“I was born in Western Ukraine, it’s a beautiful place surrounded by nature. I was raised up in two cultures because my family later moved to Italy. At the moment I have 3 places that I consider my home; Ukraine, Italy, and Qatar.
Back in 2015, I had a business trip to Qatar to prepare a business plan for a company. I had spent two weeks here and, for me, it was a completely new experience. It was my first time in an Arabic country and I fell in love with Qatar’s culture. I had the feeling that I could see my full potential in this country. I felt like I could reach my ambitions, do the many things that I like, chase my many dreams and the many goals that I have. I felt like I’d able to make it in Qatar.
I fell in love at first sight but it was also challenging trip. I had many meetings with many different people and it was very new to me. I found many interesting things about the culture, like the dress code, I changed 70% of my wardrobe because I found out I couldn’t wear skirts or dresses. It was at the moment where I started to discover femininity in a different way and things that you don’t always need to show others, but people are wondering about and are excited to discover.
When I moved to Qatar, I started my own line of clothes for women named “Anna Dreams”. The story behind the name started off with me talking to my friend, and it went on from there. It launched in 2016 and at first, we were just creating embroidery with some dresses, skirts and blouses for ladies with a “family look” approach. With time, our brand grew and so did I. It was if I was shining. We didn’t just use embroidery, we made cocktail dresses and started to make some wedding dresses for expats here in Qatar. We had to customize more for needs of our customers. I would describe the brand to be for the ladies who want to be what they want, to be themselves. The dresses are unique; it’s one of a kind. You can always find something similar, but it’s never the same as previous dresses. There has to be a uniqueness to the dresses because I believe that every person is different. To create each outfit, I need to know this person, to show their inner personality to on a dress.
It’s very important for us as expats to respect the culture and traditions of Qatar. We need to dress up accordingly based on the event or the workplace whilst being able to express your personality and the message that you want to send to the people around you.
I was recruited as a talent and a model when I first moved to Qatar. I did many projects; I know how to be in front of the camera as well as behind it. This meant that I also know how to prepare people to be in front of the camera and what to tell them; to be confident, honest and to be the best version of themselves.
Moving to Qatar was very challenging to be honest. I had a business trip in 2015 and after nine months, I moved to Qatar to work. I remember during the first three months that I was packing my luggage every three to four weeks since I still traveled, I felt like I needed to travel. After I came back I decided I wanted to settle here. I wanted to stay here. I wanted to build my future here. For the first one and a half years, it was super challenging, but I grew up a lot in the professional field. I became more confident, I became more like the person who can prove herself in any way.
I went through a lot of tests to see if I really wanted to be in Qatar. That I can stay here. It’s been five years since I moved. I can say with confidence that I belong here.
I remember when I first landed in Qatar, It was June and it was 05:00 a.m. in the morning. When the doors of the aircraft first opened, I asked myself “why is it so hot?” It’s only the morning and it’s already this humidity. At first, it was very difficult to adjust to Qatar as it was a new country with a completely different climate from what I was used to. That was the most difficult part. I became used to it after the first few years, but I still believe that summer is the most challenging part in Qatar.
Ramadan was also something new for me because I had never experienced it before. I had some people that I used to meet during my first business trip. I was invited to a family home for Iftar. It was different. I remember I called my father, it was the first time I was invited to something like this. I felt like that I was in a movie.
I saw many women wearing these beautiful gowns, and this was something that I started to love. The beauty and the way the ladies can dress up for the special occasions. Once they come, they remove their abayas so they can enjoy their special occasions. The first time I got culture shocked was at a Qatari wedding. I remember it so vividly, even a week after the event. I was impressed more than anything.
I can say that Qatar is a place where dreams are made. I believe that it’s the place where people are able to sell their talents and reaching their fullest potential. They can reach their goals because we have so many opportunities. We have such a supportive community. And, once you believe in the things you’re doing, you’ll do what you have to do to reach those goals. Once you start being yourself, the right people will see you and they will help you reach your goals, because I believe that when you support somebody, someone will support you someday.
That’s what I’ve always experienced in Qatar; that I can serve somebody with my experience, I can help them. I’m very happy to do that. Once the person is asking for your service, since it’s very important that, the person is eager to learn something new. They’re willing to spend the time to learn and from someone else. Alternatively, I can ask somebody for advice or to give me feedback about my work. I’m very happy and grateful that I have these people around me who are very supportive and can help me with something that I’m not professional at.
Always be the best version of yourself, to believe, to be open for new opportunities, to be open in making new connections, to be supportive and to discover yourself and Qatar in new ways. Qatar helped me a lot and taught me to be more patient with life in general.
I plan to stay here for five, no, more than five years. I see a lot of potential for myself, and I want to grow more. It’s one of my dreams to also be able to work with kids and teenagers; to help them build their confidence, their style and to help them reach their goals if it’s related to my field; to all things related to beauty and fashion”