We had the good fortune of connecting with Dasha Semyonova and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dasha, what is the most important factor behind your success?
THE, and I mean THE, most important factor behind the success of me and the success of my personal brand is being different.

In a sea of sameness, it can be hard to stand out when that is less popular. I always strive to try something unique, I want to show people things they haven’t seen before, and I want to achieve things that haven’t been done yet.

I think in general, it’s what has helped me stay apart from others I compete with. I push myself in new directions, perfect my skills, and always maintain an air of positivity and professionalism. People are eager to work with others that they can foster a connection with, that they can trust and become friends with. But it’s not enough to work hard, be nice, and try your best — there has to be something different, unique, and special that drives people towards you instead of others.

For me, as a model and as a photographer, this has been drawn out through use of color, texture, and shape. I am always inspired by other artists, and from them I create new stories. I think it’s important that every artist seek inspiration constantly. Falling into sameness can make work boring and tough to do.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Something that has been really challenging as an artist is not working in an “A-Market.” Living and working in the Bay Area as a creative professional has a lot of challenges tied to it, including that the creative industry here is relatively small — especially when compared with cities like New York and Los Angeles. It means there are fewer opportunities, and sometimes I have to create my own opportunities from scratch.

On the other hand, it does set me apart — I can offer my clients and the Bay Area in general a taste of something special, something that isn’t on every street corner. The Bay Area has its own magic that I love to represent in my art, and it’s so exciting to me to continue to grow here and push for recognition.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The Bay Area, in my opinion, is the most beautiful, exciting, and magical place to live. Supposing I had a friend visiting for 5 days, here’s what they’d look like:

1. Santa Cruz — together with Carmel, Monterery, and the Redwood forests in the hills, the Santa Cruz area is gorgeous for its nature preserves and beaches. I would take my friend on a hike through the redwoods, visit one of the national parks, grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants, and hit the aquarium. There is also a boardwalk with rides and games, as well as great shopping areas and tons of delicious spots to eat.

2 & 3. San Francisco — it’s impossible to cover all of what makes the city special in one day, so I’d dedicate one day to food and shopping, and the other day to seeing sights and exploring. Food in San Francisco is absolutely incomparable, and it’s easy to find delicious spots to eat and drink all over. There are also great boutiques and small shops in several different districts, for any style or mood. Of course, you can’t miss Golden Gate Park, The Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, and so many other beautiful spots to relax and see culture.

4. Palo Alto & Stanford — a beautiful college campus and adorable downtown area, I always take friends here because it’s just a fun and light day. Palo Alto is one of the wealthier areas in the Bay Area, so it can be fun to go and experience the finer things in life and visit shops and restaurants in the area.

5. San Jose — often overlooked by tourists, San Jose is not only one of the biggest cities in the country, it is also one of the biggest hotspots for delicious food. Any and all kinds of restaurants are at your fingertips here, and it’s fun experimenting and trying new foods all over the city. There are tons of little districts that specialize in cuisines too, so really this can stretch over a few days.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
While I often fall into the pitfall of introverted independent work, where I currently stand in my career would not be so without thanks to some really awesome people in my life.

As someone who likes to work alone, even in a creative field, and who wants to do every aspect of their job themselves, I rely on my friends and family to keep me sane. Without them, I would be a never-ending roller coaster of burnout and overworking. The people around me support me endlessly, and keep an eye on me when I forget to (which is more often than I’d like!). I have wonderful parents and amazing close friends who make sure that I make time for breaks, to sit down and have some lunch, or watch a movie!

Website: www.dashasemyonova.com and www.dershfotki.com

Instagram: @dashacantexist and @dersh.fotki

Image Credits
Purple background: model is me, Dasha; photographer is Tatiana Katkova Orange cast portrait: model is me, Dasha; photographer is Naomi Yura Black & white: model is me, Dasha; photographer is Maisie Leung Horizontal image with flowers: model is me, Dasha; photographer is Isha Daniels Green background and eye makeup: photographer is me, Dasha; model is Emily Pearl makeup: photographer is me, Dasha; model is Alex “Tink” Fuentes Green dress in forest: photographer is me, Dasha; model and dress designer is Catrina Holdampf Yellow + orange florals: photographer is me, Dasha; model is Eliza Rose Wise

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.