Behind closed doors: Galina Achkasova-Portianoi

Behind closed doors: Galina Achkasova-Portianoi

Professionally I wanted to be like my much adored late father, so I studied Banking, International Finance & Economic Affaires, but ended up following in the footsteps of my beloved mother, who was a journalist. I started a website called The Curiosity Gap shortly after my son was born, where I continue writing on a variety of subjects, providing practical and hopefully intriguing content for women of any age.


"My main aim is to spotlight people, brands and products that don’t necessarily get the media spotlight."


My main aim is to spotlight people, brands and products that don’t necessarily get the media spotlight, when they have every right, much talent & pioneering spirit to proudly stand in it and share their stories. I believe that honest dialogue on a variety of topics relevant to us all is truly what we need, rather than filtered reality of social media and sponsored content of glossy publications where we see same celebrities and brands. 


What is your life philosophy? 

Be true to yourself, be grateful & be kind - to yourself and to others. Also remember not to take anything in life for granted - it can all disappear in an instant. 


How did you get into journalism?

My mother was a journalist, who worked in newspapers and on radio, but I went into journalism after a life changing personal event, when I was somewhat lost. Looking back I wish I got into it earlier and followed the advice of legendary war journalist Janine di Giovanni to cover conflicts around the world, being the eyes and conscience for the people around the world. Having said that, I try to make a difference in those areas that I am passionate about - beauty & wellbeing, while helping women not to lose head and heart in our increasingly superficial world.


What does a day in your life look like? 

All I can say that my daily life is somewhat unpredictable, as it depends on the demands of my family ( I have two children of school age) and opportunities to meet with interesting people in order to write insightful content for my website and social media. But I think "daily sprint" aptly describes my modus operandi.


What's always a criteria in choosing a brand as a consumer?

That's a great, but complex question. In a nutshell I prefer niche brands that lead, rather than follow. When it comes to selection and sourcing of ingredients, treating their staff with respect and engaging with consumers in an honest, open dialogue. If the brand has ‘two faces’, I simply walk away and stop supporting them - after two decades of writing about beauty I have a fine-tuned ‘bullshit radar’ and won’t stand for duality or misleading consumers, when it comes to what the brand is and isn't.



Favorite Book

I am a voracious reader, so if I were to list my favourite books, it would be one very long essay. I would say "Thais of Athens" by Ivan Efremov, "White Guard" by Mikhail Bulgakov and any of the Astrid Lindgren books that I read in my childhood and re-read from time to time even now. I am also riveted by the writing of Kim Philby’s granddaughter Charlotte Philby.


Favorite Artist

Amedeo Modigliani



Favorite Store

A book store where I can lose time, browsing and reading. I used to loved Content Beauty/Wellbeing physical store in London, where I got to know many brand founders and had riveting conversations with the team. Sadly it has recently closed down. I also adore Merci in Paris.


Favorite Skincare Line

Impossible to answer, as my bathroom shelves and skin would testify. But this year I have been very impressed the products formulated by the founders of RUA Beauty, Bluh Alchemy & Fifty 7 Kind. Each of their creations makes a visible difference to my skin within days.


Favorite Restaurant

Too many to name, as I am a real foodie, but if you twist my arm, I would say L’Ami Louis in Paris. It always provides the most memorable meals, conversations & impeccable level of service. 


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