Cosmetics reporter, nr1-2, I-VI 2017, s.124-127

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Positively Crazy is a new series of articles, in which we would like to introduce people, who as Wojciech Młynarski sang – cannot be steamrolled over, live their colorful lives to the fullest, have the most vivid dreams and stand out from the rest through their exceptional actions and personalities.

The positively crazy live and work among us, they are everywhere, they just need to be noticed, so we are open to candidates submitted by you.

In this issue:

She once said about herself: “I have three children, a second husband, three dogs, one cat, I’m 1.66 cm tall, wear size 37 shoes, weigh between 44 and 60 kg and I’m permanently on a diet, which means I eat and with every bite I think that it was the last one. I don’t think I’m exceptional. I’m as average as they come.” But that’s not the case! She’s unique, she even smiles differently, with the corners of her mouth facing downwards. A woman with an endless source of energy, who always has the courage to have an opinion and speak out about important issues, go against the flow. She couldn’t find a face cream which fit her needs so… she created her own! For millions of Poles she is a role model, for the more conventional she may be irritating, but without a doubt she is positively crazy!


Average and exceptional at the same time

A screen and stage actress, director, writer and columnist, singer; founder and CEO of Krystyna Janda Foundation for Culture, since 2005 artistic director of Polonia Theatre in Warsaw, since 2010 artistic director of Och teatr.

Since the mid 1970’s she has been continuously appearing in films, tv movies and theatres. For over 20 years she has been directing in theatre and television. She made her director’s debut with the well-received Polish film – Pestka. She has appeared in 6 films directed by Andrzej Wajda. Other than Man of Marble, she has appeared in Man of Iron, The Orchestra Conductor and Without Anesthesia. She received a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in Interrogation, and a Silver Shell at the San Sebastian International Film Festival for her role in Waldemar Krzystka’s Dismissed from Life. She was awarded at the Montreal World Film Festival for her role in Helma Sanders-Brahms’s German-French film Laputa. She acts, sings, directs, writes feuilletons, she has released 6 records and 5 books. In May 2006 she received a Medaille Charlemagne pour des Medias Europeens (Charlemagne Medal) for her outstanding acting achievements, commitment to the European agreement between East and West and the struggle for women’s rights.

In September 2015 a cosmetic brand bearing her name made a debut on the Polish market.

Would you describe yourself as positively crazy?

I think so, but I would hesitate over using the word “crazy” because nothing I do, think, undertake carries any traits of being crazy, or , in my opinion, any other “excessiveness.” I am a clear headed, sensible person, I know what I want. I have my own opinions and I see my “craziness” as a sign of commitment and appetite for life, as an expression of ordinary activity.

—How has your ballet, art and theatre education influenced you?

I think it just comes in handy in my work – both in acting and directing. The pressure of “creative work” has accompanied me since I was a child, no matter what kind of ideas and activities I undertook. I have classified my work in the pleasure category, everything that is a result or consequence of it, is also a pleasure.

—Get up on stage and act…. What and for whom – do you have any dreams that you have yet to fulfill?

Oh, for 11 years I have been an artistic director, actress and director in two theatres in Warsaw. I act a lot, very often out of necessity as only I always have the time for the foundation and I am exclusive of the theatres which I created. At the moment we have about 300 actors from across Poland working with us, but often my performances, my monodramas, of which there are currently 4 in my repertoire, not counting the concert, are our salvation, our lifeline, because other actors are not at our disposal as much as arranging a repertoire would require. Fortunately my shows are always sold out and I’m probably the most “profitable” artist for our foundation. However, I often dream of resting and taking a break from acting. Getting back to your question…getting up on stage and giving a performance is still very important for me. A thing of highest importance, which in addition gives me great satisfaction and pleasure. Dreams? I can basically make them come true myself to some extent, because our foundation cannot afford to showcase great productions such as Shakespeare for example. No, I don’t feel a hunger for new roles and more acting, I will say more, I often turn down role offers from “the outside”, because this is what the foundation requires, my presence on our stage.

—You meet many people every day, reply to letters, is there anybody that has stuck in your memory?

I am friends or at least I keep in touch with many people, but in reality there are so many people around me that it is impossible to remember everyone. I try. On the other hand, my contacts, friendships from work, from the artistic world, film and theatre are very extensive and lively, despite the fact that, in some ways, I have closed myself off from the world in the foundation’s theatres.

—What moves you and what irritates you?

Please forgive me, but this questions makes me laugh. There are so many things which move me, and just as many which irritate me, that it’s difficult to name them all. My children’s fate still moves me the most, I always help whenever I can, people who are hurt, lonely, helpless, sick. I’m moved by a lack of empathy, evil hurts me. I hate stupidity and omissions which hurt others. In general, lately I have been feeling that the phrase – justice dies every day – is becoming more and more relevant. Maybe that’s how I feel because I’m getting older

—-You are perceived as a one-woman orchestra… In one of your interviews you mentioned that when you’re in your theatre, and the need arises you grab a rag and clean. Is there anything that you would never do?

There are many things, but they are not everyday things or responsibilities, they are rather to do with morals, dignity and integrity. Other than that? I don’t wear a crown on my head, I can do anything if it helps someone. I’m an open and direct person, I like people and life, being active also means doing the little, everyday things.

—-You once said that “your reflection in the mirror makes you upset” and that “chasing youth is beneath you. Usually I play characters who are my age or older, period. Note that recently I appear in bathrobes and pajamas, because it’s more comfortable.” Do you still have such an attitude towards your appearance?

I don’t think that I’m an exception in this matter. Many women aren’t too happy with themselves, their appearance. The same applies to the majority of men, whom I know, but I think this is rather normal. I know people who admire themselves, who love the way they look – they are unbearable. If someone is capable of general reflection, they are able to reflect about themselves. Looks, beauty, their criteria are a matter of taste. Individual taste. It’s important to accept oneself, but also in a reasonable manner. That’s all.

—-You are known for making risky decisions. When several years ago you opened “Polonia” – the first private theatre in Poland, no one imagined that you will manage to maintain it. Now you have entered into the beauty world, with the COSMOPROF beauty fair in Bologna being the first place where you will exhibit your products. Where did the idea for your own brand of face creams come from?

Well, first I have to explain, that the theatres are not my private theatres; it’s a foundation that I created. This doesn’t mean a lot to most people; briefly speaking, I do not make a profit from them, the profits go towards statutory purposes, such as production of new shows. I apologize for setting the record straight, but it’s very important, I didn’t create the foundation with my husband to make a profit. I work with a great team of young people to share my ideas, promote culture, talk with the audience and share my talents and the talents of others. Foundations are always a social matter, initiative. Or at least that’s how it should be. The face creams are an absolute surprise in my life, not mine, but Mr. Jarosław Cybulski’s idea. He is extremely experienced, having achieved many things in this field – which for me is completely foreign. He is the one who invited me to co-operate in this endeavor and I’m very proud of it. I just needed a cream suited for me and my mature skin. He did everything, and I agreed to sign it with my brand and name, which I have made for myself. I’m very happy with this co-operation, with this pleasant addition to my artistic life. All of it is very, very pleasant, maybe because here, it’s Jarek and his team who take everything into their own hands.

—-A list of the most important things… and those which are unimportant. How do you distinguish between those worth devoting your time and energy to, from those which don’t deserve it?

In some sense we are born with this and we spend our whole life learning it. We shape ourselves, our world view, attitude towards others and different issues constantly. Our system of values and conduct is a result of this. For me, the truth has always been the most important thing. What is worth devoting my life and energy towards, I show with the activities I choose to do. I’m proud, because after 25 years of freedom in Poland, I have been named the “Woman of Freedom”. I see this as an appreciation that I have been able to use the 25 years of freedom that we have been given well. Using my husband’s and my family’s savings I created a foundation. I didn’t care what others thought, I didn’t receive help from the state, I sold my house, bought an old movie theatre, renovated it and created a theatre. I continue my work, in this area which is the closest to me – art- as best as I can, being the most noble that I can be, giving other artists the freedom to speak, and the audience the possibility of associating with theatre. I have been able to take advantage of the new opportunities, which emerged after the change of the political system. I created two theatres, which have put on more than 100 premiere shows, without which the theatre scene in Poland would be very different. I’m proud. This will be my legacy, it will appear in all bibliographical references in encyclopedias. It already has.

—Your flaws…

Too many to name, but I think I’m still excessively emotional

—Your failures…

In fact, I’m sorry… but I don’t see any. I have managed, with this workload – other than being an accomplished actress and director – to be a happy woman, wife, mother and grandmother. I’m still a happy daughter because I live with my mother in the same house. I’m ok.

— Krystyna Janda’s 10 commandments:

Please forgive me but… this task is too difficult. It’s easy to say. I would have to spend too much time on this question. It’s too difficult for me. I take things too seriously to just go ahead and think of my ten commandments. Other than that I’m a very tolerant person, and this makes the task even more difficult. Well, unless we’re joking…

—A regular crazy day…

5:00, 6:00 am I start with correspondence on my computer, usually I have to write something, either for a tv show, the foundation, a newspaper or a website. After that I have physical therapy for the 14 hernias on my spine, then I shower, eat breakfast, travel to Warsaw. I have the first documents to sign or conversation to have in the foundation, rehearsal during which I’m either the director or an actress. This comes with thousands of different emotions, thoughts, bigger and smaller artistic decisions to make. After rehearsals, I usually have a series of meetings, also those which I hate – concerning accounting or finances. This is also the time during which I have to read a script, text, because the authors are waiting and I’m also the literary manager for both theatres. Then I put on my costume, make-up and perform in one of the eight shows which are in out repertoire. After the show I usually have a business meeting with someone who would like to act, direct or has another type of artistic offer. I come back home around 11-12 pm and I try to sleep, even though I keep being woken up by worrying thoughts. Etc., etc.… and this for 11 years.

—You are a very recognizable person, always in the spotlight. Is this helpful or harmful?

Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s harmful. Please refer to the internet, I have about 270 thousand followers on Facebook, but the comments I receive under my posts differ. Sometimes they are unacceptable, often unfair, many are exceptional, very nice and wonderful for me, but these are the times we’re living in. I’m a person with very strong views and sympathies, I have achieved success, however you look at it, and people can be cruel. I have to watch what I say and do because I’m a public person. I try to limit my public appearances which are not connected to my work. I don’t even have much time for them. I appear where I need to, or if I think it’s important that I do. But my appearances or me taking a side in an issue cause many emotions, those good and bad.

—These days, when money and a career are a measure of success, who would you call positively crazy?

A career? Deserved, true, bringing true values to us all. I love people like this and I like to emphasize how valuable their work is. Money? Yes, this is a measure of success, but it’s quality differs. I like and value wise, wonderful, educated people, specialists in their field. This usually has nothing to do with financial success. There are many people like that, I can’t say that I associate only with them, but I can say that I try to do that. I seek acceptance into their group. I don’t have time for others.

—Thank you very much for your time


Krystyna Janda’s children about her:

—My mom is… a mom

—She is positively crazy because… she is never indifferent

—I admire her for… her time organizing skills

—I’m jealous of her… I’m not jealous of her. I wouldn’t want to have so much on my mind

—She can be jealous of me because… she says she’s jealous of the fact that everything is still ahead of us

Krystyna Janda’s employees about her:

—She is positively crazy because… she is idealistic about art, work and what the foundation does

—Adjectives which describe your boss: quick, emotional, hard-working, modern, determined, friendly unwilling to compromise

From Krystyna Janda’s journal:

There are so many things happening that I’m not even writing, what to write? How? Because which one of the things that happen, outrage, hurt, and touch us is the most important? And why write as I have until now? About theatre, life, work, everyday work and life things, when our fate is being decided, our future, out life? The kaleidoscope of public, political, social events doesn’t allow for a breath of fresh air. How to be human? How to react without losing self-respect, to continue living in harmony with ourselves. People have hidden themselves, locked themselves out, they do not lean out, internal emigration – they say. I don’t have the strength – they say – I don’t read newspapers, I don’t watch television, I can’t handle it, I protect myself from thinking too much, from going insane – it’s better not to know. And I think intelligentsia deviation. I just don’t read the hate and in reality – I don’t think about it. I write a repertoire plan for our theatres, for 3 years, I choose the shows, read, think, I mentally cast actors, choose directors, I imagine the shows…. And I don’t allow myself to think about the future.


Cosmetics reporter, nr1-2, I-VI 2017, s.124-127





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