Here I’m with another Blogger Crush post. My guest is Katya Bychkova from Style Sprinter this time.
So those who know about this segment, I make interviews with my favorite bloggers. The blogosphere is so crowded, so I decide to share the most genuine blogger girls with you. I tell you this because I know most of them personally.
You may know that I started my “Blogger Crush” series with my dear friend Whoizbelle’s Monica Neary. I got so many responses to my interviews with her so I decided to do these interviews for every month. I kind of got unlucky for December girl because of the end of the year. Everybody was so busy. I finally have a chance to do my interview with lovely Katya.
She is one of my favorite bloggers. She is very professional and I really love her story. So do you wanna join our conversation on being a blogger?
Betül K. Yıldız: Why do you blog? Passion for beauty? How did you decide to start to blog? Because it’s really hard to be successful in such a crowded field… You are one of the successful ones anyways.
Katya Bychkova: First of all, thank you for your kind words! I’ve been writing my entire life, from publishing an article in the local Russian newspaper at the age of 15 until this day. When I immigrated to the United States about eight years ago, I wanted to continue my career in journalism, but it didn’t seem possible because my English was not perfect so I decided to start a blog to share my thoughts about things that I enjoyed in life – from the events that I attended to outfits and makeup that I wore on a daily basis.
Essentially, my blog helped me to master my English and create a circle of girls who enjoyed sharing their thoughts on every article I put on my blog.
Despite the fact that I treated StyleSprinter blog as an educational platform for myself, I always was very serious about it as a media outlet. Having a background in journalism, I felt that it was my obligation as a writer to only share the content I’m proud about.
Referring to your question, I think that my background in journalism and the fact that I was born and raised in Russia helps my blog to stand out. However, I think it would be a more appropriate question to ask my readers – they probably know better why they are coming back to my blog again and again! 🙂
BKY: You and I had similar problems on writing in English. Once, I read one of your blog posts about how you start to write in English since it’s not your first language. It is hard to be a blogger if you are not a native speaker in that language. And you are actually one of the contributors for InStyle Magazine now. Is that correct? How did you start to write for them? Is it easy to be a contributor?
KB: That’s right, English is my second language and I wasn’t good at it at all when I came to New York about eight years ago. Honestly, it’s been quite a journey to learn the language! At first, I felt super annoyed when my Russian-American friends were speaking English in front of me while their Russian was equally good (and I didn’t understand half of what they were saying!). Nowadays, I completely understand why they were doing so: at some point, you just start thinking in English. Yes, I did write a blog post, My Love Affair With New York where I say that blogging as a non-native speaker is hard and I think the same way until this day. In my opinion, people who were born in English-speaking countries have an advantage of being exposed to the language and culture at the early age so idioms, punctuation, and other essentials come to them naturally. They might not think twice about how to translate a typical phrase from the native language while writing an article so overall I think Americans have a competitive advantage of “feeling” the language and generally writing faster than foreigners.
However, I believe that knowing more than one language opens up more horizons for creating all sorts of cultural references, which makes writing more interesting. For instance, every time I see a difference between how Russians and Americans think or act, I always mention it to my friends or on my blog and people always love such stories as these are unique.
When it comes to my collaboration with InStyle Magazine, then yes, I wrote a few articles for their website last year that received a positive response. I did a series of beauty experiments that many people still remember so it was quite an interesting experience! At first, I was thinking that the editors will immediately figure out that I am not a native speaker, but at this a point I’ve been blogging daily for about two years so I felt that they didn’t notice the difference in my style as opposed to other writers.
BK: You are such an inspiration for people like me who are from different countries. Leave it there; you are also a student at NYU. How do you balance your education and studies and your blog? Is it easy to do, I wanna do my master degree, too but not decide yet.
KB: Time management is something I’m constantly working on because it’s just not enough hours in a day when you are a full-time blogger and a student. While my professors at NYU are giving their syllabus at the beginning of the semester so I plan my studying time in advance, there are so many things that you simply cannot predict: blogging events, online sales, extracurricular assignments, and personal responsibilities…
I’m trying to plan things in advance as much as I can by using blog planning tools like CoSchedule, social media apps like Planoly, and I use Google Calendar for keeping track of my assignments, but sometimes there are just too many things to handle.
I think the only thing you can do in my situation is to prioritize what’s important. Plan your week in a way that you can separate studying and blogging. For instance, dedicate Mondays and Wednesdays for studying only (with exception of a few hours of social media) and focus on your blog on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. In my opinion, it always helps so dedicate the weekend to your significant other (if you have one) and yourself so you don’t feel burned out.
BK: You are already pretty successful blogger but how do you see Style Sprinter’s future? Any tips for me, too.
KB: In future, I would love to see a Style Sprinter makeup line and other products affiliated with the brand because so many readers of my blog have voiced that they will support such collaboration. Eventually, I would also love to publish a book – there are just way too many stories that I’d like to share that would work better in a long form as opposed to individual blog posts.
My advice would be to see your blog as a brand too. I know that it’s super difficult, but try connecting what you love doing now with what you dream about doing in future–and move towards this direction, even if it’s just one step at a time.
BK: You are great with makeup tools and all the beauty products that you make reviews. Can you teach me how to do makeup? I’m terrible I keep doing the same thing as makeup. Any tips for people like me?
KB: Watch YouTube videos! There are so many great tutorials by professional makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts and all of them are free! I watch videos by Tati, Laura Lee, Kathleen Lights, EmilyNoel83, Casey Holmes, and Carli Bybel every single day and always learn something new!
BK: What are your online shopping secrets? (For example, I am so good at hunting designer clothes on eBay).
KB: Check new arrivals at Shopbop.com daily. If you are quick enough, you can score the best clothes that haven’t arrived other retailers yet and receive them in just two days (if you are a member of Amazon Prime). If you love makeup, sign up for Sephora Flash which is a two-day shipping program: you pay $10 a year and all your shipping is free and super quick for the upcoming year!
BK: Since my blog also talks about technology, I am curious about new technologies, do you have “can’t live without” technology?
KB: That would be my iPhone 6 Plus. It has such a big screen that I actually prefer answering my emails from is as opposed to my laptop. I also love my Fitbit Flex that motivates me to be more active throughout the day.
BK: Your favorite beauty product of all time?
KB: There are so many! But if you ask for products that I repurchase most often, It’s Amika Dry Shampoo, Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel, and Tarte Lash Camera Lashes mascara. Well, and Chanel lipstick, of course!
BK: Best style piece of all time? (Mine was this only brooch that my mom owned)
KB: It’s my Longines watch that my parents bought me when I was a teenager. It still works and looks so classy – it’s my absolute favorite watch in my collection!
BK: If I talk to your best friend, how does she /he describe your personality in 3 words?
KB: I don’t know… Workaholic and makeup addict? 🙂
BK: What was your dream city to live since you are mature enough to think about it?
KB: It was New York! I felt that I was destined to become a Russian Carry Bradshaw!