As part of our recurring series of interviews, The Power of Her, featuring remarkable women, we are proud to present to you an interview with Irene Khristoforova, a founder of her own line of natural skincare, Gaia Secrets.


 
One day, dissatisfied with commercial skincare products available on the market, Irene decided to start her own line of natural and ethical skincare with the help of her mother, Elena, a professional skincare formulator. The journey of starting your own business with your own philosophy, especially in such a competitive market as skincare, wasn’t easy, but Irene’s lifelong passion for everything natural and her mother’s technical knowledge made them a perfect team.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

Ever since I remember myself I used to be a nature freak – reading labels and choosing products for consumption with greatest attention – making sure they are organic, not tested on animals and sustainably sourced. As it comes to skincare – I could literally live on coconut oil, I was 100% devoted fan. I used it as a moisturizer, and was completely happy with it, until one day I noticed that things started changing.

WHAT HAS CHANGED AND HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

When I turned thirty and started noticing the first signs of aging I realized why my mom, who is a skincare formulator, always made her own products with more advanced ingredients then just oils and butters. She simply wanted skincare to really work – that is why she formulated her products with vitamins, concentrated extracts and complexes. And that’s when this brilliant idea came up!

I said “There are all these companies that sell advanced skincare and don’t really care about how natural and truly safe their stuff is! Let’s combine natural ingredients and advanced actives to make it happen!”. She loved the idea.

After tons of experimentations and collaboration with formulations, we found formulas that both of us were truly in tune with. Now I am able to bring out to the world a line that truly shines and it is an achievement that has become my true passion.

WHAT DOES “GAIA” MEAN?

Gaia is the personification of the Earth in Greek Mythology (Gaea), an ancestral mother of all life and the primal Mother Earth goddess, so Gaia Secrets literally translates as “Secrets of Earth” or “Secrets of Nature”.

WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY?

My philosophy is very simple – it is not about the beautification, it’s about nourishing and treating yourself with the greatest love and care. That’s why I created a line that carries skincare products one can be sure are non-toxic, natural and professionally formulated for the true action.

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE PHOTOSHOOT IN KISSED BY LIGHT PHOTO STUDIO WITH LORA VERTUE AND HOW WAS IT SPECIAL FOR YOU?

Least to say it was fantastic. Lora Vertue and her team never stop impressing me with their ability to see and highlight their subject’s personality through photography. I am very happy how they captured my strong connection and love for the power of Gaia.

PLEASE TELL US WHAT’S NEXT IN STORE FOR YOU AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

I am constantly searching for new ideas and discovering what women really need in order to feel beautiful and confident. My mission is to stay committed to this craft with honesty to nature and true effectiveness of every product I create. Whatever else I come up with next, I want this to be an amazing tool for every woman’s beauty and wellness ritual.

***

Styling by Ameri Ozigis, Kissed by Light Photo Studio
Photography by Lora Vertue, Kissed by Light Photo Studio
Model Irene Khristoforova, founder of Gaia Secrets
Note: No make-up was used during this photoshoot




Maternity is a very unique and special time in a woman’s life. It is a time when a woman’s body is changing, becoming curvier and even more feminine. There is no better way to capture special memories of this beautiful and short stage than with a professional maternity photoshoot! During our maternity boudoir photoshoot with glowing Miss L, we had a chance to experiment with a variety of elegant outfits Miss L brought to our studio. From a glamorous lace maternity gown, to elegant tube dresses and colourful flowy fabrics, it all looked stunning on our muse! With the help of sets created in our studio, we photographed a wide variety of looks, all done in different styles – from romantic and cute, to elegant and sexy, to a dreamy and ethereal mood. Thank you for being our muse, Miss L!

Enjoy our selection!





We’ve been very lucky to work with this beautiful newlywed couple in our photo studio this Fall! Our photoshoot with Miss H and Mr P consisted of two consecutive boudoir sessions – one for him and one for her, which they then gifted to each other. We made sure to make each session unique, reflecting the individual character and interests of each subject. We then took photographs of them as a couple, capturing the perfect union between two beautiful human beings looking like they just came off a fashion magazine page! Our aim was to photograph what makes this couple so unique and their beautiful energy and love seemed to shine through every image we took. Thank you for being our muses, Miss H & Mr P!

Enjoy our selection!







We were thrilled to do a bridal boudoir photoshoot in our studio for a distinguished blogger (plantbasedbride.com) and vegan lifestyle advocate, Elizabeth. Besides being an active promoter of veganism, our beautiful muse is also a professional dancer. During the photoshoot, she brought dance elements into the session, helping us to achieve dynamic and airy images that captured the happiness of a young bride-to-be. Our muse’s selection of lingerie for the photoshoot was gorgeous – from Victoria’s Secret sets to a vintage veil, worn by our muse’s grandmother on her wedding day. This unique piece added an element of timelessness and a special meaning to our series with the veil.

When presented with an album of photographs from the photo session on the day of the wedding, Elizabeth’s fiancé’s reaction was absolutely priceless! Luckily, his reaction was filmed by his best man – scroll down or follow the link to see it!: Husband’s reaction.

Make sure to check out Elizabeth’s comprehensive guide on becoming a vegan on her blog (plantbasedbride.com) and useful healthy tips on her youtube channel (Plant Based Bride YouTube)!

Enjoy our selection!









And here is a surprise reaction of our muse’s husband-to-be to his special Wedding Day gift:

As part of our recurring series of interviews, The Power of Her, featuring remarkable women, we are proud to present to you an interview with Elizaveta Bulokhova. Elizaveta, a renowned young fashion model, lost 95% of her jaw to cancer while being pregnant with her son. Her story is that of strength, determination and all-powerful motherly love.

Elizaveta Bulokhova is from Ontario, Canada. When she was 24-years-old and pregnant with her son, Valentin, she received a shocking diagnosis – an osteosarcoma, a cancerous tumor in her jawbone. Following a 16-hour long surgery to remove the tumor, she was told to terminate her pregnancy before undergoing chemotherapy. However, complications in post-surgery wound healing delayed chemotherapy and allowed her enough time – she safely delivered her son 10 weeks early via cesarean section.

Prior to the diagnosis, Elizaveta worked as a fashion model for over 7 years. We were honoured to photograph her in our studio and ask her a few questions about her views for the future, goals in life and what gave her the strength to go through this life-changing experience.

WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSING ON RIGHT NOW?

Right now my main focus is to raise Valentin, shower him with family love and attention. Show him how wonderful this world can be.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AND ASPIRATIONS FOR THE FUTURE?

For now is just to take it day by day, take care of my health, my wellbeing. I am preparing myself mentally and physically for upcoming reconstructive surgeries possibly scheduled next year. Hopefully by than medicine will come up with creative, less complicated way to fix my jaw. It takes lots of energy, strength and patience to recover after surgeries. Post-surgery can have lots of complications and recovery process is not a fun ride.

Usually everything in my life happens spontaneously, quickly and last minute. One day I’m pregnant and the next I am diagnosed with bone cancer. My life is full of surprises. I accept my present and all the challenges life has to offer. I prefer not to make plans for future, I do dream a lot though :) & set short-term goals.

YOUR STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS INSPIRED THE WORLD AND ESPECIALLY THOSE BATTLING CANCER. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE GOING THROUGH THIS EXPERIENCE?

- Have something to look forward each day, something that keeps you going and gives you reasons to wake up every morning with a smile.
- Everyday do things that make you happy. It can be anything (eating your favourite food, watching favourite show, take a bubble bath) something for you, that would bring joy.
- Write everyday on a piece of paper or personal notebook ten things that you love about yourself.
- Write down all the positive things you can think of that happened to you same day.
- Remember tough time doesn’t last forever. If you have done everything that is in your power let universe take care of the rest.
- Try to stay focus on your next step.
- Problems always have solutions. Find solutions that make your life easier, even if it will be just a tiny fix.
- Speak up! Ask lots of questions!
- next time you are feeling shitty challenge yourself to come up with ten things which are awesome that you like thinking about, that makes you happy and you look forward to.
- No matter how hopeless and painful and difficult choices you have to make, you have to keep going because things can change very quickly
- If something is not going the way it is planned, it’s not always a bad thing.
- Believe in yourself
- You are stronger than you know
- Take it easy on yourself
- You are not alone

That’s what cancer does – it takes away parts of you, gives you crazy number of challenges to handle, tests your patience, breaks you apart. But at the end how I feel bout myself is my choice. Today I choose to feel happy, beautiful, to love myself and to accept myself the way I am and that’s all what matters.

HOW DID YOU LIKE WORKING WITH Lora @ Kissed by Light studio?

I had an amazing experience working with Lora at Kissed by light studio. It was really easy to work with her and the team. Lots of light and positive energy. The attitude and professionalism made me feel comfortable and confident in myself. I didn’t even notice how time flew by.

Thank you for being our muse, Elizaveta. We wish you many many years of love, beauty, health and happiness and hope to see you again in our studio!

***

Styling by Ameri Ozigis, Kissed by Light Photo Studio
Photography by Lora Vertue, Kissed by Light Photo Studio





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