MISSBISH Flex Zone | The Multihyphenate Athlete Juliana Semenova of Boho Beautiful
Location: Toronto, Canada
Where were you born and where were you raised?
I was born in Siberia, Russia. Raised in Poltava, Ukraine until immigrating to Vancouver, Canada with my family at the age of 10.
How did Siberia and Ukraine have an impact on your life?
The first 10 years of my life were a bit different than most girls. I was raised in a small village where I was immersed in nature everyday. Growing up in a post-Communist country allowed me to truly find gratitude in the smallest things. At a very young age, I was taught to never take anything for granted. This is something that has stuck with me till this day.
At what age did you start to become interested in fitness?
I started as a rhythmic gymnast at the age of 7 and continued on to becoming a professional world class athlete until the age of 17. My athletics were my life and all that I knew. In order to be the best in my country, it was my job to keep myself fit, healthy, and strong at all times. My passion for fitness started from when I stepped on a gymnastics mat and continues to be my passion to this day.
What was it like being a world-class athlete at the age of 12?
It forced me to mature at a very young age. Representing Canada meant I had to travel the world and times I had to do it alone, which I guess most 12-year-olds don’t do very often. I had the pleasure of learning true discipline, courage, sacrifice and incredible work ethic in order to achieve the goals I set out for myself. Being so young I definitely wanted to have a “normal” life at times, however looking back at it now, rhythmic gymnastics helped make me into the woman I am proud to be today.
Having to retire from gymnastics at age 17 must have been one of the hardest things you had to go through. How did you bounce back?
Honestly, yoga and pilates saved my body, mind, and soul. Having time to myself and not training was the hardest thing I had to deal with when I was injured and had to stop. My body needed to recover, and my mind needed to adapt. So finding a new way to exercise my mind and body was the only way.
If you could give one piece of advice to people struggling to take that step towards a healthier life, what would it be?
Stop waiting for the perfect moment to start. Time will never be perfect to start anything in life. So take the first steps that you know you need to do right now. Just do it and never look back.
You are quite possibly one of the most diverse athletes we’ve come across. How have you managed to become an expert in so many things?
I try not to refer to myself as an expert as I don’t think anyone ever is a true expert in anything as we can always go further in our practice. We all can learn more and educate ourselves deeper in any subject that we are trying to excel at. I think what has helped me excel in so many things like athletics, dance, and fitness - is my desire to be better than I was yesterday. I like to compete with myself. I like to push myself to new limits overtime in anything I do. If we dedicate our time, focus on our goals, believe in ourselves, and develop an unstoppable work ethic. I believe that we can all achieve anything we put our hearts into.
“Stop waiting for the perfect moment to start. Time will never be perfect to start anything in life. So take the first steps that you know you need to do right now. Just do it and never look back.”
Your training sessions are diverse as well. You offer many different services including pilates, yoga, dance, kamisaze and more. Why do you think it’s important to have all of these different activities available to people?
I believe every single one of us is unique and different in so many wonderful ways. Everyone has their own preferences to how they like to workout and what goals they’re trying to achieve. Not every fitness activity will be appropriate for everyone so its very important to be able to have many different styles of fitness and yoga available for my clients as it allows me to help them achieve their goals the fastest and most beneficial way.
Tell us about your extensive dance training and your journey with dance.
After I retired from gymnastics I was in search of something to fill my desire to perform. I’ve always loved dance and it was always something I wanted to try. So the opportunity opened up and I fully dove into with my dance training. I dedicated myself to daily dance classes and training, and I learned a wonderful new way of movement that was in stark contrast to everything I had learned in gymnastics. It was thrilling. So I decided to pursue a dance career while travelling between Vancouver, NYC and LA. I had the most incredible time working with so many amazing people. However, as time went on I felt a greater calling within me so I made the decision to focus on giving back to people through my yoga, fitness and healthy living.
What is the most fulfilling part of what you do?
Seeing people’s results and getting feedback from mine and Mark’s (my fiancé who created the YouTube channel with me) YouTube community. I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the world than knowing that our work has influenced somebody's life in incredible ways. We’ve had people from Japan to Africa to Germany reaching out to us with simply the most wonderful messages and stories of their improvements; they’re feeling and seeing. Sometimes it almost brings me to tears as I know the work that Mark and I have put into every video is paying off in more wonderful ways than we could have ever imagined.
It’s hard for a woman to find her inner confidence these days, but sometimes the first step is being where they want to be physically. How does it feel to be able to help women gain confidence that they may have never had?
The message that I strive to spread to all women out there is that we all have to find our own kind of beautiful. Each and every one of us has incredible unique beauty to bring to this world. That beauty is not only physical but it comes from deeper within us through our energy that we give into this world. I think it's important to work on your body and your fitness but I believe a big part of women’s confidence needs to come from within, and that we can achieve this confidence through spiritual and mental exercise & growth. I’m very humbled when I help women find that inner confidence. It's this beautiful glow within them that can never be taken away.
Eating healthy comes with living a healthy lifestyle. What are some of your favorite dishes that you won’t feel guilty after eating?
I eat a plant based diet/vegan, so pretty much all of my favorite dishes are guilt free! If I had to choose, I would have to say it would be an Acai Bowl with granola,fresh berries, bananas, shredded coconut and coco nibs. My ultimate favorite breakfast food.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH to me means a confident, independent and powerful woman that stands up for what she believes. A woman that doesn’t let anything stop her from achieving her goals and dreams.
Photos by: Patrick Leung