Vironika Tugaleva is an award-winning author, poet, spoken word artist, life coach, nomad, vocalist, and seeker of beauty in all its forms. She loves getting lost, looking at the stars, dancing, and eating pickles (sometimes, all at once).
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 immigrant 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. 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 sold her things to travel and began to write her second book, which she intended to be a traditional self-help book about loving self-talk. However, she soon 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 reached #1 on Amazon’s bestseller charts in numerous categories, including 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.
Soon, Vironika began sharing her poetry, something she had been writing since childhood, and began performing spoken word. She has since featured at dozens of events around the world performing poems about emotional healing, mental health, trauma, self-love, relationships, and the experience of being a woman in modern-day society. Vironika will soon be releasing a spoken word album, A Bursting Into Love Story. Her first single, Inconvenient Emotions, is now available on SoundCloud and BandCamp.
Vironika has also been a featured visual artist at the Toronto Visionary Arts Collective. She had a solo show of paintings, collages, and drawings in the summer of 2019 in Gallery 1017 in Toronto. The themes of her visual art include balance, female sexuality, healing, and the universe.