The journey from television broadcasting to the frontiers of digital finance is not a common one. But this is the path that Leila Ismailova, an accomplished television personality from Belarus, chose to take when she felt that she had reached a “professional ceiling” in her broadcasting career.
From her audacious childhood beginnings of sneaking her handwritten stories into newspaper offices, to hosting a television show for young viewers at a remarkably young age of 15, Ismailova’s career has certainly been unconventional. However, she was not content to rest on her laurels; seeking new challenges, she journeyed to the United States in 2016, marking the beginning of a “season of migration” for her family.
Her brothers, tech entrepreneur Bahram and acclaimed author Esmira, too, followed her to the US, leaving behind the harsh realities of their home country that was wrought with war and strife. An experience that deeply affected Ismailova and inspired her launch an initiative for mentoring orphans during her broadcasting career, an endeavour she looks forward to reviving in her new home.
Today, Ismailova is a trailblazer in Web3 – the third, decentralised generation of the internet. Her novel foray into the digital world started with Artisant, a digital fashion brand she co-founded. Intrigued by the idea of something intangible providing real emotional fulfilment, she leveraged her background in journalism to contribute to the development of the brand. Despite its lack of a physical product, Ismailova believed in Artisant’s potential to reshape the fashion industry through technology.
In an intriguing twist, she decided to leave Artisant last year and transition into consulting for digital-savvy fashion brands. Ismailova brings a unique perspective and vision to the table: she seeks to harness the power of digital fashion to address the issues of overproduction and overconsumption plaguing society. She sees potential in technologies such as Near-Field Communication (NFC), as seen in Dior’s B33 sneakers, as a means to curtail counterfeit products.
Ismailova’s transition from television to crypto is rife with divergences, which might raise some eyebrows. However, it is arguably these unconventional paths that lead to the most breakthroughs. Whether or not her dream of transforming the fashion industry through digital technology materialises, it cannot be denied that she’s challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. In a world dominated by digitalisation, her journey might just inspire a new wave of innovators.