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In SheSpark’s latest Fashionista Spotlight stands Russian-born Olga Szakal. We’ve all heard the story our parents or grandparents liked to tell about how they walked to school in the snow up hill both ways. This month’s fashionista actually walked three miles to school in subzero Siberian weather.
Now Olga and her family live in Arizona (talk about polar weather opposites) where she enjoys sitting in the warm sunshine (a luxury in Russia). Olga’s story is important because as a child, she dreamt of living the American dream. She’s achieved it and then some. Now, over to Olga.
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Jonét Wooten Interviews Fashionista Spotlight Olga Szakal
JONET: Where were you born and when did you move to America?
OLGA: I was born in Russia, grew up in Siberia and came to America in the early ’90s as a student with only $400.00 in my pocket. I cleaned houses, babysat and saved every penny to send back to Russia to support my folks.
This year is a very special celebration, as half of my life I lived in the Soviet Union and the other half here, in the United States. So I truly am a Russian-American 50/50!
JONET: You describe living the “American dream.” What were your expectations and what has been your experience thus far?
OLGA: From a poor student to working for the biggest American corporation, then from a single mother of four to a real estate investor with a large portfolio, then to CEO of The Ageless Generation, where we work with Gen X women to design their best Second Act.
America is still the best country with endless opportunities, especially for entrepreneurs! The so-called “American Dream” is still alive! Especially nowadays, with just a laptop, women at midlife (or any age) can start an online hustle and have a profitable business within only a few months.
As a girl, I had survived 20 brutal Siberian winters, with nine months of -15º F and 16 inches of snow!
My parents never had a car, so I had to walk three miles to school. Sometimes if I was lucky, I’d get on the over-crowded bus with babushkas carrying bags of salty herring with a stinky marinade dripping on the only shoes I had.
I remember the day I thought I’d lost my big toes forever, they were numb for hours. I promised myself that one day I would drive a red car and my kids wouldn’t freeze their feet like I did hundreds of times!
My friends told me that my dreams were too big and crazy because women didn’t drive in the Soviet Union then and because only big shot Communists could afford to have a car.
JONET: What is your favorite part about living in America?
OLGA: I call America my kind and beautiful step-mother who adopted and gave me so many opportunities to grow. I still cry when I hear the National Anthem. I love my country with all my heart, and consider myself now totally Americanized!
I teach my four kids to have great respect and admiration for people who built this country for us and sacrificed so much for the freedom we have today.
JONET: Tell us what you do and about your vision for women.
OLGA: I am working mostly with Gen X women (born between 1964-84). They hire me because most of them feel that their lives have not yet begun, and because this time they want to design their best Second Act according to their personal needs and aspirations.
So I mentor women at midlife on how to create their new beautiful reality where they can start matching their life plan with their business plan.
My company The Ageless Generation tagline is “Women amplify women while they build their businesses and legacy because the world needs more female leaders!”
JONET: How would you describe your style?
OLGA: It is practical elegant! Practical because I’m a busy mom of four and business owner and elegant because of my European upbringing.
Olga In Her Own Words
Olga Szakal is the founder of “The Ageless Generation” where she helps GenX women “Design Their Second Act and Build a Legacy, because the world needs more female leaders. She is the author of “The Mid-Life Crisis Awakening, How To Rise Up and Become The Woman You Were Always Meant To Be.”
Successfully creating her own real estate business, homeschooling her four children, Olga realized she had neglected her own personal dreams. It hasn’t been easy getting rid of self-limiting beliefs, going through a divorce and building her new business “The Ageless Generation” in a new family environment.
Connect with Olga Szakal
Olga is also the Co-Host of Weekly Mommy Talk TV Live on WATCH, a brand new Facebook TV show, every Friday a 9:00am PST.
Thank you Olga, for sharing your inspirational story of achieving the goals you set for yourself as a child growing up in Russia. Remember her childhood goal of owning her very own red car? Well she has one now and the best part, she bought it herself!
Keep those bags packed, darlings. We’ll be off to another fabulous destination soon, which direction that “plane” is headed, for now, will remain a mystery.
With much love and baskets of chocolates!
Brought To You By InsideOut Style
About The Author
Jonét Wooten is founder and editor of Fabulously Chic Over 50, a happy, uplifting community where women 50+ find inspiration through juicy interviews with industry experts and vibrant photos about fashion and beauty.