In early May, one of the brightest Russian pop-stars paid Monaco a visit. Just prior to Victory Day, the People’s Artist of Russia, Valeriya, performed at the annual Monte-Carlo Summer Music Festival organized by SBM. Emin, Ani Lorak and Valeriy Meladze were some other famous singers who got to perform on the Monte-Carlo Sporting stage. The celebrity concert was organized by Berin Iglesias Art.
HelloMonaco’s editor-in-chief, Olga Taran, met the Russian singer and her husband, producer Iosif Prigozhin, to talk about family values, life harmony, women’s happiness and more.
The 51-year-old performer and a mother of three, also shared some of her fitness secrets and a perfect beauty recipe.
HelloMonaco: You look amazing. How do you manage to stay in shape in spite of your numerous concert tours?
Valeriya: The most important thing is your attitude to life. It is true that gloomy, negative people look older. I also have the right genes and good reference points in life. On the female side, everybody’s been a long-liver in my family. The main thing that I inherited is a thirst for life. At the age of 100, my grandmother was perfectly lucid and boasted an amazing memory. I hope to have inherited it from her (she laughs).
HM: What does a healthy lifestyle mean to you?
Valeriya: Regular fitness and right nutrition. Last year, we launched a special nutrition program with Emin Agalarov. It only operates in Moscow as the freshly cooked food is delivered to our clients’ doors every morning.
HM: Is this your new business project?
Valeriya: It is difficult to call it a business so far. Let’s just say that I have tried a number of similar food services in Moscow, but none of them gave me a 100 % satisfaction. For me it was important to have dietary, but very tasty food. I can stick to my program as long as I like. Our menu is updated every two weeks and the food is very diverse. Moreover, we have various solutions for different purposes — gaining muscle mass, for a special athletic program, nutritionist advice etc.
HM: Besides fitness and good nutrition, is there anything else that goes with a healthy lifestyle?
Valeriya: I go to a beautician and do some powerful hardware cosmetology treatments that do not need to be done very frequently. Sometimes I just don’t have enough time and only manage to see my beautician once in four months. I only go for treatments that do not leave any trace, as I sometimes need to work with the camera straight away. That is why hardware cosmetology is my favourite. I occasionally use plasma lifting as well.
HM: Now that your children have grown up, do you have more time to yourself?
Valeriya: I have more freedom. Our whole life used to be organized around children’s holidays. We only were able to make our plans based on that.
HM: How do you use this freedom?
Valeriya: I don’t have any particular hobbies. It’s just that the time we spend with our children is more spontaneous now. Psychologically, you also feel less responsibility and guilt. When I travelled for work and the children stayed at home, I used to feel an internal tension. Not anymore.
HM: Are your children involved in the creative process?
Valeriya: They all are.
HM: As far as I know, Artemy is working in a recording studio.
Valeriya: Yes, this was very unexpected. He studied music and then he quit. His university degree is in a totally different field. After school, he told us that he would like to study at Berkeley College of Music. We were surprised, but naturally decided to give him that opportunity. Berkeley is reputed to be one of the best music schools. He is now telling me that he is making use of all his three university degrees and he is very grateful for this opportunity. In addition, while living in our family he learned certain things that are not taught in schools.
HM: Any plans for cooperating with your son?
Valeriya: We always stay in touch. Whenever I compose something new, I would send it to him. I ask his advice on everything. He also asks my opinion about his work. We are equals and I am glad that we are always on the same page and wavelength. This is, perhaps, one more of my youth recipes!
HM: What is happiness to you?
Valeriya: Happiness is an inner state that does not necessarily depend on outside factors. It is a state of mind. If one is happy, one can be happy anywhere, under any circumstances. If something goes wrong in your life, this is just a stage you need to live through.
HM: Do you think being happy or unhappy comes from birth? Or can it be cultivated?
Valeriya: Perhaps, you can work on it. It is quite hard for me to say as I personally was raised that way and that’s how my family lives. This is just an attitude to life — seeing things positively. We all have good and bad qualities. I subconsciously see the best in people. At the same time, I do know that some people are capable of doing unpleasant things.
HM: What is the relationship between success and money? Is it possible to be a successful performer who is not making money?
Valeriya: Success is public recognition and demand. Money is its inevitable result.
Iosif Prigozhin: For me, success is a number of things. Family, home, loving people, well-bred and educated children. It is, of course, reflected in your business too. It is not possible to always be at the peak of your career. But you do need to make a name, to become a «reference» being able to help younger people in the future.
First, you are being helped, then you help others. I believe that success is a combination of several things; being comfortable, living in your society and looking people in the eye.
HM: How valuable is money to you?
Valeriya: For me, this is an opportunity to live a comfortable life, helping my children, giving them an education. Providing health care for my nearest and dearest. My grandmother, for example, has undergone a complicated operation at the age of 95. We’ve done everything we could for her, money was not an issue. Having this kind of possibility is a part of happiness. This is what money can give you.
IP: Sadly, life is made up of circumstances that are often cynical. It all comes down to money. These days it becomes very difficult to build something on relationships; money is a faster solution to any of your issues. It shouldn’t be a way to show off. Money should be helping you to live your dreams.
HM: Are you a perfectionist, Valeriya? Always trying to get things just right?
Valeriya: It is not easy, but that’s how it is, indeed. We’ve just recently performed at a festival, and one of the young artists didn’t show up for the sound check. I personally feel much more comfortable if I check the sound in advance and correct it, if need be. I am not a fan of unpleasant surprises; I do it for my own sake. That’s true in everything else. I don’t believe this is perfectionism, just a normal attitude to your work.
HM: We can’t control everything. When something goes wrong, does it upset you?
Valeriya: This is my credo: do what needs to be done, and «be it as it may». Just do your best. It’s true, however, that not everything is in your control. This belief is very helpful to me. I do not lose my nerve when I’ve done everything I could. Iosif is different, he would get nervous. I don’t want to waste my energy on being nervous.
HM: Is harmony important to you?
Valeriya: Yes, an inner balance is important to me. It means that nothing can interfere with my state of mind. If you feel good and nothing bothers you from the outside, this is the right balance.
HM: Iosif and yourself are totally different people, but you’ve been together all this time. How do you get along? What is your secret?
Valeriya: I can’t say that living with my husband has been easy (she is laughing). The main thing is, perhaps, about sharing common values, attitudes, concepts of friendship, honesty and mutual assistance. We are both very explosive and emotional. I can control my emotions better than my husband, however. He is hyper-caring. Looking at us as a couple many women would probably say: «Wish somebody cared that much about me». Maybe I’m a little spoiled by his attention. But sometimes I just want to tell him that I am not a child, but a grown-up woman. My husband is looking after me, and that’s a good thing. I am absolutely sure of his feelings. Mutual respect is another important factor in our relationship.
IP: I always care about my inner circle and want to do something special for them.
Sadly, people out there can be evil and envious. You might ask why a top-manager or a president needs an assistant? There are lots of jobs to do on our agenda. Apart from obvious things, Valeriya may need me to perform certain tasks. I am not a Buddhist. I know that we live today and we don’t know what the future has in store. I want to live this very day next to the one I love.
I also believe that if you want to be happy, you need to learn to compromise — especially on the emotional level. If you meet the right one, cherish that person. Naturally, we may all have emotional outbursts and disagreements. But there is no need to jump «into the fire». At some point you need to step back and give in. Instead of just always looking for the guilty one, we need to find a solution.
HM: What do you think about pop-stars increasingly having their children at 50+?
Valeriya: On the one hand, I understand those people. Imagine they are having a new marriage, sometimes with younger husbands. And finally they’ve made time for having children. On the other hand, I want to live for myself. My children have no illusions about myself stopping work and dedicating myself to grandchildren (she is laughing again).
HM: Valeriya, you must have visited Monaco before. Do you like it here?
Valeriya: I like Monaco out of the summer season. Clearly it becomes very crowded in summer, with lots of tourists flooding in. I like the local atmosphere. They say that time has stopped here, and I think it is wonderful. Unlike other countries that lose their «identity», Monaco has its traditions and spirit. You seem to be lost in time: it could well be in the mid 19th or early 20th century… This place definitely has its own charm, the climate here is amazing.
HM: Iosif, in one of your interviews you mentioned that the popularity of pop-stars nowadays is measured by «likes», but we don’t quite know who is behind these «likes».
IP: We lose personalities behind «likes». Today, we have many one-off people who artificially create a type of popularity, but have nothing to do with real success. There should be a genuine personality behind us all. Today the profession is being devalued, anybody can become popular thanks to some kind of a YouTube channel.
Valeriya: What does Instagram come down to? The picture has become more important to people than the content. The same thing is happening today in our everyday life. Even theatres and film directors are not booking professional actors anymore, but people «on the hype».