As part of Liberatum's Women in Creativity Series, here is an interview with supermodel and actress, Karolina Kurkova. Interviewed in Mumbai by Tomas Auksas.
What do you miss about Czech Republic?
Nowadays with how easy traveling is, my parents get to travel more and I get to see them often, so I can still be in touch with my friends and family thanks to all the technology. Even though I don’t live there, I still feel like I am there. It’s in my blood and it’s around me. I left Czech Republic such a long time ago. Since I was 16, I have been traveling the world. However I am always coming back home and I do visit my parent and bring the kids there. Now I am really focusing on creating a lot of things so I can be there more and have more of a presence. I started my career out of my country, so I am now focusing on finding projects that bring me there more and I can contribute to the fashion there and art and Czech culture, and to work with Czech artists and designers. I have been to the fashion schools there and I have worked with the design school team. I have done projects with magazines where I was a guest editor, so I am still involved. What I miss most is my family but now my family is so much with us and I get to see them a lot. It is a priority for me. I do miss Czech films and Czech humour.
What is the difference between working with a film director and a photographer?
I think a really good photographer is like a film director and a good film director is like a photographer. A director needs to understand photography, the look and expression and a photographer needs to understand you are capturing a moment and a mood. The difference is that in photography, it is a silent film. As a film director, it is a moving image. It is imagery with vocal. I love working with both. Each has his own take on it. But I love photographers who are like directors. I love movies and when I create a character there is a story behind. Even if I am just sitting and not doing much in a scene, there has to be so much life in your eyes and your expression. Subtle things. Sometimes it is actually harder to pose for pictures and express the same emotions as I can’t say with words, I can’t complement it with vocals. Sometimes it is harder to tell a story without words.
If you were not a model or an actor, what other career paths would you have chosen?
I do like philosophy. I love acting. I love movies. So I am kind of doing some of the things I love in my profession. The love for music. When I work, music plays a huge role on the set for me. It sets the right mood and tone for me. But I do like philosophy, metaphysics and spirituality. I was also into archaeology. I wanted to be an archaeologist. Discover things and dig for things. To understand this earth and where we come from.
How did motherhood change your life?
I have always been very motherly since I was young. I had a little brother. I learnt to be responsible from a very young age. I was very independent taking care of him. Throughout all my career, a lot of the people around me was much older. I think I grew up very quickly. Even though I was much younger than everybody else, I was more mature so people would come to me and ask me for help. So motherhood and motherly feelings are things I have always had and it was very natural. I mean definitely when you have kids, there is a lot of prioritisation you have to think about. Why you do things or how you spend your time. It has to be really worth it and it has to have some real value. It has got to be of importance. If it takes me away from my family, I have to ask ''why am I doing it'' and if it is really important. I ask myself if I am passionate about it. So it is always a tricky balance because with work and now the world we live in, everything goes so fast and we want to do so much, and you have to be on top of everything. You have to be relevant, you have to be out there, you have to show up. It is not like you can disappear. You can’t afford that. People will forget about you. So how can you still be out there all the time and be fresh and always have something new to say and offer, and as a person maintain a certain mystery but also maintain being relevant. But still have the time to be with your family and your kids that need a lot of attention. My work needs a lot of attention but my family also needs a lot of attention. So you need a lot of energy. It comes down to being very disciplined and being healthy. Taking care of myself and making sure I am doing as much as I can whenever I can so that I have the energy. People want to work with those who are happy, ready, interesting, passionate and who have something to offer. It is important in order to give, you need to go back and recharge and take care of yourself. To be inspired to learn and travel. It is a commitment and practice.
What qualities do successful supermodels share?
I think they are incredibly hardworking. They are passionate about what they do. They understand photography, styling, marketing, art direction. A lot of it is discipline and hard work. It takes a lot of commitment and effort. It is much more than beauty.