When Ksenia Avdulova was a 10 year-old Russian kid living in Moscow she pinned a glossy magazine picture of New York City to her bedroom wall and day-dreamt of the concrete jungle whose lights would inspire her and make her feel brand new.
At 27, here she is. An established NYC-based Instafamous influencer who recently quit her day job to pursue her side hustle full time – exotic yoga retreats, superfood videos and a non-top 360 spiritual practice.
I know what you’re thinking – “Is Ksenia human, or is she dancer?”
Ksenia is the first feature in our exciting new ‘Woman Up’ series where we pick the busy brains of inspiring ladies in our orbit. Here are the 7 Big Questions we asked her:
You’ve been featured by Vogue, Shape, Harper’s Bazaar, Conde Nast Traveller, Lululemon, Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book, Well+Good, and Refinery 29. You’re travelling the globe and launching websites and businesses like there’s no tomorrow.
What did you have to unlearn to get to where you are?
Gosh, so many things. I read in Cosmo in seventh grade that J.Lo stays in shape by eating eggs with spinach every morning. So I started eating eggs and spinach every morning because I assumed what works for J.Lo would work for me. I had to learn that I am not J.Lo.
For many years, I thought that I’d find the answer to a fit body, self-acceptance, whole-body health and inner peace by following someone else’s tried and tested recipe. Such a rookie mistake.
The past few years have been a deep dive into what makes me feel alive and radiant. I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing more powerful than your own intuition and a holistic approach (I’m a devout Parsley member!) when it comes to getting the results you want.
We wanna work out with you today, where are you taking us?
The class! I’ve tried it all, and for me nothing does the trick quite like a good sweat combined with a good scream. It’s a fitness workout, meditation and visualization therapy all in one class. I always leave feeling elevated and inspired. A strong, tight bod is a nice side effect.
What’s your hack for getting back on track when things have completely derailed? Like after a vacation or an indulgent weekend or a deadline or a break-down.
When struggling with acne and weight issues as a teenager, I completely took out Snickers, ice cream, pizza and hot dogs from my daily diet. The only exception used to be when I’d travel outside of Moscow – I’d indulge all the thin crust pizza in Venice and all the croissants in Lausanne. I’d never restrict myself on vacation, and always came back feeling fulfilled (creatively and spiritually) and light (physically). Here’s the catch: back then trips would take place 1-2 times a year, and now I travel every month, and live in the US – which is like one big adventure in itself – every day I feel like I’m on a movie set.
The trick for me is to not separate my “normal” days from “cheat” days. Who even came up with the concept of cheat days? Now I focus on eating really well most of the time, indulging in things that may not be so good for me sometimes, and never getting a side dish of guilt. Guilt has worse effects on our metabolism than a donut, right? One way to do that is next time you’re craving something you think is “bad” for you, ask yourself what it is that you truly want in this moment. Is it the Twinkie or a hug? And if after the hug you still want a Twinkie then eat a friggin Twinkie!
What’s the habit you’re trying to kick?
Procrastination! I’m an expert at it. I’m working freelance as of recently, and my Productivity Planner is really helping to set priorities straight, get things done, and be honest with myself about the things I keep postponing. I’m digging down to get to the root cause (so Parsley of me) of my procrastination – why I put certain projects off – is it because I’m lazy or because they’re just not in my Zone of Genius (where your greatest passion meets your innate talent)?
How are you killing it in life right now?
With the daily grind of running my blog Breakfast Criminals, my social media consulting business, and a new upcoming online platform, I don’t actually stop and say to myself “whoa, you’re killin it”. But a cool recent milestone moment was launching a permanent superfood porridge bar at Beaming in LA (my favorite smoothie spot on the West Coast). And the new website I’m launching this summer, Digital Or Alive, is the most exciting project I’ve taken on so far. It’s a platform that will explore the question of finding the sweet spot between the social media / digital entrepreneurship hustle and finding ways to connect to yourself and the world in wifi-free ways.
If you went to a deserted island and could take a truck load of only one type of food / snack/ drink , what would it be?
Bananas all the way. If there’s a frozen cave on the island, I could make and store nice cream.
What do you do to remind yourself that things are gonna be ok?
These things, in no particular order, usually do it for me:
- reading Martha Beck
- drumming on my djembe
- sweating at Modo Yoga
- reminding someone else who needs it that things are gonna be ok (the fastest way to get there)
- taking a nap
- booking a flight somewhere