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Inside Influence: One On One With Eugenia Kuzmina

I spoke to model and influencer Eugenia Kuzmina about her journey and best advice

Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to go behind the brand. First things first, though, what is something about you that the many people who follow you don’t know?

Eugenia: Thank you Adam, for your time as well! I would say that many people don’t know the fact that I’ve been in the entertainment business my whole life and have watched it change platforms and faces. When I started modeling in Russia and then Paris as a child and teenager, there was no Photoshop, and there were very square standards of beauty. It was completely different criteria by which you were hired. Now I’m so excited to see the word “model” being broadened into diversity across the board with looks and age ranges, and so many models having their unique voice as well. It’s the same as in the movie business in that there’s a way to find your own channel to stream whatever you feel like expressing.      

Adam: How did you get here? What experiences, failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth and success? 

Eugenia: I always knew that traveling would be a big part of my life, even when we had absolutely no means in doing so. I grew up in the late 80s – 90s, which was the end of the Soviet regime and the new regime in Russia. It was a time of big change, starvation and food lines, since the regime was collapsing. We weren’t allowed to leave the country that easily since my dad was a nuclear scientist and the government wasn’t very supportive of that. I got scouted to go to Paris the I was 15. I took a chance and got lucky. My first agent Nathalie Cros-Coitton was like a mother-figure and the opposite of what you’d expect in the business. She supported and encouraged me to build a career and not be a party girl. Between jobs, I was studying and going to bed at 9pm. My biggest challenge was that I was very shy. It’s the show business, and I was supposed to be a model at 15, but I was a completely lost, normal teenager with social anxiety issues. No one would hire me in Paris for a year. My team was considering that I should go home, and then Yves Saint Laurent hired me for his last retrospective show–and things changed. I feel what it taught me more than anything is that there’s a place for everyone. Yves loved my awkwardness and mystery, and the most important thing in life is to be authentic and true to your journey rather than trying to present a fake mask.

I also learned a lot from Hollywood. When I started acting, my managers said there are only Russian spy or girls of the oldest profession for you being Russian, unless you change your name … which I did for a second. I had changed my name to Parker Block. Being on the set of “New Girl,” they kept saying “Parker Block on set,” and I just kept thinking who’s that awful person who’s delaying the production?! So it didn’t last. I love playing all the roles, but I also found stand-up, a place where I don’t have to fulfill anyone’s vision and still be creative. It gives me a sense of personal power over content.

Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in working with influencers? How do you decide who to work with?

Eugenia: I think you have to dig deep. Disect why are you doing what you’re doing. Look at the bigger picture, not just current trends. Influencer means to influence someone and it’s important to understand that it’s a responsibility–it’s bigger than personal ego.

Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in becoming influencers?

Eugenia: I’d say trends change, but if you’re solid in your values, your message to the world, and you find a voice, it’s what matters.

Adam: What is the biggest misconception about the influencer world and life as an influencer?

Eugenia: Saying NO to promoting content that doesn’t match your values. It’s a fast game of likes, and as a human, it’s impossible to be liked every time.

Adam: What has your experience as a model and an influencer taught you about branding and marketing? What are your three best marketing and branding tips?

Eugenia: I would say develop skills outside social media or any business that’s based on your looks or persona. Have passion for life and connection to others, and hold onto real friendships and relationships.

Adam: Who are the best leaders you have been around and what have you learned from them? What do you believe everyone should know about leadership?

Eugenia: There are so many. I feel Oprah is doing amazing work in terms of leadership. Princess Diana was a messenger for kindness. Keanu Reeves proves humbleness is cool.

Adam: What made you decide to pursue comedy?

Eugenia: I’d say finding my true authentic voice. In modeling, you’re objectified. In acting, you fill in the archetype, I feel I have more to share.   

Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?

Eugenia: I love motorcycle riding. I take lessons at Westside  Motorcycle Academy. I love Israeli self-defense course, Krav Maga, and I cherish Spirit Rock Silent Meditation Retreat. I learn the most in silence. 

Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?

Eugenia: Being present. 

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