Out-of-work lingerie model hangs up her knickers to pick asparagus during coronavirus crisis – The Sun

AN out-of-work lingerie model has hung up her knickers to become an asparagus picker due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aniko Michnyaova is used to a glamorous life doing photo shoots for La Senza, Boux Avenue, M&S and Debenhams.

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But the down-to-earth blonde beauty has moved out of her West London home and into a caravan on a farm to pick and pack vegetables.

She is on the minimum wage of £8.72 per hour and does up to 10 hour shifts a day to earn £2,000 a month – what she previously raked in in a day as a model.

The 32-year now instead wears a bin bag to gather mucky veg for up to ten hours daily on Cobrey Farm near Ross-on-Wye, in Herefordshire.

In a video of her posing in her new daily get-up, Aniko was asked how she feels in her new outfit.

She jokingly replied: “I feel amazing. This is my life-dream, to wear a bin bag.

“I achieved a lot in my life and this is definitely on top of the list.”

Aniko now lives in a £57-per-week three-bed caravan she shares with five others.

It’s a far cry from her £2000-a-month rented luxury garden pad in the capital.

But she was so determined to work on a farm, that she applied to scores of jobs as a produce picker.

Aniko said: “I applied through many, many websites. I went through all the big recruitment agencies.

“I filled out tonnes of applications. I even had a spreadsheet so I could keep track of how many places and where I had applied.

“I started the journey with two friends – who I call my ‘Covid Land Army’ or the ‘Strawberry Team’.

“We originally wanted to do strawberry picking but soon enough we found out that only starts later, like the end of May or June and we wanted to start as soon as possible.

“What really motivated me is to feed the nation and I’d read many articles about how crops will go to waste if we don’t pick them.”

Aniko started her new minimum wage role on UK Labour Day – May 1 – and now earns in a month what she was previously earning a day.

She continued: “It seemed like a good idea to also get back to ‘normal’ life and do something good with my time.

“We get paid minimum wage which is £8.72 per hour and working hours are so different.

“It depends on the order from the supermarkets and on the asparagus itself due to the weather.

“So it can be anything from a five hour to a ten hour day.

“Picking beans or fruit is better because they pay after how much you have picked.

“So that means that pickers can make about £2000 and £2500 a month.

“As asparagus pickers we are only making about £1,200.

“In my normal job, that would be a day rate but I have to adapt to the ‘normal’ now and just swallow my pride and get on with it.”

The 5 ft 10 blonde beauty went on to describe the fast-pace and hard work her new role entails: “When working in the grading house, they have seven machines – or ‘lines’ as we call them.

“Imagine this like a machine gun shooting asparagus at you with the speed of light.

“We have to pick a bunch up and grade them into ten different boxes, from extra fine, to jumbo and rubbish.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m in a war zone. If I just turn for five seconds, when I’m back in my little tube, it’s full again.

“Sometimes it’s so much asparagus-volcano flying at you that we have five of the best people grading like little robots.

“I have learned so much about farming. I learned that asparagus grows in a day…you could actually watch it grow in front of your eyes.

“If it’s picked a day late, then it’s all rubbish.

“We all know that if the asparagus is too flowery, that we are going to have a very long and hard day.

“I never imagined this is how we grade vegetables and fruit.”

The Hungarian-born model – who has lived in the UK for eleven years – has been amazed at how much we waste.

She said: “It has opened my eyes and made me realise how much we actually, first of all, waste.

“We throw out so much just because it has a curve in them and when we go to the shops and pick up a bunch of asparagus, we still judge them and if we don’t like it, we put it back, which is so crazy because all these veggies have been graded by hand.

“It’s crazy to think about how picky we are.

“Also, I will definitely wash my fruit and veg once I take them home.”

She now dons a 99p blue hair net and gloves instead of being paid thousands to be snapped in lingerie worth hundreds of pounds.

She went on to describe her new uniform: “We have to wear this blue jacket and hair net. We look ridiculous.

“Suppliers who take the crates away wear green and supervisors wear red.”

When asked what her friends and family think about her new role, she said: “My parents just told me to not get sick.

“Social distancing definitely would be hard at this place. Everybody needs to work close and for some reason, there is no sign of the virus here.

“It feels like we are in a normal world.”

Entrepreneurial Aniko also owns her own filming production company named Save Your Day Films, as well as a women’s only spa and massage parlour.

Aniko, who is currently single, is still having to pay rent on her London apartment too, despite her income shrinking to a fifth of her usual earnings.


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