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Donna Lazarescu - Cali Girl

Text By Luke Munnell, Photography by Michael Bell

As Peter Griffin (Family Guy) would ask, you know what really grinds our gears? Hearing people whine about their less-than-perfect situations, blaming even their smallest inconveniences on the “if onlys”:

“If only I didn’t have to worry about money...”

“If only the beach wasn’t so crowded on my day off...”

“If only I got more respect from my coworkers...”

It might be enough to make us cold people, if only we never came across those rare, truly inspirational people who are aware of, and grateful for, all the gifts life has given them. Romanian-born Donna Lazarescu is one of those people. Though her ethereal beauty and radiant optimism might suggest young, carefree naivety, Donna’s someone who’s spent her entire life overcoming challenges to become who she is today. And you won’t catch her whining about it. She’ll be busy looking forward to overcoming, and achieving, a lot more. If only we could all be more like Donna...

And you’re originally from Romania, right?

Yep, I was born here and lived here until I was 10 and moved to the States.

Wow! You moved out on your own to a different country when you were only 10?! That’s brave...

No! [laughs] It was me, my parents, and my little brother. We moved to the States for healthcare reasons and pretty much stayed in SoCal from then on. I go back to Romania every so often to visit, but I don’t ever want to leave Cali for good. I love it here!

So how’s the vibe different in Romania from parts of Cali?

Well, you know...O.C. is more laid-back than L.A., but Romania is more relaxed than all of Cali. People in Cali seem to be very money-motivated, whereas people in Romania value their families, holidays, and free time more, I feel. They work hard, but only for what they need; the rest of their time is spent on just enjoying life. But we do have some awesome clubs here like in Hollywood, and we have a cool beach scene at the Black Sea.

So when you go back, do people mistake you for the typical beautiful blonde surfer girl from sunny Southern California?

No, not really. I speak Romanian fluently and know all the customs and places, so I blend right in. Most Romanian girls look just like me.

Note to self: Open Import Tuner satellite office in Romania...

[laughs] It’s true! Romanian girls are beautiful. German girls, too—you’d love it there!

...and Germany. Where else have you been?

Not much else—other states in America and that’s about it. I’m going to visit a friend in Jordan during this trip. I’m a little unsure how that trip’s going to go, but I’m always up for new adventures! Oh, and Hawaii, too, someday soon...

Well, both places have their share of beautiful women, but something tells us you might not fit in as well. Unless you can shred 20-foot swells on the North Shore. Do you surf, Cali girl?

No, but I love to snowboard! I started about four years ago, but I missed out on all of last year so I’m going to be kind of rusty. I am trying to go to Colorado this winter to snowboard, though.

That’ll bust the rust. Why did you miss all last year?

I broke my leg.

Oh no! What happened?

[laughs] Cheerleading. I’m a biology student at the local university and have been into cheerleading for six years, mostly as a flier—the one who’s always being thrown around. I’ve always had sprained ankles and last year I got a hairline fracture in my right tibia. I love it, but it’s sketchy; one wrong position, one muscle you don’t flex the right way, and you’re going down on a bunch of girls.

Girl-on-girl action. Normally we’re all for it, but this sounds painful! So why has it taken you six years to graduate?

[laughs] OMG! I’m only in my fourth year at the university! I used to cheerlead in high school before that. But yea, I want to get into the medical field eventually, so I have a lot more school to go, and with modeling, I’m pretty busy.

By Luke Munnell
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