Posted on May 12 2018
Meet Zoe Zorka, who shows us that smart and sexy go hand in hand. Having graduated recently with her PhD in business administration, she is now a co-founder of Sparkki, an LMS tech startup focusing on delivering educational and training platforms to individuals and businesses. In addition to Sparkki, she is the co-founder of #herspiration media and hosts the #herspiration web series. She is also a freelance writer with credits including CNN, Newsweek, The Source, Elite Daily, and more to her name. In her spare time, she is a part-time model for several international fashion brands. She currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. (SISS) Hello Zoe, where are you from and where are you currently spending your time? (Zoe) I am from Detroit, Michigan/Windsor Ontario, but I currently live in Salt Lake City, UT. (SISS) What was one of the hardest things that you had to go through? What advice would you give someone going through the same struggle? (Zoe) The constant put-downs, being told I was too fat/ugly/old/whatever. It still happens. It happens the more successful you become I think. Few people want to succeed. My advice would be this: a) take it with a grain of salt. If enough people are saying the same thing in a constructive way (i.e. “that’s not a good look for you”), then you might want to make changes and b) don’t listen to anyone who isn’t at least on your level. People who are below me in life talk trash regularly, but they don’t matter. I also had a bad speech impediment growing up, so I kind of found my “voice” in writing. (SISS) You are very accomplished, technical writer, business consultant, editorial and news writer, host and model to just name a few but tell us more who is Zoe Zorka and what are you most proud of? (Zoe) This is a tough one. I’ll say I’m proud of being well-rounded and not falling into a stereotype. I’m proud to have a PhD, I’m proud to have written for CNN, Elite Daily, Newsweek, many more, and now, The Source. I’m proud to have started #herspiration, my own media channel. I’m proud to have landed some pretty major modeling campaigns. I’m proud to be a major voice in the Libertarian Party. But I think I’m most proud to have gotten engaged this year. Nothing in life is worth doing unless you have love. Eventually, this will all be gone. But love is what lasts. (SISS) One year from now what do you hope to have accomplished (business or personal)? (Zoe) I would like a Pulitzer. (SISS) How dedicated are you to fitness? What is your fitness goal? On your body, what is your favorite body part and what is your least favorite? (Zoe) I work out six days a week! I love running, kickboxing, spinning, hiking, skiing, swimming, and playing team sports like basketball and water polo. My nose is my best body part and my waist is my worst. (SISS) What makes you the happiest? What is fun for you? (Zoe) When I accomplish a goal, I am the happiest. As for the most fun, it depends on my mood. Sometimes I like to be alone and sometimes I like people. I’m in the dead center of introvert and extrovert. So, I’d say: writing and doing something social with friends- preferably outside. I love skiing, hiking, jetskiing, and boating. I was brought up on Lake Erie so I love the cold. (SISS) How do you deal with disappointment? How do you Keep Going? (Zoe) Disappointment is a daily part of my routine. I get insulted, called names, told that I should kill myself at least a dozen times a week. It’s hard to hear that kind of stuff. A lot of people quit social media over it or just break down, but I’m still here. What keeps me going is the knowledge that if I quit, then my enemies have won. (SISS) What is your superpower? (Zoe) I can always tell which way is north. And I can tread water for a long time. (SISS) What is your weakness and what do you do to overcome it? (Zoe) I grew up with a speech impediment, so I am still uncomfortable speaking sometimes. I practice speaking to the computer by holding Facebook live chats, so I feel that I am amongst friends. (SISS) Can you tell us four things people don’t know about you? (Zoe) I had never seen a movie in a movie theater until I was 8. I didn’t move to the U.S. until then. I’m a good swimmer, but I’m terrified of water where you can’t see the bottom. I taught myself how to code. I won the geography bee in middle school. (SISS) Can you tell us where else can our readers follow your daily inspiration?
(Zoe) You can follow me at @zoeshrugged on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. You can also join our public group #herspiration on Facebook. (SISS) What’s your favorite quote? (Zoe) “A queen is not a queen because she hasn’t failed, but a queen is a queen because failure has not stopped her.” –Lil Kim (SISS) At Smart is so sexy we love to see women who are thriving in their career or business. What are you most passionate about? (Zoe) Probably proving that you can be smart and sexy and funny and talented. Most girls can only rely on one of those. A lot don’t have any to offer. I want to show that to really make it to the top, you have to bring more than your looks to the table- you have to bring a feast. (SISS) Who was the most influential person in your life? (Zoe) Probably everyone in my family- parents, grandparents, etc. Is that boring? If you’re asking about celebrities I admire, I’ll say Condoleeza Rice, Eminem, Dean Koontz, Jennifer Aniston, Angela Merkel, and David Frum. (The last one literally has held my two dream jobs- editor of a major publication and political speechwriter. Plus, he gave me some great mentoring and writing advice.) (SISS) Where were you five years ago? What advice would you tell your five years younger self? (Zoe) I was a totally different person. I was incredibly shy and insecure. I had spent so long doing what everyone else wanted me to do and then some things happened in life where I realized that none of it mattered anymore. So I sort of rebelled and let out a lot of pent-up anger in my writing. One of my rants ended up on the home page of CNN (nicely refined of course). The rest is history. (SISS) Can you take us through a typical day? From Waking up to going to bed, Can you give us a play by play of a typical day for you? (Zoe) Haha it varies, but usually this: wake up, work out, work “real job” from 9-5, then I’ll maybe work on writing for my other publications or maybe have a photoshoot, dinner in there somewhere, then some Netflix binging with my fiancé before we go to bed. (SISS) What is your favorite Food? What is your favorite book? When do you feel the sexiest? (Zoe) Mozarella Sticks (not even going to lie), anything by Dean Koontz, but Stephen King is a close second, and I feel the sexiest after a good workout. Nothing can replace that endorphin rush. I also feel really sexy at photoshoots because they usually make me look spectacular. (SISS) Is there someone on social media that inspires you and is a great follow? (Zoe) I love following artists, singers, and musicians because I’m not talented at any of those things. I also think my business partner, Dr. Pamela Gurley, is super motivational on Instagram @_authenticallyme_ (SISS) What are you most grateful for? (Zoe) Besides the usual (family, health, friends, job, etc.), I’d say the Internet. Without it, I would have never had a shot to make it. There’s no way my voice would have been heard or I would have made it at all 20 or 30 years ago. (SISS) How do you feel about “Perception is Reality”? Especially when people see a photo and assume what they want. Does that bother you that people may think less of someone because of the clothes they have on? Do you think women should be mindful of the image that they are portraying? (Zoe) I think social media is a highlight reel. Nobody wants to see me daily at my “real” job, which is the lead technical writer and IT specialist for a franchise consulting company. That’s boring. Obviously women should be mindful not to mislead people, but viewers and fans should also understand that this really is the highlight reel, the good snapshots of life. You can’t take social media too seriously and I’m the first one to make jokes about how life isn’t always like that. When I post modeling pics, half of the time I make a smartass comment so that people feel like I’m in on the joke- that this is a special occasion or circumstance. It’s not real life. (SISS) A social media question, Facebook, twitter, instagram or snapchat? Which one do you use the most to best market yourself or brand? (Zoe) Facebook is good because I’m a writer and can make longer posts on there, so I feel that’s how people get to know me best. However, I have the most fans on Instagram because I focus heavily on my modeling there. Snapchat is great to see the behind the scenes of my life. I don’t love Twitter. (SISS) What does Smart is so Sexy mean to you? (Zoe) It means being the best at all you do- being beautiful on the inside and out, trying to improve yourself holistically each day. It means figuring out what the tools you were given and using those to your advantage. (SISS) Thank you so much Zoe for sharing with us!