Nastya. Polina Soyref, portrait photographer

Nastya, 28, actress

interviewed on 29 May 2020

Before the isolation I was living like my life was a race — my master’s program, theatre, education, projects but how can you not work… We’re sitting at a rehearsal with an actor and I’m telling him how I’m so tired and I have no will to do anything — and at that moment the director walks in, saying, big changes are coming. On the next day, they called me and I was informed that the theatre is closed for quarantine. Rehearsals stopped, my master’s program had also come to a halt, after that, of course, we  moved online, but it was still considerably easier.

Everybody thought of me as a social person and I had the opinion about myself too. I was leaving the house at 8-9 in the morning and coming back at 11 in the evening and I was requiring constant socializing — but after I went through such busy isolation, I’m starting to think, am I really a social person or is it all an illusion? Maybe I’m just good at adapting. Perhaps, if I was alone, it’d be a lot harder.

My biggest accomplishment is the bangs I grew. This might sound weird, but I was always ready to experiment with my hair however I like: dye it, cut it, but I never touched my bangs, I’ve had them since I was five years old. Numerous friends were telling me how I should fully show my face, but I stubbornly disagreed. I’m suspecting that not entirely showing my face was my way of protecting myself from the world. I argued for many years until I finally decided to try it and it so happened that quarantine started.

I grew my bangs out, removed the gel polish from my nails, stopped straightening my curly hair, I decided to fully embrace who I am. Pretty sure this is a step up in maturity — the willingness to show my real self, to not hide, to not match the idea of how people perceive me or how they want me to be. I like being myself. And I like the fact that I don’t have to spend a lot of time styling my hair and that I don’t even need to change myself constantly.

With this, a lot of internal changes also started happening. I planned my day however I desired, not relying on anyone’s wishes. I read the book “Authentic: How to be Yourself and Why it Matters” by Stephen Joseph — it’s about how our environment and surroundings affect us, how we become someone else, and how to go back to your roots. Some people may not notice my changes but I feel a lot more comfortable with myself. I think yout appearance has a huge effect on who you are inside and vice versa. One of my school friends always wished me happiness and harmony, since I was 10, for every birthday, and I was kind of worried about his wish because I never really felt harmony.

While we strive somewhere we don’t see what’s close to us. I think it’s necessary not to run away from what you have, but face what you’ve been blessed with. Don’t try to see what’s ahead, live in the present, and try to understand whether you like where you are at this point in your life or not.

“Tell me your story”