At only 19, the Russian emigre gymnastics star Nastia Liukin already has a Wikipedia entry longer than most KGB files. And it doesn't even talk about the fun stuff.
Certainly her stellar athletic career (2008 Olympic gold medalist for the U.S.; multiple World Championships) warrants the million words of dry sports statistics. But the fact that she both collaborates on designing a girls' line for Vanilla Star Jeans and is the spring/summer face of Max Azria is glossed over in exactly one sentence.
Let's ask her about it, shall we?
"All these things in fashion I've been able to do I've enjoyed so much," she told StyleList from Texas, where she lives. "From gymnastics I learned that you have to enjoy what you do. To spend so much time every day doing something, it has to be your passion."
Nastia says she first got involved in fashion after her success in Beijing. "Vanilla Star was one of my sponsors at the Olympics," she recalls. "When they offered me to have my own line I was honored. I helped out and spent a lot of time with the design team -- I wanted affordable, stylish clothes for younger girls that they can wear on a daily basis to school. I was also inspired by sporty outfits I can wear to training."
But it was during a trip to New York fashion week that she met the designer Max Azria and attended his show. He took her out to dinner, and a few weeks later invited her to be the face of his forthcoming collection, which was inspired by movement.
"I was completely shocked because I had never done anything with high-end fashion," she says. "The [campaign] shoot took about seven hours including hair and make up. It was very exciting!"
Nastia describes her personal style, which is expressed through the Vanilla Star range, as "jeans and a cute top, with heels. Shoes are something that I love in different colors, and also accessories, like long scarves."
But meeting Max Azria also put some high-fashion items in her closet. One of her favorites, she says, is a teal version of the outfit she wore in Fashion Week's Red Dress celebrity fashion show, to raise awareness for women's heart disease.
But for now, with the National Championships coming up in August and then the World Championships in London in October, Nastia is back in the gym training.
"I want to be involved in the modeling and fashion business and maybe acting too," she says. "But I know I'll stay in gymnastics for the rest of my life, even when I'm not competing."