6 Questions for Leila Ismailova

Leila Ismailova began her professional career at the age of 15 as a broadcasting star in Belarus, the Russian-neighboring Eastern European country that plays home to 9.3 million citizens. She continued in the role for 10 years, she says, before reaching what she felt was a “professional ceiling” and beginning a journey that led to Web3.

“I remember ​my audacity as a child, just sneaking into the buildings with ​newspapers and magazines — it was called the House of Press,” Ismailova recalls in an interview with Cointelegraph. “I would handwrite my stories and sneak into the building — because I didn’t have a pass — by making up stories that I was someone’s granddaughter, or by just going in when someone else entered. And I would find the doors that said ‘editor’ or ‘editor-in-chief,’ and I would just walk in and give them my articles. People smiled, and I’m sure they felt I was naive, but I felt they also had some respect for me doing this work.”

Her renegade news career led to television in a matter of years. She joined the country’s First National ​Channel at the age of 15, where she started on a show that covered news and culture for younger viewers.

“My first ​audition went horribly,” Ismailova says. “I turned purple. I was thinking really fast, but they still wanted me to come for the second round.”

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Ismailova moved to the United States in 2016, setting off what she calls a “season of migration” for her family, including her brother, Bahram, and sister, Esmira. Bahram is a serial tech entrepreneur whose inventions include Peech App and Yope, among many others, while Esmira is an author whose published works include On the Shores of Bosphorus. (You won’t find it in English yet, so don’t spend too much time scouring Amazon.)

Leila Ismailova hosting the International Music Festival Slavic Bazaar in Vitebsk, Belarus, 2014. Source:…


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