Meet This Girl Ilona Selina
On her background
I was born in Ukraine, and raised in Vienna, Austria where I finished high school and my International Baccalaureate. I attended college at NYU and completed 3 semesters abroad at NYU’s London campus. I started my education studying Liberal Studies, but graduated with a degree in Media, Culture and Communications. I minored in Studio Art, Psychology and Marketing.
On what she is currently up to
Currently, I am working as an Influencer Manager at Be Social PR in Los Angeles. We are a full-service creative agency and talent agency specializing in digital, influencer relations, PR and experiential marketing. Since 2013 I have been running my own lifestyle, travel and fashion blog titled Route London New York. Through Route London New York, I work with various brands, creating unique content and inspiring my readers. The most recent campaign I did was with Timex.
On how she entered the influencer space
I was always passionate about this industry and thought it was incredibly interesting and so fresh. It was the new way of marketing. Print was dying and even after magazines went digital, influencer marketing prevailed. I wanted to be at the forefront of this new trend. After college, my first job was in influencer marketing for a global cosmetics and skincare company, PÜR. Through PÜR I have built a network in LA with all the top tier beauty influencers with whom I continue to work today.
On the most exciting aspect of her job
The novelty. Everything we are doing in this industry hasn't been done before and that thrills me. I enjoy creating something and watching it come to life. Strategizing campaigns and coming up with creative ways to brand a product or an influencer is so rewarding. I love that my work is always out there in the public and I can open up instagram, pull up a campaign and point my finger and say "I did this."
On the most difficult aspect of her job
The industry has become so saturated. Influencer marketing is relatively new, but it is the fastest growing form of marketing out there today. So many influencers and brands are getting into it so quickly and it becomes harder to create impactful and memorable campaigns that truly stand out from the rest. It's extremely challenging, but that's the fun in it!
On her role model
My dad is my role model. I learned everything from him and I still go to him for advice. He has taught me my most valuable life lessons and he always knows what to do in any situation. He makes me want to be better, smarter and stronger every single day.
On a rule she tries to live by
I take everything as a lesson. I am a “glass half-full” kind of girl. Whatever happens, I always try to move forward instead of dwelling on the past.
On how she resets
I’m a work hard, play hard kind of girl! I love to spend my downtime with friends, I love to travel, I love to explore new places, new foods and meet new people! I love to fit in a fun workout as well. I am a restless Aries, so my "downtime" always consists of an adventure. I recharge best when I am on the run. It may seems counter-intuitive, but it works for me! I don't like sitting around and watching Netflix. I like being active in all aspects of my life.
On the type of woman she is
I am loyal, stubborn and ambitious. I am also very stern and can sometimes be quite bold.
On the women who inspire her
I am inspired by so many incredible women! Raissa Gerona, Rachel Zeilic, Negin Mirsalehi, Hillary Kerr, Olivia Culpo. All of these women have built a brand and a name for themselves from the ground up and are recognizable all over the world. They also all break the stereotypical attitude of the fashion industry. They are all inclusive, smart, kind and hard working women and an inspiration to many.
On what she still wants to learn
So many things! But if I have to name a few: I'd love to learn a new language, how to code, photography, how to successfully launch a product, run a business and manage a team.
On something she would do differently
I wish I pushed myself a little harder in college by taking on more courses and seizing the opportunity to acquire more knowledge. I would still love to go to graduate school and continue studying. To me, knowledge is power, and that's something you can carry with you throughout your entire life.
On the best piece of advice she ever received
The best advice I ever received was to never get discouraged. Sometimes it may feel like you've hit rock bottom and there's no way around a certain situation, but there almost always is. You just have to be patient, take a step back and approach the situation with a different perspective. Sometimes that means stepping outside of your comfort zone. There's this quote by Lena Horne that has always stuck with me; "It's not the load that breaks you, but the way you carry it." I try to always live by this and have a positive attitude and remain hopeful.
On how she stays motivated
I am motivated by my parents. I strive to make them proud and prove to them that their efforts and sacrifices weren't wasted. I want to be able to show them through my accomplishments how grateful I am to them for everything they have taught me and supported me through.
On the biggest challenge women face today
Despite the progress we have made with the fight for gender equality, women today are still expected to balance work and family and be able to do everything all at once. We live in a generation of women that were told we could do anything and instead heard that we had to be everything, which I find to be impossible! It's a huge weight women today have to carry.
Her advice to a girl on her way
Don't be afraid to ask for help. One of the most harmful narratives out there is the idea that only one girl can succeed at something. That's simply not true! There's space for everyone at the top and more women should work collectively to achieve our goals.