“Interacting With Your Audience Will Expand Your Online Presence & Brand” Words Of Wisdom With Lika Osipova and Marco Derhy
“Interacting your audience will expand your online presence and brand, and will bring some new business for your organization. I didn’t think about it when I just started, only a few years after I realized how important it is. My main goal is to engage with my visitors via all social media websites. I’m also trying to answer personally for all comments left on my blog and emails sent from my subscribers. Investing some time to engage on a personal level with your audience is extremely important as this relationship is building trust.”
As Part of my series about ”Exceptional Female Leaders” had the pleasure of interviewing Lika Osipova. Lika is an award winning founder and producer of Miss Russian Los Angeles Beauty and Talent Show which has successfully run for 7 years. This elegant event showcases the strength, intelligence, beauty, and talent of the finalists representing their roots as they compete to bring home the crown. Over the years, this star-studded event has brought out many of Hollywood’s elite. The local American-Russian population highly appreciated Lika’s efforts. She received the Role Model of the Year award from the Advisory Board city of West Hollywood. Soon after accepting the first award Miss Russian LA talent and beauty show won the second award “for Outstanding Achievement” in 2016. The Los Angeles Office of CITY Clerk gave a Certificate of Recognition to Lika for her outstanding support for the 2017 Los Angeles Municipal Elections.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was born in a small city in Russia. I always was a little kid but with big dreams. I remember when I was 8, I was writing a script and doing a small act for our neighbours. I loved being on stage and performing, even when my mom called me a “shy kid.” After my 13th birthday, I began to work and study at a modelling agency. I participated in beauty contests, concerts, fashion shows, and festivals. But on top of that, I graduated with a master’s degree in linguistics, philology, and journalism. This university ranks among the most respected schools in Russia. The university selected me as one of its top 20 students, and I received a gold medal and a presidential scholarship. Also, I was a published journalist and worked on Russian TV. At the same time, I worked as a reporter for a Business newspaper. I gained experience in the advertising industry as well. After winning the “White Gold” Beauty Pageant crown, I moved to the United States in 2006. My first stop was in NYC. I came to USA with a small bag. I never wanted to stay here because of my successful carrier in Russia. But my sister was begging me to stay with her and to build my carrier in the USA. I listened to her, and I never regretted it. At the age of 23, I got married to a guy that I saw only 3 times in my life and moved to LA from NY. It was a big exciting adventure and a huge risk for both of us, but some became real soul mates and supporters to each other in a short period of time. Living in LA- in the center of show business, I decided to create my own project and successfully organized, produced, and directed the first-ever Russian beauty and Talent show, called “Miss Russian LA” in March 2012.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
When I created my project and the show became popular, Is started getting many invitations for prestigious events like Oscars, Emmys, Grammy,s and other awards. It was a big honor for me to attend these events, and of course, I always was prepared my looks in advance and all the details for my gowns to shine on a red carpet. Once, I went to the DGA award to support my good friend, who was nominated. When we walked in, I’ve noticed that a lot of people were weirdly looking at me. I was really confused; I thought something was wrong with me and my outfit. When we went to the red carpet for the interviews literally, almost all the cameras were on me. I felt a real minute of fame. Yes, it was just a minute. They mixed me up with Iggy Azalea, an Australian rapper, but found out very quickly that I was not the person they expected. It was a hilarious and memorable moment.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I always knew that the secret to creating your unique project is understanding what your viewers really want to see and what will motivate potential contestants to come and be part of the event. It takes a lot of thought, brainstorming to realize what works and how to do the show, not like any other, but with something that will make a difference. The best way to stand out from competitors is always to strive to be better than before. I was a contestant by myself, and I know what it is, so first of all, I accommodate the interests of the participants. I never charge the finalists for the participation; I’m working with them after the grand show is over. All of the contestants are very talented. Some of them are successfully making a Hollywood carrier after the show, using the connections they got during the preparation for the show. I feel very proud that this project is helping to raise and to build bigger opportunities.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Well, we all have different views and beliefs on what success is. Some people feel that success is having a happy family or having status, while others think about being rich or famous. As for me, I think that success is a mix of wealth, family, love, purpose, and luck. Many people in our lives are trying to put us down on our way to success. How not be affected by them? I always say if you love, respect, and value yourself, you will not let anyone make you feel the way you don’t want to feel. Ironically, these people are helping to grow because only you can beat them by becoming better and more successful. I feel blessed that I had good supporters and very powerful people around me who motivated me every second and were great examples for me to follow. I believe in God, and I thank God for every day, for everything that happens to me. I have a person helping me achieve all my goals- my amazing mom, who always believed in me and pushed me to go further and never stop. I’m who I am only because of her. My parents divorced when I was 11, mom raised my sister and me by herself without any help, but we never felt that we don’t have a father because she did everything she could for us. At that time, life wasn’t that easy, and she always showed us an example of a successful and independent woman that always hits her goals no matter what.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, projects never stop. Right now, I’m shooting the third season of my Reality TV Show “Miss Russian LA.” It was a spontaneous idea to record everything going on during the working process before the competition. It’s always interesting to watch behind the scene stuff and know more about each contestant character: to know more about their background, interests, hobby, and private life. Also, I’m currently recording a song (it will be a big surprise for my followers) with a famous Russian accordionist, singer, and songwriter Peter Dranga. I’m always excited to challenge myself and try something new, especially when I’m getting proposals from such talented people.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe in Karma. I strongly believe that what you do now will come back to you in the future. Life has a funny way of making you deal with what you make others go through. The success that I’ve had in my life comes from helping other people reach their goals, and I never wait for something in return. I was thrilled to be involved in a fundraiser event dedicate to Hurricane Sandy victims in NY. The event that I was hosted collected funds for the families who lost their homes and struggled after this terrible accident. I’m happy that my Miss Russian LA team was willing to help and participate in the Children's Hospital Fundraiser Event. Our team is supporting low-income families in Ukraine and Russia. We are constantly sending them gifts, clothes, and food. There is a Chinese saying that goes, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody”.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
I love to read. Books have the ability to suck us in, take us on adventures, teach us and change our lives forever. The first book that made a deep impact on me was “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy. I read it when I was 17 years old. This classic tale of love made me want to be a more moral and better person. This book is about love and friendship, pride and jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness, about the unstable variety of happiness and unhappiness. Reading this book made me want to fly, to change myself, and to fell in love.
What are your “5 secrets I wish someone told me before I started my company,” and why? Would you mind sharing a story or example for each?
Be Different- People who change the world and accomplish incredible things are usually are very different from most people. Your interests, good qualities, and personality are what make you. Be proud of who you are, and don’t care if people like it. Don’t concentrate on what people say about your ideas. Follow your desires and create your projects the way you feel is right. Don’t let negative people break you. I remember how one of my employers to whom I did a favor bringing her on board posted some negative things about me, and my project on social media, all that she posted was absolutely not true. I was really upset that someone I know did those bad things to me only because I refused to continue working with her. I was nice at the beginning and asked to remove this post, but she ignored it, so I had to sue her. It was a big lesson for her; soon after the case was filed, I got an apology letter from her and requested to be friends again. But I wish someone told me that I need to ignore and forgive these unhappy people.
Be Fearless — Maybe you didn’t meet a goal on your preferred timeline, or you’ve wasted a lot of time being afraid, and you’re ashamed of that. Whatever it is, you can’t let fear and guilt paralyze you. Let your desire to achieve your goal overcome any fear you have of failing. Always try something new, don’t be afraid to be different, to be yourself. Don’t be a prisoner of your own fears.
Write down your thoughts and ideas- Fine or awesome ideas can pop up at the strangest times, but they tend not to stay for long in your head. So it would be best if you captured them fast, or they are gone in the wind. Since I’ve started to write things down more often,n I have also noticed how much my memory can lea when reviewing old notes. You can’t hold that many thoughts in your head at once. If you want to solve a problem, it can be helpful to write down your thoughts, facts, and feelings about it. I learned how to do it constantly, and I feel bad that I didn’t before.
Engage with your audience- Interacting with your audience will expand your online presence and brand and bring new business to your organization. I didn’t think about it when I just started, only a few years after I realized how important it is. My main goal is to engage with my visitors via all social media websites. I’m also trying to answer personally for all comments left on my blog and emails sent from my subscribers. Investing some time to engage personally with your audience is extremely important as this relationship is building trust.
Never give up- When I started creating my show, I didn’t have any sponsors who helped me. Yes, I was the best in my field, and so what? Who knew about it? I had to show what I can do. I had no mentor, no adviser, or investor. I was new in LA, and no one knew me. I thought that everything went in the wrong direction, and I had to shut it down and don’t do it. But I did not give up! I believed I could, and I did. I continued to develop business skills and educate myself. It would be best if you did not give up, either. Hustle every day, and there is no way you will not succeed.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with in the US, and why? They might see this. :-)
As is one of the few people alive, Bill Gates has changed global history most positively. He created large charity organizations with his wife, and because of him, so many people have careers in the software industry, helping to bring a better for the world. It would be my honor to talk to this person, get advice, and gain some skills.
Marco; How can our readers follow you on social media?
Marco: Thank you so much for joining us. This was indeed inspirational!