A pair of Belarussian teen models made headlines Thursday amid claims they had traversed the 700-kilometer expanse between Minsk and Moscow by foot over the course of three grueling weeks.
Gloria and Liza, 17-year-olds who graduated from high school this year, said they left Minsk with nothing but a tent and a pair of sleeping bags, Belarussian news site Onliner reported Thursday.
Traveling without food or money, the two reportedly resorted to begging for sustenance at gas stations and in small villages they passed along the way.
Due to exhaustion, the journey took two weeks longer than initially planned. “In the beginning, we were walking 50-60 kilometers a day, but then we had to slow down to 30-40 kilometers a day. The fatigue started to get to us,” one of them said, Onliner reported.
Drained and depleted by the time they reached Smolensk, the young models were elated to be taken in for the night by an elderly local woman. “She fattened us up, did our washing, and we felt new again, and carried on [with our journey],” the girls said, Russian news site Lenta.ru reported.
The teens initially told their parents they were flying to Moscow, but as they regularly updated their social media feeds with photos and videos of the epic journey, concerned friends contacted the girls' families.
“Our parents demanded that we send them screenshots of our geo-location. So we cheated, asking some of our Moscow friends to send us a screenshot [to give to our parents as 'evidence' we were in Moscow],” one of them told Onliner.
“As soon as we arrived in Moscow, we told them the truth. At first they were furious, but then said 'Thank God, you're alive,'” the girls were cited as saying.
Once in Moscow, they were surprised to learn their diligent social media updates had earned them a solid Russian fan base. “Many people wanted to meet us. They greeted us at Red Square, and brought us food and gifts,” one of them told Onliner.
Though they were broadly referred to as models in the reports, their specific credentials were not clear from media reports. According to Onliner, which featured a number of modeling shots of the girls, they are currently working with an agency in Minsk, and hope to further their modeling careers in Europe or Asia upon returning home.