We get up-close and personal with the gorgeous international model, designer, fashionista, entrepreneur and sexy Slovakian…
Hey Michaela, congrats on your first-ever MAXIM Australia cover. How do you feel?
Yay, thank you! I have some of my favourite memories from Australia, it’s one of my most loved places on earth, so it makes this cover even more special for me. What does it mean to you to be on our cover? It’s overwhelming, in the best way possible. You’ve had so many incredible women on this cover and it’s very humbling to be in this bad-ass gorgeous boss lady crew!
Tell us about this photo shoot
This was a super fun day. We shot it in California in Orange County which is about a 40-minute drive from L.A., and to get to the first location we had to go on a 30-minute hike and climb under a cave which was flooded, so we had to swim out of it. We ended up in the studio nearby, all of us were completely soaked, but we rocked the wet hair look and it ended up on the cover of this issue!
Well, you look gorgeous. When do you feel you are at your sexiest?
Aw, thank you! I feel most sexy when I’m dancing around, not wearing too much, not overly dolled up and just being silly and having fun. When you are having fun you just radiate happiness and confidence and that’s what’s attractive to me.
What is your best asset?
I consider my best asset the relationships I have with my best friends and family. For me, this is the most important thing and also where happiness comes from.
For those who don’t know a lot about you, tell us a bit more about yourself.
I was born and raised in Slovakia by a single mum, I dreamt of living in the U.S. since I was about seven, I always wanted to be in fashion, a designer, or just assistant in a fashion house and learn – I ignored anyone who told me otherwise. My only other acceptable option was to eat M&M’s for a living – haha! My first “foot in the door” was when, at 16, I was discovered by accident while being a support to my friend who wanted to be a pageant queen or a model. She took me to model search in a mall and I ended up placing with a modelling agency in Istanbul, Turkey. This was my first time stepping out of Slovakia and… the rest is history.
How did that happen exactly and how did your friend react?
My friend wanted us to go together and both of us to compete and hold hands until the final – we were best friends. I wasn’t up for it. It was more of a pageant and not really something I was interested in. I ended up going with her only as a support and sat in a coffee shop across from the casting while she was waiting in line. This lady came up to me and put the paperwork down in front of me, I told her I wasn’t interested but she said that I would be waiting for my friend for at least couple hours so I might as well fill it out. I did and I ended up in the final round – one of the judges was a modelling agent and placed me with my first agency. My friend wasn’t exactly thrilled but it was her idea to begin with so she couldn’t be too mad and supported me through it.
At 14 you owned an eBay shop where you sold swimsuits you designed yourself, right?
I always had a summer job and all I wanted to do is to help out my mum because she was at work all the time and I only got to see her later in the evenings – she was gone when I woke up most days. I loved fashion and as every little girl wants I wanted pretty things but I didn’t want to ask mum for money. So, I started making my own things – I bought plain things on eBay and sewed patches or crystals on them. As time passed by I became pretty good at it, all my classmates wanted these things I was making and I saw an opportunity. I sold few things in school, but I wanted to go to a wider market than that, and I created a little shop on eBay where I started selling my creations. I set up a “warehouse” in all of our drawers and “studio” in our living room and my girlfriends played models for me after school. My mum was watching all this in shock — to this day she says, “Nothing surprises me anymore”.
And now you are the CEO of your own shoe company, Michaela V footwear.
Yes. I always wanted to create something on my own and was mesmerised by designers and runway, couture, high fashion and heels. The way these things make women feel and how they get so confident and sassy when they have the right shoes on… it’s an obsession for me. Since I was the little girl who watched it from afar and could never afford it, my goal was to blend these two worlds into one so I created Michaela V shoes. I did everything in my power to source the best materials and keep them affordable.
When you’re not posing for MAXIM what else do you do?
Play – seriously. I get so busy with my company and modelling that when I have free time I spend it with my friends. I don’t want to talk about work – just talk about life, boys, puppies and have fun.
How would you describe yourself in five words?
I just texted three of my friends this question, so this is probably the most accurate answer you can get – passionate, ambitious, compassionate, generous and funny.
What would people be most surprised to know about you?
That I’m a tomboy in heels — I love boxing, beer and sarcastic and dirty humour.
Finish this sentence: Public nudity is…
Ooh la la! Brave, bold, could be exciting at times.
You mentioned you’ve been to Australia…
YES! Please bring me back, I will go tomorrow! It was one of my favourite trips I’ve ever been on. I was there for a modelling contract with IMG, I kept busy with castings and jobs but I made so many friends that I’m still in touch with. I felt so welcomed from the first day – Australian people are amazing and I have so many memories that I will never forget. I have an album of my trip and I get so excited when I hear someone with an Australian accent – I feel like we will be best friends in one minute.
What do you know about Australia besides koalas and kangaroos, that is?
That you have Australian alps that get so much snow and it’s on every ski enthusiast’s bucket list. That you have the best Mangoes I’ve ever had in my life. How much you love Vegemite – so do I now by the way! And that Tasmania’s air is one of best in the world – it’s my dream island to visit.
What do you look for in a man?
Kindness. I meet some beautiful people with horrible personalities and it’s such a turn off, so first I look for a kind soul, then humour, confidence, empathy and ambition. If I’m dating someone I’m their biggest fan and support them in any I can – I like when someone has goals and know what they want, either in life or a relationship.
What’s the best way for a man to win his way to your heart?
Just to be yourself, and if it’s a match it’s a match, but a little effort never hurt nobody either.
What’s one thing men should always remember when it comes to women?
That when we say “It’s fine” it probably isn’t.
Describe your ideal date?
Depends if it’s a first date or if I’m already in the relationship. For a first date I like something casual – drinks in a cosy, quiet place somewhere where we could talk. If I’m in a relationship my ideal date is anywhere from Netflix and takeaway to a spontaneous flight anywhere with a beautiful sunset – I’m a hopeless romantic.
Would you ever date one of your social media followers?
I haven’t yet but never say never.
What’s next for you? Any exciting projects on the horizon you can share with us?
Yes! I can’t share too much but please stay in touch with me and you will see everything along the way.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I have a vision of where I would like be career-wise in five years but I like to keep that for myself. I feel like if you really want something and then it doesn’t happen you get pity and it makes it so much worse and if it does you surprise people in the best way and it’s a celebration. With personal life its unpredictable, I just hope to be happy with whoever I am or single. ■
FULL NAME: Michaela Vybohova
BORN: January 25, 1997
HOMETOWN: Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
LIVES: New York City, U.S.A.
HOBBIES: “Horseriding and Gummy Bears – a lot of them!”
FAVOURITE DRINK: “Baileys. I have a big, sweet tooth and some sugar with a kick is the way to go for me.”
HANGOVER CURE: “There is none… except Netflix, maybe. But really, I need tips!”
BEDTIME ATTIRE: “I wear only a men’s T-shirt – oh, it’s the best thing ever.”
LIFE MOTTO: “You can’t fail until you stop trying and never forget where you came from.”
PHOTOGRAPHED BY RYAN DWYER INTERVIEW BY SANTI PINTADO
PRODUCED BY LUIS RODRIGUEZ @MAINSTREETPRODUCTIONS
HAIR & MAKE-UP BRIDGET MARTINEZ
For the full article grab the April 2020 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.