She has been the center of attention recently and became the spokeswoman for the government of Andrej Babiš, a position that will always attract the attention of many opponents. How does the former TV presenter feel about it and what awaits her now? These are some of the topics she talked about it in an interview for Luxury Prague Life.
Congratulations on the new job, Jana! Are you excited yet?
Thanks a lot. Well, I'm happy about it, it's a challenge, I'm still looking around, though.
How did it actually happen that you became a government spokeswoman? Did you seek this post yourself, or did the offer come to you?
The offer came to me and it was quite a pleasant surprise.
Did you know the Prime Minister personally? And do you think the fact that you are Slovak by birth might have played a role? (laughter)
I don't think my Slovak origin played a role in it. In my opinion, the Prime Minister didn’t even realize it much, if at all. We only knew each other briefly.
Did it take you a while to decide, or is it simply an offer that cannot be refused? Not much time has passed since your return to the screens as a host of the TV show Home Alone, which must have been fulfilling. Or am i wrong?
To tell you the truth, it was the fact that I had the opportunity to return to the screens as a host, and especially as a host of the Home Alone show, that troubled me the most when making the decision. Working on TV was fulfilling for me, and since I’d been a presenter for most of my professional life, I dare say that I knew my ropes, felt very knowledgeable at my job and believed I was putting out great work. But I still only got to host a show once in a fortnight, which wasn’t enough, while the new position offered a different schedule.
At the same time, it was clear to me that this was an offer that couldn’t be refused unless I wanted to risk that I would regret it one day. Of course, I had to ask my family for their agreement and support. Because my children also have a rather challenging out-of-school program and they had to stop counting on me as the family driver in the future. Fortunately, with the help of my husband and my parents, we were able to sort this out quickly.
Have you ever thought about working as a spokesperson in the past?
I’ve considered it as one of my possible career paths, but only hypothetically. I've never been thinking about a particular possibility though, until now.
What are the reactions of the people around you to your appointment?
The reactions of the people around me are 95 percent positive. Even the reactions from larger surroundings that happen to reach me consist perhaps 70 percent of congratulations. Contrary to what you might read in the newspapers, I responded to 70 - 80 percent of congratulations and kind or encouraging messages. But that’s not an interesting topic to write about. And I understand that.
Does it matter to you who is in the government leadership, or is it simply a job you wouldn’t mind doing for anyone regardless of your political opinion?
I don’t think I’d be doing it for anyone. I would have to feel comfortable with the person, at least on a basic level. Although a large part of my work is performed in front of a computer and with a cell phone in hand. Much more than with the Prime Minister, I have to communicate with journalists and colleagues in the press department. The Prime Minister is a workaholic and it is almost impossible to adapt to his pace. You can only try. And very often you have trouble catching up with him or catching him.
Although presenters are often successful also as public speakers, these disciplines are vastly different from each other. What will your job entail?
So far I’ve been mostly looking around. I’m trying to identify where to direct questions, or how to formulate answers. I have to get to know a lot of people with whom I may or will come into contact.
What will your work schedule look like? Do you have regular working hours, or will you have to be on call day and night?
On this post, regular working hours are merely a formality, and I didn’t even care about specific times much. I know, and I've already had the chance to test it, the the actual time spent at work goes far beyond the agreed-upon schedule.
Does the new position come with any limitations you haven't had to deal with yett? Dress code, for example, or what kind of photos you can put on your Instagram and so on?
I haven’t been noticing much of that yet. If the day is not too heavy on the media “for me”, I dress informally, the way I am used to. And if there is a government meeting, after which a press conference follows, or an official event that I have to attend, then I will of course wear a dress and pumps. But that seems normal to me, I am used to the same thing from my previous position as a presenter, I don’t consider it a limitation.
As far as social networks are concerned, I don't use Instagram much, I prefer at least a tiny story to go with my photos, so Facebook seems to be more appropriate for me. And I don't think I would have to change anything fundamentally in this respect, I’ve never published anything I should be ashamed of.
When you look back at your career, what period do you remember most fondly?
That's hard to tell. There was always something that gave me nice memories. And one tends to reminiscence mostly the good things... I don’t think I am able to highlight one particular period. Wherever I was, I was glad to be there.
Can you tell us about your beginnings? How did Jana Nováková find herself on TV Nova and what had you been doing before you became a star presenter?
Before my first presenter gig on Nova - it was the News in Breakfast with Nova - I used to sing with a band in Germany and Austria for about a year and half, work as a news moderator at Radio Kiss, study at the FHS UK (Master's degree in the field of media) and I also worked as a "helper" in the main news on TV Nova.
You mentioned a band. It is true that when I entered your name into Google, Jana Adamcová, a singer, came up. That surprised me, I’ve never heard you sing...
But I really was a singer in my beginnings, although I was also interested in verbal and non-verbal communication. This brought me to presenting in the news, which, however, limited my singing options. I’ve returned to it only recently, in connection with the lyrics I write.
I am a great fan of the poetic texts of mister Borovec, Vrba, Knight, Pergner… What I hear today from the radio often makes my ears bleed. I can’t believe how much bad phrasing those songs have. It is probably because everyone is doing everything, and almost nobody values expertise today. Multifunctionality and price are what matters.
And have you written lyrics for any famous artists?
I write them for myself and my own needs. Although I don’t know if I’ll ever get to use them with my current profession. Primarily, I couldn’t imagine writing lyrics for other people. I’ve been writing them for myself and I put myself in them. The only text I’ve written on order was the one for the song „Láska se nám může stát“ from the movie "Summer with a Gentleman". But it wasn’t a typical job, the film was directed by my husband and I spent a lot of time over the script and watching the preparations, so I was familiar with it.
Your husband is a well-known director. You never wanted to try acting in a series?
That never occurred to me. Not that I wouldn’t dare to try a minor role, I used to play theater, and I could do a decent job, especially after many years of working in the media. But my husband and me, we didn't want to give anyone a reason to start rumors about protectionism. Despite that, we didn’t manage to avoid them. Few people can imagine that getting a job on the radio as well as on TV Nova was something I succeeded at without my husband's knowledge.
And what did he say when you told him you could become a government spokeswoman?
He was as surprised as I was, but then he started to be happy. Just like me.
Does your husband belong to those men who’d rather their wife stayed at home, or does he pride himself in your success?
I think these these things are leading an internal battle in my husband. He would like to have both. And for a while it was like that. When I went on maternity leave, I already had a part of my career as a presenter behind me, and no one could take that away from me. Now our children have grown up a lot and what they need most is someone to cook for them and drive them to their hobbies. I’m not a great chef, my husband, my mum or a friend can all do a much better job there. And as a taxi driver I am also easily replaceable. What I find really important is that I can devote myself to my kids when I get back from work and they come home from their extracurricular activities.
Alright, let's take a little break from work. Tell me what you like to do in your free time and what you’re interested in?
My free time has always been connected with children. The only thing I enjoy independently from them is reading a book in the evening. Last summer, I managed to read twenty-two in two months.
What is your favorite way to recharge?
I‘d like to say sleep and exercise. But it's never been easy for me to fall asleep. I can't get rid of the thoughts of the previous day or the next one. But since I started reading before bedtime, it's much better. The food supplement melatonin also works.
And I haven't been exercising lately either. It’s not so long ago that I couldn't even imagine a day without bikram yoga or pilates. Now I can only dream...
Can you say that you're happy? Or is there anything missing for you to reach complete happiness?
I don't know what complete happiness is. I think it's not that bad if something is missing in your life every now and then and it drives you forward. But I am happy, because I believe it’s good, when you learn how to feel happy despite possible shortcomings. I'm learning it.