You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Ukrainian who doesn’t know Olha. As the host of four television shows, she has literally been in the living room of almost every home in the country. Whether its wishing viewers a good day on the Snidanok and Pidyom morning shows, inspecting and critiquing hotels and restaurants all over Ukraine in Revisor, or travelling the country on CabrioLeto, revealing some of the most charming locales – this is what people know and love her for.
The nickname Tele-blond stuck to Freimut when she left the Snidanok (Breakfast) morning show on 1+1 for its competitor, Pidyom (Wake Up) on Noviy Channel, in 2008. Together, along with colleagues Oleksandr Pedan and Serhiy Prytula, the threesome went about waking up the nation every weekday.
In contrast to funny men Pedan and Prytulya, Olha brought a more serious side to the programme, recounting news and stories of the day. She had a natural rapport with the camera, which is in big part thanks to her degree in international journalism from Lviv National University, and later a masters from City University London. Olha herself will admit, however, that both of the morning shows she was involved in taught her far more than any class ever prepared her for.
Her next step was an interesting one, especially since there was a time when Freimut honestly admits that being in show-business was never something she saw herself doing. Regardless, in 2011, the starry trio broke to allow for a new show to hit the Ukrainian television market – Revisor. Premiering earlier this year, the premise had her going into restaurants and hotels unannounced, revealing the nitty gritty of various Ukrainian establishments. Tearing many of these venues to shreds, airing things owners of these places would never want to get out, it was immediately popular. “We had to cut out some of the most disgusting scenes, as there were children who watched the show, examples of which included a used condom found underneath a mattress in one hotel room, squished cockroaches left to rot in a restaurant in Sevestopil, a wooden spoon with teeth prints still being used in a restaurant in Khmelnitsky, woodlouse crawling the walls in a rather prestigious restaurant in Yalta… I could go on…”
The Call of the Road
With 24 episodes shot and aired since January this year, Olha has become an expert at differentiating between Ukrainian and European establishments: “Most restaurant and hotel owners here are not in business because they love it. They do it because it makes them money – and it shows.” That said, it would be unfair to say that everything here is bad, as the self-proclaimed critic recalls a small, provincial B&B in Khmelnitsky, run by a pleasant old man, who clearly gave it the proper love and attention it deserved. “It just goes to show that there are a few good family businesses around – you just have to look.”
Finishing her last episode of Revisor this June, Freimut was already involved with another new show by July, called CabrioLeto. Reuniting with Pedan and Prytula, the trio took to the road in a nice, new cherry BMW Cabriolet, ploughing the Ukrainian terrain all summer long. “I have to admit, CabrioLeto was more like going on vacation than it was work, and as such, there was a risk in presenting the show over the summer. But it turns out that people really enjoyed it, and rather than putting together a CabrioAutumn here in Ukraine, perhaps we’ll do a CabrioLeto in Paris or New York!”
Four successful projects later, and Olha is really enjoying life. Still, the days and weeks of a TV star are not all sugar and spice. With a young daughter at home, they miss each other terribly when Olha’s gone for work. It’s one of the reasons Zlata has begun accompanying her mother on location. “I want her to see I work hard, that I am providing for her future.”
Check out Olha Freimut in CabrioLeto every Saturday at 10.00 on Noviy Channel