People Who Made it in Dubai: The Journey of a Fitness Influencer

Dimitriy Zinchenko modeling in Dubai. Courtesy of Dimitriy Zinchenko. United Arab Emirates, Dubai 2020

Dimitriy Zinchenko’s life journey from a struggling waiter in his Ukrainian hometown to a successful fitness influencer in Dubai is quite typical of those who’ve made it in this business hub. It all started for Zinchenko with a football injury.

Born in 1991 in a middle-class family in Krivoy Rog, Ukraine, he enrolled in the FC Dnipro football team at the age of 17. “At such a young age, I thought football was going to be my life career until an injury altered my plans,” he said. ”At that point, playing football was nearly impossible, I couldn’t even run or walk properly.” 

Zinchenko then decided to move cities and start a new life.

”I moved to Donetsk, a town almost seven hours away from my home city. Once there, my friend’s sofa became my new home,” he said.

He started to look for a job, any job.

”I luckily got a job as a waiter in a restaurant which was close to my friend’s house,” he said. “After a couple of months of surviving on tips, I got an opportunity that shifted the direction of my life again.” 

On a winter night around Donetsk, a lady approached him with an interesting proposition. Ekaterina Afonina, a Ukrainian booker in a local modeling agency, told him that she saw potential in him in the fashion industry and then offered him a working opportunity.

After six years in the fashion industry, Zinchenko found a new place to call home. “I traveled to Dubai just for a visit, and ended up renting a place.” 

Once there, he began creating fitness content on social media, and soon he became an influencer with thousands of followers. 

“I created training plans based on my own knowledge and some extra research,” he said. Today at the age of 30, Zinchenko works as a coach, a brand consultant, and an investor. He may not have yet identified the real cause of his football injury, but when he looks back today, he realizes that battling adversity may have taught him how to succeed in life.

Karen Korbaj

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