Wonderful Women Interview with Svetlana Dragayeva, Film Producer & Creator of BAFTA Winning VIRRY App

Svetlana Dragayeva

Svetlana Dragayeva is an innovator, educator, film producer and creator of the BAFTA winning app VIRRY: the app for iPad and iPhone that keeps wild animals, real for children.

VIRRY allows children all the thrill and excitement of virtually engaging with real wild animals whilst helping them meet their learning goals.

The app has been designed to develop key educational and developmental objectives in all children with key learning goals being built into every aspect of its functionality. Specifically, VIRRY targets key learning, interpersonal and emotional skills for children aged 2 years -7 years old.

Here I interview the creator-


Describe a typical day for you?

Every day is different for me, as I believe routines can hinder creativity, I’m lucky that I travel a lot so I’m always in a different city and I work across two time zones (Moscow and London) so have to juggle my work commitments.

I always start my day off with two coffees and some meditation which helps me focus and keeps my mind fit for the busy day ahead. My day is split between work and work! Since I do not have children yet, I work a lot, so that I can work less when I have children.

I juggle a lot of different projects – VIRRY App , EISENSTEIN App ( a new app that I’m creating),DAU (I’m Executive Producer of DAU, Europe’s largest cinematic project) and I also work with the Electrotheatre Stanislavky Theatre in Moscow.

I work on creative things: products, strategies, business development and my PHD. I make plans and budgets, write tasks for the next week, come up with projects and write pitches. I also take my time to recharge: good sleep, yoga, massage, beauty stuff. But to save time, all the beauty things should be done at the same time if possible!


What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

Creating VIRRY has been one of my biggest achievements, coming up with the concept and building the product from finding the right wildlife park to put our cameras in to securing major funding.

Being recognised by BAFTA , The Lovie Awards and The Webby Awards all in the same year. AMAZING!


What’s in your handbag/satchel etc?

My mobile, my iPad (so I can watch Virry, the HD livestream really relaxes me, just watching the live animals in their habitat is so calming), lipstick and some books. I’m always reading books –I ‘m currently reading Platform Scale by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag and Picasso’s Play Desire Caught by the Tail.


What are your ambitions in life?

I am very much value driven. My over-riding motivation is simple I want the world to be a better place. I want to inspire creativity and a love of animals in children. I don’t believe children should be learning fractions or their times table at the age of six; so I am on a mission to make children more creative through wildlife.

I want to inspire kids by using things that are available in our everyday lives, things that we have in our garden or in the park. Learning about nature, wildlife, art, photography and music all through technology and inspiring the next generation along the way!

The other main passion in my life is helping children with special educational needs to learn through a love of animals and the power of VIRRY.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I would love to have published a series of books and produced a film about inspiring creativity in children.

I hope I will have educated more children through VIRRY and taught them about wildlife and conserving our animals for the future, all through the power of technology. VIRRY will have transformed children’s learning (making them more creative, more empathy, better social skills) I really hope VIRRY will be broadcasting the endangered Manatee live and we’ll see Penguins live on our phones and on our watches direct from Antarctica.. VIRRY is the future !


What advice would you give a budding app creator?

It’s OK to feel scared and riddled with self-doubt sometimes, every creative feels that way and often. Creativity is a muscle to be exercised. Read widely and be consistent, ask yourself some tough questions – what difference to the world are you making with your app or the product that you are building?

Find a team that share the same values as you and are as passionate as you are and go for it!

Embrace the mistakes you make along the way and learn from everything and everyone!

Finally, happiness is…

Giving something back – Building something for the future that will make a difference to the world we live in, building a better future for our children.

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