While he has been thrust onto a national stage as the leader of a country facing invasion by one of the world’s most powerful countries, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was pretty acquainted with fame in his home country before taking office.

Before his time as President, Zelensky was an actor, writer and comedian who even performed as a person who unexpectedly became President before his own election, in the Ukrainian satire series Servant Of The People. Before he was known as a TV star, he performed as a touring comedian regularly and participated in the comedy competition KVN with the Ukrainian team.

Along with his live comedy work, Zelensky starred in the Romantic comedy movie series Love And The Big City, which spawned two sequels, and even voiced the Ukrainian dub of the beloved character Paddington Bear for the films Paddington and Paddington 2.

Zelensky first ran for president under a new party name called Servant Of The People, the very same name as his satire TV show. He ran on an anti-corruption platform but also expressed a desire to restore citizens’ trust in their elected representatives. He was elected President in a landslide victory over incumbent President Petro Poroshenko.

Now that Zelenksy is a real-life President, and facing a real-life war, one would very reasonably expect that he would eventually fold while facing a crisis, but that is not proving to be the case. His established media savvy and fluency with social media have made it easier for him to deliver direct messages to the Ukrainian people, and anyone else researching the conflict online.

Even those that have been vocal critics of Zelensky in the past have admitted that he has shown strength and bravery as a leader during this horrifying time in his country’s history. Despite the knowledge that he is at the top of the list of assassination targets, Zelensky continues to remain in the country and upload messages online, which are messages Ukrainian to encourage locals and captioned informative releases for observers.

“We have all been defending our state for the 15th day. We endured. … Thanks to our military, National Guards, border guards, police, territorial defense and everyone who joined the defense of the state, we have not become slaves, and will never become,” Zelensky wrote in a Facebook post uploaded Thursday.

Read more about: