Elena Dunder: From Miss Ukraine to the conquest of the world

"We all have one life and we can choose how we want to live it. It's important you realize that, no matter what anyone else says or how people may try to influence things, it's ultimately down to you!» - Elena Dunder.

Elena Dunder, TV personality and philanthropist, on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam July-22.

Elena Dunder is an international model, actress, tv host, and philanthropist as well as Miss Ukraine International. She was born in Odessa in the South of Ukraine to a wealthy family of lawyers and entrepreneurs. Since childhood, she was active, purposeful, and always determined to achieve her goals. Elena became a laureate of the national award «Top 100 Most Successful Ukrainians».

She repeatedly appeared on the covers of world publications of the highest level, such as Elle, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Allure, Style Cruze, pages of Vogue, and many others. Elena was a runway model at the top fashion shows in Paris, Milan, and London, and now has come to conquer New York. Elena has moved to the United States quite recently, but has already gotten an invitation to star in a Hollywood film, and appeared on the covers of the most popular American magazines. Her photos and commercial campaigns brighten the world’s main promo Times Square in New York. We will find out about ambitious plans, a film production contract in Hollywood and charitable initiatives in support of Ukraine today from Elena, personally.

HBVN: Elena, you are beautiful and thriving! Your schedule is very busy, and in every sense of the word your photos can be seen at every corner in New York! Tell us how you spend your leisure if you have it!

ELENA DUNDER: I really have a very busy schedule, minutely recorded. Therefore, there is no time left for personal life and meetings with friends, but I still try to keep a balance. Due to frequent flights, meetings with friends have become rare, but even more brilliant and memorable! For example, last month I flew for a special shooting for L’officiel Arabia cover in Los Angeles, it was really professional but tiresome and I decided to shift our schedules and have a rest for a couple of days. It was amazing!

I have a great team that competently makes my schedule. I really appreciate my time and in my free time, I like to walk along the ocean (that’s why I always live by the ocean). It calms me down and fills me with energy. I also devote time to self-development: reading books, playing piano, meditation, love playing golf, playing sports, and care procedures. I enjoy traveling. When you are acquainted with new cities and cultures, you get a very emotional feeling.

HBVN: Tell us how you enjoy relaxing if we are talking about rest in the city: restaurants and clubs or park and book?

ELENA DUNDER: I always think that there is a measure in all things. Of course, I enjoy eating beautifully: when breakfast is covered according to all the rules and you start your day perfectly, not having snacks on the run. Or dinner in a cozy restaurant with loved people and a glass of wine. There is even something special in meetings for coffee with a friend while shopping. But I also don’t deny myself the pleasure of reading a book in silence – I usually take with me a paper version when I fly between shoots. This has the beauty of charter flights – you have time to be alone.

Elena’s well-set-up figure is a matter of admiration for many people, to see this you need just look at her photo. Regular flights, shooting, and castings and at the same time a perfectly slim waist, long slender legs, and not a gram of excess weight – it’s amazing how the lady manages to keep herself in perfect shape. She’s sure: In order to find the figure of your dream, you need willpower, the desire to be beautiful, and a couple of secrets that Elena agreed to share with us.

HBVN: Elena, you are a model, actress, TV presenter, and philanthropist. How do you manage to combine all these qualities in yourself and where do you find time for all activities in your life?

ELENA DUNDER: I can’t say that it’s easy, as my schedule is very busy and noted down for the week ahead. But I am used to the active rhythm from childhood. I was a flexible and versatile child, I was fond of different sports, and dancing, I graduated from the musical specialized school, and I love playing golf. In addition, modeling has been in my life for a long time and constant shooting and flights don’t surprise me anymore. In my life, there were fashion shows and photo shoots for most top publications. In the last year, I appeared on more than 7 covers of world publications and this is not the limit for me.

HBVN:  May your schedule be wrong because of frequent flights and time zones?

ELENA DUNDER: You know, I try to fly on charter flights – this makes it possible to sleep, take time for myself and sometimes even read a book. At a certain moment, you just understand that there is a specific level of comfort in which you are not ready to refuse yourself and you have to pay extra for this comfort. But sleep is something you can’t skimp on! It is very important to sleep at least 8 hours a day. Only during sleep, the protein that we take with food turns into a protein absorbed by our body, which every cell needs to continue to exist. The better and deeper we sleep, the more intensively this process of protein transformation occurs and the more viable the skin and body cells become. This explains the secret why sleep makes a person more beautiful. And of course, one of the ordinary, but effective ways are to drink 1.5-2 liters of water a day. Definitely, water makes up 70% of our body and the speed of our metabolism depends on it.

HBVN: How do you keep yourself in excellent physical shape?

ELENA DUNDER: Thank you very much. It’s no secret that an appearance is a working tool for models. The level and quality of the offered contracts directly depend on how you look. And the appearance is not only the face but also the body. Quarantine, depression, or just a bad mood – nobody cares, you always need to look perfect, and this is hard work.

HBVN: That is to say, you always do sports regardless of situations and traveling?

ELENA DUNDER: For me, sport is an integral part of my life. Of course, I try to eat healthily. But without sports, you will not achieve the proper results. I try to alternate cardio and physical activity: I run in the mornings, and I especially love morning jogging along the ocean. Water gives me extra strength and energy. During the quarantine, due to the lack of the opportunity to work out in the gym, I switched to personal training outdoors. In addition, I really like active sports, so during the lockdown, I focused on playing golf.

HBVN: Tell us how you find your internal motivation and what your secret is?

ELENA DUNDER: Most people in searching for motivation lose themselves and begin to blame others for their failures: they say they were born in the wrong place, they studied in the wrong way, there are no such opportunities … But these are just excuses not to move on. Every day we have a chance to change our destiny! And it depends only on ourselves what life will be. After all, a new day is another new chance to change your destiny! Remember this when you wake up in the morning – everything is only in our hands! The main thing is to never put your hands down and never give up, no matter what happens – move forward!

HBVN: Tell us about your plans for the near future. What new projects are waiting for you?

ELENA DUNDER: Now I live in Miami, but in fact, I spend a lot of time in 3 cities: Miami – New York City (a lot of interviews and commercial shootings) – Los Angeles (filming). Flights are certainly exhausting and I spend a lot of time in New York City since most projects will still take place there: very soon New York Fashion Week. I have several shootings for American famous covers and a recording of my program on the TV channel. And of course, during the filming, I will fly to Los Angeles. I was offered to star in a Hollywood movie as one of the main characters. Last year, at the Cannes Film Festival, I watched the release of new films and wondered if I would definitely like to try myself as an actress! Dreams must come true! And on my last trip to Los Angeles, I got such an offer. Filming is planned for this autumn, and the film is scheduled for release next year. But all the details will be shared later.

HBVN: The war between Ukraine and Russia has shown no signs of stopping soon. It has badly affected the lives of not only Ukrainians and Russians but also everybody in the world. How did it affect your life and your family? What part can you play to contribute to ending the war?

ELENA DUNDER: Unfortunately, the war came as a surprise to all of us. Before that, my Foundation «The Soul’s Beauty +» was specializing in helping children with cancer and orphans. Now we are also helping children left without parents, families who have lost their homes, as well as elderly people with the necessary medicines. Additionally, being a well-known person and celebrity, I give daily interviews on American television channels and try to tell about Ukraine at all events where I am invited. We must not forget that even if we are safe now, there is a war in our country and millions of our fellow citizens suffer from the aggressor! And from my side, I try to do everything to help. I support Ukrainian brands when I am invited to charity evenings or public events. I always provide information and support through my social networks. Victory consists of a small battle from each of us!

HBVN: What advice would you give to our readers?

ELENA DUNDER: Never listen to anyone but yourself! Especially those who want to talk you out of the craziest plans! Believe in yourself and in your success – then everything will definitely work out!

Thank you, Elena, for our conversation. You are an incredible woman and we would like to wish you the realization of all your plans!

Model: Elena Dunder @elena_du_
Photography: Olly Vento @olllyvento
M.U.A: Natali Nosokas @nataliiamakeupartist
Hair: Luliana Burdiugova @mymakeupmiami
Style: Christina Barron @christinamiamistylist

Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam