Who is Michelle and what can be found in this section?


From the series The World According to Michelle

I come from Vištuk. From a small village. You can say that I am actually a village girl with big dreams and ambitions. Ever since I can remember. As a child, I wanted to be anything. A princess, a fairy, a mermaid... I wanted to be Sleeping Beauty for a very long time because she slept for a long time. And I love to sleep. Later I wanted to be an actress, or a singer, one day I wanted to work in a bank. And I always wanted to save the world. I never knew how, what, when and so... I just wanted to. And sometimes that's all it takes to get started. Then you have to add determination, motivation, and effort, subtract sleep and comfort zone and miracles start to happen.

And now, as I write these lines, it occurs to me that I've kind of achieved that. I worked as a lecturer at the castle of Červený Kameň, where castle performances were held. And guess what my first job was? Right! Sleeping Beauty. So I was already a princess and an actress. I didn't work in a bank, but who among us today doesn't deal with money? So I think I can consider that one done, too.

Today I work as a journalist. You're probably asking how that's possible when I'm only 22 years old. Well, simple! You have to work hard. You see, being a journalist was not my childhood dream and even now I would often rather be the princess everyone looks up to. But life is not a fairy tale and I'm no princess. So how did I get into journalism?

I'm the most indecisive type of person in the world. I don't know if you believe in horoscopes, but I'm a Libra, and that suits me just fine. Indecisiveness has been with me my whole life. Let me tell you, it's not easy. Especially when you have to decide on a school.

In high school, I chose grammar school. I got into a grammar school in Modra, which was very disappointing. I wanted to go to the Jura Hronec grammar school in Bratislava. But they didn't take me. I chose a second school in Modra. I went there crying and I left crying. I missed it very much. In the end, I spent the most beautiful four years of my life in that school. It was a great school. My classmates and I got along incredibly well. The atmosphere was amazing. I can imagine a better curriculum, but nothing is perfect.

I chose high school because I thought in four years I would figure out what I wanted to do in life. I was naive! High school was slowly coming to an end and now what? I'm already applying to college! You're not going to make it! Hurry up! Deadline! Choose! Oh, my God! How should I know? How do I know what I want to do for the rest of my life?

So a guidance counselor once said to me, "Michelle, you have such a big mouth. Go to journalism school!" Okay. I'm going. I didn't even know there was such a school until then. So I applied, I took the entrance exams, I was there one semester, the second semester the covid started, I was in distance learning, I didn't like it, I took a year off, then I dropped out, and I didn't go back to school. So that's my college life in a nutshell.

At that time I met Petra Nagyova, who was working as a PR manager at Eduma. She was the one who taught me how to write. To this day, I still write gently in her style. Then when I came to that college, the longer I was there, the more I felt that I wasn't going anywhere. It was just taking away from me. It was taking my time. Then I met Magda Kmet'k and Roman Razek and suddenly the merry-go-round started... Michelle, write an article about it. Then I could write about it. And write something else about it. Then suddenly I started writing for an international magazine. Later, I was a behind-the-scenes editor. I even moderated my own debate and got on the air live. And today I'm writing a manuscript that will later become a book.

That was also very interesting. The whole birth of this idea. I was having coffee with Magdushka at the Club under the Lamp and suddenly we got on the subject of role models. Those who inspire and motivate us.

My younger brother once told me about Rhythm. About how he admires him. For being rich, having expensive cars, watches, a house, going on vacations... He didn't mention that Rytmus actually accomplished all that on his own. He literally smashed it from the ground up. He didn't have a father to contribute to anything. He just worked hard and went after his dream. And that's when it hit me! Young people, whether influenced by social media, have the meaning of the word role model, inspiration, success tainted. I felt I had to do something about it. It was clear to me that young people, and especially young Roma men and women, needed to be shown inspirational figures, but I didn't know how to...

I talked to Magduska about this thought at the time. "Michelle, write a book," she told me casually, taking a sip of tea. I laughed. Me? I'm supposed to write a book? I let that run through my head. After a while, it dawned on me that this was a really great idea. It's going to be like a little treasure chest, and those treasures are going to be interviews, reflections with young, inspiring Roma men and women.

And so I am discussing. I listen. Sometimes I also cry hearing about the hardships that the person has had to go through. Then I laugh. I write. I let myself be inspired and give space to inspire others.

Michelle Kubištová

Made possible with the financial support of the Fund for the Support of the Culture of National Minorities