Based out of London, the United Kingdom, Ekaterina Fields is a Russian-born British model, actress, investor, and philanthropist. Born in Moscow in 1972 as Ekaterina Parfenova, Ekaterina has always been talented. At the young age of six years old, Ekaterina was accepted into Moscow’s School No 72 in order to begin in-depth studies of the french language. At this point, she was beginning school a year earlier than her peers and she wasn’t showing any signs of stopping. Four years later and Ekaterina became part of the MosFilm group of child actors, which allowed her to begin auditioning for roles in various productions. This led her to being cast in the Soviet children’s film “Higher than Rainbow” in the leading female role of Dasha two years later, at the age of 12. Since it’s release, “Higher than Rainbow” has become a classic in Russia and is still showed to audiences to this very day, with as many as 50 million people in the Russian speaking world having seen it.
Four years later and Ekaterina was cast in her second leading role in a movie known as “Publication”. While her acting career kept her busy, that didn’t stop Ekaterina from attending the prestigious Burda Moden modeling school, which helped her enter several beauty pageants and inevitably become a finalist in the Miss Russia competition as well as taking second place in the Elite Model Look competition. The exposure Ekaterina received from these various pageants gained her an invitation to represent Russia in the Miss World University beauty pageant in Seoul, South Korea. During her time doing this she was also studying Cybernetics and System Analysis at the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute. In 1989, Ekaterina did the impossible – she became the first Russian Miss World. This allowed her to begin a career in television in Russia as well as a job at the Marilyn Gauthier modeling agency in Paris.
Around this time, Ekaterina Fields began to work for the Oman Oil Company as a Russian-English interpreter as well as the personal assistant of CEO John Deuss. Her time here allowed Ekaterina to be involved with the Caspian Pipeline project, which involved stretching a pipeline from Kazakhstan to the Black Sea, crossing Russia in the process. In 1997, Ekaterina chose to move to London and received a BA in Marketing and Finance from City University. Leaving Paris didn’t mean leaving modeling thought, as Ekaterina began working with NEVS modeling agency.
Since then, Ekaterina has had several roles in various television shows such as an episode of the BBC sitcom “Perfect World”. Ekaterina currently lives in London with her two wonderful children. Ekaterina is passionate about environmental sustainability as well as supporting various charities over the years and believes that helping others and kindness are vital in life.
Our Interview With Ekaterina Fields
Question: What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Ekaterina Fields: The most important thing to know about me is that there are three of me:
1) The me who is a a poetic child film star and Russian TV celebrity known to some 50 million people in the Russian speaking world.
2) A technically educated math, finance and marketing nerd/system analyst who loves Star Trek, spreadsheets and graphs, as well as investing in the energy sector.
And finally 3) A devoted and tender full-time mother to my son and daughter.
Question: Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.
Ekaterina Fields: Letting go is key. There is no point in spending time on something that can’t be achieved. Just accept it and move on with a light heart, if you can. Life is too short to lose precious time on illusions or to dwell on failures instead of learning and living on.
Question: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Ekaterina Fields: The first film I started in as a twelve year old girl in Russia, Higher than Rainbow, continues to bring light and purity to millions of viewers today, and supports people in their daily struggles as well as strengthening their faith in this world. It’s very gratifying to have been a part of that. I receive hundreds of letters of gratitude for my character in Higher than Rainbow, and they, in turn, support me.
Question: Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
Ekaterina Fields: I love my spreadsheets and mind maps.
Question:What is your favorite hobby and why?
Ekaterina Fields: Pilates for the body, and nature for the mind. I love long walks in any weather, trees, forests, parks – nothing makes me happier.
Question:What excites you the most about your industry right now?
Ekaterina Fields: In business, I am excited to be witnessing a shift towards fairness, whether toward minorities or toward women in the workplace, fairness towards people with disabilities and their inclusion in society with kindness and support, and fairness to the environment, with the new Environmental and Social Corporate governance regulations. I am a big proponent of being kind, fair, including, and environmentally conscious.
Question: What concerns you most about your industry right now?
Ekaterina Fields: As an investor in the energy sector, I am concerned how politics often distort the real truths, the coverage of those truths in the media, and ultimately the public’s ability to be informed and to support what’s right. One example: you hear about LNG as an alternative to cheaper pipeline gas, but nowhere will you read about the huge carbon footprint LNG leaves and how much its transportation damages our climate. If the public knew this, investments would ultimately support what’s good for our Earth, and is a good investment in the medium to long term.
And how much coverage did you see on hydrogen fuel? Not much. The powers who sell us oil and LNG are happy to continue to do so for as long as possible. And does the public know that plastics, too, are made from oil and gas and therefore promoted by the industry? The way they’re affecting the media ultimately puts short term gain before long term benefit, precluding investors and the public from making rightly informed choices.
In Philanthropy, this year most people’s incomes have been affected, and I see less funds being donated to charitable causes, yet the need remains, and this greatly concerns me. I have fought harder than ever this summer to fundraise for a life-saving treatment for a two year old boy with SMA in Russia. We won, we did it, but it was harder than ever. In hard times, people prioritize their own families’ needs.
Question: What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
Ekaterina Fields: October 1991, aged 18, I left my home country and traveled alone to Paris where I knew no one, albeit speaking French and with a $1000 in my pocket – a loan from my father. I left behind my home, my beloved mother, my friends, my entire world, and flew to Paris where I walked into Marylin Gauthier modeling agency and said: I am a Russian model, I just flew in from Moscow, and I have nowhere to stay. This was right after and because of an attempted coup d’etat in Russia. The fear of the iron curtain coming down drove me to do this, to change my life so abruptly, so completely and forever. I got accepted into the agency right there and then, and my career in the West had started. In a few weeks, I was working as a runway model, and as a PA for the CEO of OOC, an oil company that does business with Russia, and supporting my mother back home.
Question: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Ekaterina Fields: When meeting a new contact, I write down a note on where we met and what I thought was remarkable about that person, in addition to the industry and area of work. This helps find people in my contacts logs after we met, to reconnect and to be of mutual benefit.
Question: What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
Ekaterina Fields: Choosing the right path and being prepared is the beginning. You also need to relate to people in a positive way and make a difference, for them.
Question: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Ekaterina Fields: 1998 How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Question: Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Ekaterina Fields: I treasure my interactions with highly intelligent people. I take pleasure in learning new points of view, new logical connections. But common sense is what makes intelligence relevant. If you take common sense out of intelligence, you are left with logic alone, and that’s as useful as a saddle on a cow. It won’t get you anywhere. And plenty of people whom I treasure in my life, who have meant so much to me, never graduated from anywhere or written any theses, yet it is their kindness and their common sense that were a rock for me.
Question: What would you consider to be the perfect day?
Ekaterina Fields: Any day you are with your loved ones in a happy day. I wake up on a Sunday, my children run into my bedroom and climb under the covers with me. We hug and wake up and begin our day together. Usually we go to one of the parks, we take a picnic with us, and we just spend a loving time together amidst nature.