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Mariana Rudyk says taking every opportunity gives her the best life experiences

Mariana Rudyk with some of her designs.

Art, fashion, and humanitarian work are all passions of Mariana Rudyk, a junior from Ukraine majoring in communications. She said she chooses not to limit herself to only one passion. Instead, she said she has spent her life exploring different parts of her personality and engaging in all her different passions.

Some of her biggest passions, Rudyk said, are fashion and art. “I’m just starting to do art, so I like to paint. Recently I started to paint on my furniture, and I want to start painting clothes. I want to be a stylist. I feel like, for me, it’s a combination of fashion and art, as well as photography. Those things depend on each other.

Rather than focus on one type of art, she said, “I just follow my inner-artistic drive. I get an idea and I think, ‘Oh, that would be cool to do.’ I don’t plan. I was just staring at my lamp thinking, ‘Oh, it looks so boring. I want to make it more interesting.’ Then I looked at my mirror and thought, ‘That looks boring as well. I just want to paint it.’”

Her fun personality is one of the reasons Lexi Jimenez, a junior from California majoring in psychology, said she admires Rudyk. Jimenez has known Rudyk for two years. She explained, “I first met Mariana when I interviewed her for a job she was applying for on my team. I loved her right away and hired her on the spot. Qualities of hers I admire is that she can light up a room. She is so creative, fun, helpful, and is crazy supportive.”

Rudyk’s affinity for all types of art comes from being surrounded by it growing up. “My parents sent me to art school. That school was really nice. Everywhere we were surrounded by art. We had really nice paintings hanging on the walls. We had pianos in the hallway. We were taken to concerts.

“We also studied art history. I’m a big fan of art history as well. From my childhood, I was always surrounded by it, even in my house. My mother is a big fan of art ... We have a lot of big paintings everywhere.”

As the only Ukrainian at BYU–Hawaii, Rudyk said she struggled to fit in at first. “At first, I felt like I didn’t fit into society, but then I found a way to embrace my uniqueness. Accepting, ‘Yes, I’m different. My mentality is different. My country is different. And it’s okay. I don’t have to [change] myself to be like other people who study here. I am myself, I love the way I was raised and everything that’s important to me.’

“I feel like after I started to accept myself the way I am, I became more open with people. I started to let more people come into my life.”

This unique mentality is what helped her decide to pursue her different passions, she said. “I want to do many things. On one side of my personality, I want to do fashion and art. On the other side, I want to do more charity work and things like going to Africa and helping people there. I worked for the United Nations agenda helping refugees. I feel like there is a way to combine art, fashion, charity work, and humanitarian help.

“At this point, I am confused with what I want to do because I feel like I want to do so many things. My personality has so many different sides I can’t actually accomplish all of that. At this point, it’s just hard. Life gives us opportunities and chances, and we just have to go with them and do our best to get the best experience we can and have the best influence on society and the world.”

If someone isn’t sure which passion they should pursue, she advised, “I would say do both. I feel like humans have a great potential that hasn’t been yet discovered, so it’s up to you to discover your potential. We have such a short time on earth, and it’s crucial for us to live in every moment and make the best of it. If you don’t know exactly what you want to do, do both, and you will find a way to work it out.”

She said after she graduates, “I would love to work for a fashion magazine, but not like Cosmopolitan, or even Vogue. For me, those are too stereotypical. There are different magazines like IDEA magazine or Esquire. They focus on fashion and art, but more on the contemporary side of it. Things that are experimental, that represent you. I really like that because I feel like as a person, I get bored with things easily.

“I am naturally more intent to experiment and try something new. That’s why I want to go into a media field that also experiments with contemporary art. I feel like it’s important to have an idea of the standard canons of beauty, fashion, and art. Using those canons, you can create something new, and that’s what you experiment.”

These canons, Rudyk explained, are something you would learn in an introductory art class. They are, “Basic knowledge of color combination, structural or perspective dynamic, among others … It’s crucial to know the basics, so you can apply them in your own creative way.”

Rudyk originally came to BYUH as a political science major, but said she realized the true power to influence society comes from the media. “I want to influence society, but I want to direct them in the direction of kindness, mercy, empathy, helping and loving one another.

“I feel politics in itself is a lot of trickiness and lies. With media, you can direct people to do the right things. I know doing right is very broad, but to me, right is to be helpful and loving and forgiving and actually caring - not just pretending you care.”

Writer: Haeley van der Werf