Exclusive: Russian model speaks out about pending Cayan Tower Dubai lawsuit
DUBAI // A Russian model who performed a daredevil photo shoot by precariously hanging from one of the emirate’s most eye-catching skyscrapers has responded to news she is facing a lawsuit from the building’s developer.
On Friday the Cayan Group said it would file “immediate legal action” against Viktoria Odintcova and the production team who helped her orchestrate a dangerous stunt from the roof of Cayan Tower, a 73-storey residential building in Dubai Marina famous for its dazzling spiral design.
In an email to The National sent early on Sunday morning, Ms Odintcova said while she didn’t plan on repeating the stunt, she should be compensated for her actions in exposing the tower’s weak security.
“We deserve a reward for disclosing weaknesses in the security of that building,” said Ms Odintcova, writing in Russian. “We were at the rooftop of that building without any evil intentions, however someone else could have come out there to commit suicide or an act of terrorism.”
On Sunday Dubai Police Maj Gen Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, an assistant to the chief of police in Dubai, said that Odintcova “had been summoned to sign an undertaking not to repeat any dangerous moves that could endanger her life in Dubai”.
“What the young Russian woman had done represents a danger to her life,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri said.
Ms Odintcova said she left Dubai last month and is now back home in Moscow.
“I don’t know when I will again travel to Dubai,” she said. “But it’s my favourite city; of course, I’ll be back if it would be possible.”
She apologised “for the inconvenience in connection with my act”.
“I didn’t want to hurt the reputation of the city. I hope we can resolve this misunderstanding,” she said. “I can sign the papers if the police send them to me in the mail. Of course I’m not going to repeat this something dangerous again in Dubai.”
In a video widely shared on social media, after it was posted on YouTube by a company called Mavrin Studios in January, Ms Odintcova is shown practising for the risky performance. The video proceeds to show the team entering the Cayan Tower and climbing the staircase to reach the roof, where the 22-year-old model dangles from the edge of the building supported only by the hand grip of an assistant.
Ms Odintsova said the building was chosen “randomly”. After entering the tower and heading to the elevators, “no one asked us any questions, nobody checked our IDs or other documents”, she said. “We went up to the roof, spent 40 minutes there. There were no security guards throughout the time we spent on the roof. Then, we went out.”
The Cayan Group said it “strongly condemned” the “stunt,” which was performed without any restraints, or safety precautions.
“We are in the process of reviewing our security procedures to understand and rectify where the lapse occurred and how to prevent such in the future,” said Gizel Daher, the company’s director of marketing and communications. “An immediate legal action is running against this condemned incident and the sentence will cover the involved breachers at all levels.”
As of Sunday, the video had been viewed more than 2,317,500 times on YouTube and received more than 528,000 likes on Ms Odintcova’s Instagram account. However Ms Odintcova insisted she didn’t shoot the video to increase her online popularity, but rather to face and overcome her fears.
“Photos and videos were at the second place, the first one was devoted to the examination of bravery and a fight with the self-fears,” she said, noting she has also jumped from a bridge in Sochi and swam with sharks.
The young exhibitionist also offered social commentary, arguing our modern world is making us overweight and uneducated. People “are not learning science or reading books, they do not exercise or playing sport, for that reason it is impossible to test bravery or courage.”
“Where is the understanding, that only you - and nobody else - are in charge of your life, of your actions and of their consequences?”
Ms Odintcova said Cayan Tower was not damaged during the filming of the video, “and of course we didn’t want to do much of harm of the Cayan Tower reputation”.
The model advised others not to repeat her stuntwoman antics.
“We do not intend to repeat this action and do not advise anyone to repeat it in anyway,” she said. “It is a ‘life-and-death’ job, thus these kind of tricks cannot be performed without professionals.”
* This story has been updated since it was first published.