Friday, 17 March 2017

Interview with Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani, an inspirational Ukrainian transgender activist from Kyiv, journalist, blogger, and fashionista, the Founder and President of the Foundation "All of Us - women!" and Head of Kyiv Transgender initiative group “T-Woman – Ukraine” (since October 2016). Hello Anastasia! 
Anastasia-Eva: Hello Monika!!! Thank you for idea about interview. I’m really excited about this!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Anastasia-Eva: My full name is Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani, I was born on 1 February 1979, and live in Kyiv. I have felt myself like a woman since childhood. Yes, I am a transgender woman. After study at the ordinary school I entered the Kyiv National Economic University in 1996 and successfully graduated 5 years later. During years of studying I kept secret about the fact of my female soul carefully, interests and character lives in me. I secretly wanted to be a woman. Parents and friends could not know about it, because we lived in the first post-Soviet years and the stereotypes about the two sexes, that a boy cannot become a girl after birth were around me.
My office dress code.
I have taken part in the modeling business since 2005. I participated in advertising campaigns of manufacturers of hosiery products and in such way the idea to create my own company was born.
It is necessary to emphasize that to work in the field of production and sale of socks – It was my childhood dream when I was a few years. In 2014 I founded the First women's information portal "The World of tights and stockings from lady Anastasia-Eva", which covers all news from the world of tights and stockings, as well as fashion trends, where we write about new brands, give useful advice and so on.
In 2010 I established (together with friends) the charity Fund "We're All Women!», designed to help low-income women and girls in the post-Soviet countries and Asia. I can tell many curious things about myself. My life is so diverse and rich that my story will take a lot of time, dear readers.
How my transformation happened? It was step by step. I started to dress up at home and I really enjoyed myself and after, like from 2005, I started to go out as a girl. I felt myself really great at such moments! At the beginning I wanted to attract attention to myself with my chic clothes. 
After some time I started to wear just really comfortable but classy things. I can say exactly: coming out first time is the most important moment to any transgender! After that, anyone starts really new life of her evolution.
For three years I lived as a civil wife of one western businessman who worked in Kyiv. I was his beloved girl, friend, wife, etc... I felt so great being in public with him, in shops, theaters, fitness centers... But when he came back home and I had to stay in Kyiv, I had to change my style and could not go out as a girl so often as before... Presence of somebody who supports you in your transformation is very very important...
Monika: You have been dealing with transgender advocacy in Ukraine for many years. Could you mention some of your most important initiatives?
Anastasia-Eva: For the last 11 years I have been organizing meetings of transgender people in different cities of Ukraine for dating, socializing, cultural activities and entertainment. It is important for me that transgender people did not feel vulnerable and they are not left alone with gender dysphoria. It is also my patronage to provide jobs for transgender girls in the main office and on the production of our holding, even though these employees would have earned such a right, by its professional skills. My new plan is to create a Museum exhibit especially about transgender people, the history of the lives of ordinary Ukrainians who were born in the wrong body.
Ten years ago.
Monika: This is my first Ukrainian interview. How strong is the Ukrainian transgender movement? Are there many organizations that fight for transgender rights? 
Anastasia-Eva: There are few organizations in Ukraine, which deal with LGBT. One organization which would deal only with transgendered does not exist so far. The most famous public organization which help us is Insight.
A landmark event in the lives of Ukrainian transgender people became Kyiv International conference “Transgender Issues in Social and Medical Context” (22-24 of October 2015). It was the platform for communication and sharing experiences, and also for helping experts, state institutions, human rights activists, researchers and trans-activists to find common ground. 
But most crossdressers, transsexuals and other similar individuals prefer to live or meet with each other, keeping it in secret.
Monika: Are there any famous transgender leaders, artists, or politicians in Ukraine? 
Anastasia-Eva: Monroe or Monette, a popular transvestite diva, singer and a permanent participant of the secular parties, fashion shows and talk shows was first who said that she is transgender. During 15 years Monroe is associated in public life of Ukraine and in the mind of the viewer as elegant, flamboyant and confident woman.
The most famous transgender person in show business and among young people is the author and singer of songs, a participant of TV-projects "Factory of Stars" Boris April, who changed sex in 2014. And now her name is April. She lives in the United States and Asian countries. Her name was often mentioned in the dismissive sense, with sarcastically fun among many impolite people. But the person made her choice and continues to delight with her creativity fans in Ukraine and abroad.

Model Anastasia-Eva Domani.

As a new example, I can mention Karina Minaeva from Crimea. She participated in popular TV show "Supermodel in Ukraine". Afterwards she received an invitation from Polish film director Lukasz Ostalski to try herself as an actress. Eventually she played one of the main characters in the social drama "New world”.
As for politics, a transgender person and successful political career are incompatible in the modern Ukraine. There is no chance to get jobs in state organizations as a high rank employee. Such person will not be invited to the lists of political parties and blocs at local or parliamentary elections. In my opinion, this is a temporary thing, and everything will change with the maturing of the young generation of the Ukrainians and the liberalization of attitudes.
Dressed in favorite pantyhose.
Monika: Is it difficult to be a transgender woman in Kyiv?
Anastasia-Eva: It is not only difficult, but dangerous. Various far-right organizations prey on homosexual and transgender people in social networks and on the streets. There is also a misunderstanding by society, these people are considered perverts and with ill psyche.
It is impossible to get a job – you can start career either in the area of sex services, or in show business. Agree that this is not exit for most transgender people. It would be nice to open in Kyiv the service studio, where transgender women can receive a wide range of services: makeup lessons, shopping support, including tours abroad, the organization of photo shoots in the Studio and on the streets, in the parks.
It is really not enough comfortable and safe leisure. Such opportunity is provided by regular Kyiv transgender hen-parties that I organize. But what can I do alone on my own in multi-million country? We can add to these issues such institutional barriers as bureaucratically difficulties and humiliating procedure of sex change, the long-time replacement of documents with the male name to female, the lack of specialists for the transgender people - endocrinologists, psychologists, gynecologists and sexologists. In general, transgender women lead a passive way of living, being in his shell and try to avoid publicity.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Anastasia-Eva: I can say frankly – it was the reaction of parents and close friends. By the way, even nowadays not all of my former friends and relatives know about me as a transgender woman and a photo model. I didn't do official or public coming out. But it was not possible to hide information and I should treat it philosophically, without adding unnecessary fear. It is easily to speak and write. I agree. But I floundered in doubt, tortured and internally eating myself at the beginning.
Monika: At the time of your coming out, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Anastasia-Eva: My transgender prototype was always lady Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani, that is I myself. Inside I have felt female features since childhood. So this role is not temporary. Even if someone seems or could seem it in the past. I love to think, imagine and dream before go to bed or in the countryside, watching the rain through the window. 
I create my image, improve appearance, and even make a purchase - the things that make me closer to the Woman in these moments. As you can see, it appears in the mind firstly and then implement. I didn't have idols among transgendered celebrities and by and my knowledge in this area was weak. Once upon a time dreamed about being a sexy secretary, an actress and even a businesswoman working in the office of a large company!
Last preparations before the photo session.
Monika: What do you think about the perception of transgender women in the Ukrainian society? How are they portrayed in the media?
Anastasia-Eva: The perception in society is quite ambiguous. It is easier for transgenders to find understanding and support in large cities, where there are many educated persons and cosmopolitan young people. Young and middle-aged people travel a lot, actively communicate in social networks and not burdened by the stereotypes of the Soviet past. 
There is more information in the press about people wanting to have a sex change or have made the "transition". The national TV-channels invite transgender girls in the studio for talk shows and reality shows, various dancing and singing auditions. There is a media-trend for gender unusual people.
The Ukrainian press is only at the beginning of a serious analysis of who are transgender people and what they want to achieve from all the others, what is the difference and does it differ at all from "straight" people. Discrimination comes often from ignorance and fear to change something in favor of the LGBT community. So society needs an unobtrusive educational rhetoric from the media and civil society activists.
The government is currently not up to our problems. Well, they should not prevent by law and on the level of regulation. I promise you that it will take 5 to 10 years and transgender stewardesses, militaries, sportsmen, police officers and even politicians will appear in Ukraine!
Monika: I love your blog about fashion! What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors or trends?
Anastasia-Eva: In my style of clothes and vision of his my own image many things have changed over the last 10 years. At the beginning I liked to wear flashy and provocative clothes, underwear, shoes. Sometimes in spite of the comfort to the body. Over the years my choice changed to the direction of practicality. But I continue to wear heels!
I'm satisfied.
In office I prefer to dress formal and simple style: silk blouse, a blazer, a tapered skirt just above the knee or pant suit, tights or thin stockings on the belt (in the summer), shoes with mid/high heels. I use different accessories, jewelry and perfume. I don’t hide my slim legs and I try to emphasize it in many ways, because nobody canceled femininity.
As for outerwear I prefer almost everything from a mink coat to an elegant coat of medium length. I choose underwear from delicate material such as silk, satin, viscose and lycra, microfibre, also cotton, lace. My panties, shorts and negligee are always pleasant to the touch, elastic, wrap gently and shape my figure. As for brands, I don't bother: my choice happens as "love at first sight", my size and color, and high-quality material, sewing.
I make spontaneous purchases when I walk through the Mall and, as a rule, it always such a good thing. During the last 2-3 years I resort often to the services of private studio masters at home for tailoring individual models of clothing, whether formal suit with a business skirt or coat. I am impressed by the creative process – I'm not the only initiator of new exclusive items, but also the creator of my appearance at all stages of manufacture, and then the popular demonstrator.
Anyway, my colleagues-subordinates, acquaintances, friends and ordinary people pay attention to me. So I have always concerned about the appearance that would fit my status and gender features. I repeat and emphasize: as a transgender woman, I focus on the figure, the best female forms. Let men get addicted and look!
Monika: Do you have favourite models?
Anastasia-Eva: In my country this is Anna Zayachkivska, Miss Ukraine 2013. Also Snejana Onopka - the only model that had the honor to get on the cover of Italian Vogue twice. I like the figure and the face of our current Miss Ukraine 2015 Khrystyna Stoloka – 19-year-old student from Kiev.
Among my favorites I also can say about Anna Andres and Diana Garkusha. There are all nice and promising girls, someone like Snejana – well-known abroad. And in the context of citizenship and patriotic views Anna Zayachkivska is on the first place for me.
Life in pink.
Monika: The fashion industry is full of beautiful transgender models: Roberta Close in the past, now you, Lea T, Felipa Tavares, Andreja Pejić, Valentijn de Hingh, and many more. How could you explain such a great interest of the fashion industry to transgender ladies? 
Anastasia-Eva: I can add to this list Geena Rocero, Hari Nef, actress and model Cassandra Cass, Arisce Wanzer, Ines Rau, Carmen Carrera, Isis King and May Simon. Why I say about such demand? Then, as always, there are several factors: the desire of designers to see new images, strange and mysterious features of face.
Transgender model has a double energy, she is able to achieve considerable goals (sex change says something!), patient and persistent. No wonder that the audience during the fashion show considers transgender models carefully and compare them with the "natural" star girls on the catwalk: who has gorgeous boobs, exquisite gait and etc.
You might think that transgender is a new narrow fascination with the fashion industry. But it's false. The rejection of past standards and taboos appears throughout in the cultural space.
Monika: Your wiki says that you are a big admirer of Dita Von Teese…
Anastasia-Eva: Dita inspires me. This Woman, better to say a real lady – the Goddess of femininity! How can I not admire her article, choice of underwear and shoes? Dita indirectly instilled in me a love to the stockings on the belt. I looked through her pictures when I studied a point of view of fashion trends-style pin-up. She's the Queen of flirting, playing, teasing, always creates intrigue around you! It is wow and catches men. Passionate burlesque diva posed in a transparent peignoir, lace sets, stockings and garters for many years. Her vintage makeup will not leave indifferent even women! Tell me, how could I not fall in love with a Dita?
Woman's dreams by the window.
I adore her subtly heartfelt poses at the photo shoot, gait, color of lipstick, nail polish and lacquer, hair styling. We even have similar tastes when we choose a perfume. I also do photo shoots in a stylistic manner fetish photo, I make focus on pantyhose, stockings, belt, corset, shoes, heels, evening gowns. Without a doubt, such women like Dita von Teese, Christina Aguilera and Renata Litvinova are highborn lady, owners of the elegant vintage style!
Monika: Have you ever thought about working as a fashion designer?
Anastasia-Eva: I work as the designer of own line of tights and stockings during last three years. We produce these things at the production facilities in Italy and Poland. Of course, it is not industrial scale, but I get pleasure from the fact that the design of the tights is my own brand. I can be proud that the tights of my brand are bought by European female politicians, representatives of show business, sport and culture. Frankly, I would like to have clothes and accessories brand, but this requires capital, additional investors. I am waiting for suggestions from the business and is willing to cooperate!
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Anastasia-Eva: Even if the person is not interested in politics, politics in our country is interested in the person. I was actively involved in the Orange revolution of 2004. I spent three months on the Maidan during the Revolution of Dignity on the side of democratic Pro-European forces in 2013-14. The Ukrainians want to build a state, which takes into account their social and economic rights. It is a subject of a political struggle.
On the eve of Christmas 2017.
As far as I know, the vast majority of my friends are transgender people who support the European integration of Ukraine, and the liberalization of the visa regime. Personally, I will always support the party in the elections, actually supporting the democratic ideology. But it is almost impossible for transgender people to be a member of a political Association. It is a special feature of modern time.
I was a member of the Social Democratic Party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko during ten years. In some States, the EU, Southeast Asia and the United States, the participation of transgender women in political life only at the beginning can become a media sensation, and the whole will be perceived as natural event that is not beyond the bounds of civilized society. What is the use of it? The important thing here is not the fact of transgender politics, but how much this person is smart, wise, erudite and knows how to present herself.
For example, if Anastasia-Eva Domani has knowledge in Economics and Finance, speaks several languages and looks perfectly, nobody will pay attention for then the features of her gender.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Anastasia-Eva: Love is the most important feeling for me! Every woman is happy when she loves and is loved by someone, regardless of sexual orientation.
In my life, there were few men who left the bright trace in my memory. I lived with one of them during three years in a civil marriage, and I was the happiest transgender woman in the world as it seemed to me.
At the moment I'm not married and am in search of a young man, a future husband. I dream to have a true romantic wedding and experience the beauty of being a bride, to wear a wedding dress, white stockings, and love a man I have chosen! What could be better for women? This is my aim.
So we can say that the purpose of Anastasia-Eva is to find the second half of heart! In general, love means compromise, peace, warmth, kindness and joy, then anything what is missing in our daily lives.
Selfie with Polaroid.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Anastasia-Eva: Yes, I think if there is no rule against transgender people being included into a beauty pageant then why they should be excluded? Even if a transwoman underwent many surgeries to feminize her body, she should still have a chance to compete in a pageant.
I am sure that beauty pageants must be open to anyone that wants to take part in them. There is nothing wrong with transgender people wanting to take part in such events. They have made the choice to change their gender, and they should not be discriminated against for that choice. Transgender people are people...
My dream is to participate in a beauty contest, or in any way be involved in the organization of such events in Ukraine. I have the ambition to win a beauty contest among transgender women whatever it will take!
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book about yourself?
Anastasia-Eva: It is a good question. I thought about it several times. But I think you need to achieve anything in this life firstly, to bring the benefit for the public or community.
A memoir should be about the eventful life of the transgender woman who realized her dream and achieved important specific goals. Now I'm on a half of the way towards womanhood, and fifteen or twenty years later I can and should write a documented essay about myself.
Open to communication and new
Nowadays I write a diary of these events. As Scottish writer and philosopher Thomas Carlyle said: "A well-written biography is as such rare thing as a well-lived life", so I will try to live beautifully and with a certain mission.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Anastasia-Eva: Dear ladies! Try to model your life after “transition" into the female gender in such a way to be mentally and physically ready to live as a woman 24 hours a day, every day. Someone feels enough using of hormones or changing documents, someone changes gender. Analyze and feel what life it is for you, not for a friend or a famous transgender model, actress. If a burning desire to be a full time girl does not abate over a sustained period and the surrounding circumstances allow, then it's time to choose doctors for surgical change of sex.
In addition, I advise to believe in yourself and not be bored, not to sit idly. Enjoy a creative life, dancing, shopping, reading magazines, attending fashion shows and exhibitions that are more interesting to you and designed for the female half; go to the gym and aerobics, be a regular customer of beauty salons and do your own photo shoots.
In the end, learn to cook and drop your addictions (this also needs time!), and finally you will be faced only with the most important issue whether you are ready to conclude your transition by undergoing GRS.
Monika: Anastasia-Eva, thank you for the interview! 

For more information about Anastasia, visit her page on

All the photos: courtesy of Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani.
Done on 17 March 2017
© 2017 - Monika 

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