She’s Got FLARE: Toronto Blogger Sonya Esman

A model–slash–social media star shares her life and style inspo

Sonya Esman

Esman on Dundas Street West in Toronto (Photo: Jenna Marie Wakani; Hair and makeup: Victoria Fedosoff )

The blogger-model hybrid has become ubiquitous, and while we can’t resist a good fashion muse, these days it takes something special to get us to click “follow.” Our new favourite discovery is Toronto-based Russian transplant Sonya Esman ( The plane-hopping 19-year-old documents her model life and international exploits (sitting front row at the New York shows, shooting campaigns in Paris, blogging for Moscow Fashion Week) with insidery travel know-how that sets her apart from the pack. The proof, as always, is in the numbers: almost 580,000 people are plugged in to her Instagram feed, which gives wanderlusters a glimpse into her jet-set-glam life. “Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini, but I can’t stay in one place for too long,” says the photography fanatic. “Travelling, for me, is an education.”

No Labels “I refuse to define my personal style because I’m at an age where everything is constantly evolving. Style is like personality or mood: ever-changing.”

Style Mantra “My friend, jewellery designer Leila Kashanipour, encourages me to dress outrageously and get out of my comfort zone.”

Closet Must-Haves “Christopher Kane, Chloé, Chanel and Stella McCartney. Cameo and ASOS are always amazing for inexpensive pieces. The best is vintage, though: nothing comes close to the look of a perfectly worn leather jacket.”

I’m Always On The Hunt For… “a vintage black suede fringe jacket that fits properly!”

Snow Day “My ideal winter Saturday would include ice skating at Harbourfront Centre with a couple of friends and then getting a French Vanilla at Tim Hortons. Classic Canadian activities!”

Sonya’s Most-Stylish List

Elena Perminova

(Photo: Getty Images)

The subject of Esman’s dream closet-raid: fellow Russian Elena Perminova

Urban Herbivore“The salads at Urban Herbivore are the best I’ve ever had. (Get the lemon-tahini dressing!)”

Asos SkirtA vintage-inspired piece
ASOS Polyester skirt, $115,

Nadege“I’ve tried macarons all over the world, and nothing beats the vanilla ones from Nadège”

Laurence DacadeShoe lust for Laurence Dacade
Boots, $1,020,

Gossip Girl

(Photo: Everett Collection)

Throwback influence: Gossip Girl. “The show made me love fashion even more”