Yulia Denisyuk, award-winning travel journalist and photographer, weighs in on finding your voice, challenges facing females, and her unique company for writers.
SheFari: You’ve traveled the world as an award-winning photographer and journalist. What is the one place that most stirred your soul and why?
Yulia: Every destination I visit leaves a mark on me, because everywhere I go, I’m fortunate to meet incredible people that, in one way or another, expand my definition of what’s possible in the world. But if I had to choose, I’d say that the places that have impacted me the most are India, Turkey, and Jordan. Each of these countries has a culture of strong communities, and after living in the very individualistic western world for many years, I find myself drawn to community-driven cultures more than ever before.
SheFari: Absolutely, community lies at the heart of both our businesses. Tell us what Genius Womxn is all about and why you founded it.
Yulia: Genius Womxn is about empowering other womxn to go after their creative dreams. Too often, we’re held back – by our own beliefs, fears, doubts, insecurities, lack of support from others – and I want to live in the world where every womxn feels like she can do anything she puts her mind to. For the most part of my travel journalism career, I’ve been looking for a community of other brilliant womxn where we could uplift and support one another. I couldn’t find one, and so I created Genius Womxn as my answer to this void. We offer a travel journalism course, a membership for on-going support, a podcast where we interview amazing womxn creators in travel media and beyond, and a community that supports and celebrates womxn everywhere!
SheFari: What are the challenges and pitfalls that you think hold females back, and what do you think is important to teach them, specifically?
Yulia: For centuries now, womxn have been socialized to hold back. We’re being held to an impossible standard and at the same time, we’re never enough. We’ve also been taught to compete with other womxn and buy into the scarcity mindset. In our Genius Womxn community, we’re actively working on dismantling all the stereotypes and prejudices that many womxn have to deal with throughout their lives. Every single one of us is brilliant, and we all have a unique voice that deserves to be shared with the world. This is the main message of Genius Womxn that we aim to deliver through our platform and all of our efforts.
SheFari: What’s your advice to aspiring writers, journalists, and creatives?
Yulia: Take action. That is the most important thing. Many of us have dreams of becoming travel storytellers, of creative work, of pursuing something that lights up our fire. But for various reasons I mentioned above, many of us stop short of actually taking action. And yet, taking action is the only thing that will bridge the gap between where you currently are and where you want to be. It’s how we get better, it’s how we develop knowledge, it’s how we advance in this – and any – careers.
SheFari: We’re super excited to co-create a trip with you. Give us a preview; where will the trip participants be heading and what amazing things can we expect?
Yulia: We’ll be going to Jordan, one of the places that I now call home and that will for sure make you fall in love with this region. We’ll spend time floating in the Dead Sea, discovering the ancient city of Petra through lesser-known trails, and taking in the majesty of the incredible, star-filled Wadi Rum desert. It’s an unforgettable journey on which we’ll also grow as humans which is what travel, at its best, allows us to do.