What do you do when you have a tennis player potentially worth millions of dollars on your hands? How about getting her into a pair of seven-inch heels and asking her to strike a pose on a rock?
Luckily, young tennis star Agnieszka Radwanska's sense of humour is as big as her talent (the Polish player reached the semifinals of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday, losing out to her good friend Victoria Azarenka) and she took it all in her beautifully-outfitted stride.
Radwanska was the third player to take part in the WTA-Dubai Duty Free fashion shoot at Dubai Airport's Terminal 3, and from the grin plastered on her face during the hour of hair, make-up and posing plus the squeal of excitement she emitted when she walked into the room housing the dresses she was to choose from she had fun.
It's something the 20-year-old has had to get used to, however.
"In the beginning, I was very nervous and I couldn't really do it," she says of posing, model-like, for fashion shoots. The stars are asked to act up, and in Radwanska's case, to put on a strong, fierce, face. "At my first shoot, I was so afraid. I was embarrassed — why should I do something like that?"
Now, though, as a make-up artist applies midnight blue eyeliner, she's laughing non-stop, and excited about the dress she gets to wear. Earlier in the day, she'd picked out an orange Ayesha Depala dress from the dozens presented by stylist Sarah Maisey — going straight for mini dresses in hot colours like turquoise and fuchsia.
"I like short dresses. I think I had a long dress just once in my life," she confides. "I like pink and blue but it must be short!" She laughs warmly.
Her eyes light up further when asked about friendships on tour. Also shooting that day were Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniaki, who had crossed paths with Radwanska in the dressing room as they headed out for their shoots. From the side-splitting guffaws the three shared upon seeing one another in high heels, towering hairstyles and punky make-up, it was clear the trio knew each other well. Does she have many friends on tour, I ask?
"Yes, especially Caroline and Vica [Victoria Azarenka]. I know them many years since we were playing tournaments under-14."
Friendship among the women on the WTA tour which takes up much of their time is common, she says. "I think all the girls are good friends. We see each other 10 months a year.
"Sometimes you're playing one player 10 times a year, sometimes just once," she continues. "On-court, we are playing against each other and it's like a normal opponent, but after the match we are still friends. Sometimes talking about the match, sometimes not." She smiles.
"We have to play against each other, it's our job. With Caro, we know each other 10 years. It's a long time to be seeing each other every week, so it's better to have friends than not knowing anyone."
What she wore
Red dress Dh2,400, Ayesha Depala.Purple shoes Dh699, Carvela at Kurt Geiger.RingDh115, Topshop.Necklace Dh650, Kenneth Jay Lane, Harvey Nichols.Gold bracelet From a selection at Valleydez, Wafi
A prisoner of the TV
When you're on tour 10 months of the year, it's best to find some hobbies you can take with you. For Agnieszka Radwanska, that's TV series especially action ones. And like the rest of us, she's addicted to DVD box sets. "I love Prison Break! I just love it, Prison Break, Lost, 24. Once I think I just watched too much, a whole season, it was Prison Break. In six days I saw more than 40 episodes, afterwards I didn't know where I was I didn't know if I was in a prison or what."