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You Look Wonderful Today. You Always Look Fabulous, But Much More So Today.
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Год 2005, 1
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You Look Wonderful Today. You Always Look Fabulous, But Much More So Today.

Umělec 2005/1

01.01.2005

Zuzana Štefková | interview | en cs

An Interview With Juliana Kratochvílová

I don’t remember how long it has been since I left school, but I’ve been a model for 23 years. Next week, on November 21st I’m going to be 63. I’ve been a model since I was 40. At that time I saw an advertisement in the Večerní Praha newspaper, and I thought, ‘well, I won’t be just sitting around at home and waiting.’ I am a Scorpio, we are full of energy, and hardworking. I was in housing for the disabled, and I’d been divorced for about two years. So I dressed up, did my hair and waited to hear if they’d take me, and they did.

Were you ashamed?

No, I was ashamed when I was seventeen, I was a virgin then. So I was ashamed. When I was to go to the doctor, I had a strange feeling, but never among the students. When I was seventeen I had a single desire. We went to dance in one group and the teacher told me that I am light and airy and that he would take me. When I was fifteen the director spoke with me and said I should go to the conservatory, but we were three children at home. I’m a Scorpio and they write that we like art and painting.

What did you do then?


I went to work, I made metal jewelry and medallions in Jablonec. We also produced commemorative spoons. That was nice, we knew the engravers who made the aluminum plates. And we did the print. I have been an invalid for more than twenty years. I underwent four neurological operations. Twice they did my cervical spine and that they did my lumbar channel. If they hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be here today.

And isn’t it dangerous for you, to do a job where you strain your spine so much?


Yes, it might be dangerous, but I don’t know. I have to do something. I never say like many women: “I am tired, I couldn’t go to work.” I have one saying: If I don’t try, I will die. You’ve got to do something, or you go pear- shaped. And Professor Oriešek told me last week that I have the nicest behind and breasts. So I just laugh and don’t worry about too much.

Do you think that the atmosphere at the Academy has changed since you’ve been there?


Well, the professors used to be more dressed up, in suits, shirts and tie. I have always liked that.

And you think this is the biggest change?

The school is renovated, it looks nice. Otherwise I think there are not many changes.

Has someone ever reacted with surprise or disapproval of your job?

My friends asked me: “Would you find such a job for me, but no, I wouldn’t undress.” “And why.” “I would be ashamed.”
I was also sorry that I am alone, that I don’t have any friends. I wanted to meet someone but I said to myself that when I went to meet someone I would miss one evening and that would be a loss of time. I prefer working, because I would lose money and I know that there was never anybody worth spending the evening with.
Sometimes men called me through the advertisement agency and asked me whether I go to work: “I do.” “And what do you do?” “I am sorry I’d rather not tell you now, maybe in person.” “And why.” “Do you really want to know?” “I do.” “I am a model for art schools.” “What??? Well, good bye.” And he put down the phone. This happened a few times and I was really sorry, it was really painful, today there are still people who don’t understand that I work for art.
I would like to get married and have the same kind of beautiful relationship as I do with art. but it is not possible. Today men have changed a lot and that is a pity. No chivalry is in them. Sometimes young boys offer me a seat on the bus, this is nice and I praise them. But I hate men in Botas shoes I don’t mind when students wear them, because they get dressed like that, but when men wear them on the street or at work—and businessmen.., I’ll tell you, I hate it. And when it gets warm there’s that horrible smell in the metro or the bus.

And what about Czech women?

What a pity there are so many fat women. If they did a bit of exercise, tried to do something. I know it’s not easy. But sometimes they have crutches: if they didn’t weigh one hundred kilos they wouldn’t need them. Or posture: I have good posture for my age. And I have had scoliosis since I was eleven and I do this job.

What about the students’ work?

Well, sometimes it is nice when I resemble myself. Mostly I do, because here at the Academy they take people who are able to do something.

Do you go to exhibitions?


Unfortunately, I don’t because I don’t like to go alone. And I don’t know Prague very well. And the exhibitions cost money as well. Often I thought it would be nice to have some pass.

What do you think about nudity?


My neurologist told me that I shouldn’t wear a wet swimming suit because it is bad for my back, so I don’t mind being naked. There is nothing in it. I go to the Hostivař nudist beach in the summer, and that’s a calm place. The water is very dirty, though. But it is peaceful, no one notices you. And I have an even suntan. If I was wearing a swimming suit, it wouldn’t be good for the students.

What is your relation to your own body?


I have nice breasts and as you see I have no wrinkles. I take care of myself. I have very smooth skin. I don’t need a hairdresser, I don’t need to get massages. I take care and do it for myself. I have a good feeling then. Yesterday a bus driver told me—and they do look around—“You look very nice today, you look great other days, but today more than ever.” And he waved me good bye. Some women are ashamed of their breasts. I think it is not good when a woman around fifty says she is no longer important. I used to go dancing and when I went somewhere, people knew that someone was arriving. “You go to work?” they asked. “I do.” “And what do you do?” “Try to guess, earn your tip.” “Well you must be a model.” They could see it.
I like the job, it brings something new into my life and one cannot work just for money. Everyone must like the students, have a relation towards art, towards drawing, and go to school. It’s the same with me. I have to have a relationship with my work to enjoy it, to have fun every day. Of course once I got up in the morning and I could hardly walk, because this work is demanding on your legs, but then I took a bath and did some exercise and I was OK again. It is important to live for something. It is very beautiful. Former students are assistants today and when we meet after years, they say, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” “Well, you do.” Then my heart is flying.




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