A guide to the New East
Masha Demianova
Photographer

Born and raised in Moscow, Masha Demianova got her first camera at 14. Now aged 25, she is a pioneer of the female gaze in Russian photography, and has a strong cinematic vision whatever she shoots: fashion, friends, landscapes or cities. We visited Masha at her Moscow studio.


Your secret spot in the city?
I grew up near Kutuzovsky Prospekt, a wide road with the Triumphal Gate in the middle, erected in honour of the victory over the French during the Patriotic War of 1812. Every time I visit my parents, I pass under the arch. I like this windy and noisy space, where cars zoom past on both sides of the road and you can see the whole avenue ahead.  

Which living person do you admire the most?
I’m really lucky in that there have been many unique individuals in my lifetime — Béla Tarr, Kenneth Anger, Nan Goldin. Although there are of course many more people whose work I admire.

What would be your signature Moscow look?
Comfortable and neutral. Moscow is not the kind of city where you feel you want to dress up. 

What’s your biggest achievement?
I’m glad to have learned to recognise stupidity and vulgarity. This has helped me to avoid both. It’s also important to acquire confidence in your own opinion.

What would be your superpower?
Being able to travel any place or point in time wouldn’t be too bad.

If you were to start a revolution what would you fight for?
I don't consider fighting and starting revolutions a viable way to achieve whatever goals I might have. I put serious effort into my craft everyday, and if that ultimately leads to a revolution, so be it.

If you were not a photographer what would you be?
If I wasn't a photographer, I would gladly be a chemist.

I put serious effort into my craft everyday, and if that ultimately leads to a revolution, so be it

Alexandra Boyarskaya
Running community leader

Alexandra Boyarskaya is the founder of Rainbows & Unicorns Running Club for women and a proud advocate of Moscow’s running movement. She’s managed to prove that Moscow is not only meant for cars and that running is not just a sport but a lifestyle choice and a powerful tool for building communities.


Your most secret spot in the city?
Serebryany bor — an island on the Moscow river with a vast pine forest, sandy beaches and a beautiful calmness about it. It takes 20 minutes to cycle there from my flat. In the summer it is one of a very few places in Moscow where you are allowed to swim, and in the winter there’s a hole in the ice that’s frequented by the Ice Swimming Club. It’s an absolute dream, not to mention that running in a pine forest in Moscow is too good to be true. As for somewhere in the heart of the city, I would say that climbing the Andreyevsky Bridge to see the sun rise in the summer is definitely a thing to do at least once, even if it's kind of illegal.

Is there a book that changed your life?
Let’s say there have been a few turning points in my life, and one of them was a prompted by an ee cummings poem.

What's your biggest achievement?
Igniting a running boom in Moscow, inspiring thousands to run and dozens to work in the running industry, including those who helped me create Nike+ Running Clubs, Moscow Marathon Series and other things along the way.

Climbing the Andreyevsky Bridge to see the sun rise in the summer is definitely a thing to do at least once

What was the happiest moment of your life?
Too many to name! Finishing a 50k race, seeing my first and only niece for the first time, watching the sunrise yesterday. Moments when I am in the zone, when I feel connected to the world or surrounded by the people I love. But I think the happiest moments are yet to come!

What would be your signature Moscow look?
Dress by Cyrille Gassilin and Nike Flyknit Racer.

What keeps you awake at night?
Fear that I don’t really have a plan of what to do next. 

What is the biggest shift in the city in the last 5 years?
Becoming a people’s city that offers anyone something to do on almost any given day.

I think the happiest moments are yet to come

Rita Popova
Journalist

Rita Popova became editor-in-chief of the lifestyle and creative industries publication Look At Me at 21. The face of the new Moscow digital media landscape, she managed to prove that age is no boundary. We join Popova for a walk through Narkomfin, one of the modernist icons of Moscow.


Moscow in 140 characters?
You’ll get used to it.

What would you change in Moscow to make it more liveable?
Fewer cars and warmer winters.

What is your signature Moscow look?
Little black dress and a pair of sneakers.

Your most secret spot in the city?
Pioneers Palace.

What would be your superpower?
Kindness. I believe that science will take care of the rest.

What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing in the world can keep me awake at night. I get up at 5 am everyday and go to bed early so I can get my beauty sleep (but also because I’m afraid of the dark).

What music track defines your mood today?
It Is What It Is by Blood Orange.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Instagram.

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