Upon warmly meeting Sarah Nasri, her personable and empathetic nature is immediately palpable.
One might think that this energy is what affords her the ability to transcend different cultures and borders around the world with acting in international projects but, ever-so-casually, she informs us that she speaks multiple languages.
“I’m fluent in more than half a dozen languages including Arabic, Spanish, and French,” she adds with a laugh, “as well as obviously English.”
It’s a combination of this internationalism that clearly imbues within Sarah an inherent understanding of the human experience, a point which lies at the center of any successful actor’s career. It should come as no surprise then that Sarah’s career, in the midst of a global pandemic when people are grappling for stories now more than ever, has continued to thrive.
Originally from Tunisia, Sarah found a love for acting when she was 17 years old during summer break. After watching Leonardo DiCaprio give an interview and describe his creative process, Sarah was inspired to explore acting and a more artistic career path.
“Even though I had already been doing it a few years, I discovered a deeper love for acting after leaving the confines of school, one that I was able to refine and cultivate even more with the freedom to explore different topics away from the syllabus.”
“For instance, one of the most vital areas in contemporary aesthetics concerns the experience of so-called “negative” emotions in an engagement with fiction…our imagination is powerful, and acting gives me an opportunity to tap into that.”
Sarah’s childlike curiosity has remained a constant despite the growth she has experienced in her career. Such a quality will undoubtedly serve her well ever since standout performances have attracted the attention of notable Hollywood producers.
One of those performances, for instance, was in the horror film Childhood Chills. Her gripping portrayal as a nun struggling to survive after her best friend has been attacked by an unseen evil, alongside Ashton Solecki and Curt Darling (Devil’s Hallow), is an obvious standout and distinguishes a crucial moment in the arc of the film. In each moment, Sarah echoes the audiences’ obvious terror while maintaining a commitment to her character in each and every extreme close-up frame in which she appears on-screen.
When watching her, Sarah’s particular understanding of how to balance temperament and feeling with advancing the story – never crossing the line of self-indulgence – is readily apparent. It’s a mark of a great actor.
“Every form of art including acting has to have an arc, it should go up and down just like life. Otherwise, it will seem flat and uninteresting to the viewer,” Sara explains. “I always look for the high, the low and the ‘fake high’ in every script.”
Sarah also explains how she incorporates a variety of approaches to a script, depending on the storyline.
“I [also] look for the music that I feel supports the atmosphere of the project and create a playlist from that – I find that really helps stimulate ideas about my story and creativity in general. ”
It’s this structured but also malleable attitude to approaching her craft which has not only served Sarah with an understanding of how to work across countries, but also genres too.
Any director who’s worked with her praises her understanding of finding the humour in darkness, and the darkness in humour.
Such is the case with her work in ‘Losing Your Marbles’, in which Sarah appears alongside The Art of Acting star Derick Gonzales. In that project, Sarah portrays a childlike introvert named Jenna, who struggles to overcome the recent death of her mother and is afraid to confront life on her own. In a moment that is incredibly affecting but also challenging and hilarious to watch, Sarah’s character discover’s Forest’s (Derick Gonzalez) love for her and the confusion she faced, whether to welcome him in her new life or not.”
“What I like about comedy is that it allows you to criticize and deliver a message in an unapologetic manner. Drama, on the other hand, sheds a light on the dark realities of life.”
Comments such as these point to the universal relevance of Sarah’s mission as an artist, and her burgeoning curiosity in the American market – the American market’s curiosity in her.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been offered contracts to work in America, so I’m excited to contribute to the industry and connect with fresh stories, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19.”
As the entertainment industry looks to recover past a year marked by struggle, fresh stories – and exciting talent – are indeed in demand.
Today millions of people work remotely, a luxury that affords them the freedom to manage their time without the constraints of the traditional 9 to 5, travel at will and oftentimes live wherever they want in the world. Even with the many that have managed to break away from a life of going into the office, there are millions more who are still desperately trying to figure out how to create a remote career for themselves.
A few years ago Russian blogger Polina Pushkareva, who’s known internationally by her instagram handle @nioly where she has over one million followers, figured out how to create a successful remote career for herself through blogging and social media.
She says, “Dedication, and a deep understanding of how social media functions and analytics,” are among the most important qualities to be successful in her field.
Gaining an astonishing level of success, Pushkareva’s expertise as a fashion blogger has led her to be featured in the Russian editions of Vogue, GQ, Grazia, Cosmo, Kommersant and more. She is also a columnist for OK Russia, where she regularly gives advice on blogging, with articles that include “Thinking Strategy that will Lead to High Income,” “Organizing work with Clients in the Freelance Market,” “What Character Traits Will Help You Succeed?” and many more.
“It all started in an ordinary cafe. I sat at a table and took pictures of cheesecakes for my Instagram profile, which at that time consisted of 300 subscribers,” recalls Pushkareva. “I was noticed by the owner of the establishment and offered the job as a social media management specialist. This is how I got my first job in the online field. After a short period of work with commercial accounts, I was recommended as a good specialist to a blogger.”
What makes Pushkareva so unique though is the way that she took her career beyond simply blogging. Using the knowledge she’s gathered over the years, she created an online program to help other people establish successful remote careers of their own.
Last year she launched her first online course, “Managers,” which was an instant hit in Russia. The course taught subscribers how to manage other people’s blogs, essentially helping them to learn how to become a universal specialist capable of doing everything from writing posts and purchasing advertising for promotion to targeting audiences and creating the blog’s visual vibe.
“When I realized that I couldn’t cope with my many responsibilities anymore, and 24 hours a day wasn’t enough, I began to think about training assistants for myself…. that’s when I unconsciously identified the urgent need all bloggers have for a qualified ‘helper’,” explains Pushkareva.
“That’s how I created my first course, ‘Managers.’ It was an absolutely spontaneous project. But it sold out completely on my first day of sales, even though my blog only had 30 to 50 thousand subscribers at the time. The first round was immediately followed by the second, third, and fourth editions.”
With a million followers herself, and also managing blogs for brands and celebrities with millions of followers, Pushkareva was constantly overseeing the output of creative content to meet the demands of her various audiences.
She quickly realized that an opportunity to create a new career field in the social media industry existed– one that would help the bloggers, as well as those who wanted to create a remote career for themselves. This was a few years ago, and at the time the idea of someone being specifically trained to manage other people’s blogs and instagram profiles hadn’t fully taken off yet– Polina was on the forefront of a new industry.
“The popularity of my course grew instantly. After all, this info product had a specific goal to help both sides at the same time. All the talented people got an opportunity to learn a remote profession, and bloggers freed up their time for more important and interesting things,” explains Pushkareva.
One of the key reasons Polina’s course was such an instant success, and something that speaks to her keen insight as a business developer, is the mutual benefit she saw in creating the role of a social media manager.
She says, “Bloggers are people who live a normal life, but also have a great responsibility to their readers. They have lists of things to do on a daily basis besides blogging. And all these bloggers have long been in need of such a helper to free them from the routine stuff on Instagram, such as buying ads, creating content, and writing posts.”
Since 2019 Pushkareva has trained hundreds of thousands of people through her “Managers” course, which pulls from her years of experience as a blogger and her knowledge of what it takes to successfully manage all aspects of a blog and instagram account from the front and back end in a way that makes everything run smoothly and increases traffic.
Though she’s still in her early 20s, Pushkareva has accomplished more than most, and it seems everything she does, she does well. Not only was she named Fashion TV Russia’s Best Extraordinary Blogger in 2019, but she also recently took on her first ever acting role, and it was no small feat. She recently wrapped production on the upcoming feature film “WarHunt” where she acts alongside none other than iconic star and Oscar Award nominee Mickey Rourke from “Sin City,” “The Wrestler” and “Iron Man 2. ”
“We invited Polina to act in the role of a radio operator. As a blogger with one million followers, she will help us to attract a younger audience to watch this film. The shooting was in Latvia, in Riga. I was impressed by her self discipline,” says Julia Kim-von Den Driesch, one of the producers of the film.
“She is not afraid to try new things, she is not afraid to fail. All of her ups and downs are part of transformations and developments. She has a sixth sense in visual content. I think she is doing the right thing so that her generation can become independent from their circumstances.”
As a blogger, Pushkareva is a leading figure in her field, and as such, she’s been invited to give talks at the well-known international business forum, Synergy, which has featured other powerful speakers such as Tony Robbins, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many more.
Polina Pushkareva’s story of how she got to where she is today is one that reaffirms the power of self-determination, and it’s inspiring. Originally from Kovrov, a small town in eastern Moscow, Russia, Pushkareva worked as a waitress to put herself through school while studying sociology at Saint Petersburg State University. The owner of the restaurant she worked at approached her with a curiosity about social media so Pushkareva took it upon herself to learn everything she could about the business.
“I did not have any clue about this field, but I needed to earn extra money as a student. I told him yes and I started to learn and try something new with social media management everyday. This moment changed my life,” recalls Pushkareva.
“A couple of years ago the huge number of Instagram promotion training courses out there now weren’t available, so I had to learn all the skills necessary for the work by myself, watching videos, looking for and collecting all the information on the internet or from friends who were already well versed in this field. In addition to working as a manager on my blog, I also tested all the existing ways of promotion.”
She quickly took note of the rise of social media and the potential it offered to create a lucrative business, and she knew she could make more money. While in college Pushkareva made a trip to the U.S., which proved to be a major turning point for her.
She explains, “I flew to America on an exchange program and that’s where I realized that I urgently had to do something with my life… I realised that US bloggers needed a manager… At the time, the profession didn’t even exist, nobody knew what the job of a ‘blogger manager’ was… I knew exactly what I wanted to do in the future and I started to independently develop schemes and mechanisms of net promotion.”
Pushkareva’s newest course is called “Millionaires,” which is targeted towards training people to use social media to increase their personal income and become millionaires. Since releasing the new 11-day intensive training course in January, she has trained 4,000 people. The course, which is currently geared towards Russian speakers will be available in an English version at the end of the year.
She says, “Million follower bloggers is a new trend in our reality. To handle everything related to the blog professionally you have to be surrounded by a professional team… on the new course I teach people how to become a millionaire, how to deal with blogs of a million subscribers and how to manage everyday life.”
For Pushkareva, who began her own instagram by blogging about ‘student life, coffee, guys, and dreams,’ the platform has been hugely lucrative. Today, with one million followers herself, Pushkareva’s instagram account @nioly, takes audiences on a journey across the world with every picture telling a story.
Producer Julia Kim-den Driesch says, “Polina motivates people to do things and to move towards their goals. She built a strong and recognizable brand called @Nioly. Millions of followers watch her and she is a role model for young and dynamic girls around the globe, and she has a mission to provide affordable online education as a blog manager.”
Seeing how instagram and blogging could be a powerful tool for brands to gain attention and for people around the world to tell their stories, and the growing number of people in search of the digital nomad lifestyle, Pushkareva has become a sought after leader in the digital generation. With all of the opportunities she’s made available online, Pushkareva is one of the people who have helped make the days of being tied to a desk, one country and a predictable lifestyle something that is optional, not mandatory.
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