‘My little sister Gabby was a determined little angel – and her death has brought our family closer’ – Top model Teodora speaks about family tragedy
Top model Teodora Sutra says the loss of her nine-year-old sister in a house fire last summer has brought her family closer.
Speaking about her talented baby sister, Teo (23) recalled of how she wanted to follow in her big sister’s footsteps and model.
The model spoke about her familiy’s unimaginable loss for the first time in an interview with the Sunday Independent’s Life magazine today.
Gabriella Gruznova, or Gabby, died in a house fire in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, last September.
Philomena O’Rourke, a close friend of the family was babysitting the little girl at the time, and also died in the fire.
Gabby was the youngest child of Teo’s mother Zane Sutra.
Teo says the family are focussed on celebrating the life of Gabriella.
“I think that, as said as it is, you want to keep remembering that person.
“You don’t want to be like, ‘Oh it’s too sad, I don’t want to talk about it’.
“But for us, anyway, it’s better to talk about it because you’re remembering the person. You’re not forgetting.
“So, whenever I speak to my mum, we speak about Gabby all the time because it makes her feel better. Even though it upsets her, it makes her feel better,” she explained.
The model says she is well aware of the problems that can arise if the grieving process is not dealt with properly.
“I think it will come back to you. It’s good to kind of go through that grieving process, I suppose, and be sad and talk about it. Get it out. Go to therapy. Do all the things that you’ll be better from afterwards. If you just shut it down, I feel like I’d break down at some stage,” she explained.
In the interview, she pays tribute to her little sister – Teo also has an older sister, and a younger brother.
Her sister, like her mother, was a talented artist. Some of her work will be featured in the children’s gallery in the newly built National Gallery of Latvia when it opens this summer.
“She was very good at painting and drawing, and stuff, so we’ve loads and loads of pictures,” Teo says.
“She’d just pick up a piece of paper and draw. She’d never rub it out, she’d draw from start to finish and it’s perfect. And, if she didn’t know who to draw something, she’d pick up a pen, draw it once, if it didn’t work out, draw it again. So there’s pages of her drawings, from start, to getting it perfect.
“So we’ve so many little things that she used to draw. She never learnt anywhere, she just had that talent. My mum is an artist, she is super talented. So I think Gabby got it from her.
“Even though she was so talented in art, she never wanted to be an artist. She wanted to be a model, like me, and then she relasied you have to be very disciplined, and she was more of a wild child, so she decided acting was what she wanted to do.
“She went to her first acting class the week before the house fire. It’s a sad story, but I think interesting too, and shows what a determined little angel she was.”
The family, who are originally from Riga in Latvia, moved to Wexford 15 years ago.
Teo won the Ford Supermodel competition in Ireland when she was 15 – and her career has gone from strength to strength since.