“As an Architect, to be entrusted with a clients dream home, develop my built environment and create a comfortable, livable space is the most rewarding”
Name: Irina Kostka
Cultural heritage: German/Grenadian
Place of birth: Grenada
Current Residence: Grenada
Kiki: Tell me something memorable about your upbringing?
Irina: My entire upbringing growing up in Grenada was memorable. Back then our parents weren’t as worried about our safety, so we were allowed to explore independently from an early age. As a child, I roamed freely and it’s played a big role in defining who I am today.
Kiki: What do you do for a living?
Irina: I was always drawn to the design of spaces and the built environment around us, so becoming an Architect was a very natural decision. I’m currently designing a student apartment. It’s a popular investment, but I am encouraging my clients to think about the aesthetics of the building. When it’s done right it has a positive impact on our surroundings, especially on a small island like Grenada where there is so much potential. It’s a pretty exciting project for me!
Kiki: What does an average day look like for you?
Irina: When it comes to designing dream homes, my clients are immensely passionate, so an average day may involve a series of client consultations to discuss their aims, goals and desires. I then create a conceptual design, which we collaborate on till we get to the point of putting a fixed plan in place for construction. It’s important for me to find the balance between meeting the clients needs while staying true to my design aesthetic and creating a structure that is functional and visually appealing. Satisfied clients are my greatest motivation. As an Architect, to be entrusted with a clients dream home, develop my built environment and create a comfortable, livable space is the most rewarding.
Kiki: Have you experience any challenges pursuing Architecture in the Caribbean?
Irina: In all honesty, being a woman in the field of Architecture and Construction in the Caribbean can be challenging because the profession is dominated by men. But, I try to focus on the positive aspects, like the fact that I am young and dynamic. Turning it into a positive has allowed me to capitalise on contributing fresh new ideas that result in ‘dopeness’ as I call it. Additionally, I’ve found that strong women are respected in the Caribbean. Once you have the confidence to show that you’re no pushover (in a professional manner) then you will be respected. I’ve also realised that it is perfectly fine to ask for assistance and usually other people in the industry are happy to give advice.
Kiki: What do you do to fuel up on a daily basis?
Irina: I’m mostly pescatarian, but I also try to avoid dairy (why does cheese taste so good?!). To keep fit I usually go to the gym 3-4 times a week and do a bit of cardio and weight training. I love seafood and having lots of yummy veggies usually gives me a boost of energy. It makes me feel great about my body and wellbeing. Taking a break from work and immersing myself in nature also allows me to clear my head and fuels my motivation.
Kiki: Give us one beauty tip to keep us forever young?
Irina: I can’t say that I’m anything of a beauty guru, but a good turmeric mask works wonders for my skin. Being acne prone, it calms any inflammations and adds an extra glow (mainly because of the bright orange colour).
Kiki: And those gorgeous curls of yours! How do you keep them looking so healthy?
Irina: I try to keep my hair moisturised as much as possible. Finding the right product for your hair is the first step to healthy hair, it’s all trial and error. I alternate between products from Shea Moisture and Cantu and get my hair trimmed often.
Kiki: Would you recommend a career in Architecture?
Irina: Do it! Definitely. It takes a lot of hard work, long nights and determination but once you’re passionate about something it will be worth it.
Kiki: What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
The same advice I give to my 31-year-old self – stop overthinking and just go with the flow.
Kiki: What makes you a ComplexdWoman?
Irina: My father was a Rastafarian from a small village on the west coast of Grenada, while my mother is German-born to refugees of the second world war. They created me, a woman with many layers to her personality. I am Grenadian, but I am also German. I am black, but I am also white. I understand growing up and living in two worlds, two different languages and two different ways of self-expression. I am passionate about the built environment but yet I revel in and find peace in nature. My background, combined with my passions for my career, travelling and the everyday joys of life make me a ComplexdWoman.
Getting to know you… and everything about you…
Kiki: What song/lyric currently defines your life right now?
Irina: I’d say Grown Woman by Beyonce, the entire song, and the lyrics of Chronixx’s track Majesty for when I need to stop worrying and boost my ego.
“Queen of the jungle, you are the lioness
A the feeling a grumble
But you’re always trying your best
So when the whole world a crumble
Your lion is alright…..You deserve that crown upon your head woman”
Kiki: What can’t you live without?
Irina: I can’t live without having some down time, me time, relaxation and recharge time.
Kiki: Where are you currently coveting right now?
Irina: The beach!
Kiki: Who do you insta-stalk and why?
Irina: I insta-stalk travellers of any kind, solo travellers and couple travellers as I am extremely passionate about travelling and exploring new places. The couple travellers combine the side of me that is a closet romantic (don’t laugh) and my adventurous side.
Kiki: What’s the next thing on your bucket list?
The next thing on my bucket list is exploring more of Africa, especially the countries to the south of the continent.
Let’s stay connected…
On instagram as @irie.kingston and on facebook as Irina Kostka.
Photographs by Terel Moore