Šárka Ullrichová has been to hell and back, and unlike many who have gone there and lived to tell the tale, has found an inner peace that was missing from her previous existence. You see, she’s an actress, whose fame in the Czech Republic came not just from the talent she so ably displays on screen and stage, but also from her life offstage... a life that has blurry borders between the woman herself and the character she currently portrays on the popular serial-drama Ulice (Streets).
But what of that life before the fall? With a love of the arts from an early age, particularly dance and singing, her first break on the big screen came with a small part in a childrens’ movie, Nefňukej veverko (Dear Squirrel, Don’t Snivel), and she was immediately in love with the industry... That love of was just the beginning, as the director cast her again two years later in Houpačka (The Seesaw), a time when she decided to get really serious about her acting, by enrolling in DAMU Academy of Performing Arts and taking on more roles in TV and on stage. During this time, with more and more roles coming, she was almost in danger of becoming typecast as ‘the princess’, a role she was repeatedly called upon to play.
These were golden days for Šárka, when she was wide-eyed and innocent to the pitfalls of celebrity living in an age of being famous for being famous.
In our modern tabloid-driven culture, human frailty is traded like so much currency, and when a public figure who portrays wholesome characters on the screen is caught in the act of simply being human, the feeding frenzy can add to the injury, trying one’s soul like no other trial or tribulation can.
On this subject, well hashed-out in the tabloid media, I asked Šárka about that period of time preceeding the fall, and asked her if she was famous for simply being famous...
“No, I don’t think so... what happened with me was, um.. I don’t know what was first, the chicken or the egg... If it was I didn’t have enough work, so I started partying hard, and started to like myself from something that was fake, or if it was the partying that took me away from what I loved, acting.”
Live in Prague long enough, and you can find yourself in the glamourous underground, where deejay boyfriends, lax Czech drug laws and a feeling of invincibility can take over your soul, and you might understand how one could lose oneself.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted, so I just lived the life of my boyfriends, which was my problem, getting caught up in the party life... and when you’re filled up with something negative, without focus, you’re unbalanced. You send out this energy, and what goes around comes around, and the signs were there that I wasn’t living right.... for me, it was one week of non-stop partying, and something happened... so I wanted to end this f*cked up life and went straight away to rehab, because I’d had enough.”
When I asked what it was that prompted such a decision, she tells me matter-of-factly, “I wanted to get better... the worst thing is realising you have this problem, and if you don’t have this realisation, even if you go to rehab, and accept that this is part of me, its for nothing. And this is the most hurtful thing, is realising that you have to go there. For me, it was the kiss of an angel that let me get my life back again.”
It was during this period of rehabilitation detoxing with junkies, alcoholics and even nurses addicted to painkillers, that she suspects one of her fellow patients of selling her story to the tabloids.
“After that, I felt so free, “Perfect, I don’t have to worry about anyone finding out”, it was liberating and allowed me to just focus on myself for three months. I don’t wish anyone have to go to rehab, but to have three long months with myself, to go through my problems, my blocks from childhood, working with doctors, doing art therapy, I learned a discipline of self that changed my life, so I can like myself...”
Taking this life experience to the next level, she began her most famous role to date, playing a woman with drug issues on the serial drama Ulice (Streets). This long running series popular both with fans and critics alike, has finally allowed her to find the inner peace that eluded her earlier career.
Moving to a nice house on the outskirts of Prague (in order to have a garden for her cat to play in safely), she now enjoys making her own honey and tending her herb garden, and simply enjoying life closer to the nature and away from the distracting energy of the big city.
When I asked her what’s new in her life, she immediately shines and tells me about her boyfriend, (currently in Los Angeles), whom she fell in love with at first sight, and while it was not destined to happen then, fate crossed their paths once more and now they are happily together.But its not just love that has her excited, (and we can’t reveal too much here), there are plans in the works to launch her own fashion line, another creative talent she has always wished to explore and now has the maturity to bring this vision to life.
The princess she was in her wide-eyed days can never come back... life and experience strip us of our angel wings and we are borne anew; the king or queen of our destinies. Many never get up off that floor, or retire to lick their wounds, while others just surrender to their temptation and lose all hope... but not this lady, she's made a serene space where she can hear her own intuition without distraction, and is studying the Wiccan ways while never forgetting the importance of play and enjoying life... as one of the more popular characters in the TV drama Ulice; working as a moderator and keeping in touch with her theatre roots.
She tells me, "And that the biggest reason why I moved [to the outskirts of Prague] was because I can listen to my intuition here, let it free, and this is what I discovered, that with intuition, things come into your life much earlier than when you don't pay attention to the path... it´s pre-reality and the city doesn´t let you see pre-things... I love to be boss with my life and in control of what is happening in it.... I respect my life now and really love it, this is the experience of a princess after she throws away the broken angels wings...