Dasha Zhukova is the much talked-about 27-year-old girlfriend of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, darling of the global jet-set, and rising star on the fashion (Kova & T) and art scenes. The New York Times took a look at the California-raised heiress and former homeopathy student a couple of weeks ago. This week the U.K.'s Guardian offered up an even more in-depth profile of the woman responsible for one of the splashiest art events in recent memory, the "soft opening" of her Garage Center of Contemporary Culture in Moscow in June, when Amy Winehouse performed (drunk) for a crowd including notable New Yorkers such as Jeff Koons, Ron Lauder, Steve Cohen, and Larry Gagosian.
Up close, her skin is as dewy as a 16-year-old's and she has the most mesmerisingly flawless teeth.
Her speech is peppered with Clueless expressions: "Or whatever . . . " "Oh, cool", "Yuh, yuh." But she comes across as oddly middle-aged and serious.
She is more comfortable speaking American English than Russian and even pronounces her own surname with a hard Z and a long "oh" like an American (Zoo-kohva) instead of the Russian way (Zhuk-ova, with the accent on the first syllable).
She dresses demurely: black leggings and cardigan, white ballet flats, no makeup, hair tied loosely back—a sort of anti-Victoria Beckham. She aims for anonymity, especially in London: "Sometimes you see photographers in places you would not expect, but overall it is pretty calm."
Just don't ask her anything too specific. The Guardian reporter Viv Groskop is unable to get Dasha to even confirm she's dating Abramovich (or "Roma" as she calls him), despite the fact they're spotted around town holding hands, she travels the world with him, he's funding her splashy new gallery, and her friends privately suggest they may get married before the end of the year. Oh, and don't ask too many questions about the art itself. Says Groskop: "When I ask her which artists she particularly likes, she says: 'I'm, like, really bad at remembering names.'"