When did you come to the States from Russia. Why did you come?
My family and I moved to America in 1996 as political refugees, barely escaping the full destructive fury of the Chechen war in Southern Russia. I vividly remember our last winter in Russia, which we had to spend living in the basement to avoid getting hit by a random bullet or a bomb, and how my mother managed to prepare seemingly different dishes from only four ingredients of flour, rice, potatoes, and canned meat. In May 1996, we sold our apartment and everything in it, and flew to Moscow for an exit interview with the US Embassy. Upon hearing the positive decision from the US government to accept our family as political refugees, my parents took my younger sister and me to Russia’s first McDonald’s! I knew that they had very little money to spend, but back then it was the most extraordinary experience to try the American food; it was a celebration of our future life in America.
Where did you go to school, and what did you study?
I have completed two consecutive masters programs at Columbia University, one in International Affairs and another in Mathematics/Statistics. I always knew I would end up in NYC, and was happy that it was my graduate education that brought me here, but I am extremely grateful for the scholarship programs like Ford Family Foundation Fellowship that made my education more affordable.
You launched DEPESHA in 2005. What inspired you to do so?
DEPESHA in Russian means an urgent letter of high importance, later it meant a telegram, and it was also the name of my college blog, which ultimately grew to become a leading Russian-American fashion & arts publication. The publication grew out of my relationships with different Russian-Americans in New York, from designers to writers, from photographers to models, and through this amazing network of friends DEPESHA got manifested into a proper magazine. Many years later, we now have representatives in France, UK, and Germany, and a freelancer staff of over twenty.
What are you passionate about?
Freedom. I think we take it for granted too often in America.
Do you feel you’re successful? What drives you?
Success is a moving target. I certainly feel that I am progressing, growing, and learning, and this feeling of maturity makes me feel accomplished, and in your words, successful. There is so much more to experience and to learn, and this is what drives me, this desire to never stop exploring what life has to offer.
Tell me about one of your favorite interviews you’ve conducted with a person?
I learn so much when I have to answer questions about myself.
What are your goals, both in life, and with your editorial endeavors?
I am 30 years old and single. Maybe one thing at a time, how about a nice date?