Viktoriya Zueva, 20

Fifth Ave between 18th and 19th Sts

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Photograph: Jay Muhlin

Where are you from?
A city in Russia called Perm.

As in, what one does to one's hair?
[Laughs] Exactly. It's in the Ural Mountains. It's very old, but it was a secret until after the Second World War. People couldn't get in and they couldn't get out—even Russians have only known about it for 60 years. There were secret weapons!

You mean there were weapons being made there for the war?
I dunno! No one's gonna tell you!

Where are you from?
A city in Russia called Perm.

As in, what one does to one's hair?
[Laughs] Exactly. It's in the Ural Mountains. It's very old, but it was a secret until after the Second World War. People couldn't get in and they couldn't get out—even Russians have only known about it for 60 years. There were secret weapons!

You mean there were weapons being made there for the war?
I dunno! No one's gonna tell you!

Wait, so you know the secret?
[Laughs] Yeah, I'm a spy.

Right. So what else are you doing in New York?
In September I'm starting design school at Parsons. Right now I'm in acting school for the summer at Lee Strasberg, just checking it out.

Every American action movie in the '80s featured a Russian bad guy. Did you have American villains growing up in Russia?
I was born in '87—and Disney movies didn't have much about U.S.-Russian relations. By then, we already had Tic Tacs and chewing gum. So I missed that whole period. I never saw Americans, so why would I have something against them, you know? I have many friends now who are American and a boyfriend who was born and raised here.

How did you meet him?
Uhh, well...in Las Vegas.

Are you even allowed to gamble at your age?
No! I wasn't gambling.

Except by picking up dudes in Sin City.
Right. And that's not against the law.

More thoughts from Viktoriya

"I recently saw Pilobolus at the Joyce, which is right next to where I live. It was just amaxing: the music, the costumes, the lights. And what they do with their bodies...they're not just dancers, they're performers"

"I'm not gonna teach my boyfriend Russian. [Laughs] I don't want him to know what I'm talking about!"

"Russian men are very spoiled-they like to get attention from women. It's not very likely that someone's gonna give you a compliment on the street over there. That's why I like the U.S.!"

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