Life roles: spectacular uniter of creativity and rationality that successfully brings theaters out of thick and thin, head of Vanemuine theater with 400 employees, Board Member of the Estonian Association of Performing Arts Institutions, student acquiring her second Master’s degree, proud aunt to a four-year-old niece, loyal friend
Kristiina, you radiate individuality, boldness, self-assurance, decisiveness, and buoyancy - a certain sensation of a wild woman in the very best sense of the word! Were you born like that or is it a conscious skill that you have honed in the course of your life? What are some of the little wild things that you have done recently?
I do think I’ve been this independent and daring girlie ever since I was little, somewhat of a Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter. In my childhood we lived in a small place that inspired all kinds of adventures, be it roaming the woods and climbing trees or catching fish in the pond for the cat. At the same time, all this was balanced by Olustvere Manor with its real castle complex and I as a brave child that could carry a tune more or less was constantly put in fancy dresses and shoved on stage to sing, recite poems, or dance. This offset my Ronia-like side.
I have to admit that with time I have actually grown to be less wild and more conservative and, for me, staying up until the wee hours of the morning talking to friends because it just feels too great to spend more than just a few scant hours sleeping is all the wild I can handle now.
You’ve delivered cultural institutions from financial difficulties and corona crises, making any personal life issues seem small, honestly. But do you have a certain method, secret weapon, or wisdom of our foremothers that you use to overcome difficult times and that could also help other women when things get tough?
That is a bold overstatement. :) We’re only going through our first corona crisis, new and strange for us all, and it’s not over yet at all - it remains to be seen how we in cooperation with colleagues will manage to actually overcome it.
In different situations, there are different words of wisdom and self-suggestion that come in handy; however, the main thing that comes along with each and every hurdle is the realization that complaining will not help - instead, make like Nike and just do it! Solutions will come to you when you roll up your sleeves and get to it. Even if at first you’re not quite sure what will be helpful in the given circumstances. Pulling the duvet over your head, feeling sorry for yourself or the entire world, will make nothing better neither for you nor anyone else.
The world of theater embraces people that value individuality and character - the desire to stand out. On the other hand, mass media and the fashion industry have exerted long-standing influence (on women) to meet certain standards. How can an individual outside of the art world escape the thought pattern that we must adhere to standards and how can mankind begin to accept diversity and variety in looks and tastes?
I have to say that people that shine on stage might more often than not be unnoticeable in everyday life and wish not to stand out.
I think that when it comes to diversity and variety, women themselves can do the most. It’s not exactly news that peace and strength are forged within us. Sometimes it’s a long road but once you come to this realization, a woman no longer needs all kinds of fake on her and that’s when the need to meet someone’s artificial standards falls away. It just stops mattering, with yourself and with others. We were created as we are for a reason and we are our prettiest in our natural state!
At the same time, it is important to understand that jewelry has a whole different meaning and value in a woman’s world - it is primal and related to various magical rituals. Furthermore, in certain states in India, for example, women carry all of their property on their person in form of jewelry to this day.
You are currently studying exciting topics as part of your Master’s. What do you think - where will we as a society be in 10 years’ time?
That’s a very complex question to which I don’t have a short and clear-cut answer. No one has, I think. On the one hand, the role of technology will increase in our lives most likely (and somewhat regrettably) because we and the whole world are caught in that trap and it’s probably not possible to get out. On the other hand, there will be more and more people that return to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, to the country, and on the paths of organic farming. Still, I’m afraid the percentage of people like that will remain overly small to change anything profoundly. And thirdly, the children that grew up in the realm of television and telephone and have perhaps felt a tad bit less human love and caring because their parents simply did not have the time for it will now start to become national leaders. What will this entail, who knows. We’ll soon find out.
What is the most daring thing you have ever done or the bravest decision you have ever made, what motivated you to do it, and would you change anything now, looking back?
Luckily, the way things work in life is that you’ll realize what could have happened or gone wrong only after the fact. When a choice has to be made, you never have all of the information and that is precisely why every choice is the only right decision when it is made. I have decided to trust life, myself, and my gut feeling. Regret and wishing you would have done things differently will give you nothing. What’s done is done and so it follows that at the time there was no other way. Always look ahead.
What makes your heart beat faster today, brings a smile to your face, and warmth into your soul?
A sunny day or clean fresh air after a rain. Fragrant bird cherries and lilacs and all this freshly blooming springtime world around us. I am a true spring child! But also noticing that someone has benefitted from my support and achieves something they used to think they could achieve because a leader is exactly as strong as their team. A warm hug and a good word from someone that matters to me. My little niece’s heartfelt declaration: “Aunty Kristiina, you are my favorite aunty!” And to my “You are my most favorite Annabel in the whole world”, this little princess replies: “Mm-hmm, thanks.” Because come on now - it really goes without saying that that’s how it is.
Happiness consists of small moments - let us take the time and know-how to spot them. There are much more of them than we expect.
What is the story told by the jewelry in your jewelry box?
I have two completely separate jewelry boxes. One of them contains gifts from grandmothers and grandfathers, my mom and dad, and relatives throughout my childhood. It holds pearl jewelry, pendants, all kinds of shiny bling-bling. Most of it I’ve worn very little, I was not a big jewelry fan. I wore the same earrings for years on end and I still wear the ring my grandma gave me when I graduated from high school. Sometimes I look at this box out of nostalgia but, to me, it is a matter of legacy more than anything else and I have not used items out of that box for a very long time.
The second jewelry box began to form about seven years ago when more and more Estonian designs found their way to the stores. It mostly contains earrings by designers such as Tanel Veenre and Kadi Veesaar. And a few leather bracelets.
What is the story this box has to tell? For one, it proclaims that Estonian design is super cool and worthy of being put on a pedestal and that I really value it. It also probably tells tales of who I have become as a woman in recent years. An exciting journey for which I am extremely grateful.
Which jewelry by WildWoman would you recommend to a woman wild at heart?
I recommend that women listen to their intuition. We all have it. Let it speak and trust the gut feeling that leads you to a particular piece of jewelry. It either reflects your inner world as it currently stands or represents that empowering something that you need in that very moment. At WildWoman, every woman will find something just right for her!