The idea of shooting with Koki was not just something off the top of my head. I had a very rough story idea and I was looking for the right heroine. Because it was supposed to be wild, I was going to approach Koki to do the makeup. And then suddenly I realized that what I had in mind could actually be a great fit for her as the model. And so, the biggest Shoot Me Today! series began to take shape. This is its first part.
Koki, you’re the same kind of nutcase on social networks that you are in real life. I respect that kind of integrity and authenticity. But surely you also have moods when you don’t want anyone to see you. What goes on in those moments?
I cry. By that I mean I cry for like five hours straight. I have puffy eyes, and the only one I can talk to is either my mom or my boyfriend. I stay inside, at home, just wearing sweats, and just sweating in them. It happens about once a month, I have these cycles of regular crying. Or I cry into my pillow when I go to sleep. I’m a very stressed out person, you see. Actually, I’m always trying to quash the daily stress in myself. I work hard on it. I do all kinds of morning rituals with my face, and I have to eat breakfast regularly, and have everything extremely planned, otherwise I just collapse.
That’s not something I would’ve thought – that you, of all people, would have this kind of problem.
I do, because I’m hyperactive. It really took me years of work before I learned to chill out, but then I need this regular venting…
The makeup work you do sometimes reminds me of fine art. Do you have any favorite painters that inspire you?
I love Joan Miró. They say I do it like he does. I totally get him, when I see his stuff. It’s like showing love for some color, a certain stroke, shape, composition. It’s a kind of falling in love with the material, you know? I get a palette or have some pigment and I just see that one color and I say to myself: “Fuuuck that’s some fucking color!” And I just totally have to use it. So, I crush it up, wet it, mix the shit out of it, paint with it… I fall in love with that stuff.
What kind of makeup you enjoy doing the most?
When I meet someone on set who wants to say what they want to say with art, through painting and maybe says: “I need you to makeup that girl to convey the feeling of dampness, a setting sun, the sea and saltiness, to create a sexual tension!” And when someone says that to me, it’s like totally awesome! It’s not about the fact they tell you do it like this and this, but it’s that they let you work with colors the way you feel it. Or maybe the person wanted the makeup to look like pollen and I crushed up some pigments and just banged them on the eyes, and it was as if you had a flower that touched your eye.
When you get the chance to do something the way you see it, that is totally amazing!
Do you paint, too?
I do paint. I’ve always painted. The best are the heavy, acrylic paints. I’ve always loved the texture on paintings. My painting professor would tell me that I have an unbelievable feeling for mixing the tones I see. I love that more than anything – looking at things and their surfaces and seeing the shades in them that other people don’t see. I fucking love that!
Why is it in our society that women put on makeup for every occasion, while men do it only when it’s for “art”?
Long ago, men would wear makeup more than women, for example in the baroque period. The same in Egypt, the pharaohs were always made up like crazy – they would have huge paintings on their faces, while the women would just have lines. But in Japan, for example, it was different. There it was the women who mainly wore makeup, because they wanted to have light skin. Something had to change somewhere, and now it’s just like this. But lately it’s been starting to change again. Like at fashion shows, the men are often made up a lot. These changes usually take a while to catch on, so maybe in another five years it’ll be more normal. I generally look at people as beings and not separated into men and women. When you view someone as a being, they suddenly become an entirely different person, and it doesn’t matter if that person is wearing makeup or not, or how that person is made up.
There is a scene in the photos we did where after a magical breakfast you get a paroxysm and you experience some fundamental change. What is your personal experience with drugs?
Look, I’ve been through it myself. I smoked for a long time, like from twelve, and I started doing a lot of pot, doing bong hits, and for a girl I really smoked a lot, more than some guys I’d meet. And so, I got really burned out, got paranoid to the point where you don’t know what’s real anymore, when you go beyond chilled-out, and just smoke yourself into an unbearable state of mind and then I had a year-long relationship where I was doing M. Almost every day. And that can be called being a junkie. And then I had a four-year relationship where I was doing coke and things like that. And that was from like seventeen to twenty-two. So then, like two years ago, I said to myself, I’m not gonna deal with this anymore. And that’s when suddenly a person feels the clarity of what they’re doing, of their decisions. Because as soon as I had a period where I was taking something to “strengthen” myself, I began to lose myself. And at the same time, I could not determine the purity of the decision, whether it was created by me or based on some fake mood. Being clean and working with a clear head can be really hardcore because you get into your vibe and into a kind of trance that comes from pure joy and from what you’re doing. And it's completely different and deeper than when you just get high.
To be continued…
A lot of professionals participated in the photo shoot with Koki at Café Letka, whom I approached because I appreciate their work and I believe they are or soon will be the best in their field. Everyone went for it and got up for me early in the morning on both Saturday and Sunday to do a photo shoot in a crazy short time before the café’s opening hours. Thank you so much for your trust, it was a great experience and with your help it turned out to be a great success. Huge thanks also to Café Letka for their great willingness and helpfulness! All the clothes were borrowed from the sensational Freshlabels and the Canon 5DS R camera was, as usual, loaned to us by Emperium. I look forward to continuing! For full size pictures please visit my website.
Tomáš Vrana / photographer
Kateřina Koki Mlejnková / model / mua
Ondřej Ždichynec / assistant
Julia Silajdžić / fashion stylist
Lenka Táchová / food stylist
Radim Vaňous / dop
Jana Škaloudová / love
Freshlabels / clothes
Café Letka / location