It’s not everyday you come across a blogger like Esenia. Captivated by her fresh and quite poignant Instagram curations, I decided to interview the lady behind the brand. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview and was delighted by her openness in sharing her experiences.
For all fashion lovers and non lovers alike, bloggers or aspiring bloggers, millennials or other generational folks, be inspired by the style maven that is Rougeuse. Let her words colour your mind beautiful.
S: Please could you introduce yourself to the readers.
E: My name is Esenia Naoumova, I’m 20-something year old. I live in Amsterdam where I study Theatre Studies at the University of Amsterdam. I work part-time in the optics. I love to travel and take pictures whenever there’s an opportunity to do so. I love to discover good coffee places with delicious pastry(obligatory)! I love to do yoga, and I’m currently in search of the perfect yoga school in the city.
S: When did you start blogging and what inspired you to start?
E: I started blogging in 2012 while I was working at a call center. We had free access to the internet, and in between calls we were allowed to search the web. However, after a couple of months, I had checked all my emails, read the news and been through most informative website. Then the girls at work showed me the fashion bloggers. I believe I first saw Kenza, and then later saw StyleScrapbook in a magazine. One girl joked that I was the typical fashion blogger girl. At the time, I didn’t know what to think of the comment, because I had never heard about fashion bloggers before). So I started browsing their blogs, and I was hooked.
I’ve always been passionate about photography, and had always taken a bunch of photos while on vacation or on special occasions. So I thought that it was perfect for me, and that’s how I started.
I just wanted to share my creativity and my view on certain things with the world. At first I did it privately and didn’t even tell my friends that I’d started blogging. I guess I was afraid to be judged. Then after a year, I started publishing my blog posts to my private Facebook page and got more serious about it.
S: How did you come up with the name Rougeuse and what does it mean to you?
E: It’s a very long, rather complicated story and I’m surprised that nobody ever asked me before. Here it goes- When I was 16/17, the writing blogs were coming up, so I started one as well, and I obviously needed a standing out title. At that time, I was all over the French stuff. I was learning French in school, and dreaming about Paris. If you’re a little knowledgeable in French language, you’ll know that they have feminine and masculine words. For example chauffeur – chauffeuse, blogger – bloggeuse. That’s the first part.
The second part has to do with my Russian heritage. A little side note, one of my favourite colours was red at that time(still is, but in a more moderate way). In Russian language, the adjective ‘red’ doesn’t only mean the colour. It still has a meaning from the old-Russian which is mainly used in literature. If addressed to a girl, it also means bright, beautiful, someone who stands out.
So back then, I decided to combine those two. Rouge as the colour red, but make it a feminine word by adding -use. That’s why my header is written in red, as well.
S: Your style is amazing! How would you describe your style and what influences how you dress each morning or on occasions?
E: Thank you! I’d say I’m still in search of my perfect style. However, I tend to go for a combination of edgy, simple, and feminine.
Actually, the weather also influences my style a lot. Especially in the Netherlands, where the weather is very unpredictable. I can clearly see that my style was different while I was living in Spain versus in the Netherlands.
For occasions, is a different story. I have my outfit ready either far in advance, or just a few moments before leaving the house.
S: What inspires your style?
E: Many things, but I feel at my best while travelling. I’m also inspired by magazines, street style photography, other bloggers, and shops.
S: Who’s your favourite blogger?
E: I don’t have one. However, I see Chiara Ferragni as a business inspiration, and I love the fact that she dares to wear almost anything. I like to scroll through the pics of Eleonora Carisi and Doina from Golden Diamonds in search of endless inspiration. Peace Love Shea is amazing during the fashion weeks. Haute inhabit is very classy, and true to her style, and the same goes for Andy Torres.
But I think all the girls inspire me. Sometimes inspiration is hidden in a small corner you’d never expected it to be found.
S: If given the chance, who would you love to collaborate with?
E: Good one. Nima Benati, because of her kickass photography, and sexy style. And Eleonora and Doina I’ve mentioned above, because they’re both so creative, in their own way with their style.
S: Do you blog full time? If not, would you want to in the future?
E: Unfortunately, I don’t blog full time. I’m still studying and that require some time, and I work part time.
If I could get the opportunity to work full time as a blogger, and I’m able to live from it, I would automatically say “yes”. In the meantime, I’m working hard on creating such an opportunity.
S: What are the essentials to starting a blog?
E: Oh gosh, I wish I knew. A lot of successful bloggers preach that you need to have a strategy. I’m still working on mine. I would say, start a blog from what you love. Share your photography, sense of style, written work or travel tips. Put yourself in the field of your interests. Look at how other girls are doing the same things you want to do. Look at what you love about their work, and then translate it into your own work. Don’t copy, but make it your own. Be critical about yourself and your work, but don’t be a perfectionist(it’s boring).
S: What are your must have products and favourite fashion brands?
E: I’m very conservative when it comes to makeup or care products in general. I’m very suspicious to try out new things. I’ve been using Clinique 3-steps skin care for several years already. The Moroccan oil is one of my recent and great discoveries. My favourite mascara is Chanel Inimitable Intense, and I only use M.A.C. lipsticks.
I don’t have many favourites, because I believe each brand has something nice, fun or original in their collection. However, I tend to shop more frequently lately at Topshop, & Other Stories. Regarding shoes, I just love Prada, Gucci and Sophia Webster.
S: We love your Instagram page! What camera and editing software do you use?
E: Thanks a lot! I only use Instagram for editing. I’ve tried to use Vsco cam, but it seems to not be my cup of tea. I used to take pictures with the Canon 450D, but recently I got the Canon 70D as a present but I haven’t had the time to post pictures from it.
S: Since you began blogging, have there been times when you felt like stopping? and if so, what motivated you to continue?
E: Yes, there were. I guess, I kept repeating to myself that I’m blogging because it gives me joy, therefore I should not depend on the amount or the lack of the feedback. And the other major factor that keeps me going is that I still strongly believe that I belong to and am going to make it in this industry.
S: What do you love the most about travelling, and what’s your favourite destination?
E: What’s not to love about travelling? It seriously is my favourite activity/hobby, but to answer your question I would say that I love being constantly on the go and being exposed to new things/cultures/customs etc.
All my destinations are my favourite, but the last that was very special is Zanzibar. I really want to explore Africa more.
S: What advice would you share with someone who was just starting out in blogging?
E: Just start. Other than that, ask yourself what your goals are, and what you like to get from blogging.
S: What are you dreams for the future, in blogging and otherwise?
E: I badly want to launch a new website, I want to graduate this year, I want to travel for at least 3 months without a break, and I want to visit New York and Paris Fashion Weeks in the near future.
S: Anything else you’ll like our readers to know about you?
E: I’ve lived in 8 cities so far, and I don’t plan to stop moving.
S: So where did you grow up, what are the 8 cities, and what do you love about living in Amsterdam?
E: I was born in Murmansk, far in the north of Russia. At an early age, I moved to Kaliningrad, which is an enclave in the EU. After this, when I turned 13 my family moved to the Netherlands, where I lived in a lot of cities ending up in Amsterdam. A year ago I moved to Spain to live there for 6 months in the small city of Torrevieja.
As for Amsterdam, I always wanted to live in a capital city, and frankly, it’s the biggest city of a very small country. By that I mean that there’s not another comparable city in this country. I love a lot of things in Amsterdam. The cultural heritage, the fact the shops are open until late(they are in comparison to the rest of the country), a lot of cute coffee places, the fact there is always something to see or something to do.
However, I can live in and adapt to every city, believing that Amsterdam is not my final destination. I will quote Robyn Davidson:“There are new kinds of nomads, not people who are at home everywhere, but who are at home nowhere. I was one of them.”
S: How many languages can you speak, and do you wish to learn more?
E: I speak 3 languages fluently: Dutch, Russian, and English. I can read, and understand German and French; and I can read the menu in Spanish.
S: Where would you love to live next?
E: I’m open to any opportunity of a bigger city than Amsterdam.
What an interesting view on life and blogging! Catch Esenia on any of the social media platforms below: