The Empress of Russia for almost 35 years, Catherine the Great was the country's longest-ruling female leader. An ambitious ruler, she rapidly expanded the Russian Empire and is credited with modernizing the country along Western European lines. She supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and the period of her rule—the Catherinian Era—is considered the Golden Age of Russia.
Irina Shayk became the first Russian model to appear on the cover page of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2011. Widely regarded as an industry icon, Irina Shayk is the face of many international brands. Also a well-known philanthropist in Russia, Irina raises money for a charity organization called Pomogi, which helps sick children.
Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Emperor Nicholas II, was the last Russian tsarina and reigned from 1894 to 1917. She suffered from hemophilia. Alexandra and her entire family were murdered by the Bolshevik revolutionaries. In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church canonized her as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer.
Evgenia Medvedeva is a Russian figure skater who has won two silver Olympic medals, two World Championship gold medals, and two European Championship gold medals. At the 2017 World Championships, Medvedeva became the first 16-year-old female skater after Michelle Kwan to win back-to-back world titles. Evgenia Medvedeva is also the first skater to achieve two Grand Slams in a row.
Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko belonged to the Red Army during World War II and is believed to have killed over 300 people. Also known as Lady Death, she was awarded the Order of Lenin and was made a Hero of the Soviet Union. She later became a Soviet Navy researcher.
Alina Zagitova is a Russian figure skater who has won one gold medal each in Olympic Games, World Figure Skating Championships, European Figure Skating Championships, and Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final; she is the only female figure skater from Russia to have achieved this feat. At the 2019 Glamour Russia Awards, Alina Zagitova was named Sportswoman of the Year.
Katerina Tikhonova is a Russian acrobatic dancer who finished fifth at a world championship event held in Switzerland in 2013. The daughter of Vladimir Putin, Tikhonova serves as director of the National Intellectual Reserve Centre (NIRC) and National Intellectual Development Foundation (NIDF), which are initiatives of Moscow State University.
Olga Korbut is a former gymnast who represented the Soviet Union in two Olympic Games, winning four gold medals and two silver medals. Nicknamed the Sparrow from Minsk, Korbut also participated in the 18th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships where she won two gold medals and four silver medals. In 1988, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Russian philosopher Helena Blavatsky, or Madame Blavatsky, was one of the co-founders of the Theosophical Society. She popularized the slogan “There is no religion higher than truth.” She was inspired by the Arya Samaj and later converted to Buddhism. She also wrote books such as The Secret Doctrine.
One of the first ballerinas to travel extensively around the world, Anna Pavlova had first gained an interest in the dance form after watching an adaptation of The Sleeping Beauty. She initially gained fame dancing with Mikhail Mordkin and later made waves with her iconic role in The Dying Swan.
Catherine I of Russia was the second wife and Empress consort of Peter the Great. She served as the Empress regnant of Russia from 1725 until her death in 1727. The daughter of a peasant, she had an adventurous life as a young woman and eventually married Peter the Great who was taken by her beauty. They had 12 children.
Maria Feodorovna was a Danish princess who married Emperor Alexander III and became Empress of Russia. She was the second daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse-Kassel. She grew up to be a beautiful and charming woman. She was married to Alexander Alexandrovich, the son of Emperor Alexander II and his first wife Maria Alexandrovna.
Sofia Kenin is an American tennis player who won her first Grand Slam title in 2020 when she defeated Garbiñe Muguruza in the Australian Open. By virtue of her Australian Open triumph, Sofia Kenin received the prestigious WTA Player of the Year award in the same year. She is renowned for her persistent determination and mental toughness.
Born in Moscow, Elena Rybakina initially played for Russia, but began representing Kazakhstan when she found herself at no. 175 in the global rankings. Now WTA no. 17, she is known for her powerful serve and her towering 6-foot frame. She also excelled in ice skating and gymnastics as a child.
Anna Netrebko is a Russian operatic singer who has performed at popular venues, such as The Royal Opera and Metropolitan Opera. She achieved international fame in 2002, when she played Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival. One of the most decorated operatic singers of her generation, Anna Netrebko was included in the Time 100 list in 2007.
Blue-eyed Russian child model Kristina Pimenova was already a star by age 10, having signed a deal with LA Models and worked for Armani and Benetton. Criticized for her “sexed-up” images on social media, she grew up to experiment with acting in films such as The Russian Bride.
Olesya Rulin is a Russian-American actress best known for acting in the High School Musical film franchise. Even though she was interested in the show business from a young age, she began her career as a nurse assistant. She eventually became an actress and found tremendous success with the release of the High School Musical films.
Anna Politkovskaya was a Russian writer, journalist, and human rights activist. She is best remembered for reporting the Second Chechen War. In spite of various acts of intimidation and violence, Politkovskaya never gave up reporting on the war. Her efforts and work earned her several international awards, such as the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award. Politkovskaya was murdered in 2006.
Yulia Lipnitskaya stunned her fans with the news of her retirement at the tender age of 19. Apparently, she had been struggling with injuries and anorexia. The Russian professional figure skater won an Olympic gold at 15, thus becoming the youngest Russian gold medalist in history.
Nina Kraviz is a Russian DJ, singer, and music producer. She studied dentistry and even practiced for some time while performing gigs as a side hustle. She then proceeded to study at the Red Bull Music Academy. She released her self-titled debut album in 2012 and then went on to launch her own record label.
Anne Vyalitsyna is a Russian-American model renowned for her consecutive appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue from 2005 to 2014. Apart from appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Vyalitsyna has also appeared on the covers of popular magazines, such as Glamour, Elle, and Vogue. She has also walked the runway for brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Prada.
Kristina Rihanoff is a Russian professional ballroom dancer, author, choreographer, and instructor. She achieved popularity after competing in the popular British television dance contest, Strictly Come Dancing. Also known for her philanthropic efforts, Kristina Rihanoff works closely with a children's charity named The Dot Com Foundation, which helps children handle challenging situations.
Alla Nazimova was a Russian-American actress who had an extensive career on Broadway. She acted in the classic plays of playwrights like Ibsen, Chekhov, and Turgenev. She eventually moved on to films and had an equally successful stint in cinema as well. She was openly bisexual and had sexual relationships with women while being married to a man.
Olga Khokhlova was a Ukrainian ballet dancer. She also served as one of Pablo Picasso's early artistic muses before marrying him in 1918. Olga met Picasso at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris where the latter had designed the set and costumes for a ballet titled Parade, in which Olga performed. She left her ballet group after meeting Pablo Picasso.
Anastasia Kvitko is a Russian model and entrepreneur. Often referred to as the Russian Kim Kardashian, Kvitko is best known for her curvaceous figure. Although she was initially rejected by several modeling agencies due to her voluptuous figure, Anastasia Kvitko went on establish herself as a glamour model.