Maria Borissova, also known as @mimushkin on Instagram, is a wildly inspiring woman who offers a portal into the art of vaping. The PR Manager of Vape Jam UK, the leading vape expo in the UK, Maria shares about her journey into vaping, and her resulting personal evolution.
THE SWITCH: You have shared with your followers that you were a heavy ex-smoker. How did you discover vaping, what enticed you to try it, and what benefits have you personally experienced from making the switch?
M: After continuously failing to quit with gum, patches and then cold turkey, my boyfriend and I decided to give electronic cigarettes a try. We started with simple disposables, moved on to starter kits and shortly after got each other mechanical mods and regulated boxes.
The benefits from switching were almost immediate. As you can see from my Instagram, I am a foodie and adore preparing food; my taste buds work better than ever, and I can smell and taste the faintest of smells and flavors now. I always enjoyed exercising and going to the gym, but previously some basic exercises would leave me gasping for air. Now that I vape I have strength and energy throughout and even when I’m done with my workouts. My general well-being has improved, as has my skin, my stress levels… I generally feel happier and healthier.
THE ART OF VAPING: It’s clear from your Instagram, a beautifully-curated tribute to the art of vaping, that vaping is more than just a hobby for you. Can you share how/why vaping has become such an integral pART of your lifestyle?
M: Vaping saved my life… after smoking half a pack to a pack a day for 6+ years I believe that this industry gave me a second chance. Unfortunately, like many other young industries this one is often misunderstood, and as a vaper I feel responsible to show the “good” side of vaping, the side which saves lives by helping people quit, the side that has an extremely supportive community that is ready to help both those who want to quit smoking and fellow vapers, too.
My posts are rarely planned, I just take photos of my surroundings or whatever it is that I’m doing at the moment but with elements of vaping (cause I always have a number of devices and liquids on me), however I do like to focus on the actual liquid or device as the main subject of the composition.
GIRLS WHO DRIP: The vape industry has been accused of “toxic masculinity,” to which your Instagram is such a welcome antidote. How do you feel about this and how have you created space for your unique voice, respected by thousands of men and women alike?
M: I can’t accuse the industry of ‘toxic masculinity’ as I personally know many great women with integral roles in the vape community. Of course there’s an occasional ad or post which takes it a little too far but this can be attributed to the young nature of vaping, and a lack of pre-existing advertising and marketing techniques for this unique product category. Most industries use or have used the “sex sells” tactic, even those we least expect it from.
Of course we need to take articles like the one you mentioned as constructive criticism and work on improving the whole image that we project onto smokers and non-vapers alike. However, articles like these also bully us as a community; the small fraction of examples used are simply not enough to call this industry ‘toxically masculine.’ There is no denial that there’s space for improvement, but this improvement shouldn’t be minimized to nudity alone… we also need to focus on sensible regulation to make this industry safer, we need better manufacturing standards and transparency in order to legitimize this industry in the face of possible prohibition.
M: The fact that the industry is becoming more accountable and transparent, that a lot of e-liquid is mixed in professional and sterile environments, that batches are tested in certified labs. The gear that is manufactured is more reliable and easier to use, thus encouraging more smokers to convert.
TRAILBLAZER: How did you come to be the PR Manager of Vape Jam UK? Tell us about your original vision for the event and your vision for the next one in April, after a very successful first show!
M: I have a degree in PR and previous experience in lifestyle and fashion PR… the owner of the event happened to be a friend who needed a person for the position, I already vaped and had a good understanding of the industry so long story short, that’s how I started working with VJUK. The original vision was to create a vape trade show which caters to both the manufacturer and the consumer, before us there were good shows for either trade or consumer but nothing combined. The visions for April are bigger and bolder, we have a new venue and some really exciting surprises coming up, none of which I can disclose just yet.
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The Inspiration Series:
- Inspiration Series, Part I – MARIA
- Inspiration Series, Part II – WORLDWIDE VAPERS
- Inspiration Series, Part III – RELIK TRIBE
- Inspiration Series, Part IV – BMI ROSE
- Inspiration Series, Part V – DREW
- Inspiration Series, Part VI – AARON BIEBERT
- Inspiration Series, Part VII – AMY JEANETTE
- Inspiration Series, Part VIII – DANIEL WALSH
- Inspiration Series, Part IX – SABRINA
- Inspiration Series Continued HERE