Our latest cover woman is a singer, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and so much more! From being a refugee from Bosnia to coming to the US, this amazing artist is leading the pack, inspiring others, and empowering women everywhere. From daily motivational reels, to opening a business and clothing line called Evolmi (I’m Love backwards), she is all about self-love and positivity, and Rochester Woman Online magazine is positive that this influencer is going to create success no matter what she does.

Studio portrait of actress and model Fatima Razic in Rochester, NY. Makeup by Ashley Knight Photo by Brandon Vick

Can you share a bit about your background, growing up in Bosnia and later moving to Rochester, New York for school?
I was born in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was a happy go lucky kid and very attached to my dad. I followed him everywhere and wanted to spend every single minute with him. A month before I turned eleven years old, a civil war broke out and my parents decided that it would be safer for my oldest sister and myself to evacuate until it all settles down. We boarded one of the many buses leaving for what we thought would be a two week trip and ended up in Croatia on an island called Brač. That short trip turned into more than three years long because the civil fighting and war persisted for a lot longer than anyone thought it would. At fifteen I moved back to Bosnia to be wth my parents because my sister had gotten married and moved to Rochester, NY and I didn’t have anyone to stay with. The situation in Bosnia was better but still not completely safe. I could go to school and immediately come home without making any pit stops because we never knew if something would happen. I was always mesmerized by the thought of the United States of America watching Beverly Hills and I thought America looked like that everywhere. So at fifteen I asked my parents if I could go to the US for a better education. They agreed and at sixteen I moved to St. Louis, MO where my middle sister had moved a year before. After finishing my sophomore year of high school I moved to Rochester, NY to help my sister with my niece so that she could start working. I graduated high school from Wilson Magnet and continued on to MCC and eventually RIT. Moving across the world for a better education always meant that college was a priority. There was always a plan that I followed. Clearly after college I would start my professional career and then everything else that normally follows.

What made you quit your corporate job to become an artist and entrepreneur?
It definitely didn’t happen overnight. It took many years for me to realize that I was very creative and that dwelling in creative spaces inspired me and made me feel like I belonged to something greater than myself. When I was growing up and all through college my brain was very analytical which is why I loved all the logical subjects like math and programming. I loved it because it was black and white and there was always a correct answer. There wasn’t much room for emotional involvement or matters of opinion. Even my college degrees are very analytical with both Bachelor and Master of Science in Information Technology. It was during my time in corporate world that I started asking questions. After seven years in clinical research and predictive analytics I was financially stable and independent. Moving across the world for education meant that my plan was always to finish college and start working but once I got to that place I realized that I wasn’t fulfilled. I thought after spending the previous fourteen years following the plan that once I accomplished it, I would feel some type of internal joy that went beyond my bank account. But that didn’t happen.

It was a Sunday morning and a radical thought crossed my mind. What if I quit my job? At first I was hesitant because I was afraid of what it would mean if I followed a very unconventional path. But after a few days it became obvious it would mean if I followed a very unconventional path. But after a few days it became obvious to me that I had to do it because it felt too good to ignore and Universe and God helped me because I had an excuse. I had a two credit independent project to complete to receive my Masters degree and time was running out. I had less than a year to get it done before I had to retake all the classes. So I told everyone that I am quitting to go back to school to finish my Masters but I knew that I was quitting because I had too many unanswered questions. Why was I unhappy? Why was I unfulfilled? Why didn’t accomplishing my goals bring me to some Beverly Hills version of life that I desired?

After a few months of travel, I was ready to start my project but was more than just unmotivated.

I experienced anxiety every day because I could do anything I wanted to but I felt paralyzed to make any moves. What happened next was definitely divine intervention. I asked my friend Jeff Slutsky what he thinks and he gave me one of the most important pieces of advice I ever received. He said forgive yourself for feeling the way you do and take as much time as you need to figure out why you feel that way. That opened up a can of worms because now my analytical brain had to think in terms of feelings rather than logical steps. But it took only a few weeks for me to turn to music, performing at open mics and writing my first song.

What inspired the creation of Evolmi, and how did you come up with the name?
That was definitely another divine intervention. It started with diffuser bracelets and when I started selling them to complete strangers I thought there might be something there. I decided to test the concept at the Rochester Public Market and when it didn’t fail I decided to keep doing it. I made a return on my investment within three weeks and then it just kept growing. I added custom oil blends because customers were asking for them. I still wasn’t set on a name. At the time I was calling my business Spiritual Evolution Jewelry but it was too long, too descriptive but it still didn’t say much. I thought maybe evol can be short for evolve and I could add the word me and ask the universe to evolve me here and in this lifetime with Evolme.

On the day I was deciding between Evolme and Evolmi, I was selling at the public market and a medium came and gave me a reading. They were shooting her pilot for TLC cable channel Mama Medium and she picked me in a crowded market. Her reading was spot on and I learned that her last name ends in mi so I decide that my business would be Evolmi. A friend came a couple hours later and he asked “You know what that is backwards? It’s Imlove”! In that moment I knew I picked the right name as the universe gave me that affirmation. Shortly after I designed the logo, secured the trademark and started printing clothing because I wanted to be able to read it both ways. And today I know that the Universe answered my call to evolve me because it gave me something bigger than I ever anticipated. It gave me the journey of spreading the message if we were kinder to ourselves, we would be kinder to others and we would live in a better and kinder world. And that kindness starts with me.

When did you first realize you were an empath, and how does that influence your work?
Writing songs and performing was the first time I felt the empath side of me. I felt like a different person on stage and like someone who was closer to who I really was rather than the mask I learned to put on throughout my life. Having grown up in war and choosing the technical path in school and work, I don’t think I had many opportunities to use that side of me. But after I worked through the nerves of live performance, I felt myself fall into a vulnerable yet strong version of myself. And I liked the way that felt. It felt like I was being my whole self rather than just one part of who I was. During one of my performances I met a fellow empath who turned into a mentor. He was the first person that really opened my eyes to empathy and how that feels. It was only then that I realized that I was in fact perceiving energy rather than making up crazy stories in my head which is what I believed up until then. Today, I identify as a high empath, because I can feel subtle energies and shifts and I trust that a lot more than I ever did. I follow my intuition even when it doesn’t make sense what it’s telling me because I’ve learned that in most cases my intuition was right. I connect to people through empathy and I allow my intuition to guide my decisions in business. If something feels off while my logical brain thinks everything is fine, I wait and let the energies reveal themselves and in time they all do.

Could you share some insights about your experience as a refugee and the lessons it taught you?
On the outside I looked normal but I was definitely experiencing a lot of internal turmoil that I’m still dealing with in therapy. I experienced first hand other people assuming things about me both positive and negative and in virtually all cases none of them had the whole story. So not judging others based on what it looks like but rather asking them to share their story is one important lesson I learned. Another one would be that every time I interact with little kids I try to give them a safe space because I know firsthand the scars from feeling unsafe has left me. There’s also a misconception about refugees and that they are invading someone else’s country when it’s the complete opposite. No human will ever leave their home unless they feel unsafe or violated in some way. Nobody would choose to be a refugee in life and have to evacuate to unknown lands.

What exactly is a motivational singer, and how did you discover this passion?
It’s someone who doesn’t just sing, but motivates and evokes emotions through songs. I’ve always told stories about my songs and I learned that I connect with my audiences much better when I share the deepest emotions of human life in a way that is authentic yet vulnerable and strong. Stories of perseverance and determination always come through everything I say and I think that’s the part that motivates the most.

Where is your favorite stage to perform on, and why?
I’ve performed at Jazz Fest, Rochester Auditorium and the Blue Cross Arena, but I think my favorite stage is still waiting for me. I’ve always seen myself performing for thousands of people, where we all connect in some collective consciousness of love, unity and shared experience and we all walk away as better people.

How do you blend music with storytelling to inspire and entertain your audiences?
Storytelling was always part of my performances. I felt like I could connect better with my audiences if I told them what events inspired the songs. The inspiration comes from my upbringing and how I have every reason to act like a victim but I refuse to carry myself that way. The story of persistence and resilience inspires me so I try to convey that perspective. My goal is to bring my audiences into my world for just a brief moment where they forget their life long enough to harness more gratitude for everything they have been afforded in life.

In honor of Women’s History Month, could you name some women who have inspired you in your journey?
My favorite aunt Emina is the epitome of strength, femininity and wisdom. I spent a lot of time with her as a kid and she taught me so much. I am still not at her level, but I look at her and think I want to be like her as I get older.

What inspired you to start sharing your culinary adventures and becoming a chef?
Cooking was the first thing I started being creative with even though it wasn’t conscious or intentional. I’d cook things for myself with whatever I had in the fridge and over time that grew into a genuine love for trying new recipes and ingredients. I love hosting parties and breaking bread with those I love and a good friend would say “she put her foot in it” to compliment my cooking and say that I put a part of myself in the cooking. And I do. It’s really my meditation to play some music and enjoy wine while I’m cooking something.

What motivated you to start doing daily pep talks on social media, and what’s your favorite message to start the day with?
I have been thinking about doing videos for years now. I have some videos that I recorded in 2022 that are still holding up true, but all this time I’ve been holding myself back thinking I’m not good enough and that I was lacking something. Recently I got frustrated when I saw a friend who was stopping themselves every single day and I saw myself in them. It was in that moment that I’ve had enough of holding back and just started recording videos and I still have videos to edit from that first day as I recorded somewhere around 50 different videos. It feels too good to stop so I will continue to share daily pep talks and other lessons I’ve learned on my spiritual journey. My favorite affirmation is to look in the mirror first thing in the morning and compliment myself on doing a great job. It sets my day on a positive note and then I just continue in that same vein. And that practice started with Evolmi and learning to say positive things to myself in the mirror rather than berating myself.

Portrait of Fatima, Rochester, NY. Photo by Brandon Vick

Among all social media platforms, which one is your favorite and why?
I don’t have a favorite social network. I consider them as tools to connect with family and friends across the world and for business advertising and spreading the message of Evolmi.

How do you balance your roles as an artist, entrepreneur, and chef?
It all comes naturally to me. They are all creative spaces for me where I get to create what’s in my head and I don’t feel like I have to balance them. I get to try different things and through trial and error I find what works and then I keep doing it.

Can you share some challenges you’ve faced in your journey, and how you overcame them?
I’ve had many challenges, and if there was one thing I did I would have to say it’s not giving up on myself. Always believing that Universe and God have my back and I always proved that because the perfect teacher or the perfect event would take place that took me to the next level. Every challenge is possible to overcome when you have faith that you will.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists and entrepreneurs?
Keep believing and keep investing in yourself. If you’re not willing to believe and invest nobody else will either.

How do you stay creative and motivated amidst challenges?
It’s easy for me to stay motivated when I know the general direction of where I’m going. When I have the end vision in my head, challenges and obstacles simply become problems that I have to solve. No challenge is insurmountable, because you either find a solution or pivot your direction but you keep going towards your goal. Finding solutions to problems is where I can get creative and think outside the box.

Could you share a memorable moment from your career that has stuck with you?
Quitting my corporate job was definitely the turning point and that makes it very memorable. Today I find the small moments of divine interventions as really memorable because each time it happens it’s the Universe and God affirming that I’m on the right path.

How do you define success in your personal and professional life?
Living my purpose is what makes me happy and in turn successful. I know that I’m on the right path of making the world a better place and I’m definitely close to knowing exactly what my purpose is. I know that it involves sharing myself in some type of creative way like music, public speaking or writing but I think there is more to that. As I keep chiseling away at who I am and who I enjoy being, the exact purpose will eventually reveal itself to me.

What are some upcoming projects or goals you’re excited about?
I’m really excited about sharing the lessons I’ve learned and reaching more people with the message of self-love and self-affirmations because that’s what changed my life in the best possible way.

How do you unwind and recharge when you’re not working?
A glass of wine, maybe some cooking, definitely chill music in the background. Meditation is a must to recharge and fill up my reserves. Sometimes a good movie or a good book.

Actress, model, and musician Fatima Razic wears clothing provided by Anything Goes Consignment Shop in Fairport, NY at Flower City Studios in Rochester, NY. Photo by Brandon Vick

Can you tell us about a significant turning point in your life or career?
Quitting my job was the first one that adjusted my career path. The second one was Jeff Slutsky’s advice to spend as much time as I need to figure out why I feel the way I feel because that advice started my journey of introspection. That advice alone changed how I think and lead me towards the more empathetic approach to life rather than just logic and reason.

How do you incorporate your cultural background into your art and business?
I think my moral and ethical values come through in everything I do. Being the person I want to be intentionally and consciously choosing to uphold values of honesty, loyalty and that of a human being with good intentions.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about being an empath?
That we are walking sponges that absorb all the negativity of the world. While it’s true that we absorb all energy, both positive and negative, and the world has an abundance of negative energy, there is a way to protect ourselves and be beacons of light for everyone else. I’m an example of that. We must learn to transmute the negative energy and create something positive from it.

How do you use your platform to advocate for causes you’re passionate about?
Social media is a great tool for that and while I’ve been advocating for self-love for years now to smaller audiences, I’m starting to share my ideas far and wide and I know they will reach the people who need it most.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work and contributions to the community?
I want to give of myself and make the world a better place than I found it when I arrived. I’m on the way but let’s talk again in 10-20 years and revisit that question. I’m sure I’ll have a slightly different answer.