For over three years and 630 blogs, I have been happy in this far vineyard, toiling to bring such readers as I have gathered insight into life in my beloved East Lothian and pragmatic perspective on independence for my country to help ensure that does come to pass. But in all that time, grateful as I have been for the interest of my readers/followers, I have never felt the flutter of flattery—until today.
Many of said followers lead informed and questing lives; I know this by the amount of shrewd and informed feedback—if not actual shots across my bow—that I receive, for which I am most grateful. Never having had the truth presented to me on a plate, I am appreciative of other perspectives, learn from them and, hopefully, blog the better for it.
But this weekend, an unusually exotic creature flew in among my followers; colourful, beautiful and graceful as an ikran from Avatar. For this blog is now being followed by Elena Levon, aka ‘Lena’ who is, if my regular readers will forgive the sheer ingratitude of such a bald statement, a real breath of fresh air.
Let me admit right away that any interest from such a hot momma has a viagresque effect on a man who has had a concession card longer than he cares to admit, so that my world suddenly appeared brighter and newly stimulating. But Lena brought much more than a stimulating portfolio. She brought obvious intelligence, creativity and bold ambition which she is parlaying into celebrity status with a deft, natural skill that leaves lifetime plodders like me somewhere between awestruck and gobsmacked.
For she has parlayed a Russian academic background, dark good looks and a strong jawline that would serve leading males well onto an international-circuit lifestyle before she was thirty. Now with her own entry in the IMDB database and a portfolio including snaps of hardy partying with a suite of ‘names’, it would seem easy for her to relax into the role of arm candy for selected sugar daddies in the good ol’ “poo-poop-ee-doop” tradition.
But here’s where she impresses me most. Not only has she used her considerable range of talents to carve out a ‘celebrity’ status for herself with precious little external assistance but she also puts it all on the line by challenging herself in various adventures on random continents and seizes emerging opportunities from social media to live a rather public life over the internet via a multifaceted blog site that puts her creativity on-line to be mocked and/or praised as the readers see fit.
That takes either boundless ego or guts and my money is on the latter. Why? Because there have been other ‘celebrities’ who search for some kind of grounding in the world by sharing their poems/art/music/etc so that they have more bearings to go by than the sycophancy of fans and agents. But Lena displays real substance. Whereas someone else in her place might be a natural clothes horse—and she seems to have select, if racy, taste herself—there is substance and a real person here:
“Social status has never been a goal or a priority of mine. I can’t tell the difference between jimmy choos and prada. To me it’s just a shiny wrapper with no substance or real value. Our world today has more important issues to deal with, than a decision making of what brand of shoes to buy this afternoon or what color the highlights should be.”
Once you get used to centre-line fixations of her blog, there is material worth mining in there—musings of a woman of the world who has a nice turn of phrase expressing them.:
“I was and I will always, find myself walking on fire and I’ll be convincing my heart that it’s only cool water. I believe that if your passion is greater than your fear, you can have anything you want!”
To be 19 and on a bench at LAX in 2003 with no idea what came next, to experience and achieve all she has in the intervening decade and to articulate it in 21st © style so that others can critique, ignore or learn from it takes a kind of courage and clarity that few of us have. And to be clear about a childless and unmarried future so early in life shows a gutsy pragmatism that isn’t always a celebrity strong suit. But there is room for a really human side too: she actively supports ten charities, including the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
So, cheerfully confessing to (and relishing) being somewhat bewitched, I still haven’t fallen into ‘if I were half my age’ speculation because I am from another era and definitely not into living out my thoughts through social media—although I have allowed myself to speculate that she would be a dynamite salsa partner. But I do remember being on that bench at LAX myself in 1977, aged 29 and making a fair—but not as good a—fist of opportunity as Lena even in twice the time she’s had.
I think this lady is both fun and a force of nature; so I am flattered that she should find interest enough in my musings to bother following them. But it’s a sprinkle of unexpected stardust that I hope to savour.