Features

Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 8 – YASSIA

This summer, we are running a series of feature articles that is slightly different to the norm. We think this is the perfect time for you (and us!) to find out more about the ESCXTRA team! Twice a week we’ll meet two of our team members. What is our personal Eurovision story? Why did we want to be a part of this website? What are our favourite Eurovision songs of all-time? How can you get in touch with us on social media? Read on to find out!

Yassia Naumenko

My full name is Yaroslava, but my family and friends always call me Yassia. It is my short name. I always prefer Yassia, as it sounds less official and easier to remember;) I’m almost 26 years old. I was born in a beautiful city called Chernigov. It lays in north of Ukraine, 2h drive from Kiev. My mother is Ukrainian and my father is Belarusian. However, I actually feel more Ukrainian than Belarusian, because I’ve spent my childhood in Ukraine. My family moved to Belarus when I was 6 years old, so I went to school and university in Minsk already. Right after I’ve finished the university, I moved to Madrid to do a Master of International Relations there and to live with my boyfriend, with whom I got married last September. I love Eurovision, traveling, and I speak 7 foreign languages, although 3 of them are native for me.

My family moved to Belarus when I was 6 years old, so I went to school and university in Minsk already. Right after I’ve finished the university, I moved to Madrid to do a Master of International Relations there and to live with my boyfriend, with whom I got married last September. I love Eurovision, traveling, and I speak 7 foreign languages, although 3 of them are native for me.

You are always welcome to follow me on Instagram: yaroslava2791

Your first Eurovision memory?

The performance of a Russian band t.A.T.u. of a song “Ne ver’, ne boysia” at Eurovision 2003 in Riga (Latvia). The girls ended up on a 3rd place. And I was 12 years old at that time. It was actually the first time I watched Eurovision.

Your Eurovision journey?

As a matter of fact, my Eurovision journey started in 2003, but I definitely became a real fan of the contest in 2004 thanks to Ruslana and her “Wild dances.” I got truly impressed by her song and performance on stage. As for me, it was something fascinating, very original and so catchy! I still consider her my top Eurovision winner. Probably, it’s cause she made me fall in love with Eurovision. From that time, I haven’t missed any single final/semifinal.

Why is Eurovision special to you?

The best thing about Eurovision is that it’s an international contest that brings people from different countries together and unites them by means of music. It’s a very noble purpose, don’t you think so? In my case, it lets me get to know the artists, who I would probably never discover by myself. Plus it always enriches my playlist. No matter that many people think that it’s political, I still believe that the winner is always the best of the best.

What attracted you to escXtra?

I joined escXtra in June 2015, but I was following this page since JESC 2010, which took place in Minsk, where I met two members of EscXtra Team. I happened when I was working as a volunteer  for BTRC. Luke and Liam came to cover JESC on behalf of escXtra. We are still friends with them. I really loved the web-site, even when I was not it’s member. I think that opinion pieces/editorials, features and live stream is what stands it out from other Eurovision-related web-sites, as well as it’s gorgeous talented team!

And finally your top 5 Eurovision songs of all time?

5. Believe (Russia 2008) – Dima Bilan

I think that this song is very emotional and the performance of Dima was very strong. I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of Evgeni Plushenko too.

4. Euphoria (Sweden 2012) – Loreen

Certainly, Loreen’s song and performance was quite something, as it was so fresh and modern. I will always remember it.

3. Heroes (Sweden 2015) – Måns Zelmerlöw

Måns was a clear winner for me back in 2015. His song was very catchy and the performance was clearly outstanding.

2. Fairytale (Norway 2009) – Alexander Rybak

In my view, it’s impossible to me more charming than Alexander. The cutest entry ever! His song got stuck in my mind and has never left it.

1. Wild dances (Ukraine 2004) – Ruslana

As I have already told you above, I think Ruslana will always be my #1, as thanks to her participation and winning in 2004 I started to be a fan of Eurovision and watch it every single year!

Stay tuned for the next part in our Meet the ESCXTRA team series. On Sunday we will meet Dan! Remember you can share your Eurovision stories with us in the comments section below or via the comments sections on our Facebook page @ESCXTRA. We would love to hear them!

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