Fast confession - Dáda Patrasová: I experienced betrayal, but now I have my feet firmly on the ground
There probably isn't a person in the Czech Republic that wouldn't know Dáda Patrasová's songs. She could have become a so-called femme fatale as a young actress, but she decided to do something else. She chose to become a host of kids' shows and an entertainer. It stayed with her to this day. Child fans literally charge her with energy and optimism, as life hadn't been too kind to her. Gossip magazines have been all over her husband leaving her for a younger mistress. Even though Dáda was pushed to her limits, thanks to her willpower and new love she has a new reason to laugh again.
You're learning Italian. How is it going and when are you going to put it to use? You can't speak Italian much in Prague, so are you going for holiday anywhere?
First of all, I have many Italian friends here, second of all, I use it in communication with my boyfriend Vito. We're going on holiday together in September to Sicily. To settle all the speculation whether I'll go there or not. Some people have weird hobbies. I'll probably go there on my own in August, but we'll go together once the season's over for him.
That sounds amazing. From what you're telling me, I understand that you speak very good Italian.
Not at all! You're learning it as well, so you know how hard Italian is. I can sort of communicate intuitively, though.
You seem very content. What's the reason? As a journalist I took notice of all the scandals, but it's been a while since those happened. How long have you been feeling this content? Is it a new stage in your life?
All these scandals that have been going on for years have been taking so much energy, life force and happiness from me. I simply decided that I'm going to live my life. I hope that the public will understand and that the journalists will let me live and breathe a little.
I believe not everyone would be able to handle what you went through. I'd consider it a betrayal, and I can't say whether I'm a strong enough person to get through and start again the way you did.
I'll get behind that, I'd just add that I only managed to get through it recently, these last few months.
Is it because of love?
Definitely, it took me a terribly long time, though. My husband and I have been together since 1980, we got married in 1983. I trusted him and there were many things I wasn't aware of. Yes, I consider it a betrayal, but I made peace with everything already and don't want to keep going back to it.
Last question regarding relationships. What's the difference between Czech and Italian men?
There's a huge difference. Italians are courteous, they are gentlemen, they're attentive. I can affirm that, because I've known Vito for twenty years, we've been together for three. And during those three years his attentiveness towards me never wavered, nor did his courteousness, he calls me daily, we skype, he visits me. He's a huge workaholic, so he works a lot, but he's always interested in how I feel, how I am and what I'm working on at the moment. He's very attentive and courteous.
Czech men often lack that...
I feel that they lack that a lot.
What are you currently working on? Where can people see you?
I just had two performances in Moravia in one day, at a Children's Day event. My schedule is quite full after that, summer's filling up too. I like performing for kids the most, because children charge me up with so much energy. I'm not just saying that, it really is that way. I think that it's proven by the fact that I've been performing for them a lot, I've been doing various performances since 1986. Before that I starred in many fairy tales and series for kids, that's how children sort of got to know me through the screen.
It's the year 2019 and you're still performing for kids, that's been a really long time!
Many people ask me whether the kids don't get on my nerves, whether I haven't had enough already. And I say this with absolute honesty: they don't get on my nerves. Quite the opposite, I always leave my performances full of energy and life. They give me energy not just on stage, but off stage too, as the audience. Every day I meet kids that say "Look, that's Dáda!". They say hi to me, some just come up to me and hug me. What's beautiful is that their moms practically grew up with me, so they and the dads like coming to my performances and singing the songs.
You used to star in movies and series too, for example your role in Run, Waiter, Run! is legendary. Back then you had the choice to either follow the path of an actress, or that of a children's show host and entertainer. You chose the latter.
Why? Your journey could have been entirely different.
They're two completely different journeys, that's true. When I was already working with kids, abroad I was still viewed in the first position. It's there that I got to play many amazing roles, in costume dramas, period dramas, but this just fulfills me. I consider it a gift from God that I've received, that I can perform for kids.
What about your kids? They're all grown up now, but did they realize all the way back then, when everyone was dancing to "žížala", that their mom is famous? Did they ever tell you?
Yes. Back then I founded the Baby studio, I was still carrying Andulka at that time; after that she pretty much grew up there. When she was about three years old and I was playing with the kids at the studio, I said, "Anička, come play with us", because she was sitting alone in a corner drawing. And she replied to me, "No, mommy, just be with the kids, I want them to enjoy you too." That was something incredible. "Just play with them, talk." She was such a sweet, well-wishing child, and that stayed with her to this day. Both of my kids grew up with other children at the Baby studio, it was really nice and they were never jealous. I tried to give them my time, it always hurt my heart terribly when I had to leave them and go on tour. I always cried about it in the car on the way.
Today they are two artists, very successful too. So they probably get it.
Today they get it.
Your son has a family...
To both his sons I'm granny Dáda, or just Dáda. He lets them listen to my songs. The other day I was really touched when the younger one, Rafael, came up to me and started singing one of my songs, „Nám se na tom světě líbí“ (We really like it in this world). It's a rather difficult song, it celebrates children. It probably isn't appropriate for a two-year-old, more for the older kids, but he sang it to me. In his own way, of course, some words he'd gotten by ear, and it's clear that he'd got great hearing, so it made me happy. Same with Felínek, it's beautiful when they tell you that they like you and that they enjoy what you do. And that he might brag in kindergarten a bit that Dáda is his granny.
Would you ever want to appear in a play or a movie again? Will we see you in anything?
If it aligns with my values, why not, I'll be glad to.
You don't have anything set up for now?
Not right now.
When you perform for children, it's physically tasking. How do you keep up?
It's quite difficult, because aside from needing to give each child my attention, I need to watch out so that they don't fall, sometimes they even fight for the spot right next to me. From me there's a lot of fear for their safety, so that nothing happens to them. It's quite difficult, there's a lot of adrenaline, and when I see their parents singing my songs along with me, it really moves me and I'm very happy about it.
Do you keep in shape physically too, to maintain your physical condition?
I did competitive gymnastics as a child, and I had terrible health problems because of it later, with my back and such. But my muscles remember the movements, so they always focus quickly and heal. I started exercising about half a year ago, I have a personal trainer, I started being mindful of having a balanced diet too. I'm coming to realize that muscles really do have memory, they engage very quickly.
I don't overdo it, because it's time consuming too, even though that can be also used as an excuse. But you really should find those twenty minutes a day, stretch a bit, pull yourself together a little. Now I'm making excuses saying it's time consuming for me, but I try to exercise regularly. Not every day, but I try.
Do you have a recipe for long-lasting beauty?
I have to admit, for the longest time I didn't go anywhere for any treatments. But I've started to take care of myself a bit recently. A friend of mine, doctor Ivana Němečková, runs a clinic, and she started giving me advice on how to implement things, we went for a holiday to Tunisia together. A lot of it is diet, exercise, clean air, sleep and mental well-being.
The back problems that you had back then, is it alright now?
I have to knock on wood, it's much better. I think it's thanks to the exercise too, I strengthened my back muscles. It probably won't ever be completely alright, because the doctors say that I have the spine of a ninety-year-old grandma. As a child I did gymnastics from about four years of age and I have a hypermobile spine, like a contortionist. I could do somersaults without warm-up, I could do splits. I utilized this a lot, back when I was with Semafor theater, where I made it worse.
These days I wouldn't attempt many of these things, but it's partially genetic too, longevity runs in our family. My paternal grandmother spent all her life working in the garden, in the field, and even as an old lady she was very beautiful. She passed away at the age of ninety, she was healthy, she ate fermented milk, potatoes, buttermilk, took daily baths in cold water. She had beautiful hair down to her waist, she was amazing, the proper kind of grandma.
I get many genetic predispositions from my dad too. For example, me, grandma and dad all have the same kind of skin on our hands, very soft. But I must say that my mom was also totally healthy, she was never sick. She unfortunately died in a car accident at the age of eighty.
In the year 2000 my life changed and the kind of suffering began, when you're very sad, defeated and life starts to crumble in your hands. I took my dad to live with me, took care of him until his very last days and I'm glad that I did, because I owe him my life and everything. For what both my parents taught me, how to act, to love music and art in general. That enriches you and stays with you for the rest of your life. I think that this beautiful gift that they bestowed upon me through nurture is the best thing that'd happened to me in life.
You really have to take care of yourself then, if long life runs in your family.
Yeah, I have to start.
When you've spent all your life on stage...
Yeah, but to take care of myself physically, I only started doing that about six months ago. That might be a bit late, I should have started long ago, like thirty years ago, but I had no time for that. I traveled a lot to meet kids, I did a lot of acting. There was no time to combine all that with family life, to take care of everything. When you look around you, all of this I planted myself. It's a lot of work to have a garden, but I'm happy that I'll be able to pass on at least some of myself to my kids.
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
To seeing kids, to performances, I look forward to meeting my grandsons of course. I was on a bit of a work holiday, but I'd still like to go to our cottage with the kids and then the holiday with my boyfriend, of course. Life in general is really nice and it's important to always have something to look forward to.