Welcome to Vivid Minds, a newsletter from journalist and media consultant Anastasia Chernikova. Here, I’m introducing readers to bold leaders and mental health routines, plus sharing my rants about the world, writing as an immigrant and juggling between two languages while living in New York.
Look out for a new email from me every Wednesday!
Back in Russia, I was traveling to the most isolated regions, such as Siberia (that’s where Oymyakon, the secluded village which is called the coldest place on earth, is) to interview twin brothers who started creating video games by writing codes in their notebooks and surreptitiously using the only computer available in their town, in the public library.
Or to Kurgan, a town in the Urals region, where I interviewed the founder of the first Russian internet taxi company with 4000 employees in the city of 400,000 dwellers, who used to work as a deceased body carrier from an early age to support his family because that’s where the best tips were.
I’ve also interviewed Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp, right after he sold his company to Facebook for $22 billion, and Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, when ether was $12, and he just came to Moscow to support the devs community.
In 2016, I moved to New York and opened a marketing agency shortly after to pay the rent and switch from eating bagels and lentils to Dig’s bowls. I was helping tech companies and founders to craft their storytelling and navigate the media scene, and also hosted business events in the US and Europe.
I wanted to write for large American publications the same way I used to do in Russia (some of my stories had already been translated into English back then!), but I had a language barrier, did not have enough funds to support myself, and was afraid of competition. I also did not want to focus on Russia, which editors would expect me to do, and wanted to stay away from writing on politics as far as possible.
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That’s when I started my own outlet, Vivid Minds, during the most inclusive months of Covid out of my studio apartment in NYC. I wanted to write with no rush and SEO thoughts, just to share the voices of people who inspire me. I was mostly interested in where they find strength to overcome challenges while striving for more, deal with information overloads and burnouts.
I then started covering mental health topics for Fast Company, one of the largest business magazines, writing for Entrepreneur.com, and also became an editorial contributor for Forbes.com. My first piece for Business Insider is set to come out this month. I wanted to prove to myself that I can write for American magazines, which was ambitious for a Russian girl, who came to settle in New York with her savings from a $1K monthly salary as a journalist in Russia.
I’m now working on a book, which I hope to get done this year. Personal writing that I had dreamed about is a whole new hell, which I, for some reason, thought would be an artistic safe spot for me.
I make money by helping brands and writers with storytelling and always look for ways for better investments, so I can occasionally write about that here too.
Thanks for joining me, and let’s keep this blog rolling.
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