Successful and independent by FOBERINI: Irena Karpa

Creative and shocking, able to be herrself in any situations. On the occasion of the Independence Day of Ukraine, writer, singer, first secretary for culture of the Embassy of Ukraine in France, Irena Karpa in a candid interview for FOBERINI told how to achieve success and stay true to yourself.

What inspired you to become a writer?

This is what was given from the beginning. How to breathe, like short teeth or dark hair. I did not decide anything. I just wrote since I learned to write. Before, in the kindergarten, I just told endless oral stories to others.


What is your most valuable work for literature?

Our 8 music albums with QARPA (laughs).

Who is your favorite writer?

There are so many of them… Hemingway, Depant, Bukowski, Prohasko, Estes, Lu … is from the old guard. Because every day you discover a new name for yourself.

What does it mean for you to be the first secretary of the Ukrainian embassy for culture?

Do your work. Contribute to contemporary artists and worthy projects in their submission in France. To show that post-revolutionary Ukraine is a country of explosion of creative technologies, qualitative contemporaries and a bold underground. It is for this that I actively lobby for the participation of our artists in the biggest festivals and organize techno parties in the Parisian clubs.


How do you manage to combine the image of an outrageous gangster with motherhood and a diplomatic mission abroad?

Let’s leave it to the media. I never in my life did to myself a deliberate image. I live as I am naturally at the moment. I put on what I like. I say what I feel. All the rest – the evaluation of me from the outside, does not always coincide with the real course of things, but the better.

How can mother of two children remain stylish, attractive, successful, and yet not go insane?
Hire a normal nanny. (Mom’s mom is not an option, except to send for a vacation.) Otherwise they’ll all go insane in a chorus).

They say that women do not stay in diplomacy. How to reconcile the career of a diplomat with his personal life? With marriage, motherhood?

I’m not going to make a career as a diplomat. For me this is a project, as there were and will be others. When I see that I can do good and it can be interesting to me, I do it. It’s like a heap of projects on TV. Then I see something different, a new valuable experience. Any system work takes too much time to live a full life. That’s why I prefer free-lance.


You combine diplomatic activities, a writer’s career, music and creativity. What kind of employment is the priority for you?

Creativity should always remain an internal priority. When this is not the case, serious problems of the soul begin. Whatever you do, never put the problems of the external world above the problem of your inner. External (routine workers, other people) – never run out. And you – end.

What will your next book be about?

To women. The fact that steep women can fall into a terrible dependence on male tyrants. And how difficult (but successful) then come out of it. Broken, maimed, but unconquered. And how again they find themselves and human relationships. This will be a book for those who are trapped. And for those who want to get out of this trap. Well, or never to get into it.


In the framework of your diplomatic mission: what projects which  position Ukraine as a cultural state are you overseeng?

In September, we will have Paris Design Week and Paris Fashion Week one after another. Both there and there Ukrainian designers take an official part. There will also be speeches by Andrei Kurkov and Professor Magochia in the same September with the United States – that’s all when one of the locations has a cultural center. In November, have a big festival Week End à l’Est, where the invited city is Kiev. This is the conference in Beaux Arts, where it will be about art from Malevich to street art, and the display of modern Ukrainian cinema, and theater, and music, and literature, and photos. And debate. And so everyone is very tight. Those wishing to know more I recommend our site:

Do you already feel Parisian?)
Yes. I like to buy vegetables in the same tent on the market, and wine in the same small kramnichke. I like to drink coffee in the same cafe in the morning. Talk with people, know the neighbors, go to them for an aperitif and know from which pool through the glass walls you can see the garden. Unlike the Parisians “by the right of blood” and a long life in this city, I still have very, very much to open with in my 1.5 years of life in Paris. And that’s awesome.

What is your main achievement?

Making millions of my readers and listeners feel not alone. And maybe even smile when they read or listen to me.


How to instill love for the motherland to our children?

Here we must take an example from the French. From the kindergarten, they lead the children to watch the paintings of Manet and redraw the work of Delaunay. Children are allowed to listen to the opera and show old movies with Catherine Deneuve. Yes, children then learn the “Marseillaise” and a couple of patriotic songs, but above all they love their city, holidays, the way of life of their country, their mother and father, finally. Such small people will then never have problems with their own identity. They are quietly-proud (not hysterically) what people belong to. We have enough to show and let the babies hear. From Stankovic to the “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”. If children grew up on a common, high-quality cultural basis, many problems, including separatism, could be avoided. Nothing unites as much as culture.

What inspires you?

Ordinary details of ordinary life. The main thing is to just see them.


What is your dream?

Dreams can not be spoken out loud, right?

What would you like for Ukraine on your birthday?

Do not give up.


Producer: Ekaterina Zemlyanaya

Photo: Alexander Gurman

Make-up, styling: Beauty salon New Look

Shoes: Antonio Biaggi

Embroidery by FOBERINI: “Black Orchid”

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