Ru Az


A special chapter with laconic polysemantic name “She” is dedicated to her in Andrei Konchalovsky’s book “Elevating deception”. Since her appearance in life and on pages of memoirs of the master, Julia Vysotskaya became a part of our daily life too. Every Sunday she appears on television screens with purpose to capture us with indoor desire to cook. And despite of this, she arrives at the characters of provincial Galya and Lyubov Ranevskaya from high society, she smiles from fashion plates of glossy magazines and personal books, while collecting colorful, pungent, crispy and flavored, but always win-win happiness receipts.


You frequently mention about Baku in your interviews. You have lived, graduated from a school and even gone to market here.. What else do you remember about your Baku life?

That was my childhood and during childhood everything is excellent, tasty and beautiful... Since I left Baku much time has passed, thus, my memories are so remote and very warm. When I lived in Baku, it was an international city, where Azerbaijanis, Jewish people, Armenians all spoke Russian very literally, people willingly attended theatres…Generally, Baku was somehow intelligent, there was no perception of existence of such layers, for example, not reading books or not watching French films. I lived in Baku for 6 years from 1984 to 1990. And only once I returned back to the city with a play “Chayka”. Andrei Konchalovsky shot a film about Heydar Aliyevich at that period.


And do you cook the Azerbaijani cuisine dishes?

You see, I cook different food in my house. It seems, the Azerbaijan cuisine is for those experts, who have really learned it, I would say, have gone through a school of the Azerbaijani mother. Concerning this point, I know some common all Union dishes, cooked in Azerbaijan too, but I would not be cunning, I don’t cook exclusively the Azerbaijani cuisine. Some time ago I cooked sweet pilaw with dry fruits and chicken. As for pakhlava it is not destined for outsiders, it is only for real connoisseurs.

One of your posts is underlined by hashtag “The food I eat, reflects me”. Do you really attain such important meaning to food?

Absolutely, yes. I presume, we depend much on food we take, moreover, not in terms of fuel, from view point of receiving energy, but, as an emotional charge just as well.


Nevertheless, you frequently call yourself, as a culinary amateur. Why didn’t you wish to learn your favorite pursuit more professionally?

First of all, I am an actress, and it turned out, that other people grew interested in my hobby. Generally, culinary can’t be called, as a hobby: perhaps, approximately 70% of women in our country cook food, and thanks to God for that! This means that our women still wish the house looking tasty, children eating wholesome food, a man observing something cooked with love, after he returns home... Basically, I don’t separate myself from these women. I am like them. However, I am an actress, I have ambitions in this area. But here, I simply deal with business, which is interesting for someone to observe and I really have pretty decent knowledge of food. It is impossible to seize unseizable. Quite confidently I can state, I am a professional actress and I continue developing, learning in this area. As for the culinary art, I continue developing and learning there too, however I am not inclined to get, for example, a Michelin star, because this isn’t real. It is necessary to dedicate whole my life, however I have too many other projects.


You have confessed several times, that you can refrain from taking food for several days, only just with aim to avoid eating bummy or mediocre-grade dishes. Do you attempt in such a way preserving your gustatory audition unbiased? Or do you consider that you have already deserved the right for gastronomic snobbery?

I can easily do with starvation. I refer myself to that category of persons, not having headache, not losing consciousness, moreover, if this is mindful starvation, I start feeling pleasant euphoria after several days. Secondly, I realize that I render a service to my organism, if I don’t load it with whatever turns up. After all, food is a serious load for human’s body. When I eat a croissant, I understand that though it is cooked ideally, nevertheless it is of little use. But if there is nothing useful, then, at least, I know that my aesthetic perception and gustatory sensations will not be affected.

And if food is void of use or pleasure, then positively, I will do without it. Thus, there is no any special snobbery here, I simply like food very much. As one stated: «If we are doomed to eat, then let's eat good food». Like in many Soviet families, we had periods, when we didn’t have much food in our house, but we always had something very delicious.

In this respect, the Caucasus influenced on me much. I like the Caucasian food a lot more than the Russian food. When I tell about my indifferent attitude to a borsch, then I am shot down in flames. I would eat well cooked borsch, but I do not consider, that it is any special feature of the Russian cuisine.


Don’t Julia Vysotskaya’s titles of a TV presenter, a culinary writer, a restauranteur hinder an actress Vysotskaya?

If it were other time, other circumstances, then, probably, such variety of interests might refrain directors from inviting me to tread the boards or to act in film. But cinematograph is not any more that magic, that fairyland, attracting much young actresses and displaying beautiful, surprising story to the audience. Presently, life is different. And besides, nothing prevents me doing this. I do everything, I like. I am lucky in this sense: I select those projects, which sweep me off my feet, and I deal with those activities, which bring me pleasure. If these activities make profit too, wow, it is great, but priority is I tend not to be plagued at any rate. I will never agree to act in a film, when I realize that process will be painful, a director is boring, a material is not quite corresponding or I can’t find common language with partners...

Instead, I should better shoot culinary programs and get real pleasure to have flour, water, and eventually, nice bread in baking oven! Not every actor can brag of such good result, like well baked bread.

It is also necessary to take into account that you are free to select roles. Not every actor has such possibility...

Yes, not everyone has. This is a great privilege and big luck, fort that I am very grateful to my fate and to people, who help me building my life in such way, which enables me choosing.


Mrs. Julie Strindberg, Antigone from «Oedipus at Colon», Ranevskaya from Chekhov’s «Cherry orchard», the Sleepy-head from "Uncle Vanya", Masha from «Three sisters»... Which of these characters is the closest to you?

It is difficult to find an answer. First of all, they are very different. That is happiness for an actress – to have an opportunity of verifying of your scope, to examine, where it works out, or maybe it is not so good, as it is supposed to be. Previously, something seemed to me very complex, now it has become close and it is necessary to keep on working on something... This is a process. Each performance is a new little life... Saying true, I do not know, which character is closer to me, but, perhaps, Sleepy-head was the most hardly created role, and...she became a discovery for me, I would express it in such way. As for other roles, it is all the same work, but anyhow, these heroines were clear to me or I seemed that they were clear... However, it is necessary to search something unexpected in character, at performance with aim to be interesting as for me, so for the director and the audience. But the Sleepy-head here is, probably, the brightest discovery for myself too.

Once you admitted that you are indifferent to praise. Nevertheless, it is necessary to mention your performance of Olga Kamenskaya’s in the film "Paradise". Such high pitch of originality, I mean not play, but strong feeling in role, is this a result of some special practice? Tell me, how the preparation for creation of this uncommon character was conducted,

You see, it is not possible to express everything with words, for obtaining an ideal receipt to split into components for me to be able to act at the next time, the same way as the character was formed in "Paradise" film. This is a fabric, woven from billion of thin threads, very multiplan work, including sub-consciousness, literature, disputes and any kind of conversation till the morning on point what time was then, what type of people were they.. And when you utter supposedly some strange text, suddenly it appears that all this is somehow created for you, for your sake and woven by you... But my business is not to analyze. My business is to present, to live, to try getting the truth...


Quite often you mention about necessity to adhere to horizontal at communication, however, you often call your spouse, as a teacher, as a person, who disclosed the world for you. How do you manage to connect these concepts, such as observation of horizontal at communication and that piety, caused, as a rule, by figure of the teacher?

Well, first of all, if I were only his actress or worked only with him, then this is one story. After all we are close people and thus, it is a little bit more complex in this case. Sometimes we even interchange our places: sometimes I know better, what and how it is necessary to do and he listens to me, harks to my words and then accepts my guidelines.

You see keeping distance is important at communication, but respect of each other’s space does not transfer relations, speaking conditionally, to a vertical. Respecting does not mean to prostrate or to regard reverently with astonishing eyes, it is possible to respect a person and to notice his vices. But by this end, there is a certain code of communication - when you don’t admit yourself crossing a certain line. In my opinion it is, namely, interaction of horizontal. One may adhere to this with a son and with a husband. It means, that except love, I feel esteem too.


You are called Konchalovsky’s Galateya. What is your attitude to such characteristic?

We all influence on each other. This is like in physics... I think, that prior to our meeting Andrey Sergeyevich too was one person, but now he is different. Come to think about it, evidently, the life affects. We change not only because we are near someone, but simply, because of our life. Because multiple of some other meetings, some other events take place, thus, as a result we change too.

Unless I met Andrey Sergeyevich, probably I would be another person. Certainly. However, if I were not the person in initial presentation, then likely, such Galateya would not stay beside him. On the other hand, pigs would fly, if they had wings... God knows.

And are you not upset in case of such comparison?

And what is bad in this? I am an open minded person. I am a self-reflecting person, but what is the point to attempt proving, that I am not that stupid person? No, that is not about me! I am glad that my Pigmalion is Konchalovsky, and he is not Pumpkin.


You often admit, that you can’t suffer and you don’t like suffering. Doesn’t this positivistic position hinder you, as the actress, perceiving life deeper with all its contradictions for convincing reproduction on the screen, on the stage?

I play my role, the way I perceive, the way I am able to. I try maintaining my organ in maximally good shape and, naturally, training my interior too. However, that does not mean, that I must console myself with sufferings. If this is a secret of life, causing my misunderstanding, then what is the cause of creation of human being, if he is doomed to sufferings? If I had a chance to ask Almighty God, I would ask about this.

Your name has become a brand name since long. You conduct culinary master classes, publish books, you are on the air, open restaurants and energize thousands of spectators with energy of creation... But to be a brand means to correspond to trademark, and certainly, that’s very hard work. How do you cope with such strained condition?

Nothing is new here! To have less bad habits, it is desirable to get enough sleep from time to time, to be able planning own activities and to have a team of like-minded persons. More truly, team is to be at the first place, and then all the rest. This is a real work. I feel comfortably, when there is a discipline in my life. More activities you have, more disciplined you are compelled to be. It is, like endless circle: the discipline dictates habits and habits dictate discipline... Nobody, for example, would like jogging every day. Nobody would like attending yoga three times a week. Agreed, it is difficult, but it is necessary. All people want to drink coffee in the morning and champagne in the evening. Well, it is impossible to drink coffee and champagne every day, do you understand? Common sense is required, otherwise you will fall out of the race. And I don’t want to fall out of the race, otherwise it will be boring to live for me.


You admitted in one of the recent interviews: «Previously, I have had more illusions comparing with my expectations in future, rather than now». What was the biggest your illusion?

I had a lot of them. Generally, illusions appear all time long, and thanks to God. Some of them disappear, then others appear... But the greatest illusion was connected with theatre. Saying true, then I didn’t even think about cinema and believed that only theatre might make me happy and theatre was a specimen of absolute happiness. Now I realize, what complex organism is theatre and how I have been lucky to get into excellent creative team. At the same time I realize that I have also other areas in my activity, which allow me not to depend on theatre. The point is theatre might swallow you and then spit you out, like any other creative profession. But my illusion on career of a theatrical actress was not tragically destroyed, but it is simply transformed into other quality.

Is recognition of your merits important for you?

Certainly! Otherwise I would not become an actress.

People, who are free of vanity or desire to be recognized, do not go to public professions. On one hand, I am an introvert, but on other hand I am eager to declare to the whole world, that I exist in this world!

You often call yourself perfectionist and it is supported much in your activity. However, eventually when you obtain the higher point for made efforts, what sources are you energized from for moving forward, for putting new goals?

Certainly, both praise and reward are always pleasant, because you are mentioned. However, I will tell quite sincerely, I am more interested in the process itself. If I were interested with results, then naturally, it would be difficult to cope with failures or statement of new targets. It is very hard to live by moving from result to result and I sincerely feel sorry for such type of people with consciousness structured in such way. I am able experiencing blissful pleasure from the process itself. To tell the truth, when failure takes place, it only excites me.

Thanks to God, meantime nothing yet beat me to such extent, this would cause me sinking into despair. I am tempted to move forward, to do more and better! And that is why there are rewards – it is such pleasant reason for celebration of holiday and I love holidays.