thesalting: we can not thank you enough of your support, advice and good energy toward our efforts with thesalting. you COMPLETELY captivate and inspire us. who inspires you?
karina givargisoff: my father inspires me. at 83, he has gone through so many extremes from losing his family when he was an infant, surviving on his own in places like india and iran as a little boy all alone, to coming to london building his life and then losing his wife and eldest son. he never asks for anything of anyone, he is so kind and unmaterialistic. I feel sometimes he thinks life has constantly let him down. I look up to him in so many ways. he never even complains and never is mean about anyone. he is my quiet hero. no matter what hurdles come your way in life, keep going and keep you sense of humor. he is a fighter, I am proudly my father's daughter.
ts: what would you consider the greatest achievement thus far with MISSION MAGAZINE?
kg: MISSION, yes, it is my only achievement. I feel my life was pretty uneventful till I started to do MISSION.
ts: most satisfying achievement thus far with MISSION?
kg: FINALLY getting the business partner I really wanted. it was a "pinch me" moment. still is. I can't believe this person believes in me. and going to print with no backing or no advertising on the second issue. but that is about to change. lots of amazing stuff coming for the third one.
ts: please explain how MISSION is the first ever philanthropic media brand (and we love your line "for fashion for beauty for good")
kg: we are a registered 501(c)(3) which means a public charity-there is no equity for anyone, not even me. I want to make philanthropy sexy and cool. a few people have come up to me and said "I hear you're doing a little charity thing." no we are not. we are doing a massive charity thing that one component amongst many of a bi-annual magazine to it. and that magazine sits proudly on a newsstand, seamlessly next to i-D, vogue, interview. this makes me very proud that we can say we are a public charity.
the whole point is to change how people think of philanthropy, charity, and how media is today. I think most magazines especially in america are not listening to the times, to people. or they are too conservative, scared to make a strong stand and go out on a limb to do something different. I'm very unorthodox, I go with my gut instinct. I don't mean anything negative either, when I say I am making a stand. it has to be upbeat and positive as much as possible. this has to be fun as best as it can be. each issue we aim to give a percentage back to a specific charity that we will carefully vet. as we grow financially the aim is to give more back. I want to try and make a difference in people's lives. how amazing would it be to be able to put someone through college or fund a pediatric intensive care unit in botswana. I met a nurse in botswana about this time last year, we both were crying about the stories she told me.
my aim was to do this from the get go, but when we launched we had no financial support whatsoever. I had no business plan, no brand partner, no idea how to even speak to an investor, what EBITA was etc.....I've learned a awful lot - the hard way. I was super naive about how this would work and how easy it would be. if I had known the challenges there is no way I would have done it. it's been the most awful, hardest, lonely journey. but I love it, and we are not stopping now. this is needed. this is about seriously trying to make a positive change in society, and in someone's life.
ts: how is you digital facet of MISSION interactive?
kg: I would say buy the issue and see for yourself. otherwise I am giving it away here on a plate - that is where the magic is in - the online magazine. which is very different to the day to day website.
ts: best compliment received since your launch? from whom?
kg: my business partner, very recently - they said I was 'two parts genius, one part scatter brain.' I respect this person immensely.they have taught me so much, without us even getting started. so this meant a lot to me. I didn't agree with the last part though, till I told them my wrong age a few minutes later in the meeting. I added a year. sometimes I am just too overwhelmed and exhausted. anyone who has there own start up business I think can fully appreciate all the spinning plates in your head.
ts: 3 favorite elements about living and working in alphabet city?
kg: real down to earth people. the grittiness of the area, although a lot has changed. and the location, being away from all the distractions. we have our own secret HQ.
ts: summer plans?
kg: what summer? you know this is a start up right? we are knee deep in #3 YOUTH. all seasons have gone out the window. I can plan my summer when I retire.
ts: dream cover for MISSION?
kg: I believe now in things working out how they are meant to. so whomever lands on our covers are meant to be there, and are the right person to be there. I would never have believed tina brown would be on our launch cover, but it made complete sense and it was the biggest honor to have her for the launch.
ts: last movie you saw in an actual movie theater?
kg: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY - I am english after all.
ts: do you cook? specialty?
kg: yes when I have the time. I used to love having dinner parties, but that went out the window 5 years ago when I started to focus on MISSION. I don't have the time, and truthfully I work so hard I want to feel like I'm in a monastic retreat when I don't have staff in. I crave peace and tranquility at weekends as I have to still work, but do it in solitude.
ts: describe your high school self in 3 words.
kg: happy confident kind
ts: describe yourself today in 3 words.
kg: exhausted confident kind
ts: we met initially though our dear friend, elliott sailors! how did the two of you meet?
kg: I jumped her. I have a habit if I know or see someone I respect I just go up to them and tell them about MISSION. only if I know who they are though. I was very much unknown in NY, probably still am, I hope. but I love people and had heard about her through her fiancé olympia valli fassi at an event months ago. thought she was amazing and doing good things, so I approached her and her fiancé at an event to say hello. I'm really not shy that way. I did it to joe biden too. I do it the whole time.
I think its really important to put MISSION on people's radar to draw attention to the causes and the people inside each issue. I do no do that for my sake, I have zero ego. this is not about me, it's about everyone else trying to do good, we are the host to that if you like. we do it to give love and shine a light on people who are doing amazing things, and often people we don't necessarily know about - not the obvious "a" lister etc, or the same people we often see on repeat in media outlets.
ts: we feel the same with our SPOTLIGHT and quite proud to have it shine on you, karina! THANK YOU!