Anna and Maria Kaufman: "Wellness is the art of living, and the art of living is self-love"

This interview under the heading #YouOgonek is special for me for several reasons. Firstly, today I have not one guest, but two at once - Anna and Maria Kaufman, mother and daughter. Secondly, they are not just representatives of two generations, but representatives of two generations of Ogonyok people. Anya is a co-owner of the Maharaj yoga club and the Gaia vegetarian restaurant with him, and Masha is developing Anywell, a project that, from the media about a healthy, fulfilling life, has grown into several directions, one of which Masha is about to launch in Kiev. With my heroines, we talked about wellness and what each of them puts into this concept, discussed how they came to their businesses, love for food and family traditions, I asked them about style, favorite things, about relationships with each other and to life in general. The conversation turned out to be very intense and inspiring. Enjoy reading.

- My first question to you, Anya: how did you first get into Ogonyok? 

Anya: - It all started with the fact that I walked past the store on Yekaterininskaya Square and saw Denis Simachev's clothes in the window (Angel House store is the first store of the Ogonyok group, opened 13 years ago - approx. ed.). I passed by because it seemed to me that I had already stepped over the age and style that was relevant to the public who dressed there. I liked the style, but it seemed too kitschy for me. Later, when Ogonyok opened in the Sady Pobedy shopping center, I was very hooked by the collection of designer Alena Akhmadullina. And when I got into the kingdom of Akhmadullina-Simachev, I realized that I had to go in and try on these things a few years ago.

I understand that I will go out with the purchase and will live in this thing, having fun.

I felt the absolute ecstasy of the store. Of course, people create the basis for all this, and I was very impressed by Vika (the founder of Ogonyok). The service that I received in the store ... It's even difficult to call it a store and service - this is a space in which you feel very comfortable. You understand that you get a thing that suits you, which will not be a fragment in the closet for one season. To this day, I still have things of those times - they wander from wardrobe to wardrobe, some have moved to Masha, some to my sister. Because their quality has not been lost, they have not gone out of fashion. And when other designers appeared in Ogonyok, for me he became space for the formation of taste... I am interested in fashion, style, trends, but I am not looking for anything specifically as I am busy with other things. Of course, I want to get into trends, but, nevertheless, I have to feel organically in things. I am very impressed with Ogonyok because everyone who works there feels their own, it is even difficult for me to say "client", rather, a friend. I understand that I will go out with the purchase and will live in this thing, having fun.

- And accordingly, a question for you, Masha: did you look at your mother - how did her style educate your taste? And how did you get into Ogonyok for the first time?

Masha: - You rightly noticed that I always looked at my mother, at how she dresses. IN As a child, I had the feeling that I didn't want to dress like a child. I didn't like baby clothes, cute dresses. I always wanted to dress like a mom: to be an adult and dress in adult clothes. When I was alone at home, I opened the dressing room door, put on her long dresses, which were huge for me, the highest heels - and always chose the most shiny. As a child, I was drawn to things that now I would not wear for anything in the world (laughs). I put on all this and felt like an adult. My mother and I went shopping, went to Ogonyok, and I remember dreamed that I would grow up and also buy things in Ogonyok.

- What was the first adult purchase just for you?

A: - I think it started with Simachev, then you and I, Masha, had two pairs of identical jeans: wide with a lining inside ...
M: - You bought it for me, I begged them, begged, cried out (laughs). But I myself already came to Ogonyok three years ago, when I returned to Ukraine from England. And it was a thrill. I came on my own, I bought adult clothes - and there was a feeling that I was cool, because I dress in the same as my mother wears. After all for me mom's taste is the standard... While I may sometimes disagree with her about my style, my mother’s wardrobe and my mother’s taste are indisputable. And when, for example, I buy something that my mother has, but in a different color - this is the top!

- Masha, tell us about England. Did you plan to return to Ukraine afterwards, or did the circumstances develop? 

M: - I am madly in love with England. Although when I arrived there for college at the age of 16 and got into the company of Russian-speaking guys, we all hated her together. We hated strange Englishmen, the English language, terrible weather with endless rain and cold, school rules, school uniforms ... And after three or four years, when we lived it all and entered universities, we could no longer live without England. I.e at first I experienced an insane feeling of hatred for a country with a very different mentality from ours, and then it transformed into great love. I breathe differently there, I dress differently - what I wear there, I will not wear in Ukraine.

In general, I have this with every city: in Odessa I will put on Sleeper pajamas with peas with feathers and go to the city in the evening, but in Kiev I will never dress like that. And in England, I’m likely to wear a trench coat over these pajamas.

Why did you come back? Probably, this is how circumstances should have developed - I do not regret it. It was hard for me to return after almost nine years in England, because I had already absorbed that mentality, those concepts, but I would not be able to return and work for someone in England. Now here I have the opportunity to create something of my own, to make my personal dreams come true by investing my work, and I don’t want to come back to make someone else’s dreams come true. And I would like to live there. Parents joke that when my younger brother leaves to study in England, I will come to all parent-teacher meetings to go there again ...

- Masha, now in Ukraine you are developing your own wellness project and, I confess, it was you who revealed this concept to me. But its meaning is not completely clear to me and it is interesting to know what you yourself put into it. Tell us how your Anywell project came about, what you do, including in terms of wellness. And of course, I can't help but ask about the new direction of the project, which you will launch very soon ...

M: Wellness for me is the art of living, and the art of living is, first of all, self-love. Because when you love yourself, you do what is best for you. I have probably not yet come to wellness entirely - my Anywell project is developing, and with each new direction I also grow and change. For me, the concept of wellness is broader than a healthy lifestyle, than integrity - these are all its components. And different people can understand wellness differently. For a mom, for example, yoga is a definite part of wellness, vegetarianism too, but for me it will already be a little different. Each person has their own art of living. Wellness for me is a balance of your own desires, possibilities and ability to sometimes make a choice in favor of what you may not really want, but what is best for you.
Accordingly, Anywell became, first of all, a search for oneself. I returned to Ukraine and wanted to do something - I didn't know what it was, but I really wanted to. I was very interested in journalism. After my return, I first encountered the concept of “ill health” and began to search for alternative methods of solving my problem. In the process of working with different specialists, in the process of searching, I wanted to accumulate information from experts in one place. This desire was in tune with my interest in journalism - and so the Anywell media was born. It all started with him.

Wellness for me is the art of living, and the art of living is, first of all, self-love.

Anywell mag - it's not about journalism, but rather about experts in wellness who talk about how to feel good. Not just being healthy, but feeling good in all aspects: this is sports, nutrition, personal care, beauty and mental health, which they finally started talking about today, they stopped being ashamed of it. Later, an e-commerce platform with beauty products joined the media Anywell Shop... It was a business move, because in my case media is not a business. In England, I had constant access to a huge selection of beauty brands, I went to any store, to the same shopping centers Harrods, Selfridges, and if I needed something for hair care, huge shelves with a huge selection awaited me, and when I returned to Ukraine, I discovered that there were only Head & Shoulders (laughs) and a couple more brands. I wanted to provide wide access to cool beauty brands here. And we started writing to European and American brands. I think you know that this is not always easy - they do not always answer, many of them do not know at all what Ukraine is and where it is, and someone is surprised that during military operations in the country someone cares about wellness. But we have achieved some success.

I tried to create a project that will help people get high not only from the procedure, but also from themselves

The third aspect of Anywell is the beauty direction, Anywell Facial Bar, which we will open in November at the Kiev Central Department Store, and it is also connected with my personal history. I have problem skin, and since childhood I have been struggling with this using completely different methods. What I went through is a very painful cosmetology. Cleansing, on which you lie on the couch and cry the whole procedure, thinking that you need to come back here in two weeks. Creams that bake and burn the skin, peels, from which you sit at home for a week or two and do not go anywhere. Therefore, this project is about the care of a beautician who will be enjoyable. We have been working on it for almost a year: we have gathered very good experts - cool cosmetologists, have collected top beauty brands that work. Not just famous, but those that actually work - and made of them procedures with a wow effect. It is worth going to Anywell Facial Bar for 40 minutes, and after that you can go to a party, red carpet, on a date - and it will be a pleasure. I want to warn somewhere and save people who have a tendency to problem skin from what I went through. The techniques and devices that we will use will make it possible to delay the development of skin problems, somewhere even the ability to delay botox. For those who do not want to prick or are afraid to prick. I tried to create a project that will help people get high not only from the procedure, but also from themselves. Because for me, the pursuit of trying to change myself is not natural. Someone will always be more beautiful than you, smarter, faster. And we want to show that you are beautiful the way you are, and your natural beauty can be emphasized by pleasure.... And it is not at all necessary to inject something or cry at the beautician. These are the three directions we have at Anywell today.

- You have a very interesting connection. In addition to being tied by family ties, you, so to speak, close the problems of the whole person. Masha's business began with solving her own problem, and grew into caring for other people. Where did Maharaj begin, Anya? I am sure that this is a family thing and that you, too, were probably guided by care. I wonder where it started ...

A: - I think that, first of all, this is a personal experience. You don't get into yoga just like that, and it was like that for me. Either you have some internal problem, or there are nuances in health, or you are impressed by someone who is already engaged, you spy on him and also decide to go. I got into yoga in a certain psychological state, I tried it - and I really liked it from the point of view of how I was changing. I am a systemic and very disciplined person, and yoga is really a discipline where you get results when you follow it. I am also very impressed by the fact that you systematically work, roughly speaking, with your physical body, and change as a result not only physically, but also internally. Basically, you are doing a list of exercises, but, in fact, you start to feel or look at familiar things from a different angle - and you are 100% right. Yoga has built my inner space so that, firstly, I received many answers to my various questions and requests. Due to yoga, some things have become irrelevant, unnecessary. And I saw that at some point I became happier.

For me, happiness and love are closely related, one comes from the other. And one of the most important manifestations of love is to give.

But at the same time, giving for me is not sacrificing myself. I just can't do it any other way.At some point, I wanted to share what I got from yoga, and space Maharaj was created to share it with an open heart. This is a non-profit facility, it is often difficult to run, but nevertheless, for me it is a big school, in which I am very happy. Moreover, I myself also continue to study. It seems to me that the moment when you decide that you have already unlearned and can now rest on your laurels becomes the beginning of degradation. My children are behind me, for them I am an example of how life is built. There are different situations in life: today you can be wealthy and successful, and tomorrow you can be somewhere at the bottom. The stronger the core, the spirituality in you, the faster and easier you get out of different situations. I try to show my children by my example that only through work and love for your work will you be happy.


- It seems to me that the Gaia restaurant was born out of the same love. I watch you post about food on your Instagram, share stories about picking zucchini flowers for a restaurant, rolling tomatoes, and so much more - it makes me incredibly excited. This is another form of caring that you give people - the opportunity to eat with love. Is it so?

A: - Food is one of the components of health, but it is rather the second, and the first, most important thing: food is pleasure. I made my choice in favor of vegetarianism, but I eat eggs and dairy products. Everything in my family is eaten, and I will never forbid anyone anything. I came to this late enough, but I feel so good. I believe that food is one of the greatest pleasures and in Gaia we try to make the range of dishes on offer as wide as possible. And so that people who consume meat, fish and everything that is not here try alternative cuisine and see that it is tasty, not boring and not ascetic, and so that they have no desire to leave here, run around the corner and finish eating.

- Masha, tell us about mom's food.

M: - Mom cooks very tasty. And when the quarantine happened this year, we spent a lot of time at home with the whole family, and my mother cooked for us all the time - it was a real holiday. There is a dish that I am ready to eat 24/7 - this is pasta, in any form, always. I think my mother made a record amount of pasta in quarantine (laughs). I am grateful to the quarantine for the opportunity to spend so much time with my family, because lately we have been able to get together only on vacation - once, maximum twice a year. Our family has a cult of food, we love to eat.INThe ability to eat the food prepared by Mom at one table is priceless.

Of course, you also never leave Gaia hungry. With this project, my mother shows people that healthy food can be different, that for healthy saturation, what is on the menu is enough. There is no cunning in this project: no one makes you eat tasteless, but healthy. There is dough, pasta and croissants. It is clear that when you eat it from morning until evening, and you have a gluten intolerance, you harm yourself, but it is quite another matter when you eat it in a normal amount and for pleasure - this is also wellness.

- Anya, have you always cooked in the family? In my head, your image does not fit in any way with the image of a person who rolls up his sleeves and starts cooking in the kitchen.

A: - I grew up with my grandparents, there was always a grandmother in the kitchen. I can't say that my grandmother cooked deliciously, but there were certain dishes that I liked. I am a lover of bread, so I don't need much. But when I got to Odessa, she destroyed all stereotypes about food, about how you can fit everything on one table and how it can be delicious. Then I learned how ordinary fried potatoes in Kiev can differ many times from fried potatoes in Odessa. Because in the Odessa frying pan with potatoes there is also half a kilogram of butter, due to which it, of course, acquires a completely different taste.

 I believe that every heart can be approached from the perspective of delicious food.

Attachment to food, taste, understanding and multi-storey on the table are all from my mother-in-law. The husband has a big family: their four sons, and each has his own families, two, three, four children. Every Sunday we all get together for dinner. This tradition is very many years old - the mother-in-law herself loves to eat and cooks very tasty. Moreover, she prepares such Odessa dishes, the recipes of which have remained with very rare housewives, and many, even having recipes, no longer understand how to do it. Starting Wednesday, she calls each of the family members asking, "What should you cook?" And whatever wishes you express, everything will be prepared especially for you. It is a great joy for her: the expectation of children and the opportunity to please each of us. Moreover, she prepares not one dish at a time, but 3-4, so that everyone has a choice according to his preferences. And although we are a little at home and the children already have their own tastes, they no longer need this layering on the table, I know for sure, time will pass - and they will warmly remember their grandmother's tables. And, of course, I would like to convey all the hospitality borrowed from my mother-in-law here in Gaia. I believe that every heart can be approached from the perspective of delicious food.

 - If you go back to your youth, how did you dress at the age of Masha? What was your style then?

A: - I had one, at most two fashionable things, but not directly screaming wow - as far as I remember, I was quite restrained in this. We collected our wardrobe bit by bit - and while you were barely putting together a set, the next year something completely new appeared. I can't say that I was a fashionista. Looking back, it is difficult to imagine how it was possible to wear what we were wearing at all. And all this was accompanied by war paint, because then they brought cosmetic sets, consisting of 96 colors of shadows. Moreover, they were not divided into shades - it was a huge bright palette. I wanted to put everything on myself in one sitting. Necessarily most of them were with mother-of-pearl, and also pearl bleached lipsticks, crazy blush, large plastic clips ...

- Are you talking about yourself now, or in general about the style of that time?

A: - Of course, I wanted to wear all this on myself! It wasn’t everyday, I didn’t go to work like that, but on Friday or Saturday, or on my birthday, of course, all of this was needed. I looked for the most part funny and kitschy, absolutely tasteless, but so fashionable. If you google "fashion 80-90-xx", you will see a complete trash - in general it is not clear how a woman could put it on herself, and even so decorate herself. At that time, if someone came across a photo of an English woman dressed in Ralph Lauren or Hermès, he thought how boring people lived. And over time, you realize that you can be happy in something else.

- What is the basis of your wardrobe now? What are the more things in it?

A: - Recently - in sports form, since I spend the whole day here. It seems to me that I practically do not see myself in anything else. Jeans, sneakers, heels are definitely becoming less and less - more and more comfortable shoes in the wardrobe. I love dresses very much ...

- I was waiting for this answer. If they asked me what things Anya has the most, I would answer: "Dresses".

A: - I can't say that there are more dresses, but I really love them very much. And recently I fell in love with trouser suits, I feel very organic in them. For a long time, I did not work out with jackets, because in Odessa, spring and autumn are very blurry: you are either in a coat, or you have already taken off everything, and in winter I did not understand how to put a coat on a jacket, but it was cool in one jacket ... Now there is a wide variety of fabrics: you can buy a very thin, summer jacket, and a very tight one, which can be worn in winter without outerwear. 

- Masha, what things do you have the most in your wardrobe?

M: - Jackets definitely. I often get cold, but because of my long life in England and because I don't walk much, I can even go out in a jacket in winter. Sweaters and jackets are mine. I can wear them in the morning, and during the day, and in the evening to go out with heels. This is for me a universal clothing that suits me everything.

What is your favorite part of the day?

M: - I have this morning. I am more productive in the morning - this applies to everything: rituals, reading, training, planning for the day. I get up early on weekdays. I love this time for myself, until the phone rings for business issues. I know that I can carefully plan the day, I will not forget anything.

On weekends, I give myself the opportunity to be in the moment.

As for my beauty rituals, I enjoy doing them in the morning. It is also much easier for me to go in for sports early in the morning, because by the evening fatigue accumulates, especially emotional, and it is already difficult to do it. In the evening you want to eat something tasty, relax, watch a movie or go out with friends somewhere. And on weekends, I sleep longer and have more unscheduled time. On weekends, I give myself the opportunity to be in the moment.


A: - I love all the time of the day. In the morning I love it when I teach, and I love it when I have free time, because there is always something to do here. I love it when I’m busy and when I’m free, both evening and morning. Thanks to parents, nature, God for the fact that health allows you not to divide the day into more or less workable parts... I can go in for sports in the morning and in the evening. Here, rather, some event series can pull out of the state of working capacity, and physical activity just helps to return to it. I am more of a summer person, I love warmth, but, nevertheless, in a cozy down jacket you can live all winter, with great pleasure and a hood on your head to go through all the rains and enjoy every minute.

- When do you feel most wonderful?

A: - When everything is fine with my loved ones. When there is a lull in the phone, and I understand that everyone is busy with something of their own and they are not up to me - this is the first component. The second is when I am during or after training. When I didn't overeat (laughs). Due to the fact that I do not really know how to measure, I need to give out a ration of a certain size, because I do not really understand how much can fit in me. And basically, that's it. It is important for me to have this peace of mind inside - then the external layers will not matter, because the light in the eyes will show that everything is fine.
M: - I feel great at the very beginning of the day, after my rituals. At the end of the day, when I can tell myself that I am a good fellow - these indicators of a “good fellow” are very important for me at the end of my day. And the last thing: after talking with my mother, we talk on the phone every day, and this is important for me, since childhood. It was in England, and even when I lived in Odessa.

- What trait do you love very much about yourself?

A: - I am very biased towards myself and very not sure of myself. It is difficult to say that you can love this in yourself, but it gives me the opportunity not to commit harsh and reckless actions. Due to the fact that I always doubt myself, I will think it over a thousand times. I make almost no decisions outright. I even buy dresses in stores where I can put them aside - for me this is an important indicator.

I'll think it over a thousand times

It is important for me to "sleep" with a thing, and I am very glad when I can call in the morning, apologize and admit that this is absolutely not my thing - it will be honest. This understanding came to me quite recently, and sometimes eternal doubts really interfere with my life. But on the other hand, this eternal thought and behavioral process subsequently makes it possible to regret less about quick rash decisions. My husband is my complete opposite, and if we were both like him, it would be a real explosion. Therefore, I believe that this feature of mine gives me the opportunity to be more stable and thanks to this, those who are next to me also slow down.

M: - I really love my optimism. Not always right away, but I find positive in any situation. It helps me a lot to live. It makes it easier for me, and for the people who are next to me, it also makes it easier. It is very difficult for me to despair, give up. Something really global has to happen, or I have to completely lose interest in order for me to admit the complete lack of positiveness in anything. 

- And the last question. Anya has already answered him, therefore, Masha, he tells you: what is Fire for you?

M: - I associate the fire with the family. They always wait for me there, they will always help me, and, as my mother successfully noticed, they seem to be watching me there in a good sense of the word: they are sincerely interested in my life. This is very cool, very valuable - such an attitude is rarely found anywhere.

The end!

Our conversation lasted almost 2 hours, and it was with great pleasure that I watched the family talking about each other with love. We sat right on the floor in one of the Maharaj's halls, as is customary for yogis, without shoes, because the Gaia where we wanted to talk was completely filled with guests. For me, this meeting was special, as was my long-standing acquaintance with Masha and Anya. Thanks for attention. Below, as always, are some useful things from the girls.

From Ann

Movie: TV series "The Queen's Gambit".
Book: "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach.
Food: if it were always possible, then bread. Of course, I am a lover of vegetables in all interpretations, but if it is permissive, then this is bread, and any: light, black, stale, fresh, simple brick, French croissant and all other baked goods.

From Masha

Movie: here I will support my mother - of the last, this is "The Queen's Move" and I also liked "Emily in Paris" very much - I can watch it at any time, like "Sex and the City". And also, my mom and I have a tradition at the weekend - it's a bowl of salad for two for a movie. Usually it's a movie from the old ones, like The Devil Wears Prada, or a TV series like the Brazilian “Clone” or “Santa Barbara,” and we love to start watching with 385th episode.
Book: "Two lives" Concordia Antarova in three parts. I have two sets of these books on my shelf: one that I read a long time ago and scribbled all over it with notes, and the second is still fresh, without a pencil, so that every time I find something new and important for myself. 
Food: paste!


Style: on Masha jacket System Studios, Anya is wearing a dress Poustovit

A photo: Nikita Zhuravlev

Editor: Diana Remizovskaya

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