People see what they want to see: an apartment in downtown San Francisco, a nice car, a successful business. It’s easy to look at the success of others and be a tinge jealous or feel like others have it easier than you or they are just plain luckier. Of course, some may think that a young, beautiful woman has a greater chance of achieving success. I mean, how can someone who looks like that not be successful? Nevertheless, with success comes great risk and sacrifice. Beauty may have its advantages, but it takes a fearless and incredibly passionate person to go after their dreams; grasp the reins of the horse of destiny and ride daringly through all of life’s challenges.
What is your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement was moving to the U.S. from Russia without knowing anyone and without having any real plans. I was completely on my own without any support from my family or friends. I came to America with just $500 in one pocket and a dream to make this country my new home in the other. I am very outgoing and making connections is easy for me, so I knew that I’d be able to make this dream a reality. I went to college here, worked various jobs in different business sectors and learned a multitude of new skills. This experience allowed me to realize my true potential. I believe this is my greatest achievement thus far.
Why did you decide to move to the U.S.?
I decided to move to the U.S. because Moscow just wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to explore the world and experience true diversity which I felt Russia didn’t have. In Moscow, I got my bachelor’s degree in teaching from Moscow State Pedagogical University and was working as an English teacher for a large company. I just knew that I needed to move to a country where English is spoken natively and where there is a diverse population, so I chose America and eventually San Francisco. I used this experience as a sort of soul journey to learn more about myself. I wanted to push myself to the limits and get out of my comfort zone, because nobody grows there. You need courage and the desire to live in order to build yourself up from the ground, acquire new skills, and, most importantly, survive!
You are currently running a successful real-estate business. How did the idea of creating a business unfold?
After I moved here, I was thinking about what sort of job I would like. The goal was to find something that I would enjoy while making a sufficient amount of money. Some of my friends thought that I would flourish in the real estate business and urged me to get a real-estate license. So, I got my license and started working at a company in San Francisco. One day, at an open house for a client, I met my future business partner, Yelena Laudati! We are a great team and have successfully helped many clients buy and sell their homes. People started calling us “Team Lenas” because we both have the same name and are equally unstoppable. In 2017, we decided to create an official team with the name #TeamLenas. We are focused on expanding our business by further developing our own website and continuing to provide exemplary service.
What advice would you give to someone about success?
First, the definition of success is different for everyone and my definition isn’t the stereotypical, materialistic one. I believe that a successful person isn’t someone who makes a lot of money; it’s someone who has goals and is moving step-by-step in the right direction to achieve them. If you are progressing and getting closer to accomplishing these objectives, then you are already successful. I believe that two key factors to success are: listening to your spirit and having the courage to step out of your comfort zone. Even if you only take one small step in the right direction, after two years, you will have covered a lot of distance. It’s all about consistency and moving forward.
Why did you decide to compete in Miss Russian San Francisco in 2018?
I saw a post from Karina, the founder and producer of Miss Russian San Francisco. I had attended the competition several times previously to cheer on my friends. I always wanted to participate but was too busy with life and work. In 2018, I decided to put my foot down and say, “You know what? This year I am going to do this.” So, I enrolled in the competition and had the mindset that I am in this competition to win it and I won’t accept any other outcome. Of course, winning the competition wasn’t easy. I was conscious about my body and was nervous about all the lights, people, and cameras that would be circling me on stage. However, as with everything in life, if you really want to achieve something, you must work for it. So, for two months, I went to the gym every day for at least an hour and a half. I created a vision board at home and cut out the Miss Russian San Francisco crown. Every day, I would look at my vision board and imagine myself winning the competition and wearing the glamorous trophy. I worked a lot on cultivating self-confidence. The goal of winning the competition was my greatest motivation.
How would you describe your style?
When I dress, I want to make a statement. I like to use clothes and outfits to express myself and communicate my mood to others. I definitely love to stand out, so I would describe my style as classy with a twist.
What is the most difficult thing you have done in your life? Do you have any regrets?
No, I definitely do not have any regrets. I cannot think of anything especially difficult I have had to do in my life. I believe the definition of “difficult” is subjective. My journey to get where I am today was tricky, but I don’t see it as being particularly difficult. It’s all about your mindset and the way you look at things. If you view something as difficult, most likely, it’s going to be difficult. I’ve had a lot of events in my life that have challenged me, but I viewed them as something new for me to try out, experience and grow from. I love to live life. Life is a very beautiful thing; it is a wonderful journey and its beauty is in diversity. Perhaps, I would describe my experiences in life as different but not difficult.
Q&AQ: What beauty tips do you swear by?
A: Get as much exercise as possible and eat healthily.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Live life to the fullest. But, be careful, we only have one life to live and it is precious.
Q: Is the glass half empty or half full?
A: Half full. Half empty if it’s about wine.
Q: If you inherited $100,000, how would you spend it?
A: I would invest in stocks and take a nice trip with my family and extended family. I would also donate a portion to needy families in Russia. Furthermore, I would continue working as hard as I can to earn my first million dollars.
Q: What is your favorite music genre?
A: Deep House, but I enjoy listening to many different music genres as well.
Q: What are the top three qualities that you value the most in other people?
A: Focus, ambition and kindness.
Q: In your opinion, what is your best physical feature and personality trait?
A: I like being tall and slim. I believe the best characteristic of my personality is the joy I have for life.
Q: On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, rate your fashion sense.
A: 10. I believe being fashionable doesn’t just mean wearing trendy clothing, but it’s more about wearing clothing tastefully.
Q: What has been the hardest thing for you to face or learn?
A: It has always been a challenge for me to speak in front of large crowds.
Q: Do you have a catchphrase?
A: Live your life as though everything is a miracle.