“There Is No Recipe — Everyone Has Their Own Path And What Makes Them Unique And Special” With Tijana Ibrahimovic
“Remember “No one can be better in being you then you” because no one has your history, your genes, your parents, experiences or failures. It is up to you what you make of it”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tijana Ibrahimovic A broadcast journalist who is making her name in the entertainment industry and believes you can accomplish everything you set your mind to. Once she settled in New York City her peers started noticing Tijana’s charming European accent and sense of style. Today she engages with her world wide social media followers on her personal channels as well via her website called POP Style TV. They mainly cover high end events and produce exclusive interviews with celebrities, fashion icons and luxury experts. You can often catch her moderating events, sharing her style expertise and appearing as a fashion commentary. She has been featured on MSN, WWD, The New York Times, Guest of a Guest,The Daily Front Row, Town and Country, Fashion One, as well as many international outlets.
What is your “backstory”?
I came straight to New York city without knowing anyone or anything more then what I saw in the movies. I really didn’t like it, but I fought my parents so much about letting me move, that I was not able to admit that I was wrong. It wasn’t until the first year went by I started to feel at home. New York is funny, there are so many layers to it and the more you peel the more you fall in love with it.
While at school I worked bunch of weird jobs, but I always knew the value of genuine friendships and of making connections. I knew I’m in this for the long run so sooner or later there will come a moment I will need to utilize my network. I’ve met a lot of successful people who remained in my life and then helped me professionally after my graduation. Today my network still keeps getting wider however this depends on how honest and reliable you show you are. I always keep my word if I commit to something and people really appreciate that.
I did go back to Serbia where I worked for the national news channel. I learned so much but hard news are not my forte. My personality is just too theatrical so I knew I needed to come back to the USA and dive into entertainment. Red carpets, pop culture, New York eccentricity … exactly where I fit in. So I started covering movie premieres and press junkets. I have a pleasure of meeting so many interesting and famous people and I find that exhilarating. I even got to interview the women who inspired me so much, late Joan Rivers. She was super funny, of course, and she did tell me: “ Honey if you are not willing to pay your dues for 7- 8 years before you start making living doing what you love, get out!”. Let’s just say I paid my dues and I’m still here, just more confident, more persistent and a better version of my young self.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
I will never forget the first red carpet I covered. It was for the International Emmy Awards and Simon Cowell was presenting an award. Since I was assigned almost minutes before ( ok an hour) I was not given any information. So, as scary as he was on television, he walked right up to me expecting me to ask a question. So I turned it into a joke and said oh “Hello, nice to see you, what are you doing here Simon? “ . I was expecting him to start yelling at me , but he was extremely nice and he gave me a great answer which the station later used. Ah these sneaky media personalities. I saw him after the carpet and he told me, this time sarcastically… You have no clue why I am here, right? It was a great lesson and even though not entirely my fault, ever since I make sure to properly prepare and know all the possible details about my subject.
I also got kicked out from a fashion show, but by mistake! They thought I was someone else, and the person I was with started yelling and screaming in order to “defending me” so EVERYONE turned to see what is happening. By the time everything was sorted out I was so traumatized !
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am working on a series of interviews with NYC insiders. Those that have been shaking and moving the present scene, as well as those who have been around since the 80’s. They have so many stories to tell. In addition I am a big fan of working out, so I will start posting clips of my workouts. I have special interest in boxing.
As an official influencer of an app called Romio, which just launched, I am looking forward to presenting some of the main service providers in a series of clips but we are still just talking about it.
I was also granted an exclusive coverage of Dali Ball happening at The National Arts Club in New York , which I am very excited about. The inspiration is obviously Dali, but I can’t wait to see all the creativity when it comes to performers involved, as well as the costumes. It will be quite a “ journey through a surrealist dreamscape inside the storied walls of the National Arts Club.”
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I am fortunate enough to always come across super interesting people. They might sense my curiosity. Some celebrities are exactly as you picture them, and others a complete opposite. One of my favorites is Quincy Jones! I sat down with him to discuss his latest project during Tribeca Film Festival a few years ago, and I felt like I have known him for years. His personality was so inviting and I felt he was genuinely interested in our conversation, he didn’t do it just for promotion. He spoke to me in different languages and we ended up taking a bunch of photos.
Vicky Jeudy from OITNB and I actually had cocktails and a girl talk kind of interview since that was right around the time she had a wardrobe malfunction meeting Leonardo DiCaprio at the SAG Awards. . As mentioned before Joan Rivers was on my bucket list of people to meet and I am glad it happened.
Roberto Cavalli was very memorable since he was just super down to earth, late Oscar de la Renta with his charming Latin accent , Mr. Brainwash who taped me in his “life is beautiful” tape, Nile Rodgers who is so passionate about his We Are Family Foundation, Wendy Williams “how you doin “ , Kelsey Grammer who walked over to me at the Tony’s to share his excitement about his new love of his life ( all during the scandal with Camille), my goodness so many amazing memories. These people all have such a charisma and special personalities, so I fell each interaction enriches my life and gives me an opportunity to learn. It also reminds me that we all have things in common. Hearing them talk about their passions, ups, downs, love life or new projects gives me such a boost of energy.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
It may sound a little cliche but I was always intrigued by women who were dancing to the beat of their own drum. I always identified as one since I left my parent’s home and my country of birth at a young age. The need to explore and go places that challenged me was just so strong.
This is how I ended up in high school in Budapest, Hungary. This gorgeous city holds a very special place in my heart. It surely prepared me for New York, but while living there I truly enjoyed the Austro-Hungarian Empire spirit. This is why I was so intrigued once I learned of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and Queen of Hungary.
Her faith had so many ups and so many downs. For those that are not familiar, she was not “supposed” to marry Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. Her sister was the one, but Sisi, that was her nickname, caught the emperor’s attention and he immediately fell in love with her.
However, life was not always very kind to her. She had a troubled relationship with her mother in law, lost children and had health problems, but still managed to move forward. She was interested in exercise, obsessed with artisanal beauty recipes, long lasting youth, loved to travel and learned different languages. She always paid attention to her figure so she had a gymnasium set up for her or she rode her horses for hours. She was a very active woman. Today we all strive to do the same but you do not hear of many ladies from her time sharing those interests.
She was unfortunately assassinated by an anarchist, but I like to think of her as a brave hero who didn’t give into threats and always lived by what she thought was right by her gut feeling. She didn’t get much into politics, but she is the one that played an instrumental role in the negotiations that resulted in dual monarchy between Austria and Hungary. She loved Budapest.
Besides one of our favorite cities in common, I find Sisi inspiring because she was ahead of her time, she was strong, smart and always worked on improving herself and her nation. Well, she also enjoyed shopping sprees. I enjoy those too as a style expert so that’s another thing we have in common.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in journalism?
It is not what you expect. It is better! You are learning every day and you are in touch with people who will make you or break you. You do need a strong personality and you will sometimes have to fight to get the right information. You will sort of be a soldier of the people because your responsibility is to convey the truth. Fact check always because reputation is very important and one mistake can ruin your career. Also learn how to adjust to circumstances. You have to be receptive of evolvement and change. That is also related to self growth. This process is necessary but with it your views would sometimes organically change. Look at the bigger picture and be objective. Get out of your comfort zone ! No one has ever achieved their goals by sitting comfortably.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One can always do more and better but for now I have enjoyed being part of Lifeline New York Humanitarian Organization whose patron is HRH Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia. I was introduced to her by The Honorable Branko Terzic, delegate of HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia. She is so passionate and tireless about helping those in need in our country. It has been a pure privilege learning from her and helping with her last fundraiser in New York.
Whenever I can, I help a good cause. It was a privilege helping fashion designer Sonjja Baram introduce Tzohar Halev to the USA. It is a leading network of special institutions in Israel.Their goal is to maximise each student’s potential regardless of their learning disabilities.
I also have interest in advocating the importance of mental health due to unforeseen circumstances that happened to my close family members. I hope there will be an opportunity to get involved with some sort of program.
I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?
You have to be comfortable being challenged almost every day and you have to already be naturally driven. Curiosity and self motivation are super important but you first have to be physically well. The addiction to adrenaline rush can affect you big time so If I feel like the world is coming to an end I go and work out.
I have not come this far to not get far. So I developed my own methods of coping. Exercise is one of the major elements of my well being and the ability to keep doing what I do.
Post exercise I am able to look at life more positive and suddenly it all comes together.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Yes, the book that affected me is “Siddhartha” , a novel by Hermann Hesse. It is about a spiritual journey of a man called Siddhartha who thought that each individual has their own journey that cannot be taught by a leader or a teacher. He embarked on his own to find the key to understanding life and happiness. His life had many phases but he eventually learned that you have to have experiences to become wise to live life to the fullest and to embrace it.
I find that I have acted just like him in many situations and in many phases of my life. Each chapter is a new journey so no matter what life brings me I try to make it the best I can. As extrovert as I seem I can be pretty introvert when it comes to my feelings and I often prefer to find the right path on my own. I am however in the process of earning to ask for help.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- It is possible to achieve whatever you set your mid to — when I first started no one believed I would someday make it to NYC red carpets and interview the biggest Hollywood stars. I did, but I think it took me longer because even though I had a desire I didn’t believe in myself 100 %. I didn’t think I was good enough and I always looked up to my now colleagues who were doing such a good job. Sometimes those more successful are just braver and they gave it a try
- There is no recipe- everyone has their own path and what makes them unique and special. Remember “No one can be better in being you then you” because no one has your history, your genes, your parents, experiences or failures. It is up to you what you make of it
- Don’t get intimidated- if you are interviewing a famous person, don’t think they are better than you. You are there to convey the message to the rest of the world, and that makes you pretty important. Put yourself in your subject’s shoes. They want to leave a good impression and they want you to like them as much as you want them to like you. You are the one that will show them in good or bad light
- Don’t take “ no” for an answer ! Some people convinced me to do things I never thought I would. I have met so many persistent people, people that won’t leave me alone and no matter how many times I said no they were patient, never gave up and eventually caught me in the right mood or time where I eventually yes. I am learning from them.
- Fail and get up. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Being stubborn is the key to being able to keep reaching your goals. Once it is on my list of things I want, it is forever there. I might leave it alone for a few months or even years but it is stamped in my head until I am able to put a check mark next to it.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, sports, and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I would like to meet Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the famous soccer player. No I am not a big soccer fan but it was my father’s wish and I would love for his wish to come true. I am sure it would be unforgettable to meet the person who made my last name famous. Thanks to him people are now struggling to only pronounce my first name ;-)
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If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.