In Russia, thousands of young girls dream of finding fame and fortune in the modeling industry. From an early age, they hone their skills, and work closely with professional photographers and talent recruiters in the hopes of breaking through in a fiercely competitive landscape. But their ambitions are not being nurtured for the benefit of their homeland, or for the glitzy fashion-centric world of New York or Los Angeles. Their sights are set towards the Far East where their particular brand of beautiful is in high demand. Siberia's Next Supermodels shines a spotlight on this burgeoning industry, and the challenges experienced by some of its newest models in training.
Whether on a fashion designer's runway or in the pages of a glamour magazine, consumers in countries like China, Japan and Korea are drawn to the exotic features of a Siberian beauty. The look that drives the market is very specific. Each model must possess a baby face, pale white skin, strong features, and a sharply chiseled facial bone structure.
Many of these girls come from humble environments, and have never been removed from their families or the comfort and security of their homes. Once recruited, they are dropped into the middle of a bustling metropolis like Shanghai, fed very little, and worked from early morning until night fall. A job is not guaranteed, and they must overcome stiff competition to make the final cut. They pay for all expenses along the way, and are forced to withstand the humiliation of being little more than a number on an audition sheet. Regardless, they remain undaunted as they strive for a glamorous life far removed from the only one they've ever known.
Few attain the career they seek, and many return home in debt by the end of their journey. It's a cutthroat reality that is common across all facets of show business, and one that many viewers may find overly familiar. But the film achieves a level of relevance and immediacy by engaging in the personal struggles of each of its main subjects.
Siberia's Next Supermodels competently portrays a world that is equal parts demeaning, ruthless and alluring.