Russia’s hottest model is a 700-pound, 28-year-old Eurasian brown bear named Stepan. Standing at over 2 meters tall, this hunk’s photoshoots adorn the pages of the Daily Mail, the Sun and the New York Post.
“I’ve worked with models from Thailand, Australia, Germany, Britain and Israel who have all flown to work with him,” Stepan’s photographer Mila Zhdanova says.
Born in a St. Petersburg zoo, Stepan was adopted by his “second parents” Svetlana and Yury Panteleenko at the tender age of three months after he was abandoned by his own mother, according to his biography.
By age 18, the Panteleenko family “managed to melt the predator’s heart with their love and kindness” and turned Stepan into a film and circus star in Russia.
His latest star turn came with Zhdanova’s fairy-tale-inspired photoshoots alongside models in traditional Russian costumes.
“Stepan is so friendly thanks to his trainers’ care and love,” Zhdanova, who delights in the foreign press coverage her sessions, which last no more than 30 minutes each, are getting, told British media.
Zhdanova added that she wants her sessions with Stepan to break the stereotype that Russia is a country of bears and no smiles.
“We do have bears but I want to show in my pictures that we do smile,” she says.
As for Stepan’s animal instincts, his bio points out that he’s “an exception to the rule.”
“He’s smart, kind and incredibly beautiful.”
Russia Sees Warmest September in Recorded History
Russia experienced the warmest September in its 130-year recorded history last month, the state weather service said Monday as climate change continues to reshape the country’s weather patterns.
Nearly every geographical region except southeast Russia experienced temperatures several degrees above their September averages, according to the Russian Hydrometeorology Center’s chief specialist Marina Makarova.
“The largest anomalies were observed in north Eurasia where temperatures exceeded the average by 5-6 degrees Celsius,” she told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
A wide stretch of Arctic land spanning more than 2,000 kilometers recorded temperatures 4 C higher than average in September, Makarova added.
“New temperature records were repeatedly set throughout the month there. Russia’s temperature anomaly was mainly due to the northern regions,” she told RIA Novosti.
The northern and western parts of European Russia saw temperatures 2-3 degrees above September averages, Markova added.
“It was Russia’s warmest September in the entire 130-year history of measurements,” she said.
The first six months of 2020 broke Russia’s heat records due to an unusually warm winter. The previous year was also declared the hottest year on record in Russia.