The Inventory: Dasha Zhukova

What was your earliest ambition?

In chronological order: an astronaut, a paediatrician, a teacher or an artist. Then I arrived at the conclusion that I needed to juggle a few careers to be happy.

Public school or state school? University or straight into work?

A private school called Pacific Hills and then to UC Santa Barbara.

Who is your mentor?

I would definitely have to say it’s my mother. We’re really close, and she’s the one person who always keeps me on the ball.

How physically fit are you?

I used to arm wrestle my roommate in college. Based on that, I’m in pretty good shape. I find time to exercise. I’ve been really into mountain biking.

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

Both, but you also need consistency.

Have you ever taken an IQ test?

I have not. I think they can give people a false feeling of self-importance or self-consciousness in a way that can be destructive.

How politically committed are you?

I’m not affiliated to any party but improving education is what I’m passionate about. We have a very big education programme at the Garage, which is a centre for contemporary culture. It’s not specialised, it’s for people of all ages and you can walk in not knowing anything about contemporary art.

Do you consider your carbon footprint?

I believe in carbon offset initiatives, in eco-villages, in the sustainable regeneration of the tropical rainforest. Every little bit helps.

Do you have more than one home?

I bounce around quite a lot. I’ve got projects to attend to in LA, London and Moscow.

What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?

More patience – impatience is something I struggle with genetically. I inherit that from my father.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

Walking barefoot.

In what place are you happiest?

Any place as long as I’m spending time with my family, which I don’t get to do so often as I’m always travelling and working.

What ambitions do you still have?

To keep supporting the Iris Foundation [for culture], and to push the boundaries of publishing.

What drives you on?

New ideas, or old ideas in new places.

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?

Opening the Garage and bringing some of the greatest artists to Moscow.

What has been your greatest disappointment?

I’m quite disappointed that I’ll never relive my teenage years.

If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would she think?

She would say: “Who are you?” Life has a way of moving faster than you ever anticipated.

If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?

Get up and start again. I know that’s easy to say but I’ve never really been one to dwell on the negative.

Do you believe in assisted suicide?

I believe in the freedom of choice in both life and death.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Definitely. It’s just a feeling.

If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?

Professionally, eight or nine. I love what I’m doing – though there are a lot of things I’d still like to accomplish. Personally, being a mother has been incredibly fulfilling. [She has a child, aged 10 months, with Roman Abramovich.] So I’d say 10. No, 11 – even with the teething.

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