Every once in awhile, the fashion community encounters a model who not only dominates the runway, but makes a tangible difference in our world. These fashion models push the industry forward and challenge our perceptions of the aspirational role models should have as we enter the new decade.

Recently, one of these game-changing models presented an awe-inspiring photo exhibition at one of New York City’s most renowned galleries. That model’s name is Ria Serebryakova and her photo exhibition, titled “The 2084,” was held on December 10, 2019, at New York’s Van Der Plas Gallery. While this is one of Serebryakova’s first photo exhibitions, it revealed the skill and thoughtfulness of a person who cares deeply about our world.

The Rise of Ria Serebryakova

Serebryakova, who started modeling when she was only eighteen, has already made waves in the fashion industry. Born in Russia, Serebryakova’s first big break came when she made a signature runway appearance during Paris Fashion Week. She did Miu Miu exclusive  show that turned heads and announced her arrival on the modeling scene.

After that bombshell appearance in Paris, Ria Serebryakova took advantage of modeling opportunities with some of the world’s most well-respected fashion brands. Some of those brands included Forever 21, Tory Burch, L’Oreal, and Ray-Ban. More recently, Serebryakova walked the runway for Dolce & Gabbana during 2019’s Milan Fashion Week. She is based in New York City.

With her growing profile, those inside and outside the fashion world have taken notice. For instance, Serebryakova has been profiled in both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Perhaps one of her most notable press appearances was when she appeared in the issue of Harper’s Bazaar with Stranger Things stars Finn Wolfhard and Noah Schnapp. 

Combining Modeling with Activism

Through her modeling journey Ria Serebryakova has experienced massive success. Along with her regular appearances on the runway, Serebryakova has built a significant following on social media. For example, her Instagram page (@riasalvation) has nearly 300,000 followers. 

Ultimately, Ria is aware of the influence she has. Unlike other models, however, she decided to use her platform and influence to creatively express herself on an important cause in our world.

As you can see on the website created for the photo exhibition, “The 2084” is a twist on George Orwell’s classic novel 1984. Essentially, “The 2084” is an environmental photo project that tells the story of a future where plastic pollution has not been dramatically cut. Many experts argue that plastic pollution is one of the most significant environmental threats to our planet. Unless we take dramatic action now, we will struggle to counter the effects of plastic pollution for decades to come.

While it would have been easy for Serebryakova to acknowledge the downsides of plastic and focus on the pollution itself, she takes a nuanced view of the issue. As she states on the photo exhibition’s about page, plastic tells our story, both the good and the bad. Plastic has led to significant wealth creation and more comfortable living. It is not destructive in and of itself. That said, if all of us refuse to account for how our plastic waste is discarded, we are jeopardizing the health of future generations. 

“The 2084” presented a visceral look at this problem. Upon glancing at the photographs, viewers of the photo exhibition (which numbered in the hundreds) were immediately struck by Ria Serebryakova’s creative eye and the way she made the problem of plastic pollution seem real. Whether it was a photograph of Serebryakova almost drowning in a sea of plastic to a photograph of discarded plastic in nature, she made sure that her photo exhibition struck a nerve in the heart of the viewers.

Inspiring Action

Serebryakova always understood that she could not do it alone. Even though she is a high-profile fashion model, it is going to take all of us to address plastic pollution in our world. “The 2084” was a striking vehicle that shook the viewers out of their inertia, making them think hard about how they could contribute to the solution.

Ria Serebryakova will continue turning heads on the runway. But perhaps more importantly, she is doing the same in the world of environmental activism.