As a Vice President at a marketing company, Katya Karlova’s career has been centered on helping people shape their success stories.
But months ago, she took on her most important project yet — her own success story.
Without letting go of her executive-level corporate job, Katya Karlova took her own advice to live outside her comfort zone and finally do what made her happy.
For her, this is modeling.
“The story I want to tell is how a woman can be accomplished and educated, but also sexy,” Karlova says, referencing her niche of posing in lingerie. “I want other women to realize that chasing a high-level career shouldn’t come at the cost of their confident, sexy selves.”
The rapid, organic growth of her Instagram modeling account made Karlova realize her story was one that resonated with many people. Indeed, what Karlova did is what many professionals could only dream of doing — pursuing the road less traveled. She took a detour from the “predetermined journey” that society sets out for people the moment they choose a major in college.
“Two years of remote working allowed me to be introspective about the way I’ve been living,” says Karlova. “I realized I wanted to find fulfillment as a whole person, rather than simply having a successful profession. I was happy with my job and was good at it, but I realized that’s not all that I was.”
Asked about what it’s like to juggle an executive position in the corporate world and a career in modeling, Katya Karlova says it’s more fulfilling than exhausting. “I think modeling has made me feel comfortable in my skin in a way I never did before,” says Karlova. “Modeling and building my personal brand is what makes me really happy, and I’m glad I decided to pursue it alongside my day job.”
For those who are still hesitating to start stepping toward their wildest dreams, Karlova’s advice is simple: take baby steps. “I won’t urge anyone to just wake up one day and quit their job so they can live as they want,” says Karlova. “I want them to think long and hard about the most effective way they can improve their situation.”
For Karlova, making life-changing decisions doesn’t always have to be grand. She says change can also come in the small choices people make every day, like advocating for themselves in an otherwise unappreciative workplace. “If you’re in a good job but you don’t feel appreciated, or if they won’t let you pursue other endeavors other than what they’re paying you to do, I want you to be more assertive,” Karlova says. And she speaks from experience. When she first decided she wanted to start modeling, her first instinct was to worry about what her employers were going to say. “Until one day, I decided I didn’t care if I got judged,” Karlova says. “I wanted to see if they would have an issue with an empowered woman taking control of her story and doing something she’s passionate about.”
Now, Katya Karlova is able to say with certainty that fighting for the chance to pursue both of her biggest dreams has truly paid off. “If you’re stuck in a workplace that’s making you miserable, by all means, start applying for other jobs,” says Karlova. “But if there’s something you can do to advocate for yourself and make your current situation better, I suggest you try that first. Make taking care of yourself a priority.”
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