Tatiana Ivanova, a multi-disciplinary fashion industry enthusiast, who has recently turned to full-time styling, shares her lockdown experiences with Art of Semiology.

"Stop judging yourself and thinking “ah I didn’t get that move right”. No one cares."

Interview by: Tatiana Ivanova

After having quite a tough career period last year, I felt like this one had to be it: the new high. I changed my attitude and became much more driven than the years before. So with the positive attitude and small steps, which turned out to be huge for me, I started pushing my styling, my dance work and exploring other career possibilities. I've done some editorial styling before, but this year I wanted to transition into personal styling. I decided to explore working with individual wardrobes and help people gain confidence through the clothing they wear. I have also been able to return to dancing. I have always had a difficult relationship with dance and always thought it was not serious, but I really wanted it to be. At the beginning of the year, I committed to doing an intensive dance course by House of Jazz, which helped me both mentally and physically to realise that I am enough that I can be a dancer. So it was going smoothly until COVID-19 hit. One by one the jobs that I have just started to get were being cancelled. 


One thing I am grateful for is that mentally I am in a much better place than last year. I don't know if I would have been able to handle it as well as I did if this had happened last year. I have my ups and downs. The thing helping me the most is dance. With a huge amount of dancers all over the world offering free or donation-based classes, I embraced my passion for travelling the world to take dance classes online from people in LA, New York and even Russia (my motherland that has a lot of underappreciated talent). My kitchen floor has turned into a tap board and my body into an instrument (try body percussion, it's awesome). I don't even see my partner that much because my dance studio is in the free space of 1x2m in my bedroom where I hide daily.

Don't be put off by dance, thinking that only professional dancers can join. You don’t have to be a professional dancer to participate. There have been plenty of dance classes in various styles from Ballet to Pole to Popping to gym classes, all of which you can do in your privacy. It is great if you are usually put off thinking people will look at you and judge. However, as a teacher myself, I miss seeing my students. I appreciate any communication from people taking my classes who share their videos privately with me or online. The only person you cannot hide from in these classes is yourself, so I say if you’ve always wanted to move just move. Stop judging yourself and thinking “ah I didn’t get that move right”. No one cares. The job right now is to make yourself feel good in your own body and embrace whatever you are feeling -- whether it’s happiness or anger. Expressing it in your movement allows you to forget about the daily news updates for a second. Just enjoy. This morning I tried out Gaga People. Check them out. These are guided movement classes for everyone. Yes, yes for you too. 

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Photography Daren Black Stylist & Creative Director Alex Starr Stylist's Assistant Tatiana Ivanova Model Anna H from Ginger Snap MUA Jessica Hart Hairstylist Sylwa Kozyczkowska Harstylist's Assistant Rachel McGuinnes


But even if dance is not your cup of tea, it is the time to explore your creativity. I have been reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, both of which have given me a bit of a kick to become braver and put my inner fears of others' judgement of my work aside. I decided to stop fearing the creation of seemingly mediocre art. Have you ever had time to look at your wardrobe and play around with the clothes you already have? This is the time. Have you always wanted to draw whatever, maybe just a doodle, but which makes you feel happy - this is the time. My guilty pleasure is doing my nails for three to four hours and watch Sex and the City. You don’t always have to progress and produce deep high-quality work. It may come through exploration. It may never come. But those 30 minutes or an hour you spend doing something you love or may have feared of doing may make you really happy. I was given a film camera for Christmas and watched countless tutorials. Then COVID-19 happened and I could not go on photo walks anymore. So I used it as an excuse to not pick it up for months until the other day I decided to take a photo of the clouds. It had to be done there and then. After watching a couple of tutorials and being scared that the picture will not be meaningful enough or the exposure will not be correct (I still cannot learn what’s aperture and what’s shutter speed), the satisfaction of finally using the camera was immense. So go do it. Go do something you are terrified to do.