I was born and spent most of my childhood on Sakhalin island (an island in the far east of Russia, just an hour flight from Japan), and for a child it was amazing - the nature is beautiful, and the city is surrounded by both sea and mountains. Winters were quite an experience there, sometimes there was so much snow that the ground floor door was blocked and I had to skip school (or jump out from the first floor into a snowdrift). For some reason, these are the first thoughts that come to me when I think about my hometown.
The end of the 90s, after the dissolution of the USSR, was a tough time for the country, but of course, as a child, you don’t realise many social issues around you like poverty, unemployment, and criminality. These were some of the reasons why in 1999 my family moved to Japan for a couple of years. We all absolutely loved the country and its people, this was also the first time I connected with the fashion industry. My mother took me to a modelling agency when I was 4 years old for some extra cash and we got involved in so many interesting projects and photoshoots. I learnt Japanese quite fast. The end of the Millenium was such a culturally vibrant time in Japan as well, I remember how much I was fascinated by Ganguro girls and Tokyo street style.
Returning back to post-soviet Russia was a big contrast. The early 2000s in Russia were very interesting, as a country we were coming out from a big, long dark period, however, there was a feeling of a big incoming cultural change. That was reflected in arts and music, the period when t.A.T.u. had good worldwide coverage and was a symbol of change for a generation. Alas, that process ended a few years later and that feeling of change disappeared. I moved to Moscow at the age of 12 to attend a school there. Since then I have lived quite independently, just with my sister, as my parents stayed on the island most of the time.