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Oksana Chuchunkova | Vulnerability On Blindness

Oksana Chuchunkova is a pretty white woman with shoulder length reddish/brown hair. During this photoshoot Oksana is sitting on an ornate purple sofa with a crystal chandalier and sheer white curtains behind her. She's wearing a blush colored dress.

Oksana Chuchunkova | Vulnerability On Blindness

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Editor’s Note

Bold Blind Beauty is demystifying blindness through storytelling. We do this by sharing the lived experiences of people from all around the globe who are navigating the world while on the blindness spectrum. This month we are overjoyed to introduce you to one of our own, Oksana Chuchunkova.

Oksana resides in Russia, is a member of our Advisory Board and our Global Ambassador. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know Oksana pretty well through our extensive conversations on WhatsApp. A few of the things I like most about Oksana are her keen observation, tell it like it is attitude, her love of beauty, and her unvarnished vulnerability. Without giving too much away, as someone who was born blind, in this interview Oksana gets real about her experience with blindness.

Below Oksana’s YouTube video Q&A interview is the transcription for those who prefer to read. Again, I am so grateful that the intenet is making it possible for our Bold Blind Beauty team to meet all of these phenomenal people. Sharing their stories to break barriers and increase awarenes of the capabilities of blind people continues to stoke my passion. Thank you! ~Steph

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover

Oksana Chuchunkova is a pretty white woman with shoulder length reddish/brown hair. During this photoshoot Oksana is sitting on an ornate purple sofa with a crystal chandalier and sheer white curtains behind her. She's wearing a blush colored dress. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight Oct. 2022 | Women On The Move | Oksana Chuchunkova.”
Oksana’s at the photo studio.

YouTube Video

Q&A With Oksana Chuchunkova

[music intro]

Nasreen Bhutta: Bold Blind Beauty’s Woman On The Move for October is our lovely own Global Ambassador, Oksana. Oksana is the accessibility expert and disability advocate. She works at the bank and enjoys life in all possible ways. In her spare time, she is fond of music, hiking and exploring the world. And not to mention, as I said, she is Bold Blind Beauty’s Global Ambassador.

Welcome, Oksana. How are you?

Oksana Chuchunkova: Hi everyone. Hi Nasreen. Thanks for the invitation. And I’m doing, absolutely fine and ready to answer your questions.

Meeting Oksana

Oksana is in the Main Botanical Garden, Moscow. The weather is sunny. Oksana wears sunglasses and has a big smile on her face. She is wearing a white, coral, and cream short sleeved top with white pants.
Oksana is in the Main Botanical Garden, Moscow.

Nasreen: Awesome, Awesome. So let’s get started then. So Oksana, please tell us a little about yourself and your sight loss journey.

Oksana: Well, it’s not too much to tell about my sight loss journey because I was born blind. It happened, and people say, How do you live like this? Because you cannot see the sun, You cannot see the sunset, the sunrise and all that stuff. But I should say that I have other senses and I can hear lots of sounds and I can feel lots of smells and I can imagine lots of things.

So anyway, I studied at the School for the Blind and then I had different experience in my career and now I am where I am. And actually my sight, my blindness didn’t really disturb me to do what I want to do. For instance, I went to the United States at the age of 17 as a student, and I studied there for nine months. It was the fact.

Being Real

Nasreen: What has been most challenging for you thus far in your sight loss journey Oksana?

Oksana: Well, To be honest, there are moments when I want to cry about my sight loss. I’m not going to hide it and say, Oh, I’m a hero, I’m a superhero. Not at all. And this, you know, this kind of things happens regularly. I mean, we have lots of barrier barriers and we have to find alternative solutions to actually, to break these barriers. Or we should say, Okay, I’m not going to break it I will try to do my best.

And having this situation, for instance, it’s very sad that I cannot be what I want to be in my professional things. For instance, I wanted to be a cosmetologist at my young age. And unfortunately when I came to a lady who actually could teach me, she said, Oh girl, you cannot even use glasses so you, you are not able to be a cosmetologist.

And sometimes, you know, I remember how stressed how stressful it was when went out of the Metro station and I found out that I cannot across the street because there are repairment works on the street, but I need to go to the other side. I need to get there because otherwise I will miss my bus and I will wait for plenty of time when my next bus, bus comes. And thanks to good people that they helped me and they actually made my day. And I, it wasn’t too stressful, but I was about to cry right on the street.

So, Well, yes, sometimes things happen. And bad things happen, but we have to go through.

Making A Difference

Oksana’s outside under a slightly overcast sky in the art space. Citizens visit this place not depending on the season. She's wearing a black and whit polka dot dress and in the background are people milling acout and windows are decorated with white lights.
Oksana’s outside in the art space

Nasreen: You know, we all have a good day and a bad day through our, our, our daily journeys and you know, we just have to keep going and keep our head high. So you’re absolutely correct. I think we can all resonate with that. Share a time when you made a dynamic difference in someone’s life. Oksana.

Oksana: Well, I will be maximum sincere here with you. I was thinking about the case when it happened. Actually, I will give you two examples. The first one is about my job. When I was an employment coordinator at the DPO, I helped a lot of people to find jobs. Like, you know, they came to me, they said, Okay, we need a job. And I helped them with their CVs and then I actually sent their CVs to appropriate companies and I consulted companies and it was a really joyful time when I could, you know, I could get an email saying, Okay, this person got a job offer. It was a victory for me.

And another thing is about personal life. There is a person who I’m really close to and this person was on drugs. And I helped him finding the doctor and talking to him and convincing him. And surely medicine helped. And now this person lives a good life. This person has a good job. This person raises a son and this is, this is great I think.

Nasreen: Definitely is great. I mean, these are two great dynamic stories. You know, and the outcomes are wonderful and people with disabilities, you know, this just goes to show that they can be, you know insightful, enriching, and rewarding in some other people’s lives and helpful you know, and you definitely proven that in, in this dynamic efforts that you did.

Just so that our listeners know, what does DPO stand for?

Oksana: DPO stands for Disability People’s Organization this is nonprofit. This is one of the kinds of nonprofit organizations.

Oksana’s Biggest Influencers

Oksana is at the Georgian restaurant. She’s smiling. We can see a food on the picture.
Oksana is at the Georgian restaurant.

Nasreen: Gotcha. Makes sense. Thank you for adding clarity that just in case somebody was wondering, I know I was [laughter]. And also Oksana, who has been your biggest influencer thus far and why?

Oksana: Definitely my biggest influencers ever are my parents because my father is a very good example to me. He achieved a good result in his life. He came from a small village and he went to a career path. He went his career path and he started from a, a junior policeman, and then he [00:07:00] became a person who had 160 person’s under his mentorship. Like a teacher in a police school.

Nasreen: Mm-hmm.

Oksana: Academy, Police Academy. Yeah. And actually he paid a lot of attention to my education. To my education and my brother’s education as well. And my mom taught me how to be a lady and how to be a housewife. How to, you know, I am blind and I need to be taught how to clean, how to wash, how to cook, And she taught me all that. And she and they never protected me like overprotected me. And I really thank them.

And unfortunately, my father passed away six years ago, but he’s always in my heart and my mom is alive, and I always thank her every time when I can because she is a real hero too.

Nasreen: Oksana, that’s a wonderful story. You know, you had remarkable parents. I’m glad that you’re, you know, that, sorry to hear about your dad, but you know, your mom is, is still there and champion you, championing you and that’s amazing. And all the skills that you’ve learned and, and better because of it today. And I love that to be a housewife, a woman, [laughter], and all of that other stuff. So, did she teach you how to put a makeup on as well too? Just outta curiosity?

Oksana: Not really. No. I actually, I learned that afterwards when I started you know, to live separately.

Nasreen: Oh, okay.

Oksana: Not because she didn’t she didn’t let me do that. It just happened. No, it, it’s not because of that.

Words Of Wisdom

Oksana’s at the photo studio having a photo session where she is posed sitting casually on a wooden step wearing a dark dress with a floral pattern. In the background is an ornate floor lamp and black drapery.
Oksana’s at the photo studio having a photo session

Nasreen: Gotcha. Gotcha. Wow, Oksana, that’s awesome. Only if we all had parents as great as this. Any final words of wisdom as you wrap this up?

Oksana: I would like to give one advice to the audience, two advices. Okay, First, the first one is try to live your life conscious. And the second one, don’t you treat others the way you don’t want to be treated. Okay? I hope it makes. I hope I didn’t.

Nasreen: Yeah, no, it does.

Oksana: mix everything up. .

Nasreen: No, it does. You’re saying to live your life in the conscious and the present now. And you’re also saying to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself. And I think those are two remarkable statements that everybody should live by and should, should do because it only makes sense.

And that’s so true. Oksana, if we wanna connect with you, where can we find you?

Oksana: Well, mm. I have my Instagram well, and it is oxyland101, like o-x-y-l-a-n-d-1-0-1. and I also have my Facebook page. I am like Oksana, O-K-S-A-N-A. And my surname is quite complicated. But anyway, it is C-H-U-C-H-U-N-K-O-V-A, Chuchunkova. This is it. Welcome.

Nasreen: Wow. I’m glad you said your last name because that one is a little bit tough, [laughter]. So thank you for sharing that. I know the screen reader pronounce is it way different. Thanks for joining us on Women on the Move for this October Oksana. It’s been tons of fun and great knowing a little bit more about you.

Oksana: Thank you so much. [music]

Connecting With Oksana

Oksana’s Bio:

As a professional with a vision impairment, Oksana knows first-hand the issues a visually impaired professional faces to be fully included in the community and in the workplace. Among her many skills, she’s been invited to speak at several national and international conferences, forums and round tables about the issues related to PWDS employment and the issues related to accessibility and blindness awareness.

Image Descriptions:

  • The header photo is identical to the image used on the Beyond Sight Magazine cover, and YouTube thumnail. Oksana Chuchunkova is a pretty white woman with shoulder-length reddish/brown hair. During this photoshoot, Oksana is sitting on an ornate purple sofa with a crystal chandelierand sheer white curtains behind her. She’s wearing a blush-colored dress. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight Oct. 2022 | Women On The Move | Oksana Chuchunkova.”
  • Oksana is in the Main Botanical Garden, Moscow. The weather is sunny. Oksana wears sunglasses and has a big smile on her face. She is wearing a white, coral, and cream short sleeved top with white pants.
  • Oksana’s outside under a slightly overcast sky in the art space. Citizens visit this place not depending on the season. She’s wearing a black and whit polka dot dress and in the background are people milling acout and windows are decorated with white lights.
  • Oksana is at the Georgian restaurant. She’s smiling. We can see a food on the picture.
  • Oksana’s at the photo studio having a photo session where she is posed sitting casually on a wooden step wearing a dark dress with a floral pattern. In the background is an ornate floor lamp and black drapery.

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