Lana Zakocela is the type of woman that women wish they could be—and men wish they could be with. She is one of the world’s most successful models, and has worked with names like Maxim, Victoria’s Secret, and Thierry Mugler.
In her time as a model, she’s touched countless lives and graces tons of magazine pages. After being introduced to her by a friend, I was able to learn about how Lana got her start, how she survives the dating world as a model, and how she’s working to change the lives of children in her home country of Latvia.
Lana, you have become one of Maxim’s sexiest women. You’ve worked with Victoria’s Secret, major fashion houses, and earned accolades for your modeling work. How did you get into this field?
I always follow my instinct. My heart was telling me to go to Paris, and one Sunday, I was 19 years old, I was in Paris crossing the street on the way to the Opera Garnier. I met a gentleman that asked me if I’m a model and that he wants to introduce me to a friend, Ruth Malka from Karin Model Paris. That’s when I started my career.
What was it like to travel the world as a model?
The most incredible experience! I’m so grateful for it. It helped me understand people, culture. It made me an open minded and conscientious person. I would know the most random and secret places in the world. From best secret beach, the most fun restaurant, vintage shopping places, underground concerts, yummiest croissants, to like the best haircut or hidden jazz spot.
After you established yourself as one of the world’s top models, you started to do humanitarian work. What inspired you to give back to the world?
When I was a little girl, I always dreamt about someone giving me a chance. I would love to give that chance and opportunity to someone who needs it the most.
With your time in the fashion world, it’s safe to say you probably are a beauty guru. Do you have any products you swear by to keep your look great? A diet? What about a workout that you enjoy?
Yes! the most important is to have your routine—morning and evening. I wake up and clean my liver on an empty stomach drinking lemon, ginger or apple cider vinegar water. I always have my 15 minute workout routine plus doing other work outs like pilates, yoga, boxing or hiking.
Regarding my beauty regime, I swear by my secret facial oils like Jojoba oil and Tamanu oil.
Also I use SPF Elta Md every day.
As a model, most people would assume that the dating scene is way easier to navigate. What are some struggles that you dealt with throughout your love life?
Finding a real conscientious person with sense of humor and filled with love.
Do you have advice for singles out there that you’d like to share?
Firstly you have to fall in love with yourself to feed your inner self with whatever it is that completes who you are as a person. From doing things, working out, walk in a park , reading your favorite book, going to your favorite restaurant or coffee shop, having time with your friends, taking care of your body, spending time with you family, playing musical instruments, exploring the artist in you, etc. And as soon as you fill yourself with love other people will see that and fall in love with you.
What gives you a great impression of a person during a date?
When the person sees the little things around him—as in, oh look at that cloud! It looks like an old man with the long beard or do you smell this? I recognize this smell when I was younger, my grandmother used to prepared it for me.
It’s pretty safe to say that you probably get a lot of attention for being a Maxim covergirl and Victoria’s Secret model. Do you ever get annoyed by dates who focus too much on your career?
That would never happen. I would never have a date that truly understands what it means. Don’t wanna date a man that cares about the industry.
What’s your favorite meal? Do you have a favorite go-to restaurant?
I love Japanese and Asian fusion. Very simple but the best quality produce. Organic, local, wild, free range…I’m aware of the global problem regarding the global warming and overconsumption of goods and food. We should eat less beef and more vegetables. It’s way more sustainable.
People don’t realise that the world population’s doubling in size and the resources are getting slimmer. The planet has way too much carbon dioxide production that causes the shift in the world temperature.
You also spent a while being married to entrepreneur and diplomat Justin Etzin. You two parted ways, but still seem to hold each other in high regards. How did you manage to keep it so civil?
We respect each for who we are. After 5 years, I wanted to go a different direction. When we separated 2 years ago in the summer of 2017, I moved from New York City. Now I live between Los Angeles and Paris.
Now that you’re out on your own again, you’ve decided to start your own nonprofit foundation to help disadvantaged kids in your home country. Can you tell us a little about it?
There is so much needs to be done. But right now, with my Happy Feet Foundation, I’m trying to focus on giving a chance to kids through education and love. Finding those who are seeking an opportunity to learn, improve and channel their energy in a positive artistic direction.
The goal of Happy Feet Foundation will never settle, as it’s a never-ending continuous problem that the team will constantly work on.
Photo Credit: Instagram