The radiant Nikola Vasakova, a film producer and programmer supporting marginalised voices in film, bakes my Coconut Raspberry Lime Leaf Cake Kit at her home on Waiheke Island. We had just enough time while her sweet baby Blue was napping. She wears Penny Sage and is shot on film by Veronica Crockford-Pound and Joseph Griffen.
What does food mean in your family? Are there any classic dishes?
My family lives in a mountains in Slovakia in a very simple, country way in which there is always home cooked food on a table. I have memories of my mum always moaning about running out of ideas of what to cook every day (now that I have my own household, I can relate), yet she'd always come up with amazing dishes every day. It's all very hearty, simple stuff based around meat and potatoes but so delicious.
What’s your favourite thing to cook or bake?
I used to like to cook risotto because you can buy a bottle of wine to use a half a glass in the risotto and rest for yourself when you cook but now I really enjoy baking - trying new cakes it's so much fun.
What was your birthday cake of choice as a kid?
I didn't have a choice and it was always multi tiered, insanely sweet and creamy cake with crunchy marzipan on top. I really dislike marzipan.
Which 3 people, dead or alive do you wish you could share the cake you made with?
I'd like to share it, as always, with my loving husband and baby boy, if he could eat cake yet. And whoever comes to visit us at Waiheke!
What’s the dessert of your dreams? It doesn’t have to be one that you’ve already tasted or even one that exists.
I loooooove Tiramisu. It's so simple, everyone can make it and it's great for sharing. Just make it in a big dish and get few spoons so everyone can gather around.
What star sign are you and what traits from it resonate with you?
I'm a Leo and anything you know anything about the star sign, I am all that. A little bit extroverted, a little bit lazy, passionate and temperamental and pretty hot headed. But I like to think I have a big heart for good people around me. And I like to help people, which is the whole reason Girls in Film exists.
What makes you proud of your generation?
I don't know if millenials had time to make any real impact before Gen Z took over and really started to push for a change in the world. I guess we were too busy making cat memes and eating avo on toast. Best we can do is to join them and try to catch up :)
So many people in your generation (and mine) feel a collective sense of doom when thinking about the current troubles our civilisation face - do you share this feeling? How do you cope and how do you help?
Every generation has its issues and its never been rosy for anyone before us - but we can only objectively judge the situation that we are in and I agree it's sometimes hard not to fall into a sense of dread. I highly recommend consuming less media and focusing on being a good part of your local community. Having the energy to make small changes on a local level has a much bigger impact than worrying about the big issues and signing online petitions to relieve a sense of guilt and make yourself feel better.
Tell me about the best day of your life so far.
Everyday is better than the one before!
So many people in our generation feel a collective sense of doom when thinking about the current troubles our civilisation face - do you share this feeling? How do you cope and how do you help?
The anxieties centered around a global pandemic/racial tensions/etc is a new thing for a lot of people. I’ve always lived with that sense of doom lying in the back of my mind… I understood how annoying reality actually is at a very young age because I experienced way more tragedy than joy during my childhood.
I’m tired of being depressed and I’m tired of thinking about trauma. My mom and I don’t connect over mental health. She doesn’t get why I get depressed and I don’t get why she isn’t depressed. She doesn’t coddle me and it's for the best. A few years ago I asked about her relationship to depression and she said, “I know we had nothing and it was hard but why would I be depressed when I have you in my life?”
What is your favorite album or artist of all time?
No way I can answer that EVER. Changes every year.
If you could swim in a sea of glitter, what colour would you choose?
Haha this reminds me that one year my friend was gifted a jar full of glitter for her birthday which she then threw around and sprinkled everything around her like a glitter rain. It was a lovely, drunk and magical moment which we deeply regretted in following weeks when we couldn't get the glitter out of our clothes, hair, furniture, it was everywhere and it's a bitch to clean. So I would pass on swimming in the glitter whatever colour it is :)
If you were a new addition to the crayon box what colour would you be?
Well, since I'm mixed race it would have to be multicolour of course.
If you could live in the world depicted in one movie or novel, or if you could travel back to a different era, which would you choose?
I would definitely love to live in the 5th Element world although its so dirty and polluted and people live in windowless units, everyone wears amazing Jean Paul Gaultier outfits and it looks fun going for a holiday to another planet.
If you could have a wardrobe full of one designer’s clothes, who would it be?
I'm not big on fashion but think like I mentioned it probably would be Jean Paul Gaultier mainly because he's such an amazing person. I went to a talk with him and I instantly wanted him to be my friend. His clothes are so feminine but also very punk.
Dinner in a bubble under the sea, or breakfast on a cloud?
Breakfast on a cloud, I'm a morning person!
What’s the coolest thing about living on Waiheke Island?
We are 5 minutes away from the beach on one side and vineyards on the other! Can it get any better?
If you could live anywhere else in the world where would it be?
Waiheke is pretty much the spot now but I'd love to experience living in Asia like Japan or South America like Brazil. My journey doesn't finish in New Zealand, I feel we will be living elsewhere one day when we can travel again.