ēMBē : Hello miss can you present yourself ?
Sumi : My full name is Svetlana Shlapak, and my stage name is Sumi. In the fashion agency, I also run under the name Sumi. I’m from Ukraine, but I live in Serbia.
ēMBē : What’s your background?
Sumi : I am studying tourism management for a manager and the Japanese language. I also paint, photograph and act.
ēMBē : Your Instagram name is @albinogirl, can you explain to us what is albinism?
Sumi : Albinism is a genetic condition in which there is a lack of melanin pigment in the hair, skin and eyes. Hair can vary from white to dark blue, eyes can be of all colors, and skin is extremely light. Another characteristic for albino people is allergy to the sun and blurred vision.
ēMBē : But your journey has not been an easy one since your childhood, can you count your difficulty as a child?
Sumi : It was very difficult, especially when you live in a small environment where people like to pick on others. They threw stones at me, pushed me. They always laughed at me and shouted “grandma vampire” or “ha ha you’re so disgusting.” People can be cruel, but it is important to not give up.
ēMBē : You are albino, is this a kind of advantage and singularity today in the world of modeling?
Sumi : Yes. I am glad that the fashion industry is changing, so that we who don’t fit in the mold are finally welcome.
ēMBē : You are sensitive to the sun and heat due to your albinism. How do you manage all the light in the studio ?
Sumi : In the studio it is much easier. The only problem is that I can’t open my eyes; that’s
harder. But it is much more pleasant than outside.
ēMBē : When and why did you take the path of modeling ?
Sumi : I started getting serious about modeling at the age of 20. I started modeling because I want to spread awareness about people with albinism. I want to show that we are all unique and special in our own way.
ēMBē : What is your motto?
Sumi : Never give up no matter how hard it is, because then you have already lost
ēMBē : What is your revenue from modeling ?
Sumi : Ha ha I think it depends, I can make 100-300 EUR for one photo. Sometimes there are a lot of photo sessions and sometimes there aren’t any in a month.
ēMBē : What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Going to Vogue magazine in Italy and becoming an ambassador for an agency in London.
ēMBē : What makes the good picture stand out from the average for you ?
Sumi : I don’t look at it that way. An image may be painted in a good or bad way, but that does not change its nature. For me, each image has its own emotion and hidden meaning.
ēMBē : Where do you see yourself in 10 years …
Sumi : As a very famous model haha. I’m running my own fashion agency for everyone who is different. In addition, I’d also love to run a travel agency for the blind and visually impaired.
ēMBē : What is your next big project ?
Sumi : My photo exhibition
ēMBē : Sumi, we would like to say thank you for sharing. We would like to wish all the best for your future; you’re not a “Vampire Grandma”, you’re a beautiful young woman, your photos are magic and you are a great model. Before we finish our conversation, do you have any parting words for the reader?
Sumi : Thank you very much. That means a lot. I want to say that we should love ourselves and we should not care about other people’s opinions “We are the heroes of our lives”
The interview have been via exchange of email.
Instagram : @albinogirl