It's been a few months since the series Most! appeared on Czech TV screens, captivating many viewers. The unforgettable role of waitress Romana from a pub named Severka was portrayed by actress Dominika Býmová, whom the role catapulted into the spotlight of her acting career practically overnight. When we met at a certain Prague cafe, she was in a good mood and full of positive energy. We talked not only about the impact her recent success has been having on her, but also about her environmental awareness and her brand White Sage, that she'd recently entered the Czech market with.
Domča, we went to the same school - I remember that you were one grade above me, we haven't seen each other in a long time. How much did the girl that I used to see around change?
Yes, a long time has passed since then, that's true. I think that I've kind of matured. That crazy girl that you probably still remember from school, she's long gone. I put a lot of things in order in my mind and it's nice, I feel much better this way.
You're mostly known in connection with the series Most, which, we can say, catapulted you into Czech show business. But I know that you started out as the Girl in Yellow in the series Přístav...
I think that every actor has this one breakthrough role that sort of starts everything off. Before Most I worked the same way, with the same enthusiasm and passion for my work, but only now it's somehow more visible. The moment you bring attention to yourself with that - one significant - role, the things you do after get more attention.
How did you take all of this, when you came into the public eye practically overnight?
It took about a year and a half since the initial shooting for Česká televize to air Most. So we waited rather long for it to be aired, and during that time I've almost forgotten about all the things that happened during shooting and how much fun we had while shooting. It only started coming back during the premiere in Aero cinema - that's when it all dawned on me. People accepted it extremely well there, they were thrilled, the atmosphere was great and I got to refresh all those memories.
Then the first episode was aired on TV, the second, the third. And my social media went crazy, I felt like I had to reply to everyone immediately, so that I wouldn't seem stuck up or something (laugh). I wanted people to know that their interest delights me, but I soon realized that it's not doable. Thanks to the role of waitress Romana I began to receive messages mostly from men who couldn't understand that I have my own personal life, that Romana is only a role and that I cannot go out to meet with them.
So you were met with some sexual comments...
Yeah, for the most part, actually. At first I thought that the feedback from men is kind of innocent, that they're praising the project. But they started acting as if I were a waitress from Severka, spoke to me in a familiar manner right away and were rude. There was a lot of Most all around after that and it was just too much for me. Yelling stuff like "Most foreva!" on the street was funny for a while, but then it evolved into "Romana this, Romana that", and my mind was just full of it. Once people let me cut in front of a line though, and that was really nice. Then I mentioned the experience somewhere and the next day an article came out that I'm using my popularity to cut in line. (laugh)
You walked right into my next question. How do you respond to gossip magazines?
I try not to communicate with them. For the longest time I felt entertained when something got published that was totally off. But what can get to me sometimes is when an article comes out that twists the words I've said and it goes absolutely against what I'd actually meant.
You come from Opava, which isn't that big a city. What was the reaction to your success there?
With my parents being in the acting field, I'll admit that I was a bit worried about their reaction. People coming up to my mom saying "Jesus, what the hell was Domča even doing there", but it wasn't like that at all. My folks took it just fine and they're glad that I'm doing what I love.
Let's move aside from acting for a bit. I want to ask you about your fashion brand White Sage. How did you come to the thought of launching it? Has it always been your dream to enter the design world?
I've been thinking about my own design project for a while. Being a freelancer, though I do have to knock on wood, there's more than enough work these days, but there are periods when it's all over the place. An actor has to rest, too, or wait for another opportunity. Which is fine, but I don't know how to relax (laugh).
So you're a workaholic?
Yeah, and a huge one, I just don't know how to rest (laugh). That's why I said to myself, "I have to come up with something to fill those waiting periods between theater, movies or series". And because my lifestyle is what it is, I have been a vegetarian for 15 years and I try to deal with nature very responsibly, I wanted to launch a project that'd reflect this similar philosophy. Like any other woman, I like fashion too, so I began to think about that more.
Think about the fashion industry?
Exactly. Think about what kinda clothes I want to buy, so that I can be satisfied with that brand's philosophy as well. I like natural materials, I've always really liked flax. When I was thinking where to go to buy something nice and flaxen, something that'd look good too, I thought of the large fashion chains, where most clothing is made in sweatshops somewhere in Bangladesh. That thought would not let me go, I signed up for sewing classes and fashion industry basics, till the brand White Sage was born, the first collection being spring-summer. I'm in awe myself at how everything's unfolding.
You barely slept at all, didn't you?
Nope. (laugh) It doesn't seem like it, but working everything out to the smallest details like buttons and the workings of an e-shop, that takes a lot of time.
What kind of materials do you work with, then?
The first collection uses hemp and bio cotton. I like that White Sage is actually refined fashion, you can find loose, baggy shirts there, but also clothes that a lady can wear to an interview. And not only will she look good in it, she'll know that she's wearing something that is nature-friendly. And from a local creator.
Do you draw and sew everything yourself?
Yes, I draw and design everything myself, but for sewing I get help from a distant aunt in Slovakia.
You said that you try to promote a healthy lifestyle. How is that going?
Yes, it's my life's journey, not just a reaction to a fad or a trend. I have been eating meat-free for a long time now for ethical reasons, I love animals and it goes hand in hand. I also use natural cosmetics, because I've recently began to realize how important that is, not only for my body, but for the planet too. I also think about and deal with what I use to do laundry, what dishwasher tablets I use, and many other things.
Lately you hear a lot about the impact of plastic waste on the environment...
Yes, that's good, that people realize in small steps what the state of our planet is. It's good that some cafes are open to people bringing their own coffee cups, it's good that straws are getting banned and so on. I think that thanks to these small steps we can reach big changes.
Does your fiance subscribe to a similar philosophy?
Definitely. He's a farmer, he's out in nature every day, he cares about it a lot. It's great, because we can talk about many things with each other. And I'm very proud of him. As a farmer, he doesn't only think about profit and how to take the most from nature, he thinks about animals, sets up various refuge spots for them, there's a lot. We also share the issue of droughts and both worry about it.
Do you buy bio products?
I try to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables from small local farmers. I immensely enjoy the atmosphere of markets. The fruits and vegetables taste and smell amazing and on top of that it's important to support small farmers. The price might be a bit higher than in the supermarkets, but the quality is incomparable.
Your wedding's coming up. How are the preparations going?
Yes, there's a lot, combined with work, but it's coming towards the finish line gradually. I am currently a part of the series Krejzovi, alongside that I also act in musicals, so there's a lot of stuff. But that's okay, I'm incredibly happy. I've wanted to be an actress since birth, and being able to live this dream is charging me with energy.
Will you take your husband's last name?
I have a good relationship with my maiden name, we've been together for quite some time, and changing it overnight isn't going to be easy. My work's connected to it too. It's definitely going to be a process of gradually getting used to it.
Are you planning to have kids?
A few years ago I had the enormous need to care for some sort of a tiny being, but it wasn't quite the right time to have kids yet. So we got me my dream dog. A golden retriever named Sundance. But our Sunny is so wild that we have our hands full with him at the moment (laugh)
No, of course I don't want to be comparing motherhood to caring for a dog, but I have a job now till halfway into the next year, then we'll see. Of course I'm looking forward to everything that is to come.
What about summer vacation? Will you go on holiday?
Not now, not till the end of the year when I'm planning to go to India for a longer time. Even though with me it's always buying plane tickets and then getting an interesting job offer, so it's about priorities. But if I actually managed to go I'd be really glad, if I could visit some ayurvedic center - and stay there for a while.
Which Czech actor would you want to co-star with one day?
If you were to be born as an animal, what'd you be?
What can get you people's attention at an audition?
What did your fiance land you with?
What'd you never wear?
What would you never do for success?
What are you most proud of in your life?
Is there anything that bothered you about your role in Most?
If you could have a single wish fulfilled, what'd you wish for?
What can piss you off?
How would you name your daughter?
What scares you?
I do, I think! (laugh)