Route London New York: Meet Ilona Selina

‘The person I connect with is a fellow traveler’

Ilona Selina is a senior at NYU majoring in MCC. She really is the global student — Ukrainian by blood and raised in Vienna, she lived in London for a year and is now currently in New York.

She founded Route London New York in June 2013 as a travel diary, but also as a creative outlet for her ideas, inspirations and personal style. Her mission is to share a piece of her pie and to encourage readers to join her on a journey of jet setting and great discoveries.

How are you?

I’m fine thank you, how are you?

Great. What are you studying and how long have you been at NYU?

I’m a senior at NYU and I have been here three and a half years. I’m majoring in MCC with a sort of focus on social media advertising, and I’m minoring in psych and studio art. I’ve always been a creative person and I try and connect that with my business side. I like to paint and the MCC major guides that, and the psychology minor is just a personal interest.  

And you’re juggling three jobs?

Yeah, they are three freelance jobs. I’m working at a commerce startup called Porte Mode, where I’m in charge of the social media, PR and the advertising. But I’m the only employee, so I do a little of everything. My second job is the blog and the third is freelance tech consulting.

How do you fit that in?

I kind of just do. It’s not easy. You obviously have a lot less free time!

How did you start Route London New York?

I actually had a blog when I was in middle school. It was very amateur and not well made. It was a sort of outlet for my thoughts and personal style, and mostly my friends read it. I stopped it because I didn’t like where it was going. And then when I moved to London for my freshmen year I felt like I was missing something aside from my studying, my work and my painting, so I started the blog and that’s why it has this name — since it began between these two places. Plus, the route between London and New York is one of the busiest intercontinental routes, which I thought reflected my lifestyle.

Where is home for you then?

Home is Vienna, where my family is and where I grew up.

Is that your favorite place to be?

I love home and I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere in the world, but I really love Europe as a whole. Munich is definitely one of my favorite places.

So moving onto your blog. Your HM x Balmain exclusive was amazing — how did that happen?

I got an invitation through my blog. I went with a friend who is in the industry to view the collection. It was a surreal experience. After that there was a pop up store, so we shopped the collection and then I did the post.

Today there are so many bloggers out there so it can be tough to get noticed. Even if you have something special, you can still be hidden by all the other blogs. My strategy is not to wait for others to reach out — I tend to reach out and you’d be surprised by how many people want to help you out. So I do get reached out to, but I also do the reaching out myself.

What advice would you give to any aspiring bloggers?

A lot are lost from the start, and the most important thing is to initially create a brand for yourself and really know who you are and what you’re trying to represent, and be consistent. It’s really hard, but it’s important to find your niche. You have to start small and then kind of branch out. My blog is very travel oriented so I like to share a lot of things to do with that — where to go, restaurant guides, where to stay. I’ve found a lot of engagement comes through this. The person I connect with is a fellow traveler.

Do you interact with your readers?

I get a lot of comments, asking for food recommendations and about what I’m wearing. I try to reply to every appropriate comment possible. I haven’t had any problem with cyberbullying.

How long does each Instagram photo take to curate?

Well it really depends, it depends on what kind of post. If I’m creating completely new content, for example the Balmain shoot, I had to get the clothes, edit the pictures and write the post. That took a couple of days. But a report on runway show or trend report, that can just be a couple of hours. Instagram just takes a few minutes.

How do you balance work/student life?

I kind of just do. We all have those days where we wake up and just don’t want to do anything. I get those a lot!  I got into the habit of doing what I want to do on those days and not feeling guilty, so I know the next day that I have to push myself. I work well under pressure so maybe that’s how I get it done. I try not to beat myself up about it.

The blog:


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