ME, PAULO AND ROME: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Katerina Ostroushko talks about her new life in Rome with her husband, the Giallorossi coach Paulo Fonseca, and their beautiful one-year-old boy, Martin
di Giulia Sonnino
Since your arrival in Rome, you have always stood out for your discretion. Can you tell us something about yourself, your passions and your hobbies?
My lifestyle is indeed far from the spotlight in the proper sense of the word. I have happily lived offline since I retired from presenting TV programs. And even my Instagram account was set up only about six months ago, which is quite unusual in today’s realities.
A few words about me. I am 29 and I am Ukrainian. I have a degree in the history of languages and literature. In the past I used to work as live TV presenter and producer. While until not long ago I was Head of a press office. Today I am a full time mother of the sweetest baby and a wife. My greatest passions are my family, work and traveling, I guess. I truly believe that we live a little new life in each new place and reveals something new in ourselves. My big hobby today is learning Italian. I try to do my best, yet my Italian is still quite basic for now.
For your wedding in 2018 you have chosen the Lake of Como. Where does this choice come from?
We just wanted an ideal place in the middle between my country, Ukraine, and Paulo’s home, Portugal. We did not want out friends to travel too far. We wanted a beautiful and romantic place. And that was Italy! We fell in love with this country when we came here to visit. We often stayed a day or two, but we knew we would come back again and again. I must confess originally I dreamed of a seashore wedding and breathtaking views of Villa Balbianello. But in the end superb and stately lake Como won. I suppose we will then choose the sea to celebrate one of our wedding anniversaries, the fifth let’s say.
Was there already a special connection with Italy?
No, not really. We had our fond memories of course, but later Italy turned out to be quite life-changing for our couple.
When ASRoma's offer arrive, what was your first thought? Was it a difficult decision?
It was a fateful decision for both of us. We were very happy in Ukraine. Paulo was collecting sports victories, I had my favorite occupation, my family and my sister were close to us. Yet at the same time I felt my husband was ready for a new challenge. When AS Roma invited Paulo, we had just had our baby and had only lived a few months in the newly bought apartment. I had not even had the time to unpack some of the boxes... We made the decision together, though. I believed and still do that this move will make us happier. I thought, if I have to leave Ukraine for another place, Rome is perfect for this.
Did your move to Rome also change your professional life plans?
Totally. When I met Paulo in 2017 I had been Head of Mr Akhmetov’s press office for two years already. I was only 25 when I joined the Supervisory Board of the biggest media group called “Ukraine”. I loved my job to bits. But I believe that it is important to be open to changes in life, if they happen. And by the way, contrary to what sometimes says the press, I never worked with Paulo. What our careers had in common was only the same boss - the president of the Shakhtar, Mr Rinat Akhmetov. Working with this great personality was an invaluable experience and a huge personal and profession growth for me.
How did you choose your Roman house. Did you seek beauty, comfort or privacy?
It was our home to find us. We now live in a charming old villa with its own history located at the edge of a big park. Paulu and I knew immediately it would be our home here in Rome. It’s full of flowers and plants, it’s peaceful and quiet. When the gate closes behind us, the whole world seems to disappear. We feel at home here. I am a total aesthete, I cherish beauty in everything that surrounds me. I always feel like watering my plants, tying up my blooming lianas and picking roses for the bunch to put on the table. My husband makes fun of me saying this could be some sort of meditation for me. Who knows, he might be right.
Have you ever been in Rome before? What do you love most about this city?
I first came to Rome in 2018, when Shakhtar was playing against AS Rome in the round of 16 of the Champions League. It’s easy to assume that at the time I was not supporting the giallorossi. (Laughs). I fell in love with the city at first sight. A few months after the wedding we came here with Paulo for a short break, and we were not alone anymore. So our son had visited Rome before he was born. Regarding our favorite spots... We have lots, but the most favorite are parks Villa Borghese and Villa Pamphili, Palatin, the whole historical center with its charming streets, basilicas, gardens, observation decks with breathtaking views and lovely tiny streets cafes. I’m crazy about the Vatican Museums and Villa D’Este. But sometimes it seems to me that will not be enough life to know all the beauties of Rome.
Can you tell us how you are living these two months of quarantine in a new city?
it’s a tough period for the nation. Like all of us, I hope Italy, Ukraine and the whole world will soon be free and in good health. I love being at home, so does Paulo. We spend quite a lot of time here before quarantine as well. But this time we had more than just hours or days at our disposal. We had months . It may seem selfish, but this time spent together with my husband and son was a big present for me. We had never had enough time to have leisurely breakfast together before, or just not to be in hurry. I used to wave goodbye to my husband every few days and wait for him to fly back home. Now we had the time to just watch our son grow, and be there for each other. We trained daily together in the garden, we cooked and cleaned the house (Laughs). Simple things, but for busy people it is a privilege.
How do you spend the days? And how did you spend them before the coronavirus?
Oh, It’s hard to describe. I sometimes manage to do a tonne of things in a day….. But the most important role is that of a mother of a one-year-old, so the lion’s share of my time is dedicated to him. Martin is going through a funny period - he runs about the house, explores and wonders at everything. When my husband is at work, my son is my best company. We play, read, swim and explore the world where everything is new to him. During this quarantine he has seen many of the new things only in his children’s books. I am certain that the first year of life in which his mum is all his, is very important and happy for him. Before the lockdown we used to spend a lot of time with Paulo just walking around the city. We have got our favorite spots here in Rome and we miss them now.
Your baby has just celebrated a year. How was your first year as a mother? Does your husband help you? What kind of dad is he?
The love for the baby is absolute, this bond is for life. Martin has become my whole new universe which turned all my life upside down. The first year is probably the hardest, yet the most sentimental and special, too. We have been through everything, like sleepless nights, tears, tiredness. But when I think about it I smile. Because Paulo has always been by my side, from the very first minutes of our son’s life. He does not just give me a hand, he truly shares everything with me. He loves all of his three children dearly, he’s an ideal dad. He spends every spare minute he has with Martin, who is absolutely crazy about his father and I sometimes feel jealous . (Laughs) You should see him running towards the door when he hears Paulo come back home after the training. Enormous love.
You look like a very fashionable couple. What’s your relationship with fashion?
Style and class, charms and taste, as well as appropriateness are more relevant to me than fashion. I am not a fashion victim, yet I follow trends balancing in between. I love beautiful clothes, but I do not like too much going shopping, it stresses me a lot. I watch many collections online, I really love to know the tendencies but I do not buy a lot, though. I need to fall in love with a thing first and mentally fit it into my wardrobe. Off course I have favorite shoes, bags etc., but my style philosophy is “less, but better”. Paulo loves beautiful shoes and has an impeccable taste. He is the most elegant man I know. We find it easy to have our “couple style”, even if we are heading for just a supermarket. The secret is this: he never gets dressed before I have chosen my outfit, after I’d got changed twice maybe.
In recent years, Ukraine and specially the Donbass area has experienced many tensions. How did you feel the difficult political situation in your country?
The disaster that struck my country in 2014 is my huge personal sorrow. Thousands of people lost their loved ones, their homes during the war in Donbass. Many had to start from scratch. My family was not an exception. There is nothing more atrocious than a war, believe me. I heard exploding bombs behind me. When you realize that nothing else really matters. I have not been back to Donetsk where I spent my childhood and most of my adult life for five years now. It is a tragedy, and for every Ukrainian who went through it, it is a personal catastrophe. I deeply love my country and I am waiting for peace together with hundreds of thousands Ukrainians .
Where do you imagine yourself in ten years?
It is the most difficult question for me. Life taught me not to plan even a year ahead, things may change within an hour. I have no idea where I’ll be in a couple of years. But I know for sure who I’ll be with. With my husband who I love, our children, our families. I see myself as a happy woman and sincerely believe it is the only thing that really matters. And what I do - host a TV show or care for the roses in my garden - is not really important.