What Ukrainian beauty workers did after the Russian invasion

“Of course, it’s not easy; we have to rehabilitate, study local laws, rules, customs, speech patterns and people’s behavior, and much more to better understand the culture and feel at home. comfortable. [this] six months we got used to our new life, a lot of things became clear and not as complicated as it seemed at first glance. But of course any change takes time,” Vikhlyaieva said.

Now that the family is settled, Vikhlyaieva said that although she misses Ukraine, her parents, loved ones and all those who chose to stay. However, she has no intention of returning home before the end of the war and said: “The children have just gotten used to school. It is difficult for them to make them come and go. It is not safe in Ukraine. the end of the war.”

For Halina Stepansova, a professional makeup stylist from Kharkov in northeastern Ukraine, the job was a constant stream of styling for fashion brands, magazines and movies. Stepansova had worked in the beauty industry for more than ten years and was in great demand throughout Ukraine. However, when the war started, Stepansova’s work came to a complete halt, and the reality that the war was real became impossible to hide. Stepansova recalls that “the first days of the war were very, very scary, and it was impossible to believe it: this is really what is happening. I was afraid for the lives of my family and friends , and every day it was getting worse.”

“The first time a fighter jet flew over my head, I thought it was the end. It was psychologically unbearable. It was getting harder and harder to get food. The explosions were getting closer and were becoming more frequent,” she added.

Just eight days after the start of the war, Stepansova decided to leave Ukraine as soon as she could. So at six o’clock in the morning, Stepansova packed a suitcase, and her cat, which she had to hand over to a friend who chose to stay in Ukraine and left to wait for an evacuation train at the Kharkov station for the take to Berlin, Germany. Stepansova, who was fleeing Ukraine with a friend, said she spent all day and night at the station, waiting for a train without a timetable or a ticket in the cold air. When the train arrived late on March 3, the station panicked and people started “pushing everyone away, [trying] to enter. We rode for 19 hours, sitting and standing in the aisles, sitting on our own suitcases. It was terrible.”

Germany has been a source of security for Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war. Many have fled to Berlin, the country’s capital, which offers services such as monthly allowances, access to health insurance, assistance in applying for a residence permit to all war refugees who have sought refuge in the city ​​and offered Stepansova a chance to seek refuge, while continuing her work in the fashion and film industries.

Two weeks after fleeing her home, Stepansova began receiving job offers from former clients she had in Ukraine. But, in accordance with German guidelines on working as a refugee, Stepansova could not start working legally until two months after her arrival. As she prepared to start working, Stepansova said she had no makeup or tools as they had all been left behind in Ukraine. However, a makeup salon in Berlin gave Stepansova a “big box of testers, and I was able to start doing what I love so much”, which is makeup. Now Stepansova received work in Berlin. Her clients include well-known fashion brands, such as Flaconi, and makeup for Berlin Fashion Week. The beauty master also recently did Michal Herzog, the wife of Isaac Herzog, the President of Israel, in what she said was her “most memorable job”.

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