Love Anastazia

 

Stunning, scintillating and smart are just a few words to describe this beauty.

You may have seen images of her on Instagram, perhaps follow her on Snapchat or just seeing her for the first time in this feature. Regardless this won’t be the first or last time seeing this Greek Goddess.

About a year a so ago I came across an image of this beauty on Instagram; striking and alluring, cascading hair, dangerous curves and lethal Sophia Loren-like eyes. Months later I was informed by my hairdresser in conversation and sharing of “hair inspo” pictures, that the image I was showing her is Anastazia, she’s Greek and I should follow her as she’s not like other bloggers. Intrigued, I took her advice and did exactly that. It didn’t take long to recognise that Anastazia’s personality and intelligence shone through her images and videos; there was warmth in her eyes and smile, softness and sensitivity in her voice and a genuine care in communication with her followers.

Aside from her obvious beauty I found her to be quite unique compared to others alike in her field and much more of an inspiration and role model. Whilst many today in the social media world, post and portray a false and unrealistic lavish lifestyle of French champagne and expensive yachts; Anastazia depicts a more realistic sense of life and of her beauty inside and out. I believe this has gained her many loyal followers and why people may feel they relate to her and don’t feel so overwhelming intimidated. I’m sure these humble traits she possesses will bring her longevity in a very fickle industry.

Last year whilst spending Summer in Greece Anastazia shared with her 115k+ followers, videos via Snapchat and InstaStories. I was incredibly impressed that she was proudly presenting our mother country to her global followers. Engaging her audience taking them on a journey through historical and ancient sites explaining and educating them on monumental pieces and facts of our Greek history. There was genuine knowledge, passion and wisdom executed in her subjects. It was evident that this beauty was worldly, clever, sophisticated and so much more than just a pretty picture.

Photo taken at Temple of Apollo, Delphi – “A moment in time.. My soul is completely reenergised”.  Another photo she posted in Delphi read “My beautiful country, is not just about Mykonos and the islands.. All the history and ancient sites are what truly give this land its unique energy! I’m currently at Delphi, one of the most important spots in Greece! The energy here is beyond anything I could describe in words! To walk the same paths as the ancients did is such a surreal experience!”

My interest to learn more about Anastazia lead me to reaching out and inviting her to share her story with me and our GCT readers. Her well mannered prompt reply instantly displayed levels of courtesy, respect and professionalism; qualities we don’t often see nowadays. She was truly humbled, slightly hesitant, yet enthusiastic to take part in an interview with me, after clarifying the nature and intent of this feature. Showing signs of being in control of her life and career, understandably so wanting this to be a true representation of herself. What was to be an interview (over the phone), instantly became a very friendly, enjoyable, endearing and inspirational conversation.

Introducing Anastazia

Born and raised in Thessaloniki until the age of 13 years old when her parents decided to uproot and move the family to Australia. Her father, mother, younger brother and Anastazia were about to embark on an entire new and unknown journey; destination: Sydney. The link to Australia/Sydney was because that’s where her yiayia grew up, in Maroubra. Till the unthinkable when her yiayia at 18 years of age went to Greece for a holiday and never returned. It was there she met and fell in love (with Anastazia’a pappou) and ended up staying there for the rest of her life. Unbeknown then that life would come full circle and that would be Anastazia’s fate, that she would arrive and reside where her yiayia once called home; Australia. The decision to move to Australia for her parents came at the time of the economic crisis in Greece and knowing that the land down under would present them with far more opportunities. Having to leave behind her friends, school, childhood home, pets, the only country she’d ever known was frightening but also adding to that fear having to learn a whole new language, English.

Beginning their first chapter in Australia would see them based in Marrickville where they stayed for 10 years before moving on to their current home in another Sydney suburb. Anastazia attended public high school which is where the foundations of her strength were built from today. Her first 4 years of high school proved to be challenging, battling difficulties in language barriers, being a target and victim of bullying and schoolyard teasing as the import student, who looked and sounded different. The recipient of hurtful words and mocking caused her emotional distress, her soul silently suffering from those damages. Anastazia kept to herself and to her close knit family where she was always comforted and embraced with unconditional love and support. She avoided straying from her daily route or routine due to fear of getting lost and not being able to speak any English to ask for directions or help. This limited her greatly which is what fuelled her focus and mission to excel in ESL classes. Learning English would free her, enable her to explore, learn; after all she was living in a new country and hadn’t seen much more than the walls of her home and school.

School is where she met three of her closest friends who remain her dearest to this day. However, unlike most of her peers and many other teenagers who had started to venture out in the clubbing circuit and participate in social scenes and settings, Anastazia found solace in art. Her home filled with it, her father an artist of ancient inspired pieces. She started to paint with him, where it became an after school ritual. She would paint every day and release her days tensions and troubles into her art. That in turn evolved into a therapeutic exercise and essentially healing her. Creativity was not uncommon or an intruder in her household, her parents engulfed their lives and home with art and spirituality. A free spirited family, who constantly support and encourage each other and immerse themselves with positivity, love and kindness. This home base that her loving parents created for their children is what’s kept Anastazia grounded, optimistic, self aware and humble. She conquered English as her second language and was ready to spread her wings.

Fast forward to 2010 a 23 year old Anastazia attended NIDA the highly acclaimed National Institute of Dramatic Art, where she took a screen acting course. As an aspiring actor in Australian film and television, Anastazia says “I was constantly faced with rejection for being too ethnic looking and that was a harsh reality for a young actress”.

Acting was just one form of art amongst many that were her passion, for now she would dismiss acting and not pursue at this point furthermore. So she continued with other expressions of creativity, she was great with her hands. Painting, drawing, making dolls clothes, photography and other artistry. One of those being makeup artistry which she has built a business out of. Whether it be bringing to life a canvas painting or a clients face, nothing brings her more joy than to see her work transform others’ lives resulting to their happiness.

After establishing her life in Australia, Greece has always seduced Anastazia like an old flame. She longed to feel at home, back in her old home, the orange lights of Thessaloniki, the warm hug of Greek air as she steps off the plane at Macedonia Airport, she is greeted by her first love, Greece. In 2012 Anastazia went to Greece and stayed for 5 months and was about to take place during her five month stay was a crucial and vital turning point in her life.

Not known to many another passion of Anastazia’s is to sing which met her with a dream opportunity and talks of a recording contract in Greece. She met with record label producers and was in the process of building and launching her music career as Greek singer. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, with the state of the economic crisis well and truly dissolving many prospects and jobs, it was a risk and chance that did not eventuate to be taken. Always the optimist she knew she had other loves to fall back on and keep her creativity alive.

It was one night in Thessaloniki at home with a friend that she decided to explore the idea of social media and at that time when Instagram was the latest social network trend. She vividly remembers the night that changed her life. It was 1:30am that the birth of her Instagram account occurred. A lover of photography she had many photos saved that she begun to upload and start the formation of her page. As she uploaded photos, much to her surprise she started to get likes and followers, this encouraged her to continue doing so and continued to get more and more followers. No one was more astounded than Anastazia when she had vastly gained 20k followers over a short period of time. She had stumbled across an arena that not only could allow her to be creative and share her creativity but also injected her with confidence that she had lacked and lost. The numbers were on a constant incline, a staggering achievement.

Instagram became her canvas and platform where she could create, educate and inspire. Her attention to detail in imagery is something she prides herself in and strives to achieve in capturing emotion in every image.  It has become a her focal point in each photo and she intensely wanted to make it known she is not just about posting a pretty photo. Not one to be interested in posting fabricated materialistic scenes that are so far removed from her own life and of most of her followers lives, she respectfully gained followers by being herself, authentically.  This honesty can’t go unnoticed or unacknowledged in the social media world we live in today where we are saturated with images of over priced expensive accessories. She believes the mind is hungry it must be fed and provoked and uses an example that as humans we cannot just eat the same type food, it gets boring; the same goes with providing the same type of images to her followers.

“Bikini blogging was an obvious opportunity for me. I love the beach, I love bikinis and I spend my Summers in Greece on the beautiful beaches of Halkidiki and the islands! It’s been a big part of my social media evolution and how it all started! When it’s time to shoot I like to bring in my muses as my inspirations, like Aliki Vougouklaki and Zwzw Sapountzaki. They were so beautiful and they are my real Greek icons!”

She has grown with her followers and still growing and with that also comes the social media trolls, as you expose yourself to the world it is expected that you’re an open target. In the beginning it would of course hurt and upset her until she rapidly realised with every one negative comment, there were ten positive ones. Today Anastazia has several successful partnerships with brands who approached her and still approaching her. She has turned down many that she does not feel passionate about or represent her to her authentic self. Not driven by money she has kept this ethos which has paid off and her values have assisted in paving her path.

She has an exciting year ahead and more promising partnerships she has committed to and looks forward to sharing her journey with all her followers. Anastazia also makes it her mission to showcase Greece as much as herself and to ensure that her followers are seeing Greece in a positive light. Educating them on the country where democracy was born and of philosophy that dominated our history books. A Greek born that now proudly calls Australia her home and shares her love for both countries. A great believer in divine timing, Anastazia knows that future holds many opportunities for her and we look forward to seeing more of her in everything she does.

A feel good inspiring story of a Greek immigrant now living in Australia, how challenges were overcome and how the pathos of love and honesty always prevail. Proving that bullying doesn’t break you but makes your stronger and rejections cannot alter your destiny, you make your own destiny and that anything can happen if you just believe and take the chance. Everything she does is done with love…LOVE ANASTAZIA.

*You can follow Anastazia on Instagram: instagram.com/loveanastazia/

*Photo Credit: George Konstand – Director at Brandology Enterprises

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