Coilhouse’s Top 7 Icons of Alien Beauty

Thanksgiving is a stupid holiday, I’m not going to post anything relating to it! Instead, I bring you the following list of fashion aliens, in which we count down the most fragile, bizarre, unusual specimens of beauty to be found in the mainstream modeling world. The countdown begins with…

# 7: Lily Cole. Lily almost didn’t make this list because she’s more doll-like than alien. I envision her more baking gingerbread cookies than stepping out of a flying saucer. But there is something about her. And she is weird! I look forward to her starring as Alice in the Marilyn Manson-directed horror film Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll.

#6: Alek Wek. This Sudenese refugee broke right through the Western beauty standards that dominate the fashion industry. She’s walked the runway for Galliano and Calvin Klein, and can be seen in Janet Jackson’s inspiring Mark Romanek-directed Got Til It’s Gone music video.

# 5: Devon Aoki. Devon was discovered at a Rancid concert that she had gatecrashed at age 13. How cute! I kind of wish she’d get back to doing weird things like this iconic image for Alexander McQueen taken by Nick Knight, but unfortunately these days she’s just acting in a lot of awful movies like 2 Fast 2 Furious and War. However, she does still have her shining moments of glory, like her role as the deadly Miho in Sin City, which can be seen here.

#4: Polly Fey. This stunning woman is one of the only alternative models ever to make it into the mainstream without sacrificing a bit of her individuality. In the 90s she was one of the biggest models in London’s fetish scene, frequently appearing on Torture Garden fliers, as a muse for Pierre et Gilles, and on the runway for Skin Two. She quickly graduated to publications such as The Face and i-D (where she appeared together with Naomi Campbell). You can see more images of Polly here.

#3. Sasha Pivovarova. The Internet can be so cruel to Sasha! If you type in “sasha pivovarova” into Google Images, it comes back with “try also: gemma ward” (see #2, below). But I think that Sasha is more than just a Gemma-clone, though the two models do bear a striking resemblence. She’s still new to the scene, and I think we’ll see a lot of amazing, alien-like images from her yet.

#2: Gemma Ward. Gemma is perhaps the face most closely-associated with concepts of alien beauty. Her slightly-slanted, wide-apart eyes are her most celebrated feature, and her unique look has paved the way for a lot of the other “alien-beautiful” models that we see today. Nick Knight has said of her, “Gemma is one of the very, very few models who look as though they come from another dimension.”

Here’s Gemma side-by-side with Sasha Pivavarova:

#1. Masha Telna. But then, this model makes Gemma look like the girl next door. Those eyes – my god. She looks like a CG character! It’s actually unsettling. Masha has not yet appeared much in print, but you can see more images of her here. Not much is known about her – she doesn’t even have a Russian Wikipedia entry – but I’m hoping that we’ll see more of her and her gi-normous eyes soon.

28 Responses to “Coilhouse’s Top 7 Icons of Alien Beauty”

  1. lauren Says:

    I think Sasha is like Gemma, but with a bit of an attitude and a lot more cheekbones.

    Why wasn’t Tanya on the list? Sure, she seems more like a frog, but very alienesque if you ask me.

    Link to Image.

  2. D Says:

    Miho was so spot on in the film.

    …those eyes are not shopped?

  3. Iconoclastic Says:

    Wonderful list! These models resonate with my personal aesthetic. And there is something inexplicably vacant but yet, enthralling in their gazes; I love how each woman seems to understand her voice and how they use it with such finesse in their photos, without saying a word.

  4. lucylle Says:

    I love Polly’s features…. so delicate, with the naked scull bringing them out rather than making them disappear….

  5. Traumata Says:

    Stunning list!
    Good to see Polly Fey here, she was a huge inspiration when I was young and obsessing over skin two mags.
    And I’ll admit to watching some awful films purely because Devon Aoki was starring in them.
    (Dead Or Alive..oh dear)

  6. kris_ether Says:


    The aliens are coming wait for me I’m coming along it’s right on
    Yes they’re coming wait for me while I get my gun bang bang
    What’d you do that for they were only here to meet us you don’t know
    You don’t know that they could’ve been coming to beat us
    Didn’t bleed red
    Didn’t bleed red
    Didn’t bleed red
    Better off dead

    – Terrorvision

  7. christiane Says:

    woah. Id never seen Masha before! her eyes are almost creepy!

  8. Sue bamford Says:

    hmmm, currently racking my brain for the name of a girl who modelled back in the nineties and was in, I think, some form of game commercial.

    She was a genetic anomaly of some form, and Scottish I believe (she certainy had a Scottish accent in the ad) and was truly alien/beautiful…her ‘deformity’ just transcendent in its strangeness…she has pigtails. Oh darn, it’s frustrating to not remember more to go google for pictures

  9. Ben Johnson Says:

    Egah! Those pictures make Masha look like she’s fallen into the Uncanny Valley.

  10. nadyalev Says:

    Hi Sue, maybe you’re thinking of Chris Cunningham’s “Mental Wealth” Commercial for PlayStation?

    The actress, Fiona Maclean, was definitely CG’d up for that, and what Cunningham does with her is just pure magic; here is the before and after, which I found on this site.

    But I was just checking out the video on YouTube and of course the latest comment is “she looks like Gemma Ward.” Ha!

  11. Jerem Morrow Says:

    Excellent list. Funny to think Milla would’ve been on it just a few years ago. Deservedly, mind ye, but her new spat of “success” past 5th Element sort of tossed her outside ze Alien-status world. Also, cannot keep looking at Masha. I never realized her pics hadn’t been tweaked. Good lard.

  12. Ken Says:

    I feel compelled to mention that Masha is stunningly reminiscient of Tulip, the Glaucoma cat.

  13. Paul Komoda Says:

    It seems to me when we finally get around to producing actual “Replicants”, that they will probably look alot like Masha.

  14. nadyalev Says:

    Ken, oh my god: how great would it be to do a photo shoot of Masha holding Tulip?

  15. E. Black Says:

    Devon’s Miho blew my puny little mind with her badassedness.

    Alex, Polly and Lily have that strange beauty I’m attracted to in women.

  16. Skerror Says:

    If Masha has some acting chops and gets with a cool director/crew, she could be a new-school Barbara Steele…Black Sabbath remake?

  17. The aliens are coming « … tuned to a dead channel Says:

    […] 24, 2007 Lista a Coilhouseon a leginkább ufófejű, furcsa, és nem photoshopal effektezett modellekről, akik […]

  18. Nadya Lev Says:

    @ lauren: whoa, I’ve never seen Tanya before. You’re right, she could’ve definitely been in this list!

  19. Io Says:

    Save for the last model (her face just sort of freaks me out in an unpleasant way)…I’ve always loved these models when I came across thier images — esp. Alek Wek and Devon Aoki.

  20. Fogus Says:

    Masha Telna is the image of Alia Atreides that I have carried in my head for 15 years.

  21. meg Says:

    Sasha is the ugly twin of Gemma Ward. I think the fashion industry is missing Gemma so much that they rather have an ugly version of Gemma than no Gemma. Sasha is what Gemma would look like if she was a junkie on a binge.

  22. Zoetica Says:

    Did someone just call Sasha “ugly”?
    Hee hee!

  23. Nadya Says:

    I don’t think that about Sasha, but I do think everything that meg says about Kimberly.

    Gemma’s cousin from Joisey!

  24. jay Says:

    this post seems so long ago because right now, Sasha is considered more artistic than alien-like and she’s now also more popular than Gemma. Also now, Sasha has already established her name and is not being compared to other models anymore. Bagging a beauty campaign for Armani and prime spot for Tiffany’s would prove that. Good for Sasha :)

  25. Mz. KillJoy Says:

    I’ve always thought of Sasha as being Gemma’s doppleganger. It simply makes sense once you look at them side by side.

  26. kevynn Says:

    late i know… but tanya dziahileva too! i love her. she just makes following high fashion worth it. ill admit, i think i have a slight(understatement probably) obsession with her alien/fairy-like features.

    magdalena frackowiak. her facial structure is insane!

    possibly natsha poly, if only for the fact that she looks like the human manifestation of a fish..

    and jamie bochert. i believe shes more odd than alien, but you have to admit shes got something about her.
    great post by the way!

  27. Freja Says:

    What about Tanya Dziahileva?!

  28. Ambrosine Says:

    Okay I feel stupid commenting on such an old article, but how about Kelly Mittendorf and Carmen Solomons? Both are very alien looking. And Tanya Dziahileva, though she’s already been mentioned.