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The Mayoress of the city of Prague opened up not only about her work, but also about men, rituals and her new role as a grandmother.

Fast confession - Adriana Krnáčová: I Don't Lose my Head Because of men

Barbora Hlaváčková
24.Jan 2018
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8 minutes

She is a woman in the middle of a male jungle. In the corner of her office at the Prague City Hall she has a large yellow punching bag - and she uses it! She thinks of herself as a ´universal soldier´. The Prague Mayoress, Adriana Krnáčová, is harsh and uncompromising; however, in an interview with Luxury Prague Life she also talked of her weaknesses or for example about why no man is good enough.  

What was your start into the new year like?

Very fast. This is thanks to the events that took place in December. Since then I have been busy without a moment of break.

Prodej exkluzivního domu, Praha-východ
Prodej exkluzivního domu, Praha-východ, Okolí Prahy

We are talking about the fall of the footbridge in Troja. How do you cope with such a crisis when the blame falls to a great degree upon your head?

Frankly, given that I am the head of the city, of course I am blamed for everything that happens here. I understand, I will not have a breakdown because of that.

Do you manage crisis communication on your own or do you have people who advise you how to disclose such an extraordinary situation to journalists?

I have colleagues who prepare the supporting documents and who try to look objectively at what happened. But I don´t play games, I say nothing but the truth. I say it the way I see it. And most importantly I say what we should do in order to prevent such things from happening in future.

How does a classic working day of Prague Mayoress look like?

When I take it into details, I get up around half past five in the morning, I do yoga for twenty minutes, shower, then white coffee with soy milk. I try to read work-related things even before I come to the office to be prepared and then it starts. Mostly from eight o´clock. I have meetings, I resolve various problems, because there is always something going on. After office work there are usually social events. Most of these are in the evening, so I come home around nine or ten. I am glad if I can include some running into my daily programme. Sometimes I go jogging in the early morning to Stromovka, sometimes I manage it during the weekend, exceptionally in the evening, when I come home early.

That coffee with soy milk - do you follow trends or suffer from intolerance to lactose?

I have lactose intolerance. It struck me in advanced age. For a long time I did not understand why I feel bad if I had something with milk. But then I did not know that milk is wrong for me. At the beginning I tried to leave out certain things from my diet, by the classic elimination method. And then I went for tests and there it was confirmed.

You left Slovakia to go to Prague. Was it because of career?

No. And I am not a gold digger to go after Czech men. I came here in 1994, when I also left a lucrative job in Slovakia. The reason was that I did not want to live and raise children in Slovakia. It was a period of raign of Mr Vladimír Mečiar, who managed things in a kind of Byzantine-Balkan manner. And I could not go along with it.

Luxusní vila na prodej v okolí Prahy - 320m
Luxusní vila na prodej v okolí Prahy - 320m,

Had Prague been a clear destination for which you aimed?

It was. I deliberately chose Prague, because it is a beautiful city, also close to Bratislava. And the fact that we used to be one state made me feel like it was still my home.

What would have to happen in the Czech Republic for you to consider going elsewhere?

It would have to be what had happened to me in Slovakia. It was not only about the political situation, there were personal reasons, too. They made threats about my life. They even burnt my car. If a similar situation happened here, it could be a reason why I would say that I cannot continue like that.

Where would you in this case like to live?

I like places with good atmosphere and energy. These are usually cities, I am not much of a village type. I think you can see that. I can imagine to spend a holiday somewhere outside a city, in the mountains, but not to live there, no. I need urban environment to be able to exist. So I have favourite cities - Berlin, Amsterdam, New York. Indeed, Chicago even more so! And I have not yet been to Australia, it attracts me.

Does your workload allow you to go and see Australia?

No, now that is not possible at all.

You speak good Czech with only a trace of an accent. Nevertheless, do you still have advisers or teachers of Czech?

No, not any more. But I had had teachers. They were always mortified as to how I could have said something another, and on TV, too! We practised different words, phrases, pronunciation. I remember from one excellent lecturer that I should say: “Kůň, kůň padl v tůň.” (Transl. Note - a Czech tongue twister “A horse fell into a well.”)

Do you think that the quote from the cult Czech film Loners "Czech is bad” is true?

No. I do not split languages into ´good´ and ´bad´. Rather into those that are more difficult or easier to learn. For example, for me, Chinese is totally difficult, Japanese also, but Czech is a pretty language. I can speak for example English, German, Hungarian and as regards comparison of Hungarian and Czech... that is perhaps not even possible.

Do you manage to fit into your programme for example a visit to a cinema?

I prefer to watch a movie at home. That I do. I'm not much of a cinema lover that I would go to a cinema with friends, bought a popcorn and two litres of coke. But I enjoy watching things at home.

What do you like to watch best?

Stupid things, simple movies, action films. There is good and evil, and one hero who can resolve it. I don´t need to think about it.

Do you have time for a book?

I do. I have a favourite author, Jo Nesbo, and I have recently read the Bat.

You are perhaps the only person who has entered into policy and did not put on weight. You have actually lost some. How is it possible?

You know I reject those insinuations about politics. I want to prove that it is possible, that after two years in politics one does not have to look like a barrel, or be drowning in alcohol. I want to show that even with the strain and stress, you can maintain a good figure. One only needs discipline. As I am disciplined towards myself I can then require the same from others. I must say that I am quite hard on myself.

And what is it that you´ve been nibbling on, all the time?

Dried mango, it is quite healthy, have some too, it won´t hurt you.

(Laughter) Do you manage to have some treats? Go for a manicure, hairdresser?

I am just going to the hairdresser today, I do my manicure myself, I won´t let anyone touch my fingers. I usually manage that on Sunday afternoon between the first and the second action movie (laughs).

Do you ever switch off your mobile?

Only the sound. I can see all the time on the display who is calling and writing and I deal with it depending on importance. I can never switch it off completely. For example when there is a fire somewhere at night or something happens, they call me and I go to deal with it if needed. I am available permanently.

You have quite recently become a grandmother, your grandchild is eight months old. What kind of grandmother are you?

Terrible, quite dreadful. My son told me to kindly finally take up my role of a grandmother. I was looking at him like a fool, because I have just brought in some baby outfits. He said that he does not need it, that he wants me to take the child for at least two hours and devote some attention to it, so that they could take a break. So I just asked: And when?

You certainly seem to be a tough, uncompromising lady...

Well, yes, I am.

You are or you have to be?

When you are around only politicians who just prattle on, making promises, someone must take action. I am not a good politician, at least in the sense they are perceived. I am not accustomed to talk myself out of things, but to speak up clearly. And that is something which I am also often blamed for. For me the priority is to work for Prague and see the results. I hate prattling on, it is hell for me, a bad dream. But I understand that it goes with politics. However, I was born as a person who takes things all the way, finishes them, even if they are complicated. I coordinate teams, set the priorities, put deadlines into place, and then I demand that such are observed; with hard consequences, if that fails to be the case.

Is it your nature or the fact that you are a woman - that women think differently than men?

Of course. When you are raising three children, you don´t have much chance to just gabble on about things. There are simply things that you have to do in life. Make decisions quickly and in the best way according to the options you have. And here in Prague we must ensure security, transport logistics and cleanliness. So that it all works effectively. These are the most important things. The rest is added value.

How do male politicians take you?

Badly. Or I will put it differently ... True men accept me without problems, but then there are those who mind to have a female boss. And there is a lot of those in politics. My teacher of mathematics always said that the worst thing is if you have more options than capabilities. And that is very frequently the case in politics.

And how are you, as a woman in high office, accepted by other women?

Without problems, but I don´t keep in touch with simpletons. Rather with women who have achieved something in life and therefore know how difficult it is to push through as a woman.

Do you have a recipe for how to cope with mental strain that comes with your functions?

(Points in the corner of her office). There. That is my yellow punching bag. I like box very much and I began lift weights in the gym.

Could you defend yourself, if someone attacked you?

Certainly.

Do you have any weaknesses?

Thousands. For example I am allergic to people who say that they know how to do something or know something but it is not the case. Then that I become an unguided missile and tell them honestly what I think about them.

So you always speak your mind?

Yes. And I will never be any different and I am grateful for that. Sometimes I could, I beg your pardon, hold my trap, but on the other hand life is too short not to say what you need at a given moment.

You have already mentioned that you are not a gold digger. But aren´t men, fortune seekers, after you? You are a successful woman...

I have some standards as to how a man should look like and what he should be able to do, and at my age I don´t make compromises, because I have no reason to. And not many people can pass through that sieve. But now I don´t much care about relationships or men, because I concentrate on resolving problems. And most problems are caused by men, so I have a very reserved relationship toward them.

And what if there was a man who would charm you so that you lost its head?

I am not probably capable of that. I always think about it. It is one of my weaknesses that I think too much. Also in a relationship I need intellect and entertainment. When it is not there, it is mechanical and boring.

Will you retire sometime?

No. I will die. I am a workaholic. When I don´t work, I am running or doing something else. I must have work because I keep my head busy. When you don´t employ your head, your body will deteriorate, too. And I am happy in my work. Although things cannot be achieved from one day to another, but we have done here a lot of work, which is important for the functioning of the city.

Do you have a vision of what you want to do when you are not a Mayoress of Prague?

I will perhaps manage some company or build houses. When my grandson gets bigger I will take him to play golf.

Fast confession:

What perfume do you use at the moment?

J'adore.

Best buy of your life?

Shoes, which originally cost twelve thousand and I bought them for four.

Heels or sneakers?

Both.

What you do not like about policy?

Prattling on.

Your most favourite place in Prague?

Stromovka.

Which dish you cannot stick?

A poorly cooked one.

What was the greatest sin in your life?

How much time do you have?

What is your daily ritual?

Yoga, shower, white coffee.

Do you feel to be more of a grandmother or Mayoress?

Mayoress.

When did you last change a nappy of your grandchild?

At Christmas.

A safe bet or "it´s worth the risk”?

I am more of the second type.

Would you run for President?

Yes.

How do you accept criticism?

It depends on what it is.

How do you envisage romance?

Calmly.
THE INTERVIEWEE ASKS THE EDITOR:

How do you envisage romance?

I am not a romantic.
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