GUTS & GLORY
Meet Viktoriya Isakova (41), a stunningly beautiful Russian actress who is not afraid to get down and dirty for her brave performances. Her film credits include ‘Tochka’ (2006), a movie about human trafficking and prostitution and ‘Mirrors’ (2013), in which she plays the tragic Marina Tsvetaeva, one of the greatest Russian poets of the 20th century. I talked to the winner of many (international) awards about ageing, lingerie, and the need to always stay true to yourself.
Marlies: Viktoriya, I watched a number of clips from your theater- and film performances. I don’t speak Russian and had no idea what you were saying but I found myself moved to tears several times! Your talent, the intensity of your acting, manages to transcend language and culture. What was the moment that you realized that this was your calling?
Viktoriya: They say that an actor’s profession has no language of its own, or to be more exact, that it has one comprehensive language. So, I’m happy to hear that my message is clear without words. When I was quite young I came to an understanding that nothing else but acting would be of any interest to me. It is my way of communicating with people.
Marlies: Most of your roles are very intense; you are one of the most daring actresses in Russia. Where do you find the courage to go so deep?
Viktoriya: There is no need for any particular form of courage. I do what I like most, and it has become my work. A wonderful combination; the best anyone could dream of!
Marlies: How would you define ‘brave’ and what is the bravest thing you have ever done?
Viktoriya: To be true to oneself and not to adjust oneself to somebody else’s wishes or requirements is already being brave nowadays. Honesty is also a kind of bravery to some extent. But if we speak about my profession, it is very hard to find a role that I would be afraid of.
Marlies: The muse for my current collection is Queen Elizabeth I; her courage and strategic genius have inspired me since I was a little girl. Did you have any role models or icons when you were growing up?
Viktoriya: Of course, there were and still there are actresses who inspire me. As a child, I adored all the films with Audrey Hepburn. And even now, the idea of the best holiday for me is associated with the time spent at home watching ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. I also admire actresses who are not afraid of bold experiments, who can change beyond recognition. I prefer roles that force me out of my comfort zone.
Marlies: Are you familiar with the term ‘feminine feminism’? Can you relate to it?
Viktoriya: To some extent, all of us are feminists today. We want to be successful, we want to make good money and we want to choose our own ways. At the same time, I like the sensation of being a little girl who is cared for. This is sort of my ‘golden middle’. Or perhaps I am just trying to play a double game? (Laughs).
Marlies: How would you describe the position of women in Russia right now?
Viktoriya: It is actually not that bad. I’m unlikely to hear that I can’t do something just because I’m a woman.
Marlies: What is the most important piece of advice you would like to give young women?
Viktoriya: Stay true to yourself. Always listen to your heart in any situation, and don’t be afraid of dreaming and achieving those dreams.
Marlies: How do you approach ageing?
Viktoriya: It seems to me that I am getting more interesting with the years, in the first place to myself. I think this is the most important thing – to be in harmony with yourself. Nowadays, age is such a relative notion. I don’t see a big difference between 35 – and 45-year-old women. There is no lack of roles for me either.
Marlies: Whenever I visit Russia, I am always pleasantly surprised by the very enthusiastic reactions to my lingerie. Am I right in thinking that lingerie plays an important part in your feminine identity?
Viktoriya: Good lingerie is capable of giving a woman more self-confidence. It is not even necessary that anyone else sees it; a woman can just know herself what she is wearing but this knowledge would give her a stunning sensation of being irresistible.
Marlies: What is your life motto?
Viktoriya: Do everything with love.
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