GOTHAM MAGAZINE x MICHAELA V.

"The Inspiring Story of Top Model and Designer, Michaela Vybohova"

Alexandra Morris | February 4, 2020

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Born in a small village in Slovakia and raised by her single mother, Michaela Vybohova’s challenging journey to becoming a supermodel and designer is surreal.

Vybohova’s mother, Marta, worked multiple jobs to provide her daughter with normality. Marta promised to keep her daughter happy and healthy, but her workload created absence. Luckily, this gifted Vybohova with independence and perseverance.

Not only did Vybohova’s mother supply her with extraordinary survival skills, but she was also a significant influence on why her daughter fell in love with fashion. Vybohova’s mother had an eye for style. Marta’s personalized modifications and combinations made vintage resale look expensive.

Like mother, like daughter; at 14-years-old, the aspiring teen purchased articles of clothing from Alibaba. Vybohova made trendy and unique alterations to each piece and then resold the items on eBay. This was only the beginning of the young entrepreneur's career in fashion.

Vybohova’s dream of actually being apart of the fashion industry came to fruition at the age of 16. She attended a modeling contest with a friend, where over 200 young girls awaited a chance to be noticed. To the teen’s surprise, she placed in the top 15 and flew out to Prague for advanced rounds.

After being told by a judge that she would never make it in the industry, another judge, Zuzana Pokovicova, who owned Mix Model Management in Slovakia, offered Vybohova a contract.

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Not long after the offer, she received an opportunity to model in Istanbul, Turkey. Coming from a low-income family, she had never really been outside of Slovakia. Marta encouraged her daughter to take this seemingly once in a lifetime chance- so she did.

The young model arrived at a two-bedroom models’ apartment with nine other models with a strong language barrier. She was alone again. Vybohova attended numerous castings in this foreign city and shot for low-end E-commerce that paid the minimum, but Vybohova was empowered. She was finally getting a real shot at a new life and she was grateful for the opportunities, no matter how small. They even led her to network with people like Turkish pop-star, Serdar Ortaç.

Ortaç recognized Vybohova’s rare fashion sense and wanted her on his styling team. She assisted in every way she could and learned from her peers. Ortaç and Vybohova became close friends and the experience he gave her was necessary for her future.

Vybohova eventually ventured to the states, with only 600 dollars to her name. She struggled to find agency placement and was running low on money. Finally, she received a breakthrough and was offered a contract by Wilhelmina Models, one of the top global agencies.

After yet another problematic start, Vybohova finally signed in the mecca of the fashion world-New York City. Here, her career blossomed. The knowledge she gained over the next few years from traveling and networking was irreplaceable.

Every place and person Vybohova encountered inspired her artistically. Her resilience and creativity led the now 23-year-old to where she is today; on the cover the April 2020 issue of Maxim Australia and founder of her very own luxury shoe brand, Michaela V.


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