the most work and provide profits for all of the agencies. In Uruguay we have excellent producers, creativity, locations, beautiful people (frequently the descendants of European immigrants) and it is cheap in comparison. This has led to the country becoming a great centre of the production for commercials that will later be broadcasted in other countries – principally in Central America, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Mexico, etc.
For these commercials, women of varying physical characteristics are always sought out, but I can tell you almost with my eyes closed that the thin prototype of the high fashion model (thin as a knife edge and with a pallid face make up) only makes up the 0.1%! People want to see themselves reflected in a commercial – more attractive or less attractive – but they want to believe in the product that is being sold to them. If you take someone who, at times, shows or simulates health problems and is, in addition, three feet [1 meter] taller than everyone else, this is not a form of advertising that is directly effective. Consequently, this is not my profile. I take care of myself and I ALONE place demands on myself because I like to give my best, but never because anyone has wanted to impose a weight or size limit on me.
How was your beginning in modelling?
I began at the age of 15 because I required money for a certain reason at the time. I signed with an agency and began attending casting sessions. Never in my life had I aspired to be a model – not even a little. In reality, when I was a little girl I wanted to be a cashier in a grocery store. As a child, I loved putting things in bags. Hahaha.
For my first casting session, I went in nervous and left even more nervous. The nerves accumulated over several days as I waited for them to call. I should say that in the beginning it was not easy: I was never the first choice for anything. Later I began to understand the process better and to realize that if they were not calling me, it was not because I was ugly, fat, short or gaudy, but, rather, simply because in THAT particular case I did not fit the profile that they needed. It is a lesson in life – like having job interviews every day: learning to lose is fundamental. With time I began to work better each time and today I can say that I basically make my living from it.
What is the secret of conquering a woman that can count on an endless number of proposals?
If I knew, I wouldn’t tell – you have to discover it! Haha. But, anyway, I consider myself a very open woman. I am structured but I permit myself to be flexible in this area. Persons with values, above all, interest me, as well as, of course, intelligent men [My chances are shot, then - Nico]
What are your future projects and dreams? Do you admire anyone in particular?
I don’t admire anyone and never admired anyone. I do not I have idols, nor have gone to any concert, nor am I a fan of any soccer team! I am a little weird in that respect – I don’t understand all the fanaticisms (don’t kill me soccer people!! Haha). [We aren’t holding a grudge against you, dear. Quite the contrary - Nico]. My theory is that I have not yet encountered the “something” that would make me change.
As for my projects, in addition to modeling, I am a horse-riding instructor. I give lessons in Punta del Este – where I live from Tuesday to Friday – and it is something I am passionate about. I am 22 years old and I do not have a conformist mentality, but, nonetheless, I can say that if my life were to continue this way for the rest of my life, I would be immensely happy. In fact, I am immensely happy and grateful. I wake up every day in peace in the country (I live with animals – I love them) and I can have free slots of time on the weekends to go on escapades to Montevideo if I have some work or competition. But one must ALWAYS have projects and dreams and to be ambitious about them. I can say that now I would like to get more deeply involved with television. I am currently assisting with the presentation of this season of Minuto para ganar (Minute to Win It) on channel 12 and I am happy with it– happy with maintaining the profile that I want to present and not accepting any offers out of desperation. I am also starting to take classes on public speaking to, obviously, have more tools to continue growing in the field in which I hope to stay for many years.
Have you sensed that you intimidate people? Perhaps it has happened that someone was interested in you but has not approached you because you made them shy. In my case, something similar happens: it’s not that I go unnoticed by the girls – they just don’t even want to look at me because I am so handsome, or so says my mother.
Hahahaha, poor thing! If I want something, I go after it! If I happened to be in public or at an event, I tend to have a serious face – and I like to put it on! Hahaha [Sounds good to me - Nico]. Later, if you come to talk to me and I know you, I’m the funnest person in the world. But I like to appear serious on the outside. I’m kind of a bitch in that way! Haha.
How is it to be a professional model – to walk the runways for top brands – and is your opinion about the current styles?
Being a professional model is not only about walking the runway. As a matter of fact, the opportunities in Uruguay for walking the runway for top brands are very limited. My greatest professional achievements I had were in Rio de Janeiro during 2009 where, more than anything, I participated in printed advertising campaigns, and among them a worldwide campaign for a super well-known brand of underwear. It was awesome!! Anyway, being a model is not only about working for the top brands: there are many more that invest and that form you as a professional, and they are not necessarily multinational companies! Now that I live in Uruguay I am content because, from my point of view, the market on the domestic level is obviously complicated. Almost all brands of clothing come from Argentina or from other countries and they come with their advertising campaigns already made with models from outside. Consequently, here there remains nothing to do. Nonetheless, domestic production in terms of fashion is growing and the designers and companies are getting encouraged to make things in Uruguay and to offer national campaigns, which obviously make us grow. However, not every company pays a respectful wage, and there are many well known brands that try to screw you over when the time comes to discuss finances. I believe that things are slowly starting to change.
Are you lost ma’am? Because heaven is long, long way from here.
Do I have to answer that? I believe that I am closer to that which is below than that which is above, haha.
I didn’t know angels flew so low!
…. and were so slow to understand!
I don’t know what to say to these comments!! Hahaha.
What do you like to do in addition to modeling?
I am a horse-riding instructor, I train new horses so that they learn how to jump, and I also train people so that they learn how to jump!
I have students of all ages and give classes at the Club Hípico Burnett [Burnett Equestrian Club - nt], Punta del Este. [Duly noted. Guess we’re trying it-Nico]. I love animals – I have a sympathy and sensitivity for all things related to them, but that does not mean that I let them do whatever they want and spoil them without limits! In addition to this I like to read. I read many books – specifically police novels. John Katzenbach is my preferred author and I had the opportunity to meet him a few years ago and it was awesome! (there, you have my idol!). The other strange subject that I passionately like to read is books about Russian history, and also German history.
Do you like soccer? Do you follow the National Team? Which team are you a fan of?
In Facebook, in the part where it says “Information”, I have something very funny that says something like “I DON’T LIKE SOCCER” hahaha.
The people that you add to Facebook that do not have their face in the photo or if their face is there it is painted with the colours of their team or in place of their face they have the symbol of their team, tattoos, or flags, bother me a little. In the end you don’t know who they even are. I don’t like soccer. I never liked it, and I don’t know anything at all about the National Team. When I went to do the photo shoot with Eguren I had to google him because I did not know who he was. [Go easy on yourself; we’re still wondering how on earth he became a soccer player]. All of those false fans that became fans at the time of the World Cup bother me. I believe that out of contrariness, I don’t like soccer because the rest of the world does! Anyway, I can say that I am a fan of Nacional – basically since I was a child – to be opposite of my brother! haha.
What do you think about LaCelesteBlog.com? Our idea is to offer coverage of the Uruguayan national team that closer to home and that can be accessed through many mediums simply because it is written in the universal language. We could say that it’s the closest thing we could get if a Uruguayan wanted to introduce to a friend. It also functions to complement and entertain those who are studying the language.
It seems to be an excellent idea to me because, even if it may seem that it being in English may be somewhat of a barrier, the structure and content of the blog is what makes all visitors feel at home! The language issue is very important these days. To innovate is excellent, it’s something elemental to grow.
How do you see the National team? Who is the best player and who is the best looking?
[Crickets chirping]. I can only say that I hated the high-profile commotions about Diego Forlán!!!!! Personally I was able to meet Sebastián Eguren and “Loco” Abreu. Both of them are super cool and are set apart from various players by the good they do, generally and within their ability, to benefit and help many who need help.
In the modelling world, why do we see women form Europe on the covers of the best magazines and Uruguayan women never appear? Is it a case of preferences, preparation, the press or economic means? What do you think we need in order to stop being spectators and take a more prominent role in the situation?
I believe that the answer is known. In all aspects, being a small country it is difficult to be recognized. Also, to be a TOP model is somewhat a question of serendipity – of being in the right place at the right time – and is basically just luck. It’s true. At times it appears that there is a distance that really isn’t there if you have the right conditions. I can see being in Europe, persevering and never losing faith. In fact, there are various Uruguayan male and female models that are successful and have left their mark with various works! It is probable that since I am in the business that I am aware of this more than those who are not in the business.
What tips would you give to those teenagers who are hesitant to enter the world of modelling?
That it isn’t a science. They have to sign up with an agency, they have to lose time and go to casting sessions, they have to ignore fashion and not believe anyone who comes to them promising that it will be easy and life will be a bed of flowers. If you want blue skies, it will cost you! This is the path!
Do you believe that Uruguayans are respected in other countries? In modelling as in soccer – is it worth crossing borders?
Of course, I believe we are respected and, even more, fortunately, we are blessed with something very positive, which is not being prejudged for being Uruguayan! There are other nationalities that are already “automatically” in question. Uruguayans are, to my understanding, always well-received and we tend to leave the reputation of our country in good standing.
Give me your ranking of the 3 best-looking soccer players in the world.
Beckham; Beckham; Beckham??
Are you going to Brazil in 2014? To wait for another World Cup so close by you will have to wait until 2030.
I think I will stick with the Pan-American Games 2015 in Chile or the Olympics 2016 in Rio, for the Equestrian events!!
What do you like most about the World Cup? Have you gone to any?
Without having gone to any, I can say that I like the employment that they generate and the opportunity for exposure that it gives to the host country. South Africa, for example, seemed very good to me because it also opens the eyes of fans to other perspectives – although not intentionally – about the people, their necessities, history, and culture in general.
To maintain yourself like this, how do you take care of yourself? Is it a genetic condition, a balanced diet or a lot of workout?
I take care of – try to take care of – my skin more than anything. My body keeps itself toned because, obviously, I am a sportswoman and because I train in horse riding, we can say that I don’t have time to go to they gym and I kill two birds with one stone. I try to eat well and drink a lot of water, although at times I slack off and permit myself some not so healthy things, like chocolate, cookies, etc. I die for sweet things! Hehe.
In addition, do you eat any type of food supplement?
I eat cereal bars A LOT, but nothing more than that; nothing like what bodybuilders use!!
What does Martina Graf recommend to the woman at home, watching the soaps with mate in one hand and half of a greasy empanada in the other?
That she drink a yerba that makes her go to the bathroom, that she watches TV and she cooks bread with grease [no real translation in English -look up bizcocho on the internet; similar to croissants - nt] but only to eat in the morning and that in the afternoon she has something light for tea and then eats soup for dinner!
Have you ever been afraid that the government would impose a beauty tax on you?
Even more than a beauty tax, I am afraid that they stick me with an “excess characters” tax which I have now surpasses by 302390293 thousand letters!!!!
Height, weight & measurements?
1.69 meters, 49 kg, 88.59.91 cm [Yummy -Nico] [Americans…work it out for yourself-nt]
What type of monitoring do models do? For example, how often do you check your measurements, weight, etc.?
It’s relative and is not very considerable here in Uruguay.
Have you ever played soccer? Because we are putting together a pick up game with the people in the blog and we lack power in the back.
Casually, all my life people have bothered me about my calves. I was always the substitute or looked upon to defend because of my condition (when people imagined what I might be useful for!!!) Hehehee.
Thank you very much for the opportunity and may your success continue! A big kiss.
Some fine compliments:
You are an elegant woman,
You awaken various emotions,
From the most wanted tenderness
To the most prohibited passions.
You have a suggestive smile and a seductive glance -
with reason so many men have fallen in love with you.
Beautiful compliments, thanks!!! Hopefully you will include the default text from which you copied via the Internet so that this record will be with the original source and be more integrated!! [Seems like nobody wants to miss a chance of ribbing me, and Martina Graff was no exception. It’s a tough world we’re living in. - Nico]
It was a pleasure.
It was our pleasure, undoubtedly.