I had the opportunity to meet Veronika literally in the eleventh hour. A few days after our meeting, a national quarantine was declared, so I was glad that she was the last celebrity with whom I could sit over a cup of cappuccino. As soon as Veronika entered the café, her energy brightened everything around her. This young and talented actress, member of the Dejvice Theater and the winner of the StarDance competition, is often said to have the most beautiful smile in show business. And no wonder! At first glance, Veronika looks like a very positive and fragile girl from a fantasy world. But if you talk to her for a while, you realize she's no delicate flower. She can stand up for her opinions and knows exactly what she wants from life. We talked together not only about acting, but also about how she perceives criticism, what has changed for her after thirty and what question can make her furious.
What awaits you in the near future?
I'm glad that I can officially confirm that I'm going to shoot the second sequel of the fairy tale Tajemství staré bambitky (The Mystery of an Old Pistol).
Who are you going to portray?
A new character, Queen Julia.
Does that mean you'll no longer be playing princesses?
It seems so. (laughs) She'll be my first movie queen.
How so? Do you think that from now on, you'll be offered mostly roles of mature women with integrity?
I wish! (laughs) I think it's very important for an actress not to get stuck forever at this stage of beautiful, fresh and uncrumpled roles. Because the truth is that real life crumples us, so why be ashamed of it? Of course, I would be pleased if it began to progressively change this way, but it depends largely on the offers I'll be getting. Sometimes people pigeon-hole you as a fragile girl - and then it is up to you whether you can prove to others that you have what it takes.
Do you feel that you have been pigeon-holed as a fragile girl by some people?
I think so, some see me that way. But those are mainly people who don't really know me. They usually connect me with positive characters. The murderer I played in one TV series seems to have been quickly forgotten. (laughs)
What would be an acting challenge for you?
I admit I don't think about it that way. StarDance, for example, was also a challenge for me, I would never have thought I'd take part in it one day. I'm leaving it to fate, but my dream role is probably Marquise de Merteuil from Dangerous Liaisons. She is a negative character with an angel's face. I would love to look under the lid of her various manipulations and get familiar with this role.
Is the Dejvice Theater your endgamee? Few actors get to become part of this ensemble.
Being part of the Dejvice Theater is, on the one hand, a great blessing for me and I am very grateful for it. On the other hand, yes, sometimes I wonder if there is still room to grow. I assume that in time, I'll have a family phase, too, I will have to take a break and that might change a lot of things.
It has always been my dream to work in this theater, and that came true. I never wanted to get in the National Theater, even if I admit that I sometimes miss the large spaces. Just recently, I saw an opera at the Estates Theater with my husband, and with my head propped up on the seat, I was admiring the incredible and majestic space. It's really beautiful.
Tell me, how's your marriage going?
Absolutely great, it's one huge trip. (laughs) It's a new chapter of my life that brings with it a lot of beautiful as well as complicated things – which, after all, can be said about all relationships. Personally, however, I feel that marriage has brought more responsibility in terms of decision making into our relationship.
Your husband is the artistic director of the theater in Hradec, occasionally directing all over the in the Czech Republic. While you are based in Prague. How do you manage to juggle all this?
We try to plan our time together carefully in advance. And it's true that due to this, we appreciate it all the more and we are very grateful for it. We both take our diaries and write down when we'll take a trip or take a walk with the dog in our surroundings. We always look forward to seeing each other and value our time together.
Do you feel any pressure regarding starting a family?
You know, I really dislike answering this question, because I find it very intimate. Unfortunately, I am asked it all too often. It's a very delicate matter for me to think aloud about this step. It bothers me that once you reach a certain level of fame, you are automatically required to publicly comment on this stage of life.
You asked if I felt pressure, and my answer is "yes". In general, I am under a lot of pressure, and so are my friends, whether it is from the side of family, friends or the media. It's a very unpleasant thing to face, because people are quick to judge you for your answer.
How do you accept criticism?
Much better than I used to. In the past, though, I couldn't deal with it, and I often took criticism personally, which made me upset. Whenever someone told me something, for example that I should speak more loudly, black thoughts began to swarm in my head. I would always start admonishing myself, tearing down my self-confidence. I had to develop a sensor that would help me not only accept criticism but also reject it, make up my own opinion and listen to my intuition.
If the director is pushing you in a particular direction, are you able to stand up to him?
Yes, I've learned that. But now I'm wondering if I could stand up to Mr. Krobot at a rehearsal, we haven't worked together yet. (laughs) But I guess I could. I always look for the middle way and try to find a balance.
How does it work in your family? Do you bring your work home and discuss it with your husband?
Yes, I totally do. Recently I've asked a friend, who is also an actress and married to a dramaturgist, if they bring up theater at home and discuss it. Surprisingly, her answer was, "Are you crazy? That would be the end of our marriage!" (laughs) It's the opposite way for us. We both love our profession, it fullfills us. We inspire and enrich each other.
Of course, when there's too much of it, we decide enough is enough, but that's probably how it works for all professions. My husband sometimes asks me about individual scenes, how I feel and perceive certain situations as an actress, and he is open to my perspective. Likewise, I welcome his opinions.
Was it love at first sight?
Absolutely not. We've known each other for a long time and rehearsed together in Mladá Boleslav. We fell in love with each other over time.
What do you value most about your husband?
His inner strength and his determination. He is like a flame and can live his life to the fullest. He constantly surprises me. Of course, there are different phases in our relationship. And it fascinates me to watch him react to them.
What has changed for you in your thirties?
A lot. I feel I have changed tremendously and I'm still not sure how to go about it. I realized that there are things I simply don't want in my life and have no interest in. I found out what kind of people don't suit me or in what environment I don't feel comfortable.
I am currently struggling not to be too strict regarding the things I don't want, so as not to hurt anyone, but at the same time I want to stand by my decisions. I no longer need to discuss some things or go to places I used to frequent just to make the people around me happy. I don't want to do things that I don't feel like doing. But I also enjoy doing things that are irrelevant to others. I do things according to how I feel about them, regardless of what others might think.
I was scrolling through your Instagram and I didn't find many selfies there…
That's because I love nature! When I go home from work and can choose which route to take, I always choose the one where there are more trees. Greenery soothes me. If I have too much concrete around me, I'm not really happy.
At the Dejvice Theater we have access to the courtyard, which I love. Even though the theater is actually underground, I can go out and catch some sun during breaks, put my feet on the mowed grass and simply switch off. Nature gives me a sense of security. I enjoy photographing flowers, watching leaf shapes in detail. I remember that after one very difficult year, my husband and I went to relax in this log cabin in a remote area. In the first days, it was very rainy, but I didn't mind. I opened the window and listened to the birds singing. For two days I was just looking up into the trees and I could feel my energy recharging.
That's rare, to be able to switch off like this and stay off social networks.
It really is. Personally, I see specifically Instagram as a problem, it sucked me in a little too much. As part of the spring detox I keep reading about everywhere lately, I promised myself that I would purify myself of social networks. It bothers me that I keep checking the little box next to me more and more often. I find myself going through Instagram posts without thinking whenever I'm not busy.
Now I've adopted the habit of not reaching for my phone at least for the first ten minutes after waking up in the morning. Previously, I would take a quick peek in my email box and browse through social networks with my eyes still half closed, mainly out of habit. That, I think, is wrong, because you can't focus on your own feelings in such a moment, you're concerning yourself with other people.
Who do you go to when you're feeling low?
Fortunately, I am surrounded by wonderful friends with whom I often talk over the phone. Naturally, I also go to my husband or my sister, who is a great inspiration for me. I go to a psychotherapist, too, because, since I work professionally with my emotions, I find it nice to deal with certain things with the help of a professional who can give me some insight. I think it is a good prevention against looming depressions.
Are you happy now, Verunka?
Yes, I think I am. But at the same time, I feel that I am entering a new period. It feels as if something is breaking and transforming in me. Maybe it is also related to the current state of our planet. I feel like humanity is entering a new "level". And even though many readers are probably thinking it sounds very esoteric no, that's how I feel.