Introducing Inside Beautiful— an interview series in which I am honored to share with you the thoughts and insights of authentic, inspirational women as we speak about body image, self-confidence, and the meaning of True Beauty.
A Russian-born pianist and composer, Oksana does it all with grace and gratitude: a live performer with 8 albums of original, classical and popular music; founder of the Oksana School of Music in Los Angeles; international musical collaborator; and Mother. Oksana has studied Classical Piano since the age of 5, and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 15 years old. In the U.S., her hard work and talents earned her the opportunity to attend college and the ability to realize her dream of being a professional musician and entrepreneur.
Oksana is a compelling story of inspiration and passion. Her school provides students of all ages a means for artistic outlet, and her moving performances have entertained and inspired U.S. Troops and U.N. Officials throughout Asia and Europe. She donates much of her time, music, and CD sales to environmental charities and the organization Smile Train, which aids children with cleft palates.
I sat with Oksana to ask her thoughts on what True Beauty means to her.
So Oksana, what do you think makes someone beautiful?
I think someone is beautiful when they fulfill their purpose and inspire others to create beautiful things. Individuals who are not consumed with themselves, who live a life doing good for society and others, are beautiful and represent true beauty.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
On stage. I feel the most beautiful performing for an audience.
Who is your beauty role model or inspiration?
My #1 beauty role model and inspiration is my own mother, Svetlana. She’s a very beautiful woman, inside and out – loyal, strong, intelligent and caring.
What is your favorite inspirational quote or song?
The quote that stands out to me is Nietzsche’s: “Life without music would be a mistake.” As a child, music brought me confidence, and I love influencing others through my line of work. Sharing my art with my students is how I can see the results in their performances and in their smiles.
How do you deal with the pressure for body perfection in our culture?
Living in Los Angeles, and being in my industry particularly, there is a lot of pressure to look your best all the time. I try to eat a healthy diet and exercise at least several times a week. I have a routine where I apply my make-up first thing in the morning, but honestly, my days are so busy that I don’t even have time to look in the mirror again. I am just grateful for being healthy and having the drive to accomplish my goals.
Is there any beauty trend you embraced and regretted?
I have always been a proponent of natural aging, but I was so bothered by the appearance of bags under my eyes that I once was tempted to try under-eye injections. It was very costly and I did not notice any significant changes. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that non-natural approaches to beauty are just not for me.
What is your “can’t live without it” beauty product?
I definitely can’t live without eye liner!
What do you wish you could tell your teenage self about true beauty?
I had a lot of insecurities about myself growing up. If I could go back and talk to myself, I would say: “Live your life with purpose, make the right choices, be true to yourself and make others around you happy. Everything will be ok.”
How do you talk to your child about beauty?
Well, I have a six year old boy, so “beauty” talks are few and far between in our daily life. I focus on teaching by example. The things we do every day are the things he learns to value. I believe one of the best gifts you can give children is teach them to love themselves for who they are, no matter their appearance. I want him to have positive self-esteem that he can foster in others.
In one word, what does ‘beautiful’ mean to you?
“Whole.” One can’t rely on external beauty alone. True beauty truly shines from within.
The gift of music is precious. In 2000, Oksana composed “The Voice of Life” for her husband Alex, performing it live for the very first time at their wedding.
Click here to download and share it with the people you love.
Who, in your life, inspires you to see your true beauty?
Tell us below in the comments.