Feels like a natural woman.
Author / Alina Berdi
She’s the warm-hearted giver that restores animal life, or preserves her own while trekking through Iceland alone. Humble to a tee, generous and gorgeous ’til it hurts, her friends describe her as possessing "beautiful feminine energy and a big heart”, while we are in love with her caring and yet quietly strong european nature. Meet the gorgeous Katya - animal rescuer, venturer to the unknown and now, a stunning Stonewoman to light up your screens.
// A few years back, you trekked through Iceland - what inspired this intrepid journey?
It was an interesting time in my life, with a lot going on. I needed a break and have time on my own - and the only space for that was to be alone in nature. Iceland is quite remote, with lots of unknown places. I decided to walk across as there is literally nothing in the middle of the country. By nothing I mean no roads, shops or people. So I could practice meditation everyday, go deep into my fears and let everything go.
// The conditions are pretty austere - how did you manage?
It was very hard physically. And very cold. I spent 70 days in Iceland walking on my own for about 50 days with backpack, sleeping in a caves and glaciers (20 days I've spent on a remote farm with 140 horses). I was "showering" in rivers and hot springs (which are probably the best moments of my life). Before that, I have never even pitched a tent. As my partner says, the Unknown is my superpower. I’m very grateful that I survived…
// Why do you love working with animals? How did you get into it?
I went to NYC when I was 13 to do modelling, but I was never attracted to parties or any kind of night life. I don't know why, it's just the way I am, so I was always more interested being in the forest, mountains or with. I just feel so much better spending time with nature than going out. I love to take care of things so it's very rewarding. Even growing up in a city, I have been with animals all my life and have done lots of volunteering on farms around the world.
Now, I’m super lucky to come to Australia and become a part of Wires (Wildlife Information and Rescue Service). These people have such a big heart and put so much love without any expectations.
// What touches you most about working with Wires?
Seeing dead wallabies (or any other animal) on the road makes me very sad. There is always a big chance that there’s a joey inside the pouch. It's a blessing to see how they grow up in your hands and then you let them go back to nature in a couple months, knowing you saved one more life.
// Apart from animal rescue, what else are you into?
I also do horsemanship at "The Herd". Literally learning how to speak horse language. Horses can show you all your weakness and strong sides within yourself. I'm so lucky to attract the right people in my life who grant me these opportunities.
// Apart from incredible life-granting and survival skills, any other secret talents?
I love to cook! I wish I would put more effort to create my own recipe book :) My friends know if they want some homemade organic food - my doors are always open. I just LOVE to give and make people happy. I’ve also completed my yoga teacher training, but not interested in teaching at all - rather, just enjoying my own practice. Finally, I love the camera, so I enjoy having photoshoots, dancing around, have fun and then calling it my job. What else? A while ago I been a foley artist and would love to go back into it one day.
// How did the Stonemen shoot come about?
We actually met in a food store! It’s funny, as I was wearing my pyjamas and next moment, they invited me to do a shoot. I didn't know what to expect until I met Lenny and Marc. I felt really good around them and love what they’re about. I am so in love with quality of their Stonemen products!
What's a typical weekend for you?
I always wake up early so I can go for a swim before my partner wakes up and make some breakfast for us. Usually, I am with horses on the weekends, then maybe dinner with friends and fire on a beach, playing some guitar. There are always some animals to rescue during the day, but if I'm free, we might drive somewhere to the local waterfalls or just spend all day on a beach.
// Where do you live and why do you love it?
I live in Byron Bay at the moment. I have been traveling a lot, but was never sure where I would love to live. Byron feels really nice, it's easy to be yourself here, and no need to pretend. People do what they love. To sleep with the ocean lapping away, however, is my favourite part of living here.
// Where in Russia are you from? What is it like?
I am from Moscow. It's just a city, very busy and so I don't really like the energy there. But I do love to come back to see friends and family. The nature there feels like home for the soul though. It's very special when you going out of city! I left when I was 13 when I had modelling contract in NYC since then I can't stop traveling…
// Any travel plans in the next year?
I am going back to Russia in July to see my parents and then to magical Georgia. I hope my boyfriend will come to see me and we get 2 horses for a week or so to explore around!
Also, it looks like I'll go live with a tribe in Papua New Guinea for 3 weeks to learn about their culture and share my knowledge about herbal medicine. I have no expectations… but I actually can't wait for it.
I never really plan ahead but I love having a place that I call home where I feel safe, can always come back to and it is Byron at the moment.
Where else is pulling you to explore? I can't stay in one place for more than 3-4 months, so I'm planning to go to South America in the end of the year. I love everything about that part of the world. Peru and Costa Rica are probably going to be the places to stay. I want to attend Wild Cat Conservation there and do big research. It's exiting ♥️
// What else would surprise us about you?
I have never tried any alcohol.