ST. PETERSBURG: This 47 year-old woman was getting on her moped in front of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. She said she was offering rides around St. Petersburg on her bike for 500 rubles. A Vladivostok native, she first bicycled around St Pete for a few years to learn the city. Four years ago, she bought a moped after passing a new store that opened in her neighborhood. She said mopeds have become more popular in St Pete, including among women. For instance, she recalled seeing only one other women on a moped 3 years ago and now sees quite a few.
ST. PETERSBURG: Mystic, 18, was walking near St. Petersburg's main railway station, sporting bright blue hair and several facial piercings. Part Turkish, Mystic said his hair has been blue for six years as he likes 'cold colors.' ''I feel very comfortable in blue,'' he said. Mystic does body piercings in addition to working at a store. He said he sometimes works as a model as well. He will soon be moving to Moscow for work. He said he enjoys philosophy, astronomy and animation, saying ''animation is a part of who I am.''
ST. PETERSBURG: Polina and Adelina, 24, were walking around the center of St. Petersburg. The young women said they grew up in the steel town of Magnitogorsk and both live now in St Petes. However, they dont plan to stay. Polina will go to the Czech Republic to study and would like to stay there. Adelina plans to travel around Russia if not abroad. She said she wants to travel while she is young, saying she had previously lived in Sochi for half a year before moving to St. Petersburg. ''I simply live temporarily in places that I like,'' said Adelina. ''How my life will shape up, I don't know. But such a style of life suits me.''
St. Petersburg: Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg gets quite crowded during the white nights period as domestic and foreign tourists flood the city. It must be pretty difficult to walk a dog along Nevsky during the early evening in this period. That may be why Irina, 25, was carrying her dog. She said she worked as an image stylist for magazines.
St. Petersburg: As I jogged along a St. Petersburg street, a young Russian guy stuck out his hand as I passed to give me a high-five. He had a smile on his face. I was shocked. I don’t recall ever being randomly high-fived by someone on the streets in Russia. After 10 seconds, I decided to turn around and catch up with him. Mikhail, 23, said he grew up in Ulyanovsk, moved 7 years ago to study in Moscow, where he now works as a programmer. He came to St. Petersburg to take part in a marathon. Though he has liked running since youth, he gave himself the goal last year to complete a marathon. The longest he has run to date is 26 km, which he did a few years ago after breaking up with his girlfriend as a way to release tension.
ST. PETERSBURG: How do you scare away the average person from your salon? Call it 'Hairfucker.' That is what Novorosiisk-native and barber Kirill did. "We choоse our clients," he said, adding the Hairfucker street sign isnt very visible on purpose. Kirill said he became a barber because he was looking for a career that was 'interesting, easy and with a lot of women.' However, he said he was initially disappointed on all three accounts. Kirill opened 'No Name' barbershop in St. Petersburg in 2010 that was he described as a closed shop mainly for friends and acquaintances. In 2012, he co-opened Hairfucker with another stylist Maria. The name was suggested by a mutual friend years ago. About a third of Hairfucker clients now get their hair dyed, a growing trend in St. Petersburg that is no longer confined to the punk subculture, said co-owner Maria. Kirill, a 12-year barber veteran, is using social media more and more to show off his and his barber's work. Aside from using Instagram actively, he is filming a 'reality show' for his youtube page that will follow two head-shaven female clients over two years as their hair grows back.
St. Petersburg: Valeria was rolling down Nevsky on her foot scooter, a white bow in her hair. She said she moved July 7, 2014 to St. Petersburg from Kharkov, Ukraine due to the economic difficulties back home. She chose St. Petersburg as a friend from Kharkov region was here. Valeria, who has a 'V V' tattoo on the back of her legs to signify her name Valeria Valerovna, said she was able to find a job as an administrator at a hair salon within two days of arriving in St. Petersburg. ''St. Petersburg has been good to me,'' she said. As for the foot scooter, Valeria had wanted one for a half-year and finally bought one in June. She said foot scooters weren't popular in Kharkov.
St. Petersburg: Zhanna and Yana, 21, taught me the Russian word for 'hair bangs': челка. These twins from the town of Oryol were walking down Nevsky dressed in the same dog-print shirt, rayban sunglasses and New Balance sneakers. Dressing alike is 'their thing' and one of them described themselves as 'one whole.' The twins both study chemistry and plan to work in their profession. I asked how they chose that subject. Their mom teaches chemistry at school.
St. Petersburg: University students Anna and Anastasia, 20, were walking along Nevsky on a sunny afternoon when I noticed Anastasia's large summer hat. Such hats are in fashion this year and are more noticeable on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg . The two girls are studying PR in St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg: Maria, 22, was wearing a purple dress that matched her purple dreads. A hair dresser by education with excellent English, she travels from time to time to Finland and Germany to play hard core on the streets. She takes her guitar, an amplifier and about 100 euros. She uses couch surfing to stay at homes for free. If she doesn’t party much, she returns to St. Pete with 200 euros. She makes on average about 40-50 euro a day. Maria said she was leaving soon for Europe for a month to play. She contacted one of her favorite groups - Stockholm-based dEMOTIONAL - to ask if she could party with them while she is in town. Maria said her 28 year-old sister, who likes to dress in various ethnic clothing, is even more adventurous, doing extreme sports like paragliding & working as a mountain guide from time to time in South America.