Intimate: plus and minus. Marina Anissina: my tender and vulnerable Drakosha-Dzhigurda
I didn't follow celebrity gossip. I haven't read Dzhigurda's poems. Haven't watched the scandalous videos with his wife. After all, for the sports journalist Marina Anissina is first and foremost an Olympic champion in ice dance.
As soon as I saw her name on the guest list at the Junior World Championships held at "Minsk-Arena" - as a France team-leader - I immediately thought about the interview. Anissina haven't appeared at such competitions for several years. I'd asked many people, and no one had a slightest idea of her current connections with figure skating and what she was planning to do, people were just repeating rumours.
We met at the hotel Planeta, away from the championships crowd. We've talked for more than an hour. Discussed everything: sports, children, love. And, of course, Nikita Dzhigurda, the topic that I hadn't even known how to bring up at first.
- Marina, this year was the tenth anniversary of your and Gwendal Peizerat's victory at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
- Yes, on February 18.
- Isn't it a reason for an interview? Where did you celebrate the anniversary?
- I celebrated with my husband at home. Nothing special, it's not a birthday after all. But it is certainly a date in my life. Gwendal and I, we congratulated each other. We wanted to do a show in France, to celebrate in our circle, but it is still in progress (the conversation took place on March 1. - "PB.").
- You started to skate for France in 1993, and just before that you'd became a two-time Junior world champion skating with Averbukh...
- Ilya suddenly started a relationship with Irina Lobacheva, he decided to skate with her. And it was the beginning of the season, we had just set the programs, made costumes... it was an unpleasant situation for me. It's very difficult to find a partner, even more so if you not only want to skate but want a result. There wasn't anyone in Russia who would meet the required criteria. Then Natalia Linichuk advised me to write letters to foreigners.
Nobody believed in success at that time. But I still jumped at the idea. I sent two letters - to the Canadian [Kraatz] and to the Frenchman. I don't even remember the exact terms I used when I made the offer. One of the letters is still somewhere in my things. It is written in broken French (my friend had helped), with mistakes. Gwendal's mother later laughed remembering that letter. In the end, the Canadian didn't get my message, but Peizerat did. But Gwendal didn't call me right away.
- It was a middle of the season, you were alone and pining...
- Of course, psychologically it was difficult, because I was coming to the rink where I skated with Averbukh. He and Lobacheva were skating our programs, even wearing our costumes to competitions... And after the New Year I got a call from France, from Gwendal: "Come, I am glad". I didn't speak English very well at that time...
- Peizerat was also alone by that time?
- No, he was with his partner, her name was also Marina, by the way. But they have started falling apart, and Gwendal was thinking about quitting. And his parents really wanted him to skate. And when they received a letter from me, they said, "It's great, Marina is a champion, come on!"
It was the beginning of the 90s. Everything was complicated: visa, tickets. But Linichuk had really helped me, she even sent her husband, Gennadi Karponosov, wiith me to the try-out in France.
When I went there, somehow I didn't think I would stay. I was planning to try and get partner to train in Russia. Or at least fifty-fifty. But there wasn't any financial opportunity for that. And Gwendal told me at the beginning: "I'm not coming to Russia. My whole life is here: my friends, school, university, my girlfriend, my parents." There was no choice. I stayed.
And off it went. It was like a hobby for them: everyone was skating for fun. Practice didn't start before everyone had kissed. That's French! It took about fifteen minutes of the ice practice time. And in Russia everything was different, the attitude, and not to waste a single minute of ice time. We're all obsessed. I was shocked! And at home nobody believed that it would work out. Everyone thought: off she goes...
- ...and disappears.
- Yes. Because everyone knows that to win, you need to... In general, it was hard. But there was a desire to prove that they had written me off too quickly. After all, perhaps, had it went differently, Averbukh and I could be two-time Olympic champions... So there was the goal - not just to prove something but to win an Olympic gold.
Initially, Gwendal could come from the University thirty or forty minutes late. I was outraged. I told him: "I left everything in Russia, I also had all my life there. And I came here to work. And you aren't serious. Settle things with the university as you like." Only about a year before the Nagano Olympics, when we became first team in France my partner has changed his attitude, he became obsessed with it like the rest of us.
- Didn't he suggest to quit after the Nagano bronze? Surely he must have already satisfied his ambitions then.
- In some ways, you are right... In 2000 we won the World Championships in Nice. It was a difficult moment for Peizerat. He came to my room: "Are you sure that we can stay?" Everyone knows that psychologically it's even more difficult to continue after you won. I said: "Gwendal, I'm in shock. For me it is just the beginning. Yes, the gold at Worlds is fine. But my goal is the Olympics!" He was still in doubt:" Do you think we can?" I snapped, " It is not even up for discussion. At all! Your question is stupid." He asked again: "So you determined to go until the end? All right, then I will, too." So we made an agreement.
- In short, he needed support.
-He always needed it. Everyone supported Gwendal: his parents, I. We had a very good team: the coach, the choreographer. And the Federation has helped. Natalia Ilyinichna Dubova had worked with us for the last year. It felt like a team. After all, it is very hard if the team is fragmented.
- You are a natural leader, have you been a manageable athlete for your coach Muriel Boucher-Zazoui? Have you fully accepted what she said?
- I am an adequate person. But I will repeat: it was a hard situation for me and I realized that I needed to take many things in my own hands. Otherwise... Muriel became a different person after we started working together. We were all together, complementing each other, we were learning and we pursued our goal. And that was a very positive trait of Muriel - she never opposed us turning to another choreographer or working with another coach. She has always been our main support, she was always there for us.
But the beginning, of course, it was difficult. Gwendal says: "You were so unbearable..." And I, first of all, didn't speak French very well, and, secondly, I was resentful of many things. Imagine my inner state: no one around, I am alone and can't say a word in French in a French family.
- Gwendal's family?
- Yes. They accepted me in every way and tried to help me to adapt. But I still had breakdowns, and I maybe was very strict and harsh in dealing with things. But i just couldn't do it any other way. There was no time to lose, and I couldn't even explain him anything. And now Gwendal is grateful to me. He says: "If you had not been like that, we would never have got the Olympic gold."
- The signature move of Anissina/Peizerat is a "reverse lift", when you lift Gwendal..
- I got a phone call just today from a choreographer who really wants to work with skaters. He says: "I think this sport lacks contemporality. I love you and Gwendal, you were innovators." We really tried to do something different, not like the others, we were looking for new ways. That's why we got love and support in any country we came. It is also very important.
However, when our choreographer came up with a very unusual idea of this lift, I was initially bewildered. Although it turned out the lift was not so hard physically, because with the right speed and tempo you don't really feel the weight. Of course, if the partner was two meters tall, the idea wouldn't work out. And as it was, in the context of the choreography it was impressive, new and shocking. And it became our signature move.
Tell us about your life after the Olympic success in 2002.
- Until 2007, we skated with Gwendal in an American show Champions on Ice, also went to Europe and Asia. Then I participated in the Dancing with the Stars on Ice project, where I met Nikita, we got married. I had children with just a year difference between them. I drifted away from the sport a little bit, because I have different problems and joys now. No time to skate. But right now we got an offer to participate in the show after the World Championships in Nice. Gwendal doesn't mind. We just need to organize it somehow, because we need to practice.
- How often do you skate?
- Rarely. Recently I went to France to help a French team. Of course all week I was in skates.
- What team are you talking about?
- Junior team, it is only their second season together, the girl was a single skater before. They participate in the world championship in Minsk. Yesterday they fell and it was the end of competition... Of course, to come help them only for a week is not nearly enough. But financial matters also play a role here. Because the system in France is such that federation helps only those who have already achieved something. The rest depend on the parents' support.
- Who invited you?
- The parents.
- Is it your first experience as a coach?
- No. I worked with an American team together with Natalia Ilyinichna Dubova for a year. They were to go to the Olympics in Turin. Then for one season with an American Johnny Weir, set programs for him and supervised him a little.
- Do you like coaching?
- In principle, I understand that I miss figure skating. Here, in Minsk, I got to see everyone, of course, it is my element... but I have two children ... I do not know, it all depends on the offers. There are offers, in Russia and in France. The question is how to organize everything. Because if it is work for the result, then I am a person who will go until the end. And it will require spending all day at the rink. And I'm a bit afraid of it - the children are too small yet.
- You came to Minsk as a French team-leader. What are your functions?
- First of all organizational. The president of our federation assigned me to psychologically support the athletes because they are young, and my opinion is important to them. I attend practices. I am with them before they skate, they ask me.
- At one time, you were the most popular athlete in France. Has it changed over time?
- The popularity of figure skating has dropped. The results are gone - TV stops to invest money and to show skating.
- Nevertheless, in Russia, your name is still popular...
- Mainly because of my husband, I think.
- You met Dzhigurda at the Dancing on Ice project. Has Nikita skated ever since?
- After the show we went on tour, and that was it.
- What do you do in your time together?
- I played in the theater, two entreprises, also with my husband. I tried to sing. We recorded a disc, I performed a few songs on Nikita's poems. Always doing something creative. After all, it is the most important thing for my husband. He is an artist.
- What were the roles you played?
- I played a French princess in the Goldman's play "The Lion in Winter" and also the millionaire's daughter.
- As a daughter of a hockey player Vyacheslav Anissin, what it was like to try on a completely different role?
- As the director and my husband told me, those roles suited me perfectly. It was like playing myself!
-Do you want to continue in this direction?
- I really liked it. On the one hand, it's like our shows, performances, but on the other hand it is completely the opposite. And the artists are very interesting people. Of course, it is all new to me. Initially, I felt like I could play any role! However, it is absolutely not true, because they also learned to do it for many years, and it's not so easy...
- Do you want to study?
- Well, there is too much competition and all... This is a completely different field. For me it is interesting because I do it with my husband. Of course, I am more efficient in figure skating. I don't have a goal to become Marilyn Monroe.
- So, you don't have to choose between figure skating and acting career?
- No. For me it's a hobby. It's interesting. It's really creative, and not just some sort of a routine.
- How do you live now? What do you consider most important - raising children?
- I can not clearly answer. Of course, children are very important to me. But I'm not one of those who would stay at home all day and deal with diapers. I want to combine. It's not that simple. It needs organizing. Doing nothing is boring.
"A work of art"
- Everyone knows the effect made by the your husband's videos in Russia. Did French see them? How did they react?
- Oh, to be honest, I do not know. It's been discussed in the Russian media, there were too many scandals. In my opinion, if such videos were shot by someone else, not Dzhigurda, it would probably have been a success. It's something unusual. But Nikita is perceived only in one perspective, many times he was framed [too look bad] on television. I've been watching: they need Dzhigurda for scandals.
But he is not always like that, and not only that. He is a poet, too. Now there are two books coming out. The first one is lyrical and philosophical. Second, of course, profanity. And the publisher focuses on the second one. No one needs lyrical...
Nikita tells me: "What to do? If I don’t attract attention, there will be nothing." He says: "I need to draw attention to my main work." Because he's actually a very deep person. Many people believe that he is a madman, but it is absolutely not true. All my family and friends know this.
- So it's mainly for the show?
- Yes, to some extent. He's an actor, a good actor. But he will never dance to someone else's tune, he is not accepted and he cannot break through. 1TV has shown him in bad light a lot. And with that first video, Angel’s birth, it was so exaggerated... Although they asked Nikita for the originals, promised that it will look completely different.
- In short, it was fabricated?
- Absolutely! And in The Last Hero [Russian version of Survivor] too, and at the celebrity boxing. It’s not so simple. They don’t need him. More accurately, they need him only for scandal. I'm sure that had they shown the full version of the video, not just some pieces, it would have had a very different effect. Nikita likes to say (very funny, I like it), if you rip off David's genitals and show him like that, then the work of art will be incomplete. The accents shift.
When Nikita made the video, he showed it to me first. Me and my mother. We didn't see anything wrong with that… the song was beautiful... He wanted to share his joy... It wasn't planned, as it's described all over the Internet: Dzhigurda is running around with that video wanting to make money. Absolutely not. Not for money at all. He haven't made a penny on it. And that whole discussion on the TV was only to put him in bad light, that he has shared the video...
But it's absolutely like a work of art! Yes, it is unusual. We didn't even plan to tape it. Didn't even have cameras in the hospital. We asked: "Can we take pictures?" French doctors said yes, many people do. Nikita was upset that we hadn't thought of it. I said: "I have a camera phone." Yes, the video was taken on a phone. But few people now how it was arranged, everybody just talks how Dzhigurda was singing at such moment.
My husband made friends with girls in the hospital, sang to them, gave candies. And then he said: let's ask the girls to let us in the same room, and we will make something up, shoot something. So we did. If we haven't done that, we wouldn't attract attention!
- In general, it was a staged video.
- Yes, absolutely! And after that there were many discussion of women's anesthesia in Russia. This problem started being discussed! Because things are different there.
The second video is the birth of my daughter. I was singing there. I even put make up on, because I knew what was going to happen. My husband called the video "Birth of Life," on the Internet it was changed to "Birth of a child." And in the movie credits there are Nikita, I and Ellen Slyusarchi ...
- She’s a Ukrainian actress, isn't she?
- Yes. Nikita was in a movie with her. And then he took some footage of the movie. In the video, there is only my head. And again, everyone started talking that Dzhigurda shows off his wife. He doesn't do anything! He is a very philosophical person in general. And the video there is philosophy - with the sun and everything else. The idea is not so banal. But people don't read until the end, don't listen until the end. Do not want to listen! I'm saying: the problem is that they hear the sound, but do not know what it is. Show business is a very complicated thing, it's very hard to break through...
Nikita has been tainted very much. In fact, he is a very good father, very gentle. But they show him like this: "E-ah-ah!" (Marina makes scary sounds in Dzhigurda manner. - "PB."). I say: "Nikita, I know you, but when I see it, I feel uncomfortable myself. And what will say those who do not know you? "
Clearly, it's his temper. At some shows, they often ask him: "Nikita Borisovich, do something hot. Blow up the room!" Because they know that he is bold and bright.
But Dzhigurda does not only "negative" but also "positive", something serious. But they cut it and show in pieces. Now, however, the pendulum has swung a little bit, it became better. They began to invite him to more intellectual things. Maybe sooner or later people will discover his work, what it actually is.
- What influenced the fact that the pendulum has swung in a positive way?
- Well, time passes, people talk ... For example, he went to one show, and the host said: "Listen, Nikita, I know you for many years. You write great poems. And what's all this, the tabloids, the buzz? "My husband says," Have you ever invited me to talk about serious things? Just now you have. "
And there was so many fake stories in the tabloids... I don't go online very often. Nikita keeps track of all that, because he reacts to it. I was a witness to many things. For example, he says something on the phone, and then it comes out under some title – completely upside down - or just entirely twisted. We tried to do something about that, but it's useless. Well, not that useless, but ... What can we do?
- Well, control his media image somehow.
- It is necessary. It is necessary that someone started working with Nikita professionally. He's all by himself. People often ask him: "Who comes up with all this? You must have a heck of a PR agent!" What PR agent? He's just very creative. Extraordinary person.
- Do you really call him Drakosha [“little dragon”], or is it a joke?
- Yes, I do, it's a cartoon character. Nikita can be very tender and funny. He is really vulnerable. My reaction to everything is much calmer and easier than his. My husband gets very upset when [something he did] is twisted. He says: "You've heard everything! You've been there." I say: "Nikita, what can you do." But it's impossible to react to everything like he does. If I let everything get to me when I skated, I would never become an Olympic champion. There are pitfalls in sport too. You should take it philosophically. But anyway, sooner or later the truth will prevail. All secrets will be revealed.
"Power of primal woman"
- Do you take your children to public outings?
- Yes. We used to do it more often when I was still breast-feeding Eva because she was always with me. Now it happens less frequently because they are a little older and I can leave them with a nanny.
- Nikita, probably, reads them poems?
- Yes. Sings to them! They are all: "Daddy, Daddy!" They watch his videos, open them themselves. Biggest Daddy's fans.
- Are you going to put them on skates? When you started to skate?
- At three and a half. Now Angel is three. I want to take him to the rink to try if he likes it or not. My good friend Masha Butyrskaya has a school. She says, "Come, bring children."
- Your children have quite unusual, difficult names.
- Well, they were born in France, where several names are given. We had a hard time thinking how to call the boy. Nikita wanted to call him Mikael. When I was pregnant, I talked to my son: "Mika, Mika." But when we came to France, my mother said: "Are you crazy? Who calls a baby Mikael? Think again. I am not going to babysit Mikael." We opened a name calendar. I flipped through it and suggested: "The Angel’s day. Let's call him Angel." Nikita added: "Let’s call him Mik-Angel then." For a girl, I wanted Eva from the beginning. My husband said, "Let’s call her Eva-Vlada then - the power of primal woman!" I agreed: it sounds nice, I like it.
- How did your mother react? Already resigned?
- No, absolutely not. Mama does not communicate with us at all. She stopped when Angel was three months old. I was in Biarritz. She had a fit, collected her belongings and left.
- Apparently she did not approve your choice of a husband...
- Yes, my mother painted a very different picture. Nikita tried everything to get along with her. And she was okay one day, the next like a chainsaw: "Run away from him. Get a divorce, start a new life. I will raise the child." I tell her, "Mama, I'm happy with him. This is my life. I do not force you to live with him. He tries to find common ground with you. But you ..." She:" He's crazy!" She reads the Internet too. And she does not know what life in Russia is like, she is stuck in the Soviet times. And she didn't like that I came back to Moscow.
- And your mother lives in France?
- Yes, in Biarritz. She believes that everything is awful in Russia. She spent so many years abroad that she doesn't have any idea what life in Russia is like. So when all the quarrels began... And the main reason was my house in Biarritz. I said that I was going to sell it, that it had been a completely stupid and thoughtless purchase and that mistake had put me in a very difficult situation. At first Nikita and I were planning to keep the house. But my mother said that she lived there and we had no business living there and coming there. Well, I thought: no way, I'm not going to pay for this house. And when we told her that we would sell, oh, it was something. It's so difficult. I was in France in spring, called her and tried to talk. And she says: "I do not want to hear from you, for me it's easier. You ruined your life, do not ruin your children's lives. "
- So no grandchildren for her, then? I don't understand...
- Well that's how it is. Because she didn't have her way. And she always had. And she still wants to control everything. I think eventually it will pass. I hope ...
- And how do you get along with your husband's parents?
- All right! When I was pregnant with Eva, Nikita’s mother - Jadwiga – spent a whole year with us. She went with us to France, and on tour. She helped a lot, spent days and nights with Angelic. She is so nimble, lively, despite her age - 73. But she has a lot of other worries, and she has children besides Nikita. And her health began to fail, she had a heart attack. And we started looking for a nanny. We were afraid, because there are so many stories. I didn't know what to do with these two strollers. A month went like in a madhouse, I thought I would hang myself. Then Masha Butyrskaya helped to find a nanny.
- How do you manage to stay in such great shape with two children?
- I got back in shape after pregnancy very quickly. And I have a very good nanny now, who lives with us - it is definitely a huge help. I'm very happy.
- Do you have any support in life, except your husband?
- No. Of course there are my friends, my son's godmother Ludmila Bratash. She is my friend, we met in Paris. She loves my children very much... But Nikita is the closest person to me. And my children are my support too.
"The battery of god"
- You have no desire to become a respectable sports official?
- Why, to sit there?
- Some people love power for power's sake.
- No, I'm more of a practical person. Nikita likes reasoning. Words mean little to me. If I do something, I should see the result. And to just say something...
- In Russia, the athletes are often involved in politics.
- Well, I am a French figure skater after all! Of course, for them I'm Russian, when it's convenient, and when it's not I am French again. Once I needed a child's passport from Russian embassy, and I asked to do it faster if possible. And they told me: "Well, you are the Olympic Champion for France, not for Russia!" There are people like that. But when they need something, they are all: "Oh, she is still ours, she's Russian, she's our pride! .."
Of course, it would be interesting if there was some project, like Russia - France. However, there are no such proposals. And I myself did not come up with anything yet.
- In any case, you are, firstly, a smart woman, and secondly, a well-known athlete. You could achieve great success...
- Of course, I could. Especially since I has learned a lot from Nikita - in terms of communication. Before, I got a panicky feeling whenever I saw a camera, at an interview. I used to speak with reporters in French, in Russian it somehow did not work. But it's also experience. And my husband has taught me a lot, supported me: talks, literature. Although I can not say that I haven't... You know, sometimes there are athletes who haven't read a single book in their life. It's not about me. But, of course, not as much as actors read... Nikita has read so many philosophical books. He is a very interesting person.
- Are you fascinated by the philosophy?
- He thinks that if everyone believed that we are creators, it would change a lot. Because we have always been taught that we are sinful. I just began to understand some things and react a little bit differently to them. I agree with him at some level. Nikita asks: "Do you believe that you are a goddess?" I say, "Sure!" He says: "You see, you have it in you. And many women don't." Some women in provinces haven't got it planted in them. And they probably also could have it! That's his philosophy. And I think it's a good idea, maybe rightly so, because now we have church being enforced everywhere. Of course, it's all business. The Church is not in the vaults of the church, it's within us. That's what I totally agree with. But it's difficult...
Of course, one must believe in something. Sometimes I go to the cathedral in Elovo, I like it there. It helps psychologically.
- Do you go to church by yourself or together?
- Nikita doesn't go there at all. He got baptized only for the wedding - my mother insisted. She knew that Dzhigurda was not baptized, and she had hoped... But he said: "No problem! Religion is the fingers on my hands..."
No, you can talk to him for hours. It's interesting. I cannot do that. I do not have so much knowledge.
- And doesn't he think about putting his life's adventures on paper?
- He does. Now there is a book to be released... Sometimes people tell him: "You have to create your own religion, your Order." But it's just a joke, of course.
- You are an observer in this case.
- Why, I always support him. And when I disagree with something, I say.
- Does he listen?
- Yes. In general, Nikita is stubborn as a bull, he's Aries. But he does listen.
- What is your zodiac sign?
- Virgo. It is the only sign that adapts to all the other signs.
- You met Dzhigurda five years ago. What has changed over the years in your perception of each other?
- Maybe I misunderstood some things, but the relationship grew stronger. Many people ask me: "Are you happy?" Yes, I'm happy. Because Nikita is the closest person for me. He is reliable. The tabloids portray him as a Lovelace, macho... Yes, he is prominent, bright, sexy. But he lived for twelve years with one woman, with another. Where is debauchery? He helps his children. He is decent. Sometimes he can be vulnerable, I support him. He gets upset, doesn't like to see things through to the end. And I say, "No, to the end!" After all, Aries often needs the result immediately, tomorrow. And I say: "No, it does not work like that."
I just wish people would know him the way he is. People ask, "What do you think about his profane poems?" Well, what do I think? I do not use that language myself. Vulgar profanity just shocks me. But Nikita's poems have sense in them. He does not use that language to curse, but to enhance the effect. Because, unfortunately, if you simply speak people won't hear you. No effect! But there is sense in his poetry. And some courage. Not everyone would dare. In spring, his book is being released. I do not know ... it is such a bomb!
- Are you going to be there?
- Of course. As I said, there will be two books - profanities and lyrical and philosophical. And the name is fitting: “The battery of god: plus and minus." As Nikita says, the vulgar will be counterbalanced by lofty, so there will be no disproportion. And who has ears will hear. Superficial people won't really get it.
Marina ran off to dinner. Our conversation lasted a lot longer than planned, everything turned cold and the Planeta waitresses got tired calling the star to the table. I looked after the Olympic champion and thought to myself: how different people can be - in sport and after…