Oyster Interview: Miroslava Duma
"The internet is the future."
You might know Miroslava Duma as the well-dressed (read: beyond-stylish) Russian who is all over the internet during Fashion Week. But apart from being a pretty, pintsized clotheshorse, she is also a publishing force. Having worked as a stylist for titles like Harper's Bazaar Russia, Tatler and Glamour, she launched the website Buro247 one year ago, and in that time has amassed an audience roughly the same size as the population of the Bahamas. We spoke to her for Oyster #101 (out now!) — here is an excerpt.
Alice Cavanagh: I know you have worked in magazines before — did you consider launching a print version? Or were you determined to do something digital?
Miroslava Duma: Yes, I always thought I was a print person. I always adored print versions — I really enjoyed holding the paper, even smelling it. The first idea I had was that we must have a print version, and then I realised that I should spend that time making an English version, a Chinese version, a French version — all the other versions we're planning to launch now — instead. Everyone around me was saying, "What are you doing? Why do you need these versions?" But I think there are so many print magazines … The internet is the future.
What was it like growing up in Russia? Did you use the internet when you were young?
It was very difficult to have the internet at home — if you had the internet at home your telephone line was always busy, so you had to share. At that time, when I was growing up, the internet was more like a space where you could meet people, like on forums.
Did you use MySpace?
No. I think we all started to use Facebook, maybe… seven years ago? We were super-active five years ago, when we realised that we could use Facebook to find people all over the world, and people all over the world could find us.
What do you think about what happened with Pussy Riot?
Well, I have a very different point of view to the people I'm working with. I think they just did really awful things and that millions of young girls look at them, and if they didn't get any punishment… well, what would they do next? They really showed an awful example to young people.
Do you like their music?
They were not popular at all; no one really knew anything about them. They didn't have any CDs, they were just young girls — punks; no one really knew them. Now huge artists like Madonna speak about them, but there are a million punk groups like that in Russia, and they [Pussy Riot] humiliated the church, they humiliated people who believe in God. One of the girls has a small baby. I think the baby is only, like, ten months old. What is she thinking? Also, there will never be a President — ever — in our lifetime that everyone will be happy with. It's really very difficult; it's a huge responsibility. Everyone is watching you, judging you, criticising you. Russian people need a strong President, a strong Czar — that way they will respect him, they will be afraid of him, they will not do anything wrong. If there is someone very weak, if a President shows that he is not strong enough, then those people will just revolt. There will be a revolution.
This is an excerpt from Oyster #101 — out now.
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Photography: Stef Mitchell