Today we’d like to introduce you to Danel Azimova.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started as a crying annoying baby, who yet had a whole life to figure out ‘Why me? Why does this world need me?’. Luckily, didn’t take me too long to figure out my life purpose, since by the age of 14 I knew what I wanted, and at the age of 16, I knew why.
Each new year of my life was unlike the previous one. Despite the fact that I lived 14 incredible years of my life in Kazakhstan, where I am from, my journey started when I was sent to a boarding school in England.
When I was on my way there, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I thought I would be fine for couple of reasons. First, I knew how to make friends and bring people together. Second, I was a smart little girl, getting straight As. Third, I played sports and they love it out there. However, it was not like that. Somehow, I ended up being hated, was bullied, had no friends and did very bad at school. I gained a lot of weight, lost all the self-confidence. It got to the point where the director of the school sent me to the psychologist. You know, I almost want to say ‘normal teenager stuff’, but it shouldn’t be like that. However, that is a whole different conversation. The only way I was able to save myself was through art. Therefore, that is how I figured out what I wanted to do.
Next year, was completely different, I changed the school (obviously) and ended up in the place of my dreams. My parents were trying their best to make me study economics, business study, etc., and I loved all of those subjects, yet my heart loved creating more. The minute I entered the school, I saw teenagers singing, rehearsing, dancing, laughing. I saw freedom. Creative freedom. However, I was a very shy and insecure now. I locked myself in my room and didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t move, didn’t create. Until my now best friend knocked on my door and offered me to go and have lunch with her. Very simple move, but it changed me. It changed my life. I already knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to theatre and film, however, I truly couldn’t understand why, but I definitely knew it had nothing to do with fame.
My first theatre class, I was overwhelmed by the talent that surrounded me. Playing three instruments, dancing in all of the styles, singing and acting was normal there. So you can imagine the competition… Due to that, I started moving again. I was not striving to be the best among them all. I was striving to be the best version of myself. I was striving to not let my talent go to waste. Being inspired by all of the students, I realized that I want to inspire too. I want to help people find themselves when they feel lost. I want to show people that world can be pitiless sometimes, but you still have to stay strong, kind and with the courage and desire to move on. As soon as I realized that I couldn’t stop creating. I started dancing again, I started singing, I started acting. I was awful at all of those, let me tell you that. I even had teachers approaching me, saying I did a ‘shitty’ job. I was mostly just a background in the school plays, I failed every audition I had, and after I decided to sing on ‘Friday Lunch Concert’, I had people laughing at me again. But I loved it since it meant I had space for growth. Moreover, I had my best friend, who was supporting me. I kept going. I kept improving.
When it came down to picking universities and courses, guess what? My parents were 101% against acting. I applied to 5 business universities in England and got into every single one, but I wanted to continue creating. I was given an ultimatum “Try one, if you get in, you will do what you want’. I knew for sure I didn’t want to stay in England. Not knowing anything about Los Angeles, not even the stereotypes, I just knew I wanted to be here. Well… Here I am.
Not going to be super descriptive about my years here, but there are couple of things I learnt. Let me tell you and explain them… 1. Be yourself. I was able to find myself as an individual only after 3.5 years here. I copied other people, lived by their rules, let them manipulate me, only because I thought I was not good enough, not interesting enough for LA. Wrong. I am me, and I keep growing, I keep booking jobs because I am being ME. 2. Stay kind. People are cruel here. People betray, people gossip, people will kill for their dream. It is normal, however, kindness is what letting me to pass through it all. I stay kind no matter how many times people stabbed me in the back. Why? Because there is enough evil in this world, I want to spread more kindness and understanding Sometimes people tell me I live in a world of unicorns and cookies. I love my world and everyone is welcomed . 3. People here have love/hate relationship with sugar and carbs. 4. You are special. Everyone is special. 5. LOVE. Love is my religion, all I have to say.
So, here I am. A 21 years old, pursuing her dream of motivating and inspiring people through art.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I learnt not to see the obstacles as ‘problems’. For me, they are just inciting incidents that will make me stronger, smarter and that help me grow. Therefore, I don’t even want to focus on them! How about I tell you about all the great things? haha. I am not being ignorant, I just know what my energy is directed at.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an actress and a model. There are a lot of things to be proud of, including being featured in a magazine back home, signing with the modeling agency, getting a manager, winning two awards as a ‘best actress’ and etc. Yes, those are typical ‘acting’ things, however, I will give myself a credit for it, because I used to think I am not good enough. Therefore, acknowledging little ‘wins’ like that is what keeps me going. It is important though to remember that those are just LITTLE things and there is a whole career path ahead and greater things to achieve. However, I am most proud of the fact that I get more and more people everyday, who tell me that I inspire them. Who tell me that I motivate them. That is how I know I am on a right path.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
That is a very interesting question. One day I will be giving a speech to thousands of people, who I will inspire, who I will be able to help and to motivate. I will be talking about my career highlights, family, positive outlook on life and tell them that they can achieve the same, and they will believe in it and will go and do great things. That one day, I will call myself a successful person.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @danel_azimova