Dasha Astafieva is the 55th Anniversary Playmate of Playboy, a singer, model, actress, and TV host

Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Ksenia Tverdohleb

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What are the pros and cons of your work in Ukraine?
I will answer based solely on my experience because each artist has it differently.  The biggest upside is that there were no endless attempts for me. I was overtaken by popularity and recognition so swiftly, yet at that moment I probably had not much to say to the audience. I was so young and empty, just like any teenager. A balloon. For this, I paid greatly. For many years I was treated like a dummy. I myself did not understand why I needed all of that. Being on stage is not just about being beautiful, dressing up, getting ready for a performance, it’s rather an opportunity to tell the world about something of your own, about perhaps changing the world in some direction. At the beginning of my musical venture, and this does not apply to the modeling business, I was not ready. I’m definite of that. I came out and sang on autopilot and that’s how 10 years have flown by on the Ukrainian stage. Right now it’s very difficult for me, sometimes I feel at a war. There are things you are used to and things that you know, for example, how to keep your posture and things like that. But you don’t know how to behave, because you want to be sincere, as sincere as you are with your close ones, yet you cannot be like that in front of complete strangers. They came to see you for different reasons, they are there just for the fun. Therefore, doubts torment me frequently. Do I really need it, am I ready for this? Doing it on autopilot doesn’t work for me anymore. 

If you could return with all the knowledge and experience to the beginning of your career, would you change anything?
I would try to be more conscious because quite often the first thing people pay attention to is my appearance. People say that I am beautiful but it should, of course, be based on something else too. I can’t say that I was super dumb at a younger age, but in that particular field of work, it was initially assumed that nobody would listen to you. I stayed in that sphere for too many years. Beforehand I openly said that I was a singer, but now I am confident to call myself an actress as well. Yet I am a model first of all. It may be immodest to say, but the relationship that I have with photography is unlike anything else I’ve seen. The compliments I receive from photographers greatly reinforce my self-confidence and motivate me to go further.

Have you ever thought about doing photography yourself?
I love to photograph, and when people ask me to take pictures, they turn out quite well in my opinion. I have a camera. I even joke that I have a camera and I can’t become a photographer because I don’t know how to turn it on. It’s a joke, of course, but I don’t have the technical knowledge of its settings. You do need to know the basics at least. It’s not even a dream at this point, it’s my plan for the future. The photoshoot process is an incredibly interesting action. I want the world to know that taking pictures and being nude in front of the camera is not scary, it’s rather very cool. It simply needs to be done with the right person. In fact, just like all the important things – your first sex experience and so on. If it happens randomly and in the wrong environment, then you will end up experiencing negative emotions for a long time. For a very long while, I couldn’t understand why everyone likes sex so much, especially if you have a squeamish attitude towards the body. It’s a tremendous joy to have a person who shows you things from an entirely different perspective. 

It’s crazy when people say: “God, she is always naked, wee see her ass all the time.” I pity these people because for me a naked body is an art form. It is the most sincere state for a woman. I will not say common phrases that a person comes into the world naked, but a human being is always naked in moments of complete truth.  People desecrate it due to some of their internal issues and relate to this matter in a different way.

What trends in modern society upset you?
What frustrates me the most is that

people carelessly approach things and what they fill themselves with. People don’t care about the future, others, animals,  and people who are older than them.

It really upsets me. When someone comes up to me and says: “Damn, did you hear the new song from one of our performers? It’s so cool!”. And this will be the bullshit our children will sing. Am I wrong? Right now we sing the songs of our parents, more likely even songs of our grandparents, we constantly seek something cool from those days. What about our children, what will they seek? Songs with cussing and words that don’t even exist in nature? 

This is mainly a problem of the Ukrainian and Russian media space.
Yes, unfortunately. Yet we live in this country, and it is a huge problem for me to be an artist amongst these trends. It’s a huge problem for me to do something based on my taste and my preferences because I know that it will not sell. It may be your hobby, but you cannot make money from it. Just recently, I watched an interview with Sobchak and Jean-Paul Gaultier. In it, he raised a very important issue, which struck me: masterpieces of modern fashion are just burned. Most fashion houses burn items that were not sold. His work was originally based on finding vintage things, for example, a military uniform that he adjusted. It’s a great idea. If people did the same thing right now, we wouldn’t overburden nature and the environment with harmful substances in such excess, we would not destroy ourselves, the animals and the flora. Every morning I walk my dogs in the forest and when I’m there, I can’t hold back my tears. No matter how positive my mood is, I see how the forest is being cut out from the inside, whereas from the outside it seems like everything is all right. It’s just gone. It is mercilessly called “forest clearing.” 

Like a military operation to “clean up” the territory when everyone is killed. Gibson periodically destroys unsold guitars with a bulldozer. [ed. note. see video
People are so used to trash right now that you can’t scare them with things like that anymore.

The ugly and horrible is the norm nowadays. 

What is your perception of beauty?
Vlad described beauty nicely: “What you look at for more than 2 seconds is beauty probably.” He articulated it a little differently, but I would say something like that in regards to beauty.

Beauty is the ability to hold one’s gaze at something because nowadays everything is all about being fast and things fade at a quick pace. It’s important to have the ability to remember what you saw, felt, or heard.

I recently had a funny story: there is a man who likes me very much and who lives in another country. I told him: “I’ll send you music that is so new for me.” It was Michael Kiwanuka – some of his songs sink hit directly in the heart and sink into the soul. So this man tells me that he is somewhere on the coast of an ocean and has some music he’d like to share with me as well. We simultaneously send each other music and it was Michael Kiwanuka. Can you imagine? That is beauty. I texted him that it was beautiful. Beauty is magic that cannot be described in words. You always know deep down that it is beauty. Beauty in music or the beauty of a particular moment in literature.  My mom recently sent me a screenshot of our beloved Victoria Tokareva. I adore her. I reread all of her books. They are all about vitality, they are so cinematic and so situationally unique that I do not know who else of the Soviet writers I could compare with her work. Even the phrase, “I met Verka at the market and she was selling herring, my favourite herring, and the price tag said ‘this herring is awesome’, so it’s all clear to me“. For me, that’s magic of sorts.

What book would you recommend to start with?
Any. Every book is just a masterpiece. I won’t say that it is something of greatness but it’s just so incredibly relaxing and exciting. It just feels so familiar, as if you’ve heard it all before. She wrote the script “Gentlemen of Fortune”. You simply can’t come up with a script like that. 

We had an interview with Vladimir Petrov, he said that he would like to be remembered as an author. 
Мой кент. Он очень круто пишет, очень круто шутит. Иногда он может мне в час ночи написать что-то смешное. Или, например, недавно я пишу:
Petrov, there’s not a single decent restaurant. I ordered borsch and they brought me garbage. Can you ruin their reputation?
– I certainly can. Send me your boobs.
– Hold on a second, I’m googling Astafieva’s boobs on the Internet.

We have a very cool communication. There are only a few people with whom I can laugh and not be ashamed, people who are so dear to my heart. Ivanenko, Petrov and Sonya Plakidyuk – these are people who are close to me. By the way, I encourage you to interview Plakidyuk. She is cool. She knows so much, even though she is 3 years younger than me. We always knew each other only on set, and now we had a vacation together in Lviv, and I just found out so much from her. On set she is fierce, but in life, she is such a sweetheart.

I was once on set with her when she shot a lookbook for Zamanova. It is vital to be fierce when shooting. 
Of course, try to photograph naked women.

What is your personal heaven on Earth, a place where you can relax and find strength and inspiration?
Among things that are close – the forest. I always think that I have, let’s say, an hour, and then I have to run to the other thing, whereas when I’m in a forest it makes me come up with things like, “Oh, I’m sorry, I twisted my ankle so I can’t make it“, or, “My dog ran off, I have to look for it“. It’s a place where I rest. I love walking, I love to listen to music in the forest. I often do my vocal exercises in the forest, because it really is a cool place to be in. Well, plus the things that you see. It’s a temporary where you see, hear, breathe, and feel. If speaking about other countries, then it’s probably Asia. I like Indonesia. I really liked Bali, despite the fact that now it turned into a very touristic place, but when I was there, I haven’t met anyone I knew. Everything there is focused on you to truly relax. I like that. It is a paradise. There is no such thing where you are a tourist and people want to fool you. If I know that I have a long period of time that is free, then I always try to go there. It doesn’t always work out though.

Taking into account a different culture, if you had the opportunity to transfer your entire career to another country, which country would your choice fall on?
Portugal. I really like the language. I really like the fact that they value history and everything that happened before us. I really like it. I once flew to Portugal during a poor state of mind and returned a new person. Probably, the gratitude to this particular country still lives inside me, and I always want to return. I’ll be there soon, hopefully.

How do get through challenging times?
I used to think that work saves you from that and that you need to fully delve into work. Now I know for certain that you need to really work on the problem that you are facing. If possible, see a therapist, especially if you don’t have people who can mentally support you and help you figure things out. Of course, it’s great when you have such people around but neither my parents nor people close to me are able to help me. It’s all a matter of time and how you approach things. I always save myself with something wonderful: music, books, travel. Generally, traveling is the best option. You return refreshed and anew. I was in Rome recently, so I have a ‘Roman’ effect and my life seems different now. A human being must have movement. The same conditions hold us in one place, and it shouldn’t be like that. Mankind was born for movement, for knowing thyself, for knowing the world, for being someone’s salvation, but one cannot be someone’s salvation if one sits in the studio for days and writes or works at one job in one particular place. Man must travel. Every single one of us must travel. I have always been so negligent about time, life and my youth. “To die young, well, so be it.” Now everything is somehow happening unexpectedly. Your relatives get sick, people leave, it seems unfair even. Well, at some point I realized that each of us has their own destiny. When you travel a lot to places where you haven’t been before then you immediately want to earn more capital, you want to be cool and fascinating in order for these countries to become yours.

What truth have you learned after all these years you’ve lived?
Recently, I’ve developed an acute fear that I am older than someone else. I come to my rehearsals, I see my new choreographer girls, I look at the way they move, they have no body folds, nothing. I recognize that now it’s impossible for me to do the things that they do, that I need to pull my neck a certain way to have a smooth chin. It is so banal and such a women’s thing. Nevertheless, I still see my superiority in behavior – I know what and when to say and when to remain silent. But still, becoming older is cool. I like the process and I like the experience that I gain. I don’t want to say cliche things like, ‘love life, love your family and those close to you’ because it’s all a part of life being great and

you need to fill yourself with things that you will love yourself for.

You have two dogs if I am not mistaken?
Yes. Oh, God… 

What did you learn from them?
To be human. These creatures teach you to be responsible, they ground you in the best sense. You come to an understanding that someone needs you. On my way here Chichi sat in front of me with a face that said, “I’m not going with you?“. I told him that I will see him in the evening and that we would go to the forest. I talk to him as if he were a human. Responsibility is a cool thing. Many people think that I do not want to have a child because I am a careerist or something like that. It’s very cool to have a baby, very cool to be needed, loved, in spite of everything. It’s cool to create a new world, to be at the beginning of a path of something new, of an entire universe. Everyone who sees my dogs is crazy about them because they are very well-mannered, they have a nice appearance, they are very calm and sociable. No one is afraid or dislikes them, because they smell or stuff like that. They are the way we made them. Recently, my Instagram exploded because of pictures that I posted of Luna. What people don’t know is that she does that every morning. I wake up and see her like that. It’s happiness. Every morning she waits for me to wake up and say “hello” to her. How can I handle this even?

Mornings with Luna

It’s no a human even, it’s a little vampire. This happens every single morning. It’s so cool to start a day with that smile. The way you react to this picture is how everyone reacts to my dogs, so I even launched a trial clothing collection which will definitely have a sweatshirt saying, “I’m a little Chichiko”.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I keep thinking about how scary it is that creativity will end one day, so I try to do a lot of things. I’d like to learn how to draw, for example. I want to learn to play some instrument because I do not have a formal musical education. I really like to write, but in order to write, you probably need to travel more and live somewhere else for a while. I see myself living in another country. I’m taking small steps for that to happen because I was invited to host a new travel show. For me, it’s something new. It is a little frightening, yet fascinating. I was very lucky with the team because everyone is very professional and cool. They travel a lot, they have a lot of stories and experiences behind them and, of course, it inspires me immensely, it helps me to rid myself of fear. It’s a cool experience – to learn something new, to get acquainted with others and to talk to other people. I feel more comfortable abroad now than ever before. I know that there are things you can make yours everywhere, so I want to leave. I’d like to have a home in Kyiv, but to travel and live around the world as well, to live in a new country every two to three months. In order to create new favorite places, you need to make them your favorite by living fully for a certain amount of time. 

You’ve had a lot of interviews, which questions do you dislike answering?
Most of all I do not like to answer those questions that have already been asked a million times. I consider it disrespectful if you approach a person and ask, for example: “Why is your group called Nikita?”. Please, Google it. It has already been answered more than 1000 times.

I feel strange when strangers ask me: “Why do you not have children?”. It makes me want to ask why is she so fat at the age of 30. Since I’ve been back, I answer these questions about 20 times a day, and then I just start saying: “Damn, you’re so fat, how do you manage to fit into the staircase?“. It’s the same thing. 

How would you describe the infamous Ukrainian mentality?
It’s strong. It’s strongly felt when you enter the airport on your return flight.

The severity of all our experiences is in the air. I really want people to stop being a herd. I really want people to notice each other.

I feel so very sorry for the elderly in our country. I am extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to help my parents, my grandmother, who stayed back in my hometown. My grandmother’s pension is 2600UAH  [ed.note: $100], and her monthly house bills are 3400UAH [ed.note: $140]. How can an old person survive in such conditions? God forbid she gets sick or she needs medicine, who will pay or buy it for her? My grandmother worked for 47 years as an English teacher. She spent 47 years at school. Not at home, not at the stove cooking, not with the children. There are millions of people just like her. I am very regretful that people are so irresponsible, that people believe that all this goes in vain. Soon all of us will feel as bad.

The mentality of which country and culture would you say is closest to you in spirit?
I really liked Bali, because we all know how poor people are over there and how much they work, but at the same time, they are grateful for everything that surrounds them. They are happy unconditionally. I like Buddhism because every day I am more and more disappointed in the laws and by the rules that we as a society follow.  On Bali I can fully recover with its atmosphere and the kindness of its people. You can leave your personal belongings and find them just as they were and you can ask for anything you want.  You don’t even have to communicate in one language, everyone just gets it. It’s so cool. They probably just appreciate things and are very grateful for everything they have, whereas for our people it’s never enough. That’s why we have so many people who live in extreme poverty and then there are those who are ridiculously rich, those who do not comprehend the price of poverty. They don’t know what it’s like to be an old person living in a communal apartment, who awaits for aid that will never come. Only miracles are possible in the case of such people. For example, when someone writes a post about you on Facebook, and so on. These stories make me happy: when young people pay for the elderly or tell their story. Do you remember the story about the grandfather, who has been a very cool technologist throughout his entire life, and ended up holding a sign “I can sew a suit” outside? He now works in Voronin’s studio. I am so sincerely happy for him and that he was given this job. The man worked his entire life and achieved great things but imagine what it took for him to stand in the subway to seek out work. Imagine how many talented and skillful people can’t do the same thing because of their upbringing and our mentality. They know that nobody needs them. It’s sad.

What was the most memorable question you were asked in your life?
Wow, I don’t know. People always ask me the same questions. I am often amused by those people who ask about personal things like, “What is your secret dream?”. Yeah, right, as if I’m going to disclose that. But really, I’m asked the same things over and over again. I like it when people recognize that my experience in cinema is overall linked to similarly fleeting roles, but recently I was asked who I would like to portray. Afterward we’ve spoken about some interesting female biographies for quite a while. I don’t even know if I could play those roles, but I would really like to. I would really like the director to mock me, torment me, force me to seek things and discover my limits. Unfortunately, in our country, such films do not exist. 

What role would you be interested in?
I really like Amelie, even though it’s very ‘pop’. There are actors who only act in good films. Audrey Tautou is among those actresses. I like all of her protagonists. She always remains so equally unshakable in her world, in which you want to cut through, but it’s not always possible. I really like Jessica Chastain – a very cool actress, who played in “Molly’s Game,” “Mrs. Sloan.” The latter has such a cool story revolving around the idea that the whole world is against you. Even her lawyer who was meant to protect her was against her, and she proved that things can be excused because each life and experience is unique. May God grant every woman to be able to prove a case like this, because very often women are treated worse than men.

Have you encountered such things both in life or in your career?
No. I often get a negative attitude both from men and women. I know that women behave inappropriately when I’m around, so I rarely go to events, presentations, concerts, red carpets. I don’t like that sort of thing, it’s always boring. It’s way more interesting to communicate with men because it’s easy to suppress any desires and stupid fantasies and get passed that, but overall I really like the sense of humor aspect and the spirit of companionship. I feel more comfortable with men. 

If you would switch genders for 24 hours, what would you do with that time?
Well, first of all, I would find out how all the male mechanisms work in relation to a woman. I don’t know. Overall, I’ve tried almost all the things that men do as part of the show, in which I take part in right now, where I fly all over the world. I prove that women can do the same things as men. It is very cool. But I would probably try to write down everything that I see as a man on a piece of paper, and see why the approach of a man and a woman is so different. I would probably show that paper to myself as a woman again. Often times conflicts and misunderstandings occur precisely because none of us wants to articulate our thoughts. Talking with men now, I understand that this is precisely why a million events in life happen foolishly and unfairly – just because we don’t want to talk through things, we are afraid to open up to each other. In a relationship, it is very important for me that the man is sincere. This, of course, is a rarity. The great quality in a woman is when a man can cry in front of her, share things with her, things that are intimate. This is important for me, and I suffer greatly when a man is distant and hides within himself.

Who was your biggest teacher in life?
I really love autobiographies and have read a lot of them: Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Betty Page, Virginia Woolf. Recently I read a cool autobiography of Peggy Guggenheim. All of them gradually became examples for me. I don’t have a thing where I look up to my mom or grandmother because they are cool. Yes, they are cool, but everyone teaches us something to some extent. I am very grateful to Alexei Glushkov, who found my photos on a computer in the “trash” folder and invited me to do a photo shoot. He taught me to understand photography, to love myself, to love my body. I will always be grateful to him. He lives in China now and is engaged in the arts of that area. I never hesitate to mention that he found me in the ‘trash bin’ and helped me to appreciate art and cinema. He basically forced me to watch films by Alexei Uchitel, Lungin – all of the Russian cinema. Lyosha shared all the films of his life, and he didn’t just make me watch: the following day we sat opposite each other in rocking chairs and discussed everything in detail. It was so cool. I recall these moments with such affection because the possibility that I would run into these films on my own would equal zero. I come from such a small and provincial city. My parents are the ordinary work class. Of course, my parents also showed me a lot of cool films, I am grateful to them for it. But it all happened at home, and when you leave home, you seek something else. When you listen to cool music at home, then you want to listen to pop music elsewhere. The spirit of juvenile rebellion. Many children who have musician parents turn out to be completely different from them. I’ve always wanted something extraordinary, although my parents insisted that I go to the Railway Institute. Well, I was always an actress, I was always meddling with that. I was forced to study at the theater at the Dnepropetrovsk school of culture. Only now I realize that it was a great place. I remember the moment when we got into the old building, and I told my mother: “Damn this place is going to fall apart”. I go in and see the orchestra, the choreographers ran out wearing leggings and red boots, and I wore Adidas, and it was all so unfitting. Often times the harsh situations that I found myself in ended up saving me. I was always an outsider.

But you reminisce about it in fondly.
Yes. I draw an analogy all the time: when I left my hometown, I was 16 years old, so from the age of 16 till the age of 22 I’ve experienced the most difficult period. It’s so hard for me to recall those times. In show business, when I started to work with Yuri Nikitin, I felt as if I was16 years old again, and again all these difficulties repeated themselves for ten years, damn it. “Thank you for being alive” – that’s my motto.

What do you think will truly matter at the end of life?
Art. It sounds corny, but nevertheless, I would never have believed in these biographies, stories, facts, if there were no photographs, paintings, musical pieces of work. It is something that can’t be faked. A person must create and leave a trace behind. I’ve read the biography of Lev Landau just now who is a very famous physicist. He went through such a difficult path full of suffering but nevertheless remained a very humble and modest person. Strangers fought for him. He has a million achievements in his area of expertise. It’s so strange that when you open up something new to the world, people always try to drown you, they always attempt to destroy you. Why does that happen? In our country it is very prominent, for example, when people say: “Mila Kunis is from Chernivtsi.” Why did you diss her before? Why was her mother forced to leave, to emigrate? Why is that? It seems to me that if within the realms of our country more talented people were received with love from the start, then our culture would be completely different. People wouldn’t be such pretentious fucking assholes.  

Like that recent news story about the pianist with Ukrainian ‘roots’ who won a Grammy award. Why is it that we love achievements retroactively?
Because we have nothing to put in the forefront, let’s say so. And why did Greta, who read a written text by someone else out loud became known all over the world and was published on the cover of Forbes, while the guy who figured out how to clean the oceans from plastic disappeared into the unknown? The world loves fake heroes.

We choose fake heroes. We are interested in trash culture and overdramatic profiles. It’s all rather sad.  

Who do you consider to be a modern-day hero?

I consider heroes those people who are concerned about someone other than themselves.

I have a lot of friends on Instagram that I have never even seen personally, but these are people who help animals. I’m trying to somehow aid them. Over the past year, we have found homes to more than 20 stray puppies and they are happy now. I think these people are heroes. We’ve all experienced these moments when you scroll through because you don’t want to read something negative or sad, I myself have done that. But heroes take action, they save the dog with its legs torn off, take the dog into surgery and fight for its life. Maybe it’s better to euthanize a dog in such a horrific situation, but there are people who fight with cruelty, who fight the terrible attitude some have towards animals, towards the environment. They do it against all odds. They say to plant trees. What will happen when I plant a tree? Tomorrow some morons will cut it down, but there are people who, despite everything, do it every day. For me, these are heroes. Everything in the world is so bad and scary. I’m like a chicken, “Where to lay an egg?”. Where to give birth to children? I do not want to give life here. Therefore, that’s why I don’t have them probably. I want to go somewhere else. I don’t want my family to live in such a country. I would like an “Aladdin” scenario – to put everyone on the carpet plane, my grandmother, grandfather, brother, my entire family, and fly somewhere else. “Coconuts, bananas, an orange paradise…

Is there a particular photographer, even those who had passed away, who you would like to be in front of?
Oh, I always liked Lindbergh. I even analyze the material I have of his. It’s a type of beauty that always has a certain crack, it always has a broken edge to it. I like the way he saw beautiful women. Surely they didn’t like themselves in the mirror that day when he saw them through the lens and later showed them to the world. I like this kind of art, but not when everything is beautiful and flawless. Every time I do make-up, I always smear something somewhere.

It’s not beautiful when it’s all about perfection. Beauty should be a little bit flawed. It’s feminine that way.

What was the wisest thing you’ve heard?
It seems to me that life is broken into segments. You live and then click, you hear something and it becomes something that you base your life on, you obtain a phrase that you always keep at the back of your mind. Ivanenko nicely said that anything that you lay your sight on for longer than two seconds will betray you. I even advise everyone to read that interview of his. We are often invited to work as hosts. “Can we not invite Ivanenko, please?”. Then I tell them to read that interview so that they all understand what I’m talking about. That’s a human mystery in a way – you read something and you don’t even notice its significance, but it’s important for it to hit the target.  

I really liked the book about Peggy Guggenheim, even though Vlad dissed it. She was a woman with an amazing sense of humor, thanks to which she survived during all those terrible situations she was in. Like that time when the surgeons attached a different nose to her face. Imagine plastic surgery in the 30s. She chose a plaster cast, and they did everything under local anesthesia, so the doctor woke her up and told her that she urgently had to pick a different cast. She told them to leave it as it is, but it was a bit too late for that. That’s just one of the many stories of her attitude and it really speaks to me. It would probably have devasted a person with no sense of humor at all.  

Who would you like to have a conversation with among historical figures?
I am very regretful that I barely spoke with Hugh Hefner. We saw each other, and I wanted to ask him so much, but at that time my English wasn’t that good. I would also like to meet Marilyn Monroe on the street without even talking. I would like to meet her gaze because I adore her. People kept saying that she was an empty beauty but I always saw an entire world in photographs of her. I see the way she was. She was unique. I would like to walk and meet her gaze. Sometimes meeting a person’s gaze is much more valuable than discussing a particular topic. I’m generally obsessed with films. I really love the actress Maria Shalaeva. I would like to talk with her.

What films would you recommend?
‘Mermaid’. Anna Melikyan’s films are all a must-see. All films with Renata Litvinova are classics. The last thing I liked of hers was her post on her birthday, that said, “I was hit by a car, they lifted me up and I said: ‘Lady, how could you do this to me on my birthday! ‘”. A masterpiece. This is so in her style. Also, make sure to read her book. We recently discussed it with Sonya, there are so many expressions for women. It’s eternal. 

What question would you like to hear in an interview and what would you answer? Perhaps you want to share some information?
I believe an interview is a process where you prepare for what people might ask you.  I always look into other people’s interviews before I do my own. Yet at the same time I do not prepare the things that I’m going to say. There will always be new things to say from your experiences and from the new things you’ve heard from someone. For example, Jean-Paul Gaultier, who I’ve mentioned earlier. I’ve met him personally, he once invited us to join their famous TV show “Eurotresh”. I think they turned12 years old, and it was their anniversary edition. Of course, for me it was a great honor, despite the fact that it was 4 years ago, and even though I stopped performing naked for a while, we’ve made an exception. He is so creative. Many people do not like Ksenia Sobchak, but I adore her because, through her bluntness and superficial attitude, she opens up certain processes in a person. Olya Buzova, for example, outdid herself which I thought was simply impossible but she ‘planted’ an audience in her own cafe for the interview and Sobchak asked her: “Well, you’ve placed all these people here so that the tables wouldn’t be empty, right?” This shows the nature of the person. With Jean-Paul Gaultier, she asked some scandalous banal questions and received answers relating to the topic of homosexuality and plagiarism. A lot of people would feel embarrassed if someone asked them how their parents reacted to their child coming out.  His story is so dramatic: he and his boyfriend at the time agreed that both would tell their parents. As a result, he told his parents, but his boyfriend didn’t. You enter the situation of a person whom until this day you perceived differently. It has to be accepted as part of nature, otherwise, it’s like condemning a tree for being a tree and having green leaves. I don’t like it when things turn into some kind of circus, when people behave inappropriately, intrusively. He emphasized this topic in the interview beautifully and that it’s not a necessity to shout about it to the whole world. He responds to the questions so delicately. There is a sense of power a person should have in order to say he liked an interview like that. Despite being delicate, she asked difficult questions. 

She can allow herself to be like that, as she has both experience, background and influence, which took a long road to attain. I’m still walking the road.
Yes, unlike our journalists, who appeared from ‘what’ channel and ask you in your face: “Why don’t you have children?” That’s horrible. It’s a shame that people don’t understand such basic things. If you have a million interviews with cool people and tremendous experience of stories – then ask away. Yet such people, as a rule, do not ask things out of line because they have a sense of tact. I am sometimes even ashamed of them asking those questions myself.

Yes, at times one feels ashamed while going through Ukrainian media.
Thank you so much. Honestly, I took a million screenshots, I re-read Vlad’s interview several times. I always want to come back to it. I like the way you approach it and your experience. It’s hard to surprise Vladik. It must be a pleasure to interview a journalist. There was a funny story about Vlad. One time very different people gathered for a mutual friends’ birthday party: a doctor, a businessman, an athlete, and so on. Sometimes when people are too different then it’s not the best idea to bring them all together. Everyone had drinks and then the doctor asked Vlad what he does for a living and he replied that he is a journalist and the editor-in-chief of Playboy. “Well interview me then!“. The interview ended at 5 AM with everyone drunk sobbing. In 12 minutes he asked 20 questions that required to be answered in one word – everyone cried.

It’s so cool when a journalist can make you feel something, instead of you sitting there with thoughts that with every minute you lose time, especially when you have to answer questions that even the interviewer is not interested in asking. 

Translation: Elena Savlokhova

Special thanks to KAMA Restaurant