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Fast confession - Taťána Makarenko: The pageant needs me more than I need a wedding and kids

Tereza Janatová
12.Feb 2018
+ Add on Seznam.cz
7 minutes to read

She already had one child at the age of eighteen. It was a beauty pageant. At least that’s how she speaks about her contest, which she would even breathe for. In an interview for Luxury Prague Life, Taťána Makarenko talked about her plans with the Miss Czech Republic pageant and why the wedding and baby have to wait. With a rather guilty conscience, she admitted that she somewhat neglects her partner Zdeněk Bahenský. 

With her partner Zdeněk
Last year winners

In addition to raising public awareness of your Miss Face Czech Republic pageant, you’ve also renamed it Miss Czech Republic, which could raise the bar. What do you expect from this?

We are launching our ninth year, so those eight years that I’ve spent working on the pageant are a sort of gratification. But above all, the contest must be of good quality.

Allegedly, you were sued by the owners of the competing pageant Česká Miss (Czech Miss), Eva Čerešňáková and Martin Ditmar, because of your pageant’s new name.

I haven’t received anything at home, my lawyer hasn’t received anything and neither have my patent attorneys. I am not foolish enough to do something I know I can’t. The steps I have taken are not rash; they are substantiated by my lawyers. I don’t think I am in breach of the law.

Prodej luxusního domu, Praha - západ - 414 m2
Prodej luxusního domu, Praha - západ - 414 m2, Okolí Prahy

Then why do you think the owners of Česká Miss are contesting it, if they are not right in your view? Fear of competition?

Of course they are afraid of competition. Everybody is afraid of competition that is working its way up. I’m not saying that we are in the limelight, others must judge that, but we will see this year and in the coming years which Miss pageant was the good one. Logically they are concerned. I would be concerned too, in their place. They bought something they wanted to elevate and when they are not managing and the competition is faring better… I have done nothing to prevent them from succeeding. But when somebody is going down, they tend to fix their attention on somebody who is their most likely successor.

Do you consider yourself the successor?

My view is that when I was eighteen, I created a pageant and it was something I liked to do and now I’m pursuing it further. I do something I understand and have devoted my entire life to. I competed from the age of sixteen, twelve pageants in the Czech Republic, four international ones, and so on. I am generally barely ten years older than the contestants, so I really understand the girls.

Will there be any changes?

I want to maintain the same spirit. I am glad people have become aware of the pageant, despite the fact I’ve never had much money for massive promotion, because it costs money to buy billboards or television advertising. Many people say that it’s going to be confusing now with two beauty pageants. But I don’t think so.

I would particularly like to ask about one thing. At present, no television station is cooperating with the competing Česká Miss, meaning that there are no beauty pageants on TV. Logically, I’m wondering if you are negotiating with any television station.

I am negotiating with television stations. I already had two years ago. We are currently considering which station to join. I mean, among those we are dealing with.

And which ones are you dealing with?

It would be foolish of me to say something when nothing has been signed. Until it is black on white, then I would just be building castles in the air. What I would like is one thing, what the television would broadcast is another, and finances yet another. Many people don’t realise that the pageant pays for the production, and I am not subsidised by the state. The private entrepreneur has to pay for it, and that’s me. We’re talking millions or tens of millions and procuring such a sum for a two-hour broadcast is very difficult. Hence, there is a single obstacle, which is whether we can get the money.

What if it doesn’t work out?

I haven’t taken the contest to Nova, or Prima, or CT1 for the past eight years, so we simply wouldn’t be there for the ninth year either. What is important for me is to take gradual steps. I’ve always done it this way. Gradual but stable steps. I don’t like taking sudden steps, because Czech viewers would never forgive me. People want to see quality and they don’t know how to forgive. I can’t afford to miss a step, even with respect to myself or the media, which have immense power.

Luxusní byt na prodej, Praha 7- Bubeneč - 150m
Luxusní byt na prodej, Praha 7- Bubeneč - 150m, Praha 7

How important do you think media relations and humility are?

Humility is important in every business and not just in business. I think I am humble.

You founded the pageant when you were eighteen. You were actually still a girl about to graduate from high school. When you told somebody about it at the time, did they think you were nuts or did they believe in you?

I don’t think they didn’t believe in me. I’d travelled abroad from the age of fourteen, so I think it helped me mature quickly. I learned to manage money, and that I can’t trust everybody, that I have to rely on myself. It is one thing to create it and another to finish it. It is important to persevere and believe in the idea, and not to cheat. I believe in decency. Perhaps people didn’t take me as seriously then as they do now. I was quite young, blonde (laughs). But overall, I think this kind of categorising is pointless. We have plenty of beautiful women here, who are of great quality, and people keep claiming that women are less than men.

Do you get that feeling?

I do. There are positions which are always held by women. For instance an assistant. An assistant is always a woman because it is inferior for men to be assistance. It’s the same in politics. Or a female president! We’ve never had a female president because people here aren’t used to the idea.

I see you are really consumed by work. How would you imagine your private life in the next five years?

About the same as now. Have the same partner I have now, but we would take it a step further with a wedding or child. A child within the next five years. I think I would definitely like to have a baby by the age of thirty. It’s nice, so why postpone it.

So you’re already “ticking”?

I’m not ticking, but it’s because I have a lot of work. The pageant still needs me and it’s not independent, it’s not a proper adult. It’s still a child that needs a mother.

And when do you think it will stop needing a mother?

It’s not really a matter of whether it needs me or not, but I need to have a stable, high-quality team of people around me, because it is difficult to pass the baton to somebody after a year and trust them. For now, I want to be there for everything, I want to know who we are choosing. I interfere with the jury quite a lot, because I think I know the girls best. It is important for me that the one that deserves it, the one that has what it takes, wins. Because not everybody has what it takes. This is why we follow them for half a year, and we’re with them all the time – to discover who is really capable of making it in the world of show business.

It looks like you have it all sorted out at work. How is it at home? 

I sometimes feel like I’m the one wearing the trousers, because I am o used to deciding everything from work. At home, I can be the one who guides the partner on the right track, but I do like it when a man is a man. I wouldn’t want a man who would let me shout at him. I definitely never want the man to be a doormat, because the guy doesn’t deserve it and I think it would make be a bad girlfriend. I wouldn’t respect the relationship or my husband, I couldn’t bear his name and boss him around at the same time. But many guys don’t know how to do it – to be a man – and require the care, decision-making and dictating of the woman. I think we have found the right balance. We always discuss things diplomatically, and take turns deciding. When he doesn’t like something, he knows how to put his foot down. I’m no housewife, so he subordinates himself to me in many things, but it’s only because I have a lot of work and little time. But that doesn’t mean I dictate. I do have some free time, but we haven’t been on vacation in two years. We simply haven’t had time.

Does Zdeněk ever complain a bit perchance?

He complains a bit. He complains a bit more (laughs) because the Miss pageant is my baby and my partner and it dictates everything. If we were ever to think about pregnancy, I know I wouldn’t be able to give birth or be in my ninth month in September. I wouldn’t manage the final. Everything is subordinated to the pageant, even the wedding.

Do you have a wedding date set?

We talk about it, plan that we would like to do it next year, as I won’t manage this year. This year, the contest needs me more than I need a wedding. The wedding is a bigger step for me, because Zdeněk has already been married once, and would even give it up. But he does want a child. I would like the wedding first and then the child. It depends on my desires, he respect them. So the wedding in 2019 and children immediately afterwards. I have to work it out. I will probably be the type of mother than brings her child to work, and I feel a bit bad about that because I will want to take care of the child, spend as much time as I can with it. But I think it can be managed.

Maybe by that time you will be surrounded by people you can rely on.

Exactly. I will give birth, spend 14 days at home and then go to work and return home to breastfeed. I think it can be done when you have grandmothers or a boyfriend to babysit. I will have meeting around the house and will return home regularly to breastfeed… But of course I don’t know, because I haven’t been a mother yet.

I was about to tell you to give me a call afterwards and let me know if it’s really working out like you planned. (laughs)

(laughs) It might not be like that, but I know plenty of mothers who have been on maternity leave for at least two or even four years, and that is not my case. I could get bored and think up silly idea. I know it already. I need to realise my thoughts, because if I don’t, then I get stressed out. A baby is beautiful. It will probably change my life and I will reassess my priorities. Right now, my greatest priority is the Miss pageant. Then my greatest priority will of course be my child, but I don’t think it’s impossible to have a partner who I love, a family and a child who come first, but also to have the work. It is one thing to be employed, and another to have a project. I will want to devote more time to my project than to working for somebody else. I will try not to sink it. It is all in the stars, but I would like to plan it so that I manage and the baby doesn’t hold me back too much in developing the Miss pageant, because I can do that until I’m sixty.

Fast confession:

Czechia or Ukraine?

Czechia.

Beauty or intelligence?

Both.

What is your dream?

To be successful.

And what is your nightmare?

To not succeed.

Anchor

Bitter truth or gentle lie?
Probably bitter truth.

What would you never get improved on yourself?

Hard to say. I am satisfied with myself, but like every woman I can see some flaws.

Three things you find most interesting in men?

Humour, some charisma and loyalty.

If ever you get married, will you change your surname?

Certainly. I will be Mrs Bahenská.

Which woman inspires you?

Probably Victoria Beckham.

Which food do you hate?

Anything made of offal.

What are your best and worst characteristics?

The best that I am responsible. And the worst? Probably that I am not very punctual.

In how many years are you planning a family?

Soon. Within the fingers of one hand.

What bothers you about Czech show business?

It’s a very small pond and everything that ever happens can have an impact on the future. It’s more anonymous abroad.

Who is your best friend?

I can’t name one. I have several. I love Kačka Průšová, Eliška Bučková, but of course I have otherwise outside of show business who I don’t want to name, because I don’t know if they would like me to.
The interviewee asks the interviewer:

You look great. And how is the baby?

Fine, but she’s not really a baby anymore, she will be two years old soon. Thank you.
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