How a Model Musician Took Control of Her Image

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Being a pop star means embracing reinvention. Back in 2016 Valentina Cytrynowicz, aka Valentina, had platinum blonde waves that called to mind a millennial Daenerys Targaryen and a soulful pop sound. Fast forward three years and a lot has changed. Now 21, she’s a singer-songwriter in the Fiona Apple vein and a talented photographer who has taken full control over her image. Newly brunette, you might not even recognize her from her old photos, which is perfectly fine by her. “It’s hard for a woman to stand her ground in this [industry], for any artist to really be heard if they’re not blowing up yet,” she shared on the phone from Los Angeles. “But, I’ve found that making all the important image decisions is the best way for me to go about things now.”

Rather than having a record executive tell her what her look ought to be, she’s kept her team close-knit. Represented by Ford Models she collaborates on the music side of her career with her creative family members. As such she’s been able to dictate the feel of each shoot and ensure it is connected with her music. In the dreamy video for her single “PDA,” she’s decked out in an ethereal sheer slip dress covered in crystals, while on Instagram she channels ’90s dream girls like PJ Harvey and Liz Phair as she performs acoustic songs in python print pants and silk bomber jackets. “I’ve been shopping way too much,” she admits with a laugh. “Choosing the outfits for every Instagram, every music video, and doing the styling with [help] from my sister who directs. We’re a duo in that sense and she’s definitely a boss lady.”

Together the pair have kept busy. Valentina takes the photos for each single, while her sister Marcella directs the corresponding videos. After studying production with hitmaker Mike Posner, Valentina is even asserting control over her sound by developing each track from scratch. “It’s empowering being able to have this level of control over how I’m portrayed,” she says. “When you have an idea of what you want sometimes you’re the best person to [execute] that idea.”

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