Anastacia Markova considers Second Life to be her creative playground, as she has 25 year love of musical theatre and preforming on stage. Like so many of us Anastacia started in SL as a DJ at the well-established Franks Jazz Club. Then she moved on to own one of the largest wedding companies in SL Fanastacia Weddings, now she only does a few custom weddings a year.
Always having a love for expressing her creative side, this includes being a lover of beauty in all forms. “So it was only natural that I found my way to model and then continue to find creative ways to showcase the wonderful designer’s creations that never cease to amaze me in Sl.”
Since Anastacia has walked her fair share of runways in SL I had to ask her what does she think of models today and she did not hold back.
“To be completely honest - I think some of the older, well-seasoned models are getting a tad bit lazy. They are forgetting the basic fundamentals of professionalism.Being on time, choosing correct poses, thinking they are above the need to rehearse. But on the other hand - there are a lot of wonderful newly graduated, hungry, and extremely talented models coming in everyday so that always excite me. At Opium, we have always been one of the only companies that welcome and embrace new models. It means we have to sometimes work harder with the new models but everyone had to start somewhere and how will they get better if they don’t have any experience. It’s always been my thought.”
What or who came to my mind for being a notorious supermodels is Naomi Cambell, who was charged with assault in 2006 for cracking her housekeeper in the head with a phone, and Estalla Warren who in 2011 was arrested in LA for suspected DUI after crashing her car into three others. Thankfully, though in SL one is not able to conceive such havoc! Instead as Anastacia stated: “They have done so many shows that they feel it’s so easy now, but Opium shows are far from easy because we incorporate much more than a simple runway walk.”
Anastacia explains further: “We have recently shifted from being a SL fashion Agency to expanding to become a full blown Production House. “ As Opium’s’ original owner Mallory Luke handed the reins to Anastacia and she wanted to add some excitement and entertain people. Thus began Opium Tales, where they have continued to shift and change their productions as other agencies attempt to imitate.
“So when the decision came to expand to a full production house recently, it just seemed natural to loosen the binds we had on us to only do fashion shows. We hope in the future to delve into theater fully and even do full sim and multi sim expos and what not.”
I had to ask if that is how the Hunger Games production came about, but as it turns out it was a “project I knew they could and did do very well as the clothing styles were fun to work with as well. It just seemed natural to loosen the binds we had on us to only do fashion shows.”
Mainly designers hire Opium Evolution Production House to showcase their new collections, and “It usually takes 3 months from thought to fruition to do such elaborate productions. We don’t really do simple runway shows much anymore but our events usually last 7-10 days.” Astonished at the thought of making an event like this…. “There is so much more to do then anyone realizes. Every little special effect..several scene sets.. booking designers, tending to designers.. choreography the list goes on and on. And since we all have full time rl jobs as well that takes priority we choose to work slower and actually enjoy it!”
I wondered if all project ideas are hers or collaboration? “A mixture of both, sometimes I have a sole idea and I bring it to the producers and we elaborate on it, and sometimes others have an idea and we all elaborate on it. When I have a vision for a production it is very clear and making that vision come to life and work within the boundaries of SL can be challenging. So we try to keep to projects that we know will be a wow factor! We have a great, yet small production team we work great together, like a family and that is how we like to work.”
Do you think the traditional runway shows will disappear for at least awhile? “Well, they say Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. As long as we do it first, I am ok with others copying our effects and ideas. I do know that Opium, long ago, helped change the way Fashion was presented in SL. From days of boring old runway shows that drag on and have no substance, to setting the bar for other agencies to follow. Guests want to be entertained. And we strive to do just that. I think there is room for all types of runway shows in SL. I think each agency should find their niche, and keep it. Like Opium always has. We haven’t strayed; we have always done these productions. I think you cannot be truly good at something unless you make it your own, and keep on until you perfect it. I hope normal runway shows will continue, even though it seems a lot of agencies are following our lead lately, it seems most have completely steered away from the glamour and fun of mirroring rl runway shows. I just think there is room for all types of fashion shows in Sl. I wish more would see that and build on their own creativity instead of looking to others to do it for them.”
Anastacia and her crew have definitely elevated Second Life’s fashion world as this October will mark their five year anniversary! “We do have several designers that are always happy to participate in our events. But I do also love finding new up and coming designers as well!”
As we see in everyday Second Life the shapes of avatars are changing for women and men are becoming more and more conscious too I had to ask will we see models with attached breasts and bottoms, with facial expressions and ready-made avatars? “Oh no.. at Opium we insist they update their avis every 6 months to stay current and cutting edge. Most models would never wear a ready-made shape .skin they most always, (we encourage) tweak or make their own shapes to stay innovative, maybe if a scene calls for facial expression, but not in everyday use.”
Currently Anastacia and her team are taking a well-deserved break after having 3 productions in a row. As Anastacia said “Yes! Fun is the key element in enjoying life!”
Opium Evolutiony & Academy