Photography with America’s Next Top Model contestant and body positivity advocate Khrystyana Kozakova.

As a jewish Russian immigrant, Brighton Beach is one of the most fun places in New York to be. Whenever I go there, it’s because I miss home, I’m invited to a neighborhood that still feels like the Soviet Union, I immediately wonder if that’s how my mum’s child and adulthood looked like before she left after the fall of the Berlin Wall. When I met Khrystyana for the first time, she fell in love with my idea and wanted to shoot in Brighton Beach.

We recreated the more glamorous version of going to the supermarket, fur store or the bookstore. The entire shoot was guerrilla style and we definitely got kicked out of the shops more than once. We ran into a supermarkets in crazy outfits to play with fish, get the shot while the meat ladies check out us out as if we’re aliens and get kicked out by an older Russian speaking Sephardi man, who looked a lot like my uncle.