Vironika Tugaleva (Viro Nika) is an award-winning author, poet, spoken word artist, life coach, wanderer, visual artist, and seeker of beauty in all its forms.
Vironika was born in Donetsk, Ukraine in 1988. Her family moved to Toronto when she was 8 years old. Her early years as a misfit began her painful struggle with mental health. As she struggled with self-acceptance, anxiety, and identity, Vironika found solace in words and music. She began writing lyrics and poetry in an attempt to express the tornado of emotions within her. She also began dabbling in various kinds of activism, trying to understand what was wrong with the society she couldn’t seem to fit into.
In her early twenties, Vironika’s suffering reached a pinnacle. In a haze of insomnia, drug use, and adrenal exhaustion, she became delusional and suicidal. This was her rock bottom. Instead of leading her into an early grave, this experience launched Vironika into what she later called a “spiritual awakening.” She began to question her thoughts, heal her past, and build a more loving relationship with herself. These experiences formed the basis of her first book, The Love Mindset, which won the Readers’ Favorite silver medal for Best Self-Help book of 2013.
Driven by an urge to spread light in the world, Vironika began to do life coaching, speaking, and writing in the personal growth field. She spoke about the importance of self-love, self-care, and authenticity. In self-help, Vironika thought she’d found the perfect line of work.
Shortly after releasing her first book, Vironika began to write her second, which she intended to be a traditional self-help book about loving self-talk. But throughout the next few years, she began to see her work in a harsh, new light. She realized how often self-help perpetuated people’s suffering by selling them on quick fixes and “magical” solutions. She became aware of how many people were losing self-respect while trying to follow expert advice on how to build self-respect.
In these painful realizations, Vironika saw an opportunity for activism. She decided that her next release would not be a 10-step manual about self-talk. Instead, it would be a book that challenged the current practices in self-help and encouraged the people who were victims of those practices to trust themselves, build self-awareness, and discover their own answers (instead of always seeking expert advice). The Art of Talking to Yourself launched in June of 2017. Since then, it has topped Amazon’s bestseller charts in Consciousness and Thought, Self-Help, and Personal Growth. The Tao Te Ching, one of Vironika’s favourite books, suggests: “Do your work and then step back.” Inspired by this idea, Vironika announced that The Art of Talking to Yourself would be her last self-help book.
Vironika has since shifted her focus from inspiration to honesty (something she thinks will be more inspiring in the long run). She started to see herself as an artist. She started doing spoken word. She started doing visual art. She started publicly sharing her poetry.
Vironika has been slowly releasing her spoken word album, Bursting Into Art. Her first single, Inconvenient Emotions, has captured audiences across Toronto and is now available on SoundCloud and BandCamp. She is also working on a rap album, due to release in late 2020.
Her first poetry book, The Shades of Missing You, is due to release in late 2019. It chronicles the journey of healing the loss of her first lover twelve years after the end of their relationship.
In early 2019, Vironika began creating visual art under the pseudonym Qildfyre. Since then, she’s been a featured artist at the Toronto Visionary Arts Collective. She has her first exhibition scheduled for late June at Gallery 1017 in Toronto. The themes of her visual art include balance, female sexuality, healing, and the universe.
After selling her things to travel in 2014, Vironika became a digital nomad. Currently, she’s spending more and more time in Toronto, where she lived before she took off travelling. The arts community in the city captured her heart and gave her the opportunity to discover new creative avenues. Still, Toronto isn’t her home. Her home is art. Her home is honesty. Her home is inside the creative process. And the door is always wide open for anyone who wants to feel its warmth.