W I T H K A T A R I N A V A N D E R H A M ( U S A )
My name is Katarina Van Derham. I was born and raised in Ľubochňa, Slovakia, and I am 44 years old. I’ve lived in Los Angeles, California, for the past 22 years. I work as an Independent Entertainment Professional and am also the CEO of KVD Brand, Inc.
Why you went to the USA, and why you decided to stay there? Describe it.
In 1998, when the company I worked for in Slovakia started to go under, I decided to move to California to search for opportunities to grow. I have always been fascinated by the American showbusiness; it looked like a cool place to be.
I liked adventure and rock & roll, and I wanted to have fun. Originally, I planned to stay there for only a couple of years, but once I was in sunny California for a while, it became hard to leave. I also realized that it would be a very long journey to reach even the smallest amount of success, so I ended up taking the risk, and I stayed. I loved California, and even when I was at my lowest point, I hoped that everything would eventually work out.
“What your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
How did you get into the fashion & entertainment industry?
I was discovered in LA by a photographer and his wife while working as a waitress at a restaurant in Santa Monica. They asked me to test shoot with them because they saw potential in me. They liked the results and decided to manage me as a new talent. They got me into one of the top modeling agencies in Los Angeles, sending me to modeling and acting castings. Modeling and acting go hand-in-hand in LA, so I just had to show up and show the casting directors what I’ve got.
What has been the most important moment that boosted your career?
I don’t think there was one specific moment that boosted my career. Every job and experience has led to the next one and slowly built onto my career. In most cases, success in Hollywood is a long road where we even joke that it is a “20- year overnight success.” Meaning, when someone all of a sudden becomes known, people assume he is an overnight success. Still, in reality, that person has probably done many smaller jobs, year after year, to score that one breakthrough role that finally made him or her visible.
What have been the most challenging moment in your career?
Again, it is hard to talk about just one moment. A career is a journey in which one thing leads to another. You will get challenged many times along the road. You might even fall or completely crash and will have to recover just like many Hollywood actors whose reputation gets completely ruined by false accusations. My challenges were related more to English being my fourth language. I write pretty well in English, but I’m not 100%. Reading legal language in contracts was challenging. It’s because if you don’t look out for yourself, no one will. You can easily get taken advantage of by an accountant, manager, or lawyer. First, you have to be your own accountant, manager, and lawyer to protect yourself. I had to learn so much about so many things to be able to keep moving forward. And I had to learn fast.
What kind of personal skills are you going to see in yourself thanks to modeling & acting in the USA?
My experience in front of the camera has given me an insight into the production side of things. Some people would have to go to school for years to study what I’ve learned from being a talent on countless sets just by observing. I learned the key elements of producing, makeup, and hair for the camera, communication skills, marketing, sales, post-production, editing, and much more.
Why do you think it’s important to believe in our dreams and work on them to come true? Do you live your dream?
Has the American dream come true for you? It is necessary to believe in your dreams if you want to turn them into reality. If you don’t believe in them, the ideas, themselves, don’t have enough power to turn into a reality. True belief is the necessary fuel for manifestation. I do live my dream, but I’m at the point where I’m trying to make sure I understand what I want next since pretty much all my dreams have already come true. So, this year I’m just enjoying riding on autopilot. A clear vision is an absolute must for thoughts and desires to become a reality. It is also good to obsess over them; I’m talking about a healthy obsession with laser focus.
What do you think about life in the USA? What are the differences between life in the USA and Slovakia? What are the differences between people in the USA and Slovakia?
This could be a whole separate interview because there are a lot of differences. Also, it is hard to talk about the USA because you could say that every state has its own culture and is different. There is a huge difference between California and Alabama, for instance. So, there are differences between California and Slovakia and, let’s say, Alabama and Slovakia. But, IN GENERAL, to mention a few… the USA’s people are more open-minded and accepting than Slovakia. Women are also more equal to men in the USA. Americans love retro style, especially in fashion, whereas they prefer to wear luxury, trendy brands in Slovakia. California is super casual, and you see people wearing either street fashion, beachwear, or jumpsuits. This is the hard one, but it is true… people in America are more giving. They like to help others and might even fight for them. In Slovakia, I still see people prefer to live in their bubble and don’t want to get involved in others’ business. You could say they are more selfish. Americans are more confident and less arrogant than Slovaks. Americans can easily have 2-3 jobs and work even after their retirement. The pace of life here is much faster than that in Slovakia, where people walk slower, eat slower, and have more free time.
What is your biggest ambition and dream? Why?
I will leave that to myself. The reason why is because I believe that revealing too much to others can weaken the power of its manifestation. In some cases, others could destroy that ambition and dream, so I want to protect it.
What is the most important thing you learned thanks to living in the USA?
The most important thing I learned, thanks to life in the USA, would be a diplomatic speaking way. People often think that saying things flat out without a filter is the right thing to do. They think it’s honest. But in the USA, I learned that you could say anything you want to others, but what is important is how you say it. There is no reason to come across rude when you can politely say the same thing. Diplomatic ways make people classier, and I like classy people.
Which quotes best describe you?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” “What your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” “Don’t downgrade your dreams to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.”
You are a successful Entrepreneur too. Tell us more about your companies.
I own one company that has three divisions: Media, Goods, and Services. My company owns two websites for media, one of which also comes with a print magazine. As for goods, the sub-brand is Glamour Garden, which is a cosmetic company. As for services, we produce digital content, campaigns, photoshoots, and video shoots for companies and individuals. I also own a location rental business for video and photo production.
Describe the entrepreneurship in the USA. What are the key advantages and disadvantages of entrepreneurship in the USA? What do you think about entrepreneurs in the USA in general?
There are different levels of entrepreneurship in the USA. There are small businesses that are more like built-in jobs for the company’s sole owner without any employees. Then there are mom-and-pop shops with a handful of employees, then medium-size businesses and large private or public corporations. The advantage of entrepreneurship in the USA is the large customer base. The population of the USA is over 300,000,000. Even a small fraction of that number of customers can make your business very successful. The big disadvantage is the fact that pretty much all markets are already oversaturated with products and services. Generalizing is tough, though, because that means we throw everyone into one pile, which isn’t the right thing to do. But since you asked, I will do my best to answer.…. In general, entrepreneurs are driven by money and, in many cases, by greed. However, many people are also driven by their desire to help others or to make a change. So, you see, this is why it’s hard to generalize.
Why did you create VIVA GLAM Magazine? What is the key vision of this magazine?
With VIVA GLAM, I wanted to give the talent opportunities that might get rejected by the mainstream media and publications. Being in the modeling and entertainment industries, I’ve seen too many great talents not receive any exposure. Good PR is extremely expensive, and many young models and actresses can’t afford it. The same applies to smaller brands. I also wanted to create a platform where compassion matters, where I could elevate crueltyfree and vegan products to the luxury level.
And what has been the most important moment that boosted your magazine?
From the beginning, my name being behind the brand boosted the magazine.
Tell us something about your early future.
As we live in these “strange times”, it is very hard to set any future goals. The presidential elections are around the corner, and that could change many things. Projects are on hold, and it is uncertain when we’ll be able to travel like we used to. But hopefully, soon, I will start working on the movie “American Paradise,” which has been on hold and will expand my business areas.