News & Runway


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Stunning Kazakh fashion model Ruslana Korshunova plunged to her death from the ninth floor of her lower Manhattan building Saturday, June 28th  in an apparent suicide, police sources and neighbors said.

Ruslana, 20, a long-haired lovely who once graced the cover of Russian Vogue, plummeted onto busy Water St. in the Financial District around 2:30 p.m., according to sources and building residents.

“There’s no way she would have killed herself,” said her crying friend, Kira Titeneva. “She loved life so much.”

Witnesses to Korshunova’s deadly spill had no idea that the stunner – shoeless and dressed in blue jeans and a purple tank top – was a famous model but noticed her beauty right away.

“All I saw was something moving out of the corner of my eye, and then boom,” said Steve Metzger, 36. “It sounded like a bass drum when she hit the ground. “She was a pretty girl.”

“She was my best friend,” Titeneva said. “I talked to her [Friday] night and we were talking all the gossip.”

Investigators said there were no signs of a struggle inside Korshunova’s apartment and believe she jumped from her balcony, which is next to a skyscraper construction site, a law enforcement source said.

“I turned around just as she was about 3 feet off the ground and then, boom, she hit,” said witness Ahmed Saad, 22, who was manning a nearby halal food cart.

Dubbed “fashion’s muse of the moment” by the Sunday Times of London in 2005, Korshunova distinguished herself with locks of hair that once draped down to her thighs.

She was often photographed with her mane cascading around her.

Long hair is a symbol of beauty in Kazakhstan, where she was born in the then-capital city of Almaty on July 2, 1987.

“She was like an angel,” Titeneva said. “She was just working, working, working.”

The friend said Korshunova had recently returned from spending a few weeks in Paris and did not appear troubled.

A doorman at her 12-story building – where Korshunova lived for months in a studio converted into a one-bedroom – said the model seemed happy when she came home about 4 a.m. Saturday.

“She came in this morning, she smiled, no sense of depression,” said Mahmoud Nakeeb, 45. “She was a very sweet girl, always smiling, never depressed-looking.”

However, Ruslana Korshunova poured her heart out on the Web in the months leading to her apparent suicide.

“Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably,” she wrote in a poem that concluded: “And never regret anything that made you smile.”

She wrote that love “blinds,” “sets souls afire,” and “is always the answer” in emotion-soaked passages posted on a social networking site.

Korshunova volleyed between Russian and English in her heartfelt prose, but love was a central theme no matter the language. “Do not confuse love and desire,” she wrote in Russian in her most recent posting May 30. “Love is the sun, desire – only flash. Desire dazzles, and the sun gives life.”

The soulful note warns of the perils of sacrifice.

“Love does not take away from one in order to give to another,” wrote Korshunova. “Love – this is the essence of life. But you will not give your life to another.”

Korshunova’s most telling message came three months ago: “I’m so lost. Will I ever find myself?”

She appeared angry in some postings, brokenhearted in others.

“I’m a bitch. I’m a witch. I don’t care what you say!!!” she wrote March 11. “I know what it is. I know why my other relationships didn’t work out, ’cause I’m unpredictable. Why are you afraid of it?”

In January, she wrote, “It hurts, as if someone took a part of me, tore it out, mercilessly stomped all over and threw it out.

Nakeeb said the green-eyed Korshunova was very down-to-earth, often dressed in simple pants and shorts. He had no clue she was an international model. “I feel bad,” he said. “My heart is broken.”


Korshunova’s elite modeling agency, IMG, was grappling with the tragedy last night and gathering information about her death and work schedule.

“We’re shocked and our heart goes out to her family,” said spokesman Zach Eichman.

The nearly 5-foot-9 model’s interest in German led to her discovery in 2003. A journalist from All Asia magazine visited her German language club and featured her photo in a story, according to an article in Continent, a Kazakh magazine.

During a flight, booker Debbie Jones of Models 1 spotted her picture in the magazine and called the article’s author for help in tracking Korshunova.

“I saw her by chance and she looked like something out of a fairy tale!” Jones told British Vogue. “We had to find her and we searched high and low until we did! She’s really incredible, with feline features and timeless beauty.”

Photos courtesy of and the Fashion Spot forums.