She’s bold, beautiful and has a business degree

Yael

Yael Markovich. Photo by LA Pearl Photography

Miss International Israel 2012 can be found closer than you might think.

Yael Markovich may have been born halfway around the world in Haifa, but the 23-year-old model who participated in the Miss International Beauty Pageant 2012, which concluded Oct. 21 in Japan, now lives in Sherman Oaks.

With long brown hair to match her eyes, Markovich made her way to Los Angeles via Queens, N.Y. — where her Polish father and Syrian-Turkish mother moved the family when she was 5 — and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she attended high school.

But her striking, slim figure (dress size: 2) wasn’t enough to propel her into modeling. It took some luck, and a tardy model, for her to move from working behind the camera as a makeup artist to taking a starring role in front of it.

Now the 5-foot-5 Markovich has been featured on Maxim.com and AskMen.com, opened her own salon, and even appeared on the silver screen. While she didn’t place in the recent international beauty pageant, Markovich has big plans for the future. She talked with TRIBE about pageant life, her career path so far, and how she made Vince Vaughn giggle.

TRIBE: What’s your favorite beauty pageant story?

MARKOVICH: Oh man … there is a lot of drama! The claws come out even more so a few days before the finale when the girls really start to buckle from the stress. I can’t really go into specifics, but girls tend to step on one another to make themselves noticed, and in most cases it’s done in a very ugly and self-degrading way.

TRIBE: How do you think Israelis rate on an international beauty scale?

MARKOVICH: Aside from Brazil, I think Israelis, both men and women, are absolutely gorgeous and should be — if they aren’t already — in the top five countries with the most attractive people.

TRIBE: Why did you want to represent Israel?

MARKOVICH: I chose to represent Israel because even though I haven’t lived there since I was young I still feel very connected. I’ve met a lot of American Jews that have only visited Israel once and have made aliyah soon thereafter. I’m extremely proud of being an Israeli-American Jew.

TRIBE: How did you end up as a model?

MARKOVICH: I was the makeup artist on a photo shoot and the model was running late, so the photographer, John Graf, had me stand in to test the lighting and background. The test shots came out great, and I’ve been modeling ever since.

TRIBE: Why did you pursue a business degree at Santa Monica College?

MARKOVICH: I chose business because it is a general subject that can be applied to any career field … even modeling. I recently opened a salon, Limon Nail and Spa Boutique [in Beverly Hills], and am applying what I’ve learned in school toward my business.

TRIBE: What’s your go-to outfit?

MARKOVICH: For nights out, definitely the “little black dress,” but for everyday I’d have to go with casual, laid-back jeans, a tank top and flip-flops. I’m really low maintenance when it comes to clothes but am a total bag snob! I should have a room just for my bags.

TRIBE: Favorite “on the job” moment?

MARKOVICH: Meeting awesome people is the best part of my job. Here’s a great story: My girlfriend and I were on set for the movie “Couples Retreat” for a good 14 hours. We were so tired and wired from all the sugar we’d been having all day that we started to joke and giggle at everything. Vince Vaughn was cool and decided to join us in our little giggle fest in between takes. 

TRIBE: How closely have you been watching events in the Middle East?

MARKOVICH: I am a politics junkie … yes, seriously! I come from a family that’s very into politics. I am very opinionated, but I’ll spare you the boring stuff.

TRIBE: Where are your favorite Valley spots?

MARKOVICH: I mostly hang out at Firefly [Studio City], The Spot hookah lounge [Encino], Kushiyu sushi [Tarzana] and Toast Café [Sherman Oaks and kosher, too!].

TRIBE: What are your long-term professional goals?

MARKOVICH: Well, I recently opened a mini day spa, which has been a long-term goal of mine since I can remember. I hope to meet someone in the near future and get married, as that would complete the list of big goals I’ve set for myself. I’m currently taking applications.

More photos of Yael Markovich

Photo by Mike Landers
Photo by Mike Landers
Photo by Mike Landers
Photo by Mike Landers
Photo by Mike Landers