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Sunday, 24 May 2015

INTERVIEW • Why Being the Lone Wolf Can Make You The Head Of the Pack

In our series of inspirational interviews, we talk to people who have climbed through struggles and obstacles to reach distinction in their industries. 

If you have ever wondered how to climb the ranks to be a successful photographer, or how to start your own kick-ass fashion magazine, Natalia Borecka's story is an inspiring one and will definitely light a fire under your ass to get started. This girl did not have everything handed to her but she was able to fight adversity and people telling her no to run a international source of inspo for strong women, and those still finding their way.





Tell me about what you are doing now?

Right now I’m putting together the bones of the next issue of Lone Wolf Magazine, and so I’m hunting for inspiration. That means reading a lot of random books, spending quiet time absorbing art and just waiting for an idea to blossom. At least, that’s the pretty answer. The not so pretty answer is that I’m spending 4 hours a day on emails, interviewing interns, handling local distribution, casting talent for the next issue as well as taking care of the boring administrative stuff.





How did you get started?

I’ve literally wanted to be a publisher and photographer since I was ten years old. It’s who I am. But it took me a long time to end up on the right career path because I doubted that I could make a career out of this. I went to university, then enrolled in Law School even though I knew deep down that it wasn’t what I really wanted. Luckily the things I was passionate about shouted at me so loud that I couldn’t ignore them. I worked as a fashion photographer on the side, and lived and breathed media. After a while I just had to take a chance, so I dropped out of Law School and launched Lone Wolf. If I could travel back in time I would definitely tell my younger self to worry less and trust myself more.

What made you begin? / what inspired you to start on this journey?

The turning point for me came when I realized that there was a huge disconnect between the fashion magazines on the newsstands and the women that were actually reading them. These incredibly intelligent, talented women could not care less about your 300 ways to wear magenta, or 600 ways to give great head. And that’s all I was seeing on the newsstands. In some ways I feel like fashion magazines treat their readers as if they were female charicatures instead of the incredible self-realized women they really are. They don’t need to be told how to dress or what to eat, they’re just looking to be inspired and motivated. The fact that women love fashion does not mean that they want to consume fashion content in a shallow, one-dimensional way. It was the epiphany that helped me launch Lone Wolf. The magazine really strives to balance the playing field, and offer a positive voice in an industry that’s known to make women feel bad about themselves. I wanted to offer a beautiful and approachable solution to empowering and educating girls.

What keeps you going?


My goal in life is to realize my full potential as a human being. I 
want to die knowing that I did my best, that I did all I could to reach my goals and that I helped some people become better versions of
themselves along the way.



How do you stay motivated?

I’m highly negatively motivated, which means the more anyone tells me that I can’t do something, the more I’m compelled to prove them wrong. And luckily (or unluckily?) I’ve had a lot of people in my life not believe in me. I’ve been told I wasn’t assertive enough, intelligent enough, skilled enough, that I was too poor, too much of an immigrant, too nice, you name it. And every one of these was like kindle to a fire. It’s really amazing how negative people can be about your dreams. I don’t think the majority of people do it to be malicious, they just really can’t see the possibilities. In fact, I feel a lot of my well-meaning haters thought they were protecting me from disappointment.


3 things that someone who wants to be a successful photographer and magazine founder should keep at top of mind:

1. Redefine what hard work means to you. Push yourself so hard that, just for a moment, your goals take priority over everything else. To achieve excellence in anything takes a great deal of sacrifice and perseverance, and if you’re serious about pushing your dreams out of your head and into reality, you’re going to need to forgo sleep, and “girls nights” for a while.

2. Surround yourself with the kind of people you want to be like. Gravitate towards people that will make you want to improve yourself and steer clear of negative energy.

3. Believe in yourself. As trite as that sounds, it’s not something to take lightly because there will be times when you will be the only person who believes in you. It takes a long time to get an indie magazine off the ground. If you’re not good enough, know that you will get good enough with time. If you’re not as successful as you hoped in this moment, know that with time you can make yourself successful, even if it means changing gears a bit. You can figure it out.


What were you doing before you started with Lone Wolf?

So many things - I was painting, writing poetry, working as a photographer, studying to become an English professor, dreaming of becoming a novelist, enrolling in law school, hoping to make a difference, starting my own business, and making a ton of mistakes along the way.


What are some struggles that made it difficult to get from that to this?

I hardly know where to begin! I was born in rural Poland during a communist dictatorship, so let’s start there. My parents and I eventually left Poland by car, and moved to Austria where we got refugee status. We slummed it in Vienna for a while until immigrating to Canada. We were extremely poor, and having left our whole family behind in Poland, we had no support system. It was a strange way to grow up, and it’s very difficult to describe to anyone who hasn’t lived through it. There are so many things people take for granted.


Poverty is not just a socio-economic status, it is a state of mind. I come from a world where people don’t really “make it” in the way you or I understand that term. You feel that you are so far from the stars that you stop looking up at the sky altogether. It was one of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome, this idea that just having a dream was frivolous, and convincing myself that where you came from didn’t matter as long as you had the will power to rise above it. I started off with nothing, and somehow managed to built an awesome life for myself from fairy dust and unicorn tears.


Tell us about a point in your life when you didn’t ever think you would make it? / what was your turn-around point?

There were many low points, but perhaps my lowest came right before I launched Lone Wolf. It was a really bad time for me both personally and professionally, as I had to suddenly leave my home of many years and move back to Toronto. In the wake of this I left behind all my clients and essentially had to start my career over. What followed was a long state of limbo, I wasn’t sure where I was heading, or how I would get there. It got bleak for a while, until I realized that limbo was the perfect state in which to take a risk and launch my magazine. Without really realizing it, I had been waiting for exactly such a moment. The idea fell like a hammer from the sky, it was very intense and I became completely consumed by it. In a way, it was exactly what I needed to hold me together at an uncertain time.

Who told you no?

When I first told people about Lone Wolf, the prevailing attitude was either “print is dead” or “everyone and their grandmother is launching a fashion magazine.” Very few people thought it was a good idea. The market was saturated, and no one seemed to have faith in the medium anymore. I couldn’t blame them, there is a lot of noise and redundancy out there. But it was really frustrating, especially at the very beginning when the only thing you have to sell your idea is its potential. At the end of the day, the fact that I had faith in the idea was all that mattered.

Did you always have a dream to become what you are now?

Absolutely! I’m literally living the life of my dreams, and I’m very proud and grateful to be able to say that because I had to climb mountains and fight dragons to get here. When I look back at my
journey I feel like Bilbo freakin Baggins!


What was your no means yes moment? 

I can’t tell you how at home I feel in that moment you describe. I honestly can’t answer this question because I live it on the daily.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

INSPIRATION • BE SELFLESS TO BE SELFISH


This thought may not automatically mean something to you. But it should.

Think about your current state of mind, your happiness, your sanity. If you are feeling sad, lonely, without purpose or unhappy, read on for your own selfish reasons.



VOLUNTEERING BURNS CALORIES

Are you feeling a little overweight? Want to get that summer bod? I know sometimes these things drill down to a slow metabolism, but a huge part of weight problems tend to be too much focus on the self.


Exhibit A. Eating to feel better

When you are only focused on your own sadness and despair, you are going to do what it takes to feel better. Unfortunately, for emotional eaters, that comfort can be found on a plate of fresh baked cookies. One becomes two, becomes a couple servings. This can usually be followed by an evening of regret cuddled up on the couch.

Solution

Instead of eating, think about the people that do not have anything to eat. It's really true when you hear the quote "Half the world is starving, while the other half is trying to lose weight."

Read an article about someone outside of your typical economical standard, like a starving child or a family lost to war, and suddenly, you may realize that you do not have it as bad as you think.

Baby steps, donate to their cause or share the story and you may feel even better!


Exhibit B. Coming home to a sedentary activity, like watching TV


Watching TV is a double edged sword. It takes away productivity on something you could do that would be meaningful, and at the same time, quickly burns so much of your time that you feel like you cannot get anything done.

I think, if we all stopped and imagined we were in our ederly years, we would look back and battle with the fact that we spent so much time staring at a screen, rather than actively participating in our own lives. Heck, how do you think you make a life worth watching? You get off the couch and live it.

Solution

Not moving is not going to burn the calories away, but going to play with cute puppies that need some affection, or taking a walk with an elderly person who feels alone will get you off the couch (- calrories burned) and replace that sedentary evening with some fat-melting action + potential for a few warm bubbly feelings on the side.


HEAR THE COMPLIMENT YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO HEAR

You feel overworked, underpaid, and not appreciated for your hard work and creative ideas. You come into work early, leave late and go above and beyond in every area of your job. So why does your manager not show his appreciation enough? Why won't he give you credit for your ideas?

All you need is for someone to tell you you're doing an amazing job, that you're getting a promotion and a raise.

The feeling is mutual. So does everyone else.

Solution

We have figured out the way to hear the recognition and complimentary words that you have been dying to hear. The catch?

It needs to come out of YOUR mouth. 

Do not depend on any outside sources for your happiness. You should decide that YOU are going to be the one to bring that spirit into the work place. When people like what they hear from you, they tend to want to listen to what you have to say. GIVE THE COMPLIMENT YOU WANT TO RECEIVE. The look in the eyes of the recipient of that message will make you feel just as great as receiving that compliment yourself. And who knows? Maybe you'll start hearing that appreciation come back your way!

And keep in mind: You need to take what you can get out of your job, learn and grow in ways you haven't before, and do not let anyone demotivate. You kick ass. And if where you work cannot see it, then entrepreneurship may be for you, or another position at a different company.


BEAUTIFUL SOULS GET FURTHER THAN PRETTY FACES

If you are pulling your hair out (but not) trying to ensure that you have the right face cream, eye liner, lip plumper, hair dying, nail polishing product to ensure you are prettier than the last post on your instagram feed, I urge you to stop.

We all know that the majority of these products do nothing other than take up space in our bathroom cabinets and deplete the money in our accounts.

Solution

You are born how you are born. Make the most of that rather than trying to get a hold of what everyone else has. It's insane and unrealistic, and studies show that the collection of material goods does not make you happier!

Focus on making healthy choices and treating your body like a temple. Attempt to make those around you feel as beautiful as you would want to feel. This is how you cultivate a beautiful person deep down, and that goes way further than a pretty face.


Viva La Corinna


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

INSPIRATION • Advice for Young Women

These stars are not just beautiful! They're powerful, strong women and they have some advice for the rest of us. This advice is for the 'young women' of the world but I think it can resonate with all of us.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

BEAUTY • NAILED IT- INC

nail kale nails inc base coat strong nails

So rare to find a product that actually does what it says it's going to do. I've had brittle, weak nails all my life and thought it was something I was cursed with no matter how careful I was to not be rough with them, and to eat especially healthy. I was spending about 100$ a month on getting gel manicures to get the look I wanted, but when I accepted a new job that was a great opportunity, but a little bit of a pay cut, I knew that I had to start budgeting again.

I went to get my nails removed and it left them paper thin, weak and flimsy. They actually hurt to the touch and there was no way that they could grow without splitting. I went on the search for nail hardener and stumbled upon Nails Inc. NailKale. I'm SO glad I did.

After just a week of applying on my weak think nails, they had already become stronger than my nails were pre-gel. Better yet, they haven't been breaking, and have been growing so well, they look like how my nails looked with the gel top! I usually get so bored with my nail color so after 2 weeks, the color I chose would drive me crazy. I started only getting black and white nails so that it would go with anything. Now I can paint my nails whenever I want to change the color.


So, after realizing how great nail kale was, I went on the search to find out more about the company and how they got to be where they are now! The owner Thea Green is a definite NMY story. She was married with three children and was so passionate about her idea that she quit her job to start it! With a strong vision and brand in mind, she was able to get 200,000 pounds in backing from investors.

Here are the three steps we took from Thea's story to get started on your own big business.

1.

Find a Problem that Has Yet To Be Solved


Thea dreamt up her idea for Nails INC. on a business trip to the States. She noticed that every time someone in her circle went to the states, they would get their nails done at a salon on the cheap.


When she looked for a similar place in the UK she quickly found out that there were none of the sort! It seemed too good to be true so she swooped on the opportunity.



2.

Check for Competitors


Now we're not saying that just because someone else is doing something, that you can't do it too. However, how cool would it be to grab hold of a monopoly on a market that is looking for something that your product can fill the void of?


That's what happened when Thea got back to the UK. She did her research and found nothing of the sort of thing she wanted to do. So she got busy.

A little healthy competition can be good, but when the industry is super saturated, it can at times be difficult to get ahead and stay there. Find something that sets you apart and go at it full strength.


3.


Don't Let Your Current Situation Hold You Back, No Matter What It Is

Thea had a great job at a leading fashion magazine. For many people,  having a good enough situation things would hold them back from starting on a new endeavour. But Thea knew not to settle and to follow her passion. Even now, Thea is married and has 3 kids but she doesn't let things like 'time restraints' get in her way.

Monday, 23 February 2015

INSPIRATION • BeyoncĂ©'s Leaked Pictures Prove She's a Human, Like Us

I am in awe of the amount of people that ask me if I have seen Beyoncé's leaked pictures from the L'oreal campaign that happened to show her wearing a LOT of makeup, with absolutely no retouching.


People go from one extreme to the other, either saying "She's so ugly without makeup" to "I can't believe she looks like that". At the end of the day, it all boils down to the fact that she is a human being, like you and me. I think people get too caught up in the worship factor of our biggest stars. They forget that they are imperfect.



More importantly, you forget that you were born with the same opportunities as them. The ability to determine what your talent is, and hone that skill to make it something that makes you happy.