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How will you spend Advent this year?

Pretty actively, actually. Apart from all the Christmas chores, I’ve been snowed under with work lately. I collaborated on the December issue of a lifestyle magazine, doing interviews with various people. I did a fashion story and supervised the whole issue. I shot a TV commercial for a cosmetic product, which will be screened from February. And I did work with my Foundation, too. But I tried to make the last weekend before Christmas as stress-free as possible and spent it with my family and friends. A great joy this year was a weekend in the mountains: after 35 years, I climbed our highest mountain, Sněžka. It was a wonderful flashback to my youth in a sports school. There’s one difference, though — back then, I ran up on cross-country skis. This year, I used the chair lift.

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TEREZA MAXOVÁ

Czech model and patron of the Tereza Maxova Foundation. A professional model since 1989, she has appeared on the covers of top fashion magazines and presented collections of the world’s most famous designers. She lives in Monaco with her husband, Turkish businessman Burak Oymen. They have two children: Mína, 7, and Aiden, 5. Tereza also has a son Tobias, 16, from her previous marriage.

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No matter where we might be, the important thing is that we’re together. No one should be alone at Christmas.

Tereza Maxová

What does Christmas mean to you personally?

Most of all, it is a family holiday for me. No matter where we might be, the important thing is that we’re together. No one should be alone at Christmas.

How do top models usually spend Christmas? Working?

Not so much during the Christmas season, but Advent tends to get quite hectic.

Who will get the best present from you this year? What’s it going to be?

If my young children are going to read this interview, it’s important to say that the presents are brought by Baby Jesus. What will he bring? Let it be a surprise!

What would you like to get?

Well, this will sound like a cliché, but to tell the truth, it’s health and peace for the whole family.

Can you remember a present that brought you the greatest joy in the past?

All presents always brought joy, because to get them, someone must’ve been thinking of me. And that alone is enough. But the presents that remain deep in my memory are the ones from my childhood, like the first pair of skis or ski boots. Or a talking doll. Yeah, what joy!

You have travelled a lot. Are you also used to spending Christmas on the road? Do you remember any Christmas like that?

There’s no place like home, I have to say. I remember how we decided to have a classic Czech Christmas with our new Turkish family. When you try too hard, things usually go wrong. My mum burnt the fried carp. We opened a bottle of champagne and sprayed half of the kitchen with it. Our little Mína ran wildly around the Christmas tree with her new pram until she bumped into it, tipped it over and all the valuable decorations were shattered to bits on the floor.

You live in Monaco. Have you ever experienced a local Christmas there? What’s it like?

As we live there all year long, we like to spend our Christmas somewhere else. But to be frank, the Czech Christmas has an atmosphere incomparable to that of Monaco.

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The tradition is Grandma-style confectionery, fish and potato salad. We’ll pack a bottle of Czech champagne and we’ll sing Czech carols.

Tereza Maxová

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Have you ever experienced your own Christmas story with a happy ending?

This is related to the Foundation. In the early years, when we held the charity event called The Tree of Wishes, kids from children’s homes would come to Prague just before Christmas to pick up their presents. And during the closing evening, two siblings who had grown up apart in different homes, met for the first time in their lives. This moment was so emotional and touching that we began to persuade the directors of the homes to allow these two to stay together. We managed to make this happen at last.

What is the Christmas diet of a model like? Have you ever sinned with food? 

I have to admit that, while I was modelling, I kept a very careful eye on my Mum as to how much sugar she used for the Christmas goodies… but now, after having three children, I don’t care.

What is your Christmas Eve like? Where will you spend it this year?

This year we’ll be in Bodrum, Turkey, with my husband’s family. But that won’t stop us from having a Czech Christmas! We’re taking all the ingredients with us, including Moravian pickled gherkins and our mayonnaise for the salad.

Can you tell us more about the Christmas traditions you keep? What can be found on your Christmas Eve table?

The tradition is Grandma-style confectionery, fish and potato salad. We’ll pack a bottle of Czech champagne and we’ll sing Czech carols.

What was the year 2016 like for you? What do you consider your greatest success?

No matter how difficult the political and economic situation may have been, this has been an unforgettable year for me personally: I got married in October.

What are your plans for next year?

We’re looking forward to the third edition of the Teribear moves Prague and Teribear moves Mladá Boleslav events. A great achievement is how well the collaboration with ŠKODA went this year; we hope it will be just as good in 2017.

What do you wish for yourself, your loved ones and everyone around you in 2017?

It seems to me the whole world is somehow unsettled, people are struggling to find common ground and understanding. Which is why I always remember this quote from The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” So I wish that everybody manages to see this.