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On fame, competitions and the future

Fast Confession - blogger Anna Šulc: Youtubering is fun, but also a fight for money

Karolína Lišková
29.Apr 2019
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11 minutes

Anna Šulcová is a star of social networks, watched by more than half a million people every day. She has been Youtubering for a couple of years now and collected several interesting awards. In 2018, for instance, she won the Czech Social Awards, and this May she will be competing against international performers in the Global Social Awards. Thanks to the internet, this 20-year-old beauty is making considerable amounts of money. In an interview with Luxury Prague Life, Anna disclosed what she likes to spend on, spoke about her love life and mentioned there are going to be major changes in her life soon…

It’s kind of you to meet with me just a few hours before going to the USA. Can you tell me about your plans?

Right now I'm going to LA, to the Coachella festival. That’s a secondary thing, though, I'm mainly going there to shoot swimsuit photos for Tezenis, a brand I collaborate with.

How many brands have you already collaborated with in the three years of being a youtuber?

Quite a few, I’d say around twenty.

Do you choose?

I do. Of course, at the beginning, I was happy for everything that came my way, during the first year. But now it’s a selection process, I rarely say yes.

Luxusní dům na prodej, okolí Prahy - 298m
Luxusní dům na prodej, okolí Prahy - 298m, Okolí Prahy

What kind of offer would you refuse?

Probably a fast food chain, although I like them myself and often eat there. But I know it's probably not something I should pass on to others.

So you think about these things and try to pass something positive on? Are you trying to educate the society about current issues, such as plastic waste or the extinction of animals?

I’m not really trying to separate it, because there are influencers who focus strictly on these issues. I leave it to them, I just point out a problem every now and then. I'm not trying to make it a huge thing, because I know people are very controversial nowadays, and it would be very controversial of me. Recently, I’ve been in an aquarium, for example, and I posted a picture of it on Instagram, so I wrote a little bit there, too. But I don’t want to get too deep into it, because it would result in a far too big discussion.

How many followers do you have? On Instagram, Youtube and Facebook?

About 580,000 on Instagram, say 430,000 on Youtube, and on Facebook - I don't know, I don’t use that.

You don’t use Facebook?

People don’t use that anymore. I mean some might, but probably not. Definitely not me...

Ah, I see. Well, I don’t have Instagram.

How do you live? (laughs) That's strange, everything happens there. It’s the social network of the future!

What should someone from an older generation take from your videos? Like me, being thirty.

I don't know, I'm not really targeting them at the older generation. I don't want to educate in my videos. Ever since the beginning, I've been claiming that Youtube was fun for me. I wanted to entertain other people, not to pass wisdom on them. On the other hand, I’ve just made a video about graduation that can be helpful for high school students. I graduated last year and it gave me horrible issues, of the psychical kind, because I had no idea what to do. So this could help someone else. But it’s really targeted mostly at the age group of about 15 - 22.

You’ve just turned 20 and celebrated it with your mom in the theater. Why didn't you have a proper party?

That’s not my thing, I don’t like it, I’ve actually never had any celebration. Clubs, parties... I’m not into that at all.

How do you imagine your ideal evening?

Not partying in a club. It would be more like going to the cinema, having a good dinner, something calm. People always think I'm a club-hopper, but it’s not like that at all.

According to your own words, your target group are people aged 15 to 22, but you will grow up, mature and your opinions will change. Do you believe your fans will follow you, or that you’ll gain new ones?

Of course, that’s something I'm a bit afraid of, too, that they'll grow up and stop following me. On the other hand, I am starting a partnership with the helpline Linka Bezpečí, which is a slightly different thing, so I think that a couple of new people might be interested. It's different from my usual things. I will try to stick to what I’m doing, because, after all, that’s how I started, that’s how I gained all the followers. But at the same time I want there to be some added value.

What about envy? You have so many followers, you get a lot of offers… That must be a source of envy, especially for Czech people.

Totally, especially in the Czech Republic. Interestingly enough, it used to be much worse at the beginning. When I started, people didn't really want to see me on the scene. But I told myself, "No, I'll stay, I'll keep shooting videos, I'll keep doing what I like." And it seem to have stopped over time.

Of course, I still have haters, it’s not like nothing ever happens. But it's on a much smaller scale. Moreover, I’m trying not to read the comments, but my mom, with whom I talk about everything, is much more upset about it than me, because she really reads it all. She always tells me: "Anička, look what this person wrote about you!" I haven't seen a constructive comment in a long while - nothing like "here is what you’re doing wrong, try to fix it." Rather, it’s one-word comments, cuss words.

Have you got any brothers or sisters?

I don't, I'm an only child.

Vila na prodej - Klánovice - 465m
Vila na prodej - Klánovice - 465m, Praha 9

In that case, all the negative statements and comments only affect your mom?

Pretty much. Then again I'm a very sensitive person, I used to let them get to me, that’s why I stopped reading them.

On Instagram, you have a lot of photos with a friend of yours. I guess he’s not your boyfriend, is he also a youtuber?

You probably mean Adam. I hang out with guys much more than with girls, so I’m not 100 % sure. Adam is my best friend, we kind of started together on Youtube.

Do you also plan stuff with other youtubers? Is there some kind of cooperation between you?

Between youtubers overall? That used to be much more common in the past, but it’s more and more about money, which also means more of a competitive attitude. But I don’t really talk to other youtubers - when we happen to meet at an event, of course, we greet each other and have a small talk. But I wouldn't go out for a coffee with them. With my best friend Adam, yeah, sure, we've been a great match since the beginning. I know there's no envy between us, no evil intentions, so we can make videos together, we talk all the time. He’s graduating now, so I’m helping him.

What are you studying now?

I'm at the University of Finance and Administration, Marketing Communications.

And do you still live with your mom?

Yeah, but my mom will be moving now, she should be gone in about a month. (laughs) Which is a bit strange, I’m going to stay in our apartment and my mom and her boyfriend have recently bought a new apartment.

So you want to become independent and live alone?

That’s been the plan, I’ve even suggested it to my mother. Originally I wanted to get an apartment somewhere in Prague, but in the end, my mum decided that she would move to a newer and bigger place. She’s always wanted a new apartment somewhere in Prague, so she's moving a little away from me. Just about three minutes by car.

Aren’t you going to miss her? And can you cook and stuff like that?

I'm definitely going to miss her, but I think we need this, because we sometimes argue about nonsense. I don't cook much, but of course there are things I can prepare.

There's a lot on Youtube...

(laughs) Exactly, there are tutorials. But I’ve never been one of the people who need to eat warm meals, I prefer bread with ham. I always have, so this doesn’t really concern me.

What's the difference between a blog and a vlog?

A blog is a written version of a vlog. A vlog means taking a camera, making a video of yourself or anything else, putting it on Youtube and creating video content. A blog is in a written form, it’s like having a diary on the Internet.

While in LA, taking swimsuit photos, do you intend to blog or vlog?

I will definitely vlog. But I'm also going to be putting photos on Instagram and I’ll always write something underneath.

How many hours a day does it take you?

I often say I'm on 24/7, which is true. I'm not working 24/7, but I have to check what others are doing, I'm on the phone all the time.

We’re doing an interview now, and you haven't looked at your phone yet. Do you reply to all comments?

I don't reply to everything. It’s not possible to read all the comments below my videos, there are usually hundreds of them, that wouldn’t work, but on Instagram I try to read everything. But as soon as I see a hate comment, I stop. Then two days later, I’m at it again, it's a vicious circle of sorts. When I go out with a friend whom I haven't seen for ages, though, I'm obviously not on the phone.

You have the Global Social Awards to look forward to. What exactly is that about?

In December, we had the Czech Social Awards, where I was nominated in the Go Global category. I won, so I get to go to the world awards - the Global Social Awards. The event will be held in Prague on May 29th and I will represent the Czech Republic in the category of Inspiration and Influence.

That sounds like a big thing...

It is a big thing. Probably the biggest one that’s ever happened to me, and I'm really proud of myself.

And what’s going to change?

We'll see. There will be influencers from all over the world, of course, so I will gain new contacts, try to meet people. It will be interesting, it’s gonna be huge. Karolina Kurková will be the host and I’m looking forward to the musical performances of Nico Santos and Alma or to Lisa and Lena. I'm a little scared because I don't know what to expect. After all, it’s the world awards…

Do people on the street recognize you?

Yep, they do.

Young people, I suppose?

Of course, young people recognize me all the time. It happens daily, especially in the mall, but also on the street. They always want to take a picture and then they walk off.

And you don't mind?

No, when they come to me, I don't mind. But there are people who stand nearby and take pictures of me secretly, which is unpleasant. But when they come to me, I'm glad because they're usually really nice and they always motivate me to start doing something again.

You don’t have a boyfriend?

I don’t.

I don’t understand... Aren’t you too picky?

(laughs) I guess I am. On the other hand, with everything I’m doing, I don't know if anyone would fit into my life. I think I would become very lazy and that I would only focus on him. And then I’d get nothing done.

Do you do any sports?

I do. I used to dance competitively for about seven years, which I totally loved.

What kind of dance?

Streetdance. I was under Yemi’s tutelage, that was awesome. But I ended just before graduation, because I thought I couldn't handle it. I guess I could have found the time, but... I was simply nervous about that graduation. Later, I tried going to the gym. Right now I'm thinking of taking dance lessons. Just for fun, without any competitive ambitions.

How do you like to spend your money?

On traveling and for concerts. That's my passion, I love it.

Tell me about all the places you’ve been to and where you’d like to go...

It is true that, being only 20, I’ve already been to a lot of places, but my dream is to visit every continent. I was very surprised by Asia, because I had initially been afraid of going - it is a completely different world. Plus, I went with a friend, just the two of us, so it was a real adventure. I‘d like to mention seeing the great Buddha in Hong Kong, where we had to go by cable car over the city and the mountains, which was breathtaking and I will never forget it.

My scariest experience was the fake terrorist attack at a festival in New York. I really thought I'd die there. And if I were to mention the most stressful situation, it would probably be a lost wallet in Italy, when I didn't know how was I going to get home. But in the end, everything worked out. One needs to leave their comfort zone every now and then.

How much have you spent for your most expensive holiday?

I don't want to give any numbers, but it was probably my trip to America in 2017, when we traveled along the West Coast and New York.

And now I'm interested in your encounter with Justin Bieber...

J ustin was - and still is - my inspiration in never letting go of my dreams. Maybe it's a cliché, but his story of a boy who used to play on the street and became a great star really helped me. That's why I'm trying to convey the idea of "Never Give Up On Your Dreams" to others now, and I receive messages from people saying how much it has helped them and how they are fulfilling their dreams every day. They write to me about their sports achievements, school, personal life - and that makes me happy.

Justin taught me this, and I'm glad that I can "teach" other people the same now. Of course, I love his music, even though I must admit that his style was more to my taste in his beginnings, but I will keep supporting him on his journey. It is worth mentioning that watching his interviews and translating his songs helped me incredibly with my English. And people still ask me how is it that I can speak English so well. I didn’t learn it at school, but by watching dozens of interviews with my favorite artists.

Who else would you like to meet? And are you willing to pay for it?

This may sound strange, but I’ve already met everyone I wanted to meet. Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, a lot of my favorite American youtubers… I'd like to keep meeting them over and over again. (laughs)

If someone wanted to meet you, what would be your price?

People can meet me at various events, I don’t determine the price.

Do you think you will always be earning money via Youtube, or do you intend to make use of the school you’re studying?

I don't even know what I’m going to have for breakfast tomorrow, so I can't make an educated guess what's going to happen with Youtube in a few years. I hope it lasts for as long as possible, and I will try to keep making videos. I am in college, I’ve just finished my first semester, I’m taking a break and I’m going to resume my studies in October. I'm studying marketing, but I'm not sure if it's really what I’d like to be doing for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I am only 20 and have many years to decide.

What are you planning for the summer?

I’m flying to Canada at the end of summer, but I don't have any other plans yet.

Why do you shorten your surname?

You know what, I have no clue. If I were to set up a channel now, I’d probably use my whole name. At that time, I had the ambition to shoot in English, so maybe that’s why "Sulc".

Thank you very much for the interview and I wish you good luck in the international competition as well as in life.

Have you heard about the Global Social Awards?

Soon, Prague will experience the world's biggest social event. World-famous social network names are heading to the capital for the Global Social Awards, where, for the first time in history, inspiring personalities will be rewarded on an international scale. More than 40 world influencers and personalities connected with digital platforms or social networks will come to Prague. A three-day program including Meet & Greet (May 27), the GLOSA Talks Conference (May 28), as well as the gala evening (May 29) is prepared for fans and experts. The evening will be hosted by Czech supermodel Karolína Kurková and world music stars such as Alma, Alice Merton and others will arrive. Tickets for the pre-party and meetings with influencers or the gala evening itself are also available.

Fast confession:

How would you described your twentieth birthday celebration in one sentence.

I was in the theater with my mom, nothing extraordinary, but it was nice.

What does Youtube mean to you in three words?

The best work in the world.

Why don't you have any merch?

Because I think it's overpriced, so if I ever decide to make something, it'll have to be affordable and pretty. Stylish, my own.

What does the blogger of the year title mean to you?

My greatest success, I can be proud of myself again, after a long time.

What would you do if there was a blackout in the Czech Republic?

I’d watch a downloaded TV series and buy a lot of food.

What did you want to be when you were little?

Singer or dancer. My parents were hoping I would become a doctor, but that didn't work out.

How many invitations for a date do you get in a day?

None! None... I'm single guys, feel free to write me!

The worst comments from a hater?

I don't really read those much, but something like embarassing video, you’re awkward, but nothing extreme.

What do you want be doing in 10 years?

I hope that I’ll still be doing what I’m doing now and that it will be making me happy.

How did Justin Bieber surprise you?

By being super tan and by the quality of his live singing.

How would you like to save the world?

I think I’d like to motivate people to like each other more.

Which politician do you dislike?

I don’t really want to go there, here in Prague, we have different opinions than the surrounding towns. But if I were to name someone from abroad at least, I don’t entirely agree with Mrs Merkel.

Diet according to Anna Šulc?

Chocolate and stuff, I tried not to eat sweets for 30 days - I pulled through, but it was the first and the last time.

The worst pain you've ever experienced?

In September 2018, when we experienced a fake terrorist attack, it took me a long time to recover from that.
Question by the interviewee for the editor:

How long do you usually work?

Until about midnight.
We don’t have it easy! Thank you.
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