Get to know gorgeous Nastasya Generalova who is an American individual rhythmic gymnast and model. Photographed by Keitaro Cloward. What an inspiration!
Nastasya, tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up…
My name is Nastasya Generalova, but people also call me Stasya or Stas. Im half Russian, Native American and Black, so this is where my very Russian name comes in. I grew up with my mom who is from Moscow, Russia yet I was born in Los Angeles, CA. As my mom did not know English so well when she immigrated to the U.S., Russian was my first language so I can fully understand and have normal conversations in Western Europe. Of course many people are fooled by my appearance at first, so always be careful when using another language around others if you feel you can be secretive, you never know who may understand. I am a 7 time US rhythmic gymnastics national team member, being in the sport for 16 years. Growing up, I had the opportunity to travel around the world in order to compete at many Grand Prix’s and World Cups in order to represent the United States. My lifestyle consisted of not being your average kid, waking up early to go to public school then straight after go to practice for at least 5 hours coming home late and continuing my studies. Some days I would have double practices for a total of 8 hours per day. The sleepless nights and dedication paid off as I have had so many opportunities such as traveling the world, becoming the first gymnast of color in my sport to win a World Cup medal, being a platform for all gymnasts of color as rhythmic gymnastics is not diverse at all, signing to Wilhelmina Models which has led to so many memories of working and meeting new people, and getting accepted into my dream school Columbia University. As the Olympics were cancelled this year, now one door closed for another to open and I am so glad I have stepped in to this door.
What inspired you to be in front of a camera?
Being a rhythmic gymnast on the U.S. team, you are constantly performing. I perform not only for the intent for the audience and judges to remember who I was and my personality, but I perform for myself as well. The best feeling is when you know you are alone with just your apparatus and it is as if you are dancing with a partner. Everything blurs out and you forget you are performing in front of thousands of people. I feel like this did help me how how to perform in front of a camera. Another thing people would constantly tell ms is how confident I looked in front of the camera or on the gymnastics floor as well. The reality is, I was extremely nervous, but you don’t want the audience to know this, because how you put yourself on the floor or in the camera is how the tone will be set. If I look and feel confident, then the work will have more passion and more authenticity.
“It is hard to battle with your head because ultimately this is your biggest competitor.”
Do you ever get shy in front of the camera?
Yes! All the time actually, but I hardly show this. Most girls suffer with being confident in their own bodies and I most definitely do, there is nothing to hide. Especially the way that I grew up, I was told to constantly lose weight from the age of 12 due to rhythmic gymnastics prioritizing an extreme thin frame. When something is constantly implanted in your head from a young age you start to believe it, so when I was constantly told I needed to lose weight even though I was very thing already, I began to believe I was not pretty enough until I lose weight. To this day I still struggle with this, but I have gotten better than when I was younger. I am still constantly telling my internal self, “you are beautiful, you are unique, you are you”. It is hard to battle with your head because ultimately this is your biggest competitor. Now when I am in front of the camera, I am more confident as I realize I was chosen to be a part of the particular project and I was chosen for me and I should embrace this.
What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
A lesson I learned the really hard way was that never assume somebody won’t do you like that, because they would. Not everybody truly wants and wishes you the best. People lie and will stab you in the chest in order to get what they want for them and always them. I am extremely thankful my mom has raised me with amazing morals and to be kind to others and to kill people with kindness, but sometimes my kindness will backfire on me when I approach people with genuine love and positivity and they take advantage of this. I learned that a real hard way, and I fell after that experience, I have been more cautious and ultimately more aware of the people in my life. I tell everyone I meet that patience is the key to everything. Everything will fall into place. View the people who have disrespected you as a lesson for yourself, because you need to grow from this. Everyone enters your life for a reason, whether it is forever, 5 years, 1 year, a couple months, or even 3o seconds in the store, everyone who has entered your life teaches you something. So instead of wishing bad upon them or hoping they don’t succeed, wish them well and move on while you move up. Let them be around people in their frequency and their level. You continue to grow and surround yourself with people who genuinely love and want the best for you.
Your most important person in life?
The most important person in my life would be my mom because she is all I ever had. She sacrificed everything of hers in order for me to have opportunities I would not have. She was my mom and my dad. She taught me my morals and majority of what I know. I am very thankful for her and I think she overall did a brilliant job in creating a woman.
“I tell everyone I meet that patience is the key to everything. Everything will fall into place.”
A movie that made you cry.
I am not much of a cryer in movies, but a movie that always touches me and did make me cry every time I watched was Queen and Slim. It portrays the message of a real ride or die in a relationship as well as the corrupt system we live in. The beauty in the outfit designs and the settings and most importantly the connection two people can have when it is genuine.
What makes you smile?
Many things make me smile, but I’d say the main things that do is seeing my friends and mom happy. Seeing others happy fills me with joy as I know the people I care about are having a good time. I also really really love nature. I am so into detailed thins that Mother Nature has to offer. The view of any beach, sitting peacefully under a tree, having a connection with animals is better than any car, any house, and money. The fact that Mother Nature has the ability to create such picturesque natural things truly does fill my heart with joy. I could sit hours at a view and appreciate the masterpiece that nature has created.
A book to read before bed?
Aside of a book to read, I also really love to have a book in which I write my goals for the day and reflect on what I have accomplished for the day. When you really commit to this book, you feel more appreciative of your day and more determined to finish your daily goals. I highly recommend everyone to have this book/journal. It is like a manifestation journal book.
“Seeing others happy fills me with joy as I know the people I care about are having a good time.”
What do you expect from life?
This is a very difficult question, but overall the most important thing in life is to be happy. I want to be a successful woman in whatever career I aspire to be in when I am even older, continue to make a change in society, have inner peace, and have happiness. There are many people in this world who have practically everything yet cant find happiness and inner peace. I wish love and positivity to all and to find happiness in oneself as well as the simple things around them.