She has been in the Czech Republic for about a week and has already found a job. Anna forced Ukraine to flee Odessa iROZHLAS

When I walk into the salon in central Prague, a small, smiling woman with a wavy brown mikado immediately meets me. “Hi, my name is Anna,” he greets me and shakes my hand. About a week ago, Anna fled Odessa, Ukraine. At home, she was a successful eyebrow artist, an expert in shaping eyebrows. She used to keep her diary completely filled for a month in advance, which has changed since the day the Russian tanks crossed the Ukrainian border.




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About a week ago, Anna fled Odessa, Ukraine. At home, she was a successful eyebrow artist, an eyebrow expert Source: Czech Radio

“I took everything from Ukraine with me regarding eyebrow shaping and cosmetics, I only packed a pair of jeans and two T-shirts,” Anna shows me her new table in the living room in Prague. At the big mirror he has tubes with eyebrow paints and dozens of differently thin brushes, which he needs for his work.

To make conversation easier for her, she speaks to me in Ukrainian and everything is translated for me by the owner of the Re: beauty salon, a Ukrainian of Czech nationality, Tetiana Babchuck. “I forgot a bag at the border, so I just had to buy tweezers here,” he smiles as he pulls black tweezers from the shelf. The first thing she bought in the Czech Republic.


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For Anna, cosmetics were her whole life, she became an eyebrow trainer, she traveled across Ukraine to train new eyebrow artists: “I invested everything I earned in myself, I didn’t buy car or apartment. I reinvested everything in cosmetics, training.”

Now she is grateful to be able to continue doing what she can and what she does well. But he is always at home with his thoughts. As soon as we start talking about Ukraine, tears come to her eyes and sometimes she chokes: “Because my family, my life, my husband and my work are in Ukraine. And it’s hard.”

Her husband forced her to leave

She did not want to leave Odessa. But because she is nowhere safe in Ukraine, her husband forced her to leave. Anna chose Czechia because her mother lives and works here: “I have an easier situation than other Ukrainian women. I have no children, I have a roof over my head and enough to eat. When Anna arrived in the Czech Republic, she helped her mother with cleaning in hotels for a while.


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As soon as it became clear that the war would not end, she approached the owner of the salon, Tetiana Babchuck. “Anna wrote to me on instagram from Brow Bar, my second salon. If he can’t come and talk to me, he’s a makeup artist from Ukraine. He writes me a lot of girls now. Maybe three or five girls a day for eyebrows and nails. But I’m full. I would really like to hire all the girls, but I don’t know where I would find so many clients here,” the salon owner says sadly.

At least it sends Ukrainian beauticians links to other Czech salons where they can try to find a job.

The support is great

Anna is already adjusting the eyebrows of new clients in her salon. She is moved by the support of each visit: “Everyone offers me help and support. Sometimes we both cry about what is happening in Ukraine.” She explains why her compatriots sometimes behave strangely after arriving in the Czech Republic.

“Everyone who is Ukrainian and here abroad is very grateful to have such an opportunity to be here. We can behave in any way because it is a stressful situation. We can be aggressive, sometimes we don’t say ‘thank you.’ But you should know that we are incredibly grateful to be able to be here and for the way you treat us.”

He is in contact with her husband and his friends who have stayed in the big cities. But he hasn’t heard from his grandmother in the village for several days. I ask one last question to Anny – will she want to go back to Ukraine if I can. She takes a deep breath and still breaks her voice in the middle of the crying response: “Of course. Ukraine is my family and my home.”

Jana Magdoňová

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