Wo/Men Workshop founder and producer Alyonka Larionov tells SEEN about recovering from an eating disorder and how being alive motivates her each day.
By Stephanie Steinberg
Photography by Boswell Hardwick
Name: Alyonka Larionov
Job Title: Host, producer, storyteller, podcaster of “Tell Your Story,” founder of Wo/Men Workshops, speaker, writer
Alyonka Larinov spent 10 years in the TV and media industry as a host, broadcaster and producer, working for companies such as HBO, TSN, CBC, the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, MSG Networks, the NHL Network and most recently as a producer for VICELAND’s show “VICE World of Sports.” She now finds herself sourcing from the many conversations had with athletes, celebrities and people, in her work with Wo/Men Workshops — a guided and moderated group conversation where Women | Circle and Men | Gather to discuss what it means to be a modern human in today’s society. She’s also the host and producer of the “Tell Your Story” podcast and is launching her own YouTube channel called A.
1. What are you currently working on?
Growing my platform and company. Expanding to other U.S. cities and markets. Simulcasting the “Tell Your Story” podcast. Solidifying deals for corporate gigs, including professional sports teams. Launching the A YouTube Channel. Partnerships. Branding. Marketing.
2. What is your greatest accomplishment?
Stepping into Recovery for my eating disorder, which is an ongoing accomplishment — there’s no end to this — which in turn keeps me motivated. Figuring out how to fill my void from within instead of looking for outside validation and approval.
3. What is an obstacle you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
I’m still working on this but my biggest obstacle in life that has manifested itself in every aspect is my need to seek out validation from everyone around me. Awareness was step 1. Identifying its root source. Unpacking it. Understanding it. Forgiving myself. Practicing kindness. And allowing myself to slowly step into ME without looking left and right for everyone’s approval.
4. What motivates you each day?
This is a hard one because I’m Russian and my views of the world are quite cynical, and we thrive on things going wrong. We spend a lot of time trying to prevent that which might not happen. So, when I find myself in this cycle, I go back to my first couple months of recovery, when things like showering, walking, looking at my phone, writing, reading, etc. were nearly impossible and completely unbearable. Gratitude immediately steps in and slashes away the negativity. I’m alive. That’s what motivates me.
5. What’s the biggest issue facing women today?
I believe the biggest issue facing women today are other women. We like to publicly speak about supporting one another, but too often I’m seeing women compete with one another and to step back into gossip and cliques and jealousy and competition. It needs to stop if we want to get anywhere.
6. How can we address or resolve that issue?
We need to talk about it. No one’s talking about it. And then we need to work on ourselves and better understand from where this reactive is stemming. There’s much healing work to be done.
7. What advice do you have for other women?
Be the type of woman you’re looking to attract. Chances are you want women in your life who are going to be supportive, kind, giving, caring, gracious, open, genuine, vulnerable, strong, successful, intelligent, witty, etc. etc. If you’re not seeing them, it’s because you’re not being one. Start with you and the rest will follow.
8. What’s something others may not know about you?
I don’t get the chance to talk about the things I’m working on while in my workshops, but I hint that I’m working on intimacy. Intimacy is a big fear of mine. It probably doesn’t seem that way considering my business is more or less based on intimacy, but that’s my truth. I’m working on it. It doesn’t come easy.