In “What I Love,” inspiring women take us inside their world, work, and jewelry boxes.
When I reach Anna Trubachova on Zoom, she appears in a veiled pillbox hat and black sheath dress, with strings of coral around her neck and red baubles dangling from her ears — a bold contrast to remote life’s now-customary dress code.
The journalist, model, activist, stylist, and mother lives life in color, no matter her particular setting.
It’s why she left her native Belarus four years ago, with two kids in tow. After working as a journalist there for 20 years, gaining prominence for covering issues from domestic violence to incarceration, she came to see Belarus as a country plagued by corruption, oppression, and a culture opposed to self-expression. She fought back through her activism — founding a progressive elementary school — and her style, but what she wanted was out. “I wanted to be an individual, with my own opinion, with my own space, inside and outside,” she says.
Trubachova fell in love with the vibrance of New York, but “the path of an immigrant, it’s quite a complicated path,” she says. At first, it meant giving up her career as a journalist, having left her network and recognition behind. “When you raise two kids by yourself, you are ready to do whatever you can. I’ve done everything: housekeeping, dish washing, sweeping the streets, washing toilets in hotels.” And modeling.
Modeling came naturally to Trubachova, no stranger to being on camera, and it became more than an odd job. “To me, fashion modeling was finally a chance to look at myself and admit that I’m a beautiful woman,” a concept absent from her upbringing, she says. “I started loving myself. Visually, I understood that I am quite an interesting woman with my own style, my own unique features.”
Recently, she also landed a job as a journalist and producer for the New York-based Russian American TV station RTVI. “I’m finally back in my profession, and I’m extremely proud of it,” she says.
We spoke with Trubachova about turning style into a form of resistance, her first-ever piece of jewelry, and what it was like to pose for Rive Gauche’s latest campaign.
My jewelry essentials: I love brooches. They can be worn fastening the collar of a blouse, on jackets, on hats, bags—this is an indispensable accessory, and there are lots of interesting ones in the Rive Gauche collection I really like. The Cartier Paris Emerald Ruby Diamond Gold Platinum Flower Brooch is absolutely incredible. I would wear it with a vintage velvet black dress or pin it to a leather punk jacket. Its value and uniqueness are obvious. The Antique Amethyst Rose Cut Diamond 18 Karat Gold Silver Brooch is also gorgeous. I do not wear purple, but there is something about this brooch that reminds me of my great grandmother, a famous Moscow aristocrat, whom I saw only on her later photographs. She'd wear it unforgettably.
My personal style: Here in the United States, you can find so many unique things at consignment stores and thrift stores, so looking unique does not require money; you can still practice your taste. I like to combine elegant and punkish styles, mixing leather and velvet and lace. I have a lot of hats and gloves and veils. Today I have on heavy chains combined with coral.
My favorite Rive Gauche piece: I adore vintage and antique jewelry – pieces with a story. Perhaps the brightest and most symbolic is the Ladies Platinum Yellow Gold Diamond Ruby Retro Wristwatch as well as the set that matches it. Very elegant, sophisticated, and bold at the same time. What a refined way to emphasize the value, and at the same time the relativity of time: Aging we become wiser, kinder, and more conscious. We learn to love again and share our warmth, radiance, knowledge with others.
My first piece of jewelry: My grandmother gave me a golden ring with a garnet. She left it for me when she died, and I’ve had it since I was 11. Life in Belarus was so gray and faceless and boring that these small, beautiful things were like miracles, truly magical. You kept them in a hidden place and looked at them to remind you something beautiful exists outside of that world.
First encounter with style in Belarus: I have this strange recollection. I was maybe 4 or 5 years old, and it was winter, and my parents sent me to the grocery story. It was snowy and extremely cold, and I’m looking at the ground, and suddenly I see something that’s absolutely impossible to see in the Soviet Union: two beautiful legs wearing high-heeled, shiny shoes. On her hand was this beautiful, red stone. I thought, “What kind of fairy is that?” The elegance and unbelievable woman-ness — something that wasn’t allowed at all — I was stunned.
On wearing jewelry…and nothing else: The 64-Carat Santa Maria Aquamarine Edwardian Platinum Diamond Pendant Necklace I wore during my Rive Gauche shoot—this is the kind of masterpiece, an art piece, that can and should be worn without other jewelry, it is so self-sufficient and bright. Furthermore, I'll tell you, this pendant would also look great with no clothes, or with a minimum, ideally!