“Never doubt anything you want….” Producer of D-Queens, Andrei Markeev
“Never doubt anything you want….” |Creator, Artistic Director, and Producer of D-Queens, Andrei Markeev discusses the secret to success with Marco Derhy
As part of my Series about “Inspiring success stories,” We had the pleasure of interviewing Andrei Markeev, chief executive, artistic Director, producer, and creator extraordinaire of D-Queens, with audiences across the globe. His talents and passions attract people at every level of society to partner with, imagine with, consult with and bring their dreams and aspirations to life. Being an international athletic model has fashioned
Andrei Markeev’s passion for seeing things forward without looking back at any challenges.
Creator, Artistic Director, and Producer of D-Queens, Andrei Markeev
Thank you for joining us today, Andrei! Can you briefly outline for our readers your life’s backstory?
Andrei: Thank you for the opportunity to join you today and share my life’s backstory. I was born in the third largest urban area of modern Russia, Nizny Novgorod. It was there that I learned from my grandparents and parents the importance of working hard, caring for others and always keeping my dreams in front of me to “go where no person may have gone before.” I enjoyed swimming and later water polo helped to shape my early understanding of the importance of working together and being accountable to achieve new and different opportunities. I was working at the club since 16 years of age and started with administrative work, then manager and then I was being groomed to be the art director. At our club many famous artists came to present from all over the world and many of the celebrities invited me to work with them. On one occasion I organized the best presentation for Andrei Malahov’s StarHit magazine who was a presenter at Channel 1 TV, the top Russian TV show. He liked my work so much that he invited me to Moscow to work on the government channel. I was so excited at the age of 20 to be invited to Moscow. I said good-bye to my parents and took the next train with the few dollars that I had in my pocket. When I arrived I had no place to go as my new friend, the Channel 1 TV presenter was away for work. So I used my few resources to eat, cuddle with my belongings and waited for his return. I learned first hand the struggle of those who live on the streets or lack a home. It was a very challenging and normalizing experience. Yet I was soon changing from the second to the third part of the biggest city of Russia.
You are an artistic director and producer. What brought you to this career path? Or you’ve always known from a young age that you’ll pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
Andrei: As a child, I dreamed of having my group of artists with whom I would travel worldwide. Then as a young man (I’m still young), my dream began taking shape as I always wanted to bring out the best in others; their joy, fun, activities, and travel. When I experienced a variety of dance experiences, I knew one day dance or entertainment, which lifts the body in artistic ways, was going to happen.
Creator, Artistic Director, and Producer of D-Queens, Andrei Markeev
Then when I moved to Moscow, I slowly started to work with the best/ top celebrities to understand their lives and the unique stories and life that brought them to where they were. Whenever I’m with family and friends, I look for opportunities to explore things we may have never experienced. Such as recently, before my travels, I gathered more than 30 friends for a wheel experience — some riding bikes, others using roller skates, others using roller blades with friends, furry children, and everyone had the best of times. So, lifting people to experience the best in entertainment or any situation is one of my greatest joys. This has been my style to reach new ways and experiences personally, professionally, continuously, and with my company.
You founded the D-Queens in 2010, and along with Mario Mitkov, you direct a unique team of hugely talented female artist performers. Please share with us what inspired this creation.
Andrei: I shared with Mario my dream to create a unique dance/ entertainment/ costumes/ bald women experience after seeing Grace Jones, not too many years before — her energy, rhythm, singing, and giving life to dance in a unique blend.
Mario said, “yes,” with more than ten years of professional dancing and choreography design with a gift to imagine and create the best costumes. We gave birth to D-Queens, a fashion as popular in Europe, Russia, and Asia — to be the bald shaved dancer. They became unexpectedly prevalent in all these countries and more with our costumes being bid by famous designers worldwide. It was one of the most exciting times in our lives, and our friendship became more than the best of brothers, family at its best. As we invited women to join our company, their positivity and energy allowed us to reach new levels of creativity and transform audiences with requests around the globe. With their permission, they were shaved bald (unheard of at the time and remained the most unique to shape the dancer in a bald state of being), participated in modifications of look to enrich their already exceptional beauty, and were ready for the show. We provided a unique experience that bridged artistic choreography and dance. At the same time, the designed costumes allowed audiences to engage, wonder, and sit in awe and anticipation for the knowledge that was taking place before them while feeling a connection. It was almost as if the dancers, Mario, and I, with the audience, were in a syncopated rhythm savoring something together while simultaneously uniquely experiencing what the dance and dancers meant to them.
The three androgynous model-looking D-Queens, USA What has been your biggest challenge so far in the entertainment industry? Is there a story on that?
Andrei: Our most significant challenge before Covid was being available to satisfy the many global requests for our shows. It indeed was humbling how much our company was sought after and appreciated. Being an extrovert, I enjoyed the many engagements, and we collectively were grateful to bring an experience outside of the traditional burlesque dance with artistic choreography and costumes that stirred the imagination while highlighting the beautiful form of the dancers. One might say exotic while modest if that is a possible combination of concepts.
What can you tell us about your charming trio of female artist performers?
Andrei: Our dancers, female artist performers, have taught us so much about the intimacy of dance, an art form, and self-care, and come alive when they create and inspire one another as they create an experience we have called out from each of them and nurtured among them. I didn’t realize the impact of women shaving their hair becoming something they had never considered. This experience and our request deepened our collaborative spirit and collective desires to be more in a most challenging and exciting way.
The three androgynous model-looking D-Queens, USA
D-Queens USA is a unique team of hugely talented female artists/ performers. We are established in Moscow, and now with D-Queens residency in the US, this charming trio combines dance performance, singing, and high fashion, with stunning bespoke tailor-made costumes inspired by Haute couture and Avant-garde designs. The three androgynous model-looking bald D-Queens provide a wide range of breathtaking performances. Customized from classic vintage showgirl meet and greet service to thrilling dance acts, they aim to arouse guests up on their feet, including the French can-can, jazz, character-based burlesque, and high fashion multi-skilled acts, including the beautifully haunting aerial chains/hoop exciting any event, theme or personalized events.
Testimonials: “We have worked with some acts in our time, but this is an act we would love to bottle up and take home. Perfect, and we didn’t want to let them go. The girls were brilliant and loved by the entire audience, which we hope showed in the vibe in the room. Brilliant! We can’t praise the girls enough. Please pass on our thanks.” Gotha Club, Cannes. Just a note to say D-Queens were absolutely fantastic last Saturday. The night was a massive success, and the audience loved their performances! D-Queens were all extremely professional and a delight to work with. Memo restaurant, Amsterdam “Wonderful show perfect for my party, would love to book you again!” Private Client, “The extravagance of the costumes enhanced this production and made a stunning visual impact.”
Are there any special projects you’re currently working on?
Andrei: It was my dream to bring D-Queens to the USA, which I had visited many times. Famous USA artist — Nicki Minaj and her team were very interested in my idea at the time. So we have begun D-Queens USA, bringing this unique experience to audiences and private parties, where the responses have been very positive beyond our best expectations. So, we are slowly building the USA company. I’m also giving attention to an aspiration I have had for several years. I was told I should sing beyond the show. Another critical area for me is returning to my Voice after a ten-year hiatus from voice lessons. I’m back at it with a fresh view and matured Voice in the recording world. One of my dearest friends, Phillipp Kirokov, has given me the best vocal teacher as I give birth to a new opportunity; with time, I’ll learn more.
The three androgynous model-looking D-Queens
The COVID-19 pandemic affected a lot of sectors and businesses. Was there any viral lesson you learned during this period?
Andrei: As I mentioned, our company was affected like most in entertainment where people gathered. During Covid, I couldn’t support my Moscow team because social and entertainment life was dead for a couple of years, and my girls broke up the contract, started to grow their hair, and stopped dancing. Yet we have remained healthy and taken the appropriate vaccines and boosters, as requested by our teams. We want a safe and healthy world for everyone to enjoy together. In times like a pandemic, we learned who our most faithful friends are and the patience of audiences waiting for our return which has been blossoming for months with more powerful worldwide management of the pandemic. Thus I learned the importance of permanently saving money to be ready for the uncertainties in our world.
Do you have a favorite “life lesson” or quote that profoundly impacted your life? Please share with us.
Andrei: My life lessons are two very significant: 1) Be nice to everyone who ever it is — can be the homeless on the street, the old blind lady was walking down the road then trying to cross the street, the parent struggling to calm their crying child, we are all human beings and all God’s creations. 2) Always keep your dream before you. Make the steps to manage your successes as the dream slowly matures and takes place. Flexibility and negotiation are essential — early on, before our label was out there and even today at times, we accepted any opportunity to perform and “wow” audiences. The beginning was tough; the person I relied on to create the project was only me, my partner the creative producer of the show certainly had a role in helping get it started, but the confidence that the project would take its star place in the club’s industry and the realization of the dream was my passion, persistence and even stubbornness at times. In the beginning, we had more expenses than income. Yet the entertainment community helped us through the beginning, and we always remember how they believed in us and that we are the same as others. We believe in you and will help you reach your dreams and beyond.
Our Global readers are eager to learn about being a successful artistic producer. What are the “secrets for success” for those hoping to learn and take a similar career path?
Andrei: NEVER DOUBT ANYTHING YOU WANT, just be sure and follow your dreams, dream big, and don’t be afraid to want more: all that seems impossible is possible if you wish and do your best!
Understanding that none of us can achieve success without a bit of help, is there a particular person you are grateful to, someone who helped get you to where you are?
Andrei: My Mom’s Dad was the most important person in my life, only he died while I was young. My amazing Mom and her Mom have always been there for me and pushed me to believe in myself a little more each day. My dad gave me so many gifts I cannot count all of them. I’m most grateful to share one of my most esteemed friends, like family, Phillipp Kirokov has been an inspiration and wise counsel; Andrei Malahov, at the time TV Presenter at Channel 1 and now Channel 2, Enrico Nunziata, at the time Consul of the Italian Embassy in Moscow and now in the Office of the President of Italy, each had critical roles in my life.
Some of the biggest businesses, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world you’d ask for advice or inspiration, alive or dead?
Andrei: Queen Elizabeth II, before she died, brought the world strength, beauty, kindness, and humility during some of the most challenging times in the past 70 years. And Elton Jon, I had an invitation for a private event at his home for dinner after some nomination or Oscar, I don’t remember, around five years ago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t join because I had my D-Queens show in Europe and a contract in Cannes at the most famous club, one of the best five top clubs in the world. It was a tough choice to make as it was my dream to spend time with Elton John and his family, and it was also my dream to bring my show and the contract to the Cannes festival.
Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch? If so, why?
Andrei: Madonna — she is at the top of fashion, creating what was not possible before her, opening the door to integrating the best of style, and art, seducing while enticing, opening in a public way, and normalizing what society was afraid to experience the best stage presence, the best environments, the most extraordinary shows and in being faithful to herself becoming a Mom and changing the world through her children — she is an Icon
Is there anything else you would like to share today? Perhaps, something you would like to tell the world.
Andrei: I’m a person of the deepest gratitude for life, family, friends, and partners for making the world a better place. Through the most challenging times, I’ve learned to allow those you love and those who love you to walk together. A friend almost died during the pandemic from a hidden bacterial infection in his heart. I promised to see him after surgery and nurse him back to life. He survived the surgery, and I cared for him for more than five weeks. When he saw the heart surgeon five weeks after the almost dying surgery, he couldn’t believe he was the same patient whose infected pacemaker he treated, which should have taken 6–10 months to recover. Together we shape the story for a better tomorrow, never give up, and never be afraid to be part of another person’s life. We will always be better like D-Queens, and the story continues.
The three androgynous model-looking D-Queens
How can our readers keep up with you on social media or a website?
Andrei: Instagram: personal page, D-Queens USA, International D-Queens team. Facebook.
Thank you for joining us. This was indeed inspirational! Best wishes and continuing success.