Irina Olsen: The war in Ukraine has really given me food for thought

Few of us are untouched by the war in Ukraine. But in some it penetrates deeper than in others, crawls further under the skin.

“It has really given me food for thought,” says the well-known influencer Irina Olsen.

Ukraine is her country of birth. The country she lived in for the first ten of her 35 years.

“I wasn’t working at all when the war broke out. I could barely work there,’ she tells of the condition that struck her when the Russians invaded the country back in February this year.

35-year-old Irina Olsen is one of the biggest influencers and also has her own makeup brand.
Photo: Bax Lindhardt

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Even then, she and her husband opened their home to Ukrainian refugees, and brought Irina’s childhood friend Olga and her daughter to Denmark.

Which physically also brought the war closer, and caused the couple to put their popular reality show ‘The Olsens’ on hiatus.

But even though the war has entered its ninth month, it still fills the home in North Zealand.

“I still start and end every day checking the news. Both the Russian and the Ukrainian. It’s almost become a mania to make sure I’m up to date every day,’ says Irina Olsen.

“Unfortunately, you get used to all kinds of war, but for us Ukrainians it still means a lot because you hear more.”

Irina Olsen with her Ukrainian friend Olga.

Irina Olsen with her Ukrainian friend Olga.
Photo: Private

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The friend Olga has since got her own home close to Irina Olsen’s and even a job and is grateful for that.

“But her life has been put on hold. It may well be that she and her daughter are alive, but not really. They are in a survival mode,’ says Irina Olsen, who is strongly influenced by what she hears from her friend.

Which also puts her own life and everyday life into perspective.

“Olga and I went to school together, grew up in the same town, went skating together, had a completely identical life.”

“But my parents just chose that we should go to Denmark, and therefore my life looks different. And it has given me many mixed feelings,’ explains Irina Olsen, who in the early days of the war almost had a guilty conscience.

Four-year-old Irina then, her life looked completely different.

Four-year-old Irina then, her life looked completely different.
Photo: Private

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“This year has been mentally tough, and yet I don’t feel that I can allow myself to say anything. Because I live in Denmark and have a fantastic life. We are safe.’

“This year has really made me grateful for all the little things we have. That we can go outside, that no missiles fall from the sky, that we have food on the table, nothing is missing.’

“We’re so lucky,” emphasizes the well-known influencer, who is currently featured in the entertainment program ‘De udoelige’, where she, together with five other well-known Danes, play scouts in nature.

A program that stands in stark contrast to the everyday life of her Ukrainian friends and the war-torn people.

“I had to find a balance,” says Irina Olsen, and does not hide that it was only now that she was able to make such a program.

“I have friends over from Ukraine who need help and attention, but I will also have to get back to everyday life and my work.”

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