The Return: Danielle Z

As one of the quintessential 90s models Danielle Zinaich has appeared everywhere from the cover of Vogue Italia and Bazaar, to the world’s most selective catwalks. With her unmistakable gothic features and skill in front of the camera she is everything one could ask for in a model and then some, but her story doesn’t begin and end with iconic fashion moments. Behind the glamorous fashion facade is a working mother of two and seasoned professional adept at juggling career and family life. MDC catches up with Danielle to discuss changes in the industry and what it was like being on those legendary Meisel shoots.

MDC: So, you took a little break for a while?

Danielle: I did. I have two kids. They are nine and five now. I took breaks during my pregnancies and for six months after each child.

MDC: You look incredible. You were talking to me about some of your secrets. Would you like you like to share why your skin looks so great? You just glow.

Danielle: Thank you! Well, I think what you put in your body is what comes out. If you’re putting garbage in your body, all of that is going to come out in the form of acne, bad stuff coming out of your body. I try to eat really clean and organic, I don’t take medicine, don’t smoke, and don’t drink. I’m really good to my temple, my body. I treat myself well. I work out, do yoga, and take homeopathic medicine if I do get sick or run down. I do herbs as well. I really treat myself well and take care.

MDC: Where are you from originally?

Danielle: Weirton, West Virginia, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s in the northern pan handle of West Virginia.

MDC: You must be one of the only models from West Virginia!

Danielle: I definitely think I am. I started in Pittsburgh, and there’s a small market there. And then I had a choice to make between New York and Paris, and my parents wanted me to go to Paris, actually. They thought it was safer for me to live in Europe at seventeen than in Manhattan. I think they made the right choice. And that was a culture shock for me. I had never taken any form of public transportation before. I had never taken a taxi or a bus, never been on a subway, so they brought me to Paris and sort of taught me in one week to do all of those things before they left me on my own. That was my schooling, you know. A schooling of travel.

MDC: In terms of your career from before, I’m sure there have been so many highlights. Are there some that stand out for you?

Danielle: Definitely. There’s a bunch of shows in the nineties with the top models: Evangelista, Naomi, and Kate. Being right there sandwiched between them in the lineup to go out for Versace or to go out for Dolce and Gabbana… You know, feeling those moments, with Gianni Versace, and all these amazing designers. I could name many designers I’ve worked for, but I don’t want to single any one out. But those are some of the most memorable moments for me from the past: fashion in the nineties.

THAT famous Meisel/Vogue Italia shoot.

MDC: In terms of your work, pictorially, what are some photo shoots where you’ve felt, “Oh my God, I totally remember that moment.”?

Danielle: One that really stands out to me is an editorial I did for Italian Vogue with Steven Meisel. I had very dark eye-makeup, and I always had the thick dark hair. I was with Karen Elson, and I had my arms inside holes, so it sort of looked like the arms and legs were amputated in a weird way. It was very witchy and hard looking. I loved that editorial. It’s one that really stands out in my mind.

MDC: If you had to name a fashion city, which is one that you love?

Danielle: Well, I have to say, I’m definitely a downtown New York girl- edgy and street kind of girl. But, I have been spending a lot of time in Paris and j’adore Paris! I love the French women. I love the food. I love the atmosphere, the smell, the feelings that I get when I’m in Paris. I started off there and lived there for about a year, so Paris has a special place in my heart.

Danielle carries a Givenchy bag and wears an Alexander Wang dress, Michael Kors faux fur vest. Image Betty Sze for

  1. I really love the return of all these wonderful models from the past. It astounds me how absolutely incredible they look now! And their appreciation by the industry and fashion fans today is a total celebration of WOMEN.

  2. Oh dear… I have to do my modelspotting homework… i don’t even know who this woman is…but she is gorgeous.

  3. I have never heard of Danielle before, but when MDC posted something about her some months ago i did a little research on her career and was quite impressed. Its nice to see her back, a grown up woman who´s very sexy and has a nice story to share. Im looking forward to who the fashion industry will re-relaunch next. Yasmeen Ghauri PLEASE!

  4. i’d like to see a pic of danielle with the family as i’m curious to know what they all look like nowadays. i used to see her with her husband all the time. they were such a nice couple and great looking on top of that.

    speaking of 90’s girls – what’s up with chandra? i know she moved back to dallas but i’m wondering if she’ll ever come back for a few things…

  5. Ohh Chandra was so beautiful, I think she’s the only one missing in all of these 90’s comebacks.

  6. Bravo! Love the video, great job, we need more of this in the industry. Very good interview, and how topical and interesting with new technology…Danielle is a lovely woman and she looks great in any format. More more more!

  7. Chandra had Laura Mercier SS09 contract at least, You can look her up here on MDC.

  8. YASMEEN GHAURY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    please return………….

    Great that Danielle is back,…..but i really want YASMEEN!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. lily – i’ve kept up with chandra’s commercial work and know she’s always been active in that sense. i was just curious if she’d ever go back to more high fashion – editorial at least definitely not runway. cause even with her classic looks she had her fair share of great editorial. and now that she switched over to dna i’m wondering…

  10. Would love to see Shalom Harlow make a return, but I think she’s really into acting now.

  11. where is Jaime Rishar?? Shanna Shank?Shalom Harlow? and YESSSS Yasmeen!!! come out come out where ever you are!!
    Danielle looks amazing! <3

  12. Shalom hasn’t really gone anywhere. Not that I care much about the MDC rankings, but she’s #19 on the money girls list.
    Seeing Danielle Z. made me remember her “pair” from the 90’s, Kim Iglinsky, wonder if she could make comeback too :)

  13. This generation of models also including Audrey Marnay, Maggie Rizzer, Erin, Karen, Chandra, Carolyn, Esther,… was and is still fabulous ! Steven Meisel should do a Vogue Italia “revival” issue !


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