Gabriela Heclová: Youtubering ruined my childhood and my health

She posted her first video on YouTube when she was fifteen. “I studied acting at the conservatory and also had a role in the series Weddings in Venice. That’s why people asked me how it goes during filming. At that time, I also met several friends who were already active on the Internet. And so, under their influence, I also started YouTubering,” she recalls.

She let her fans see behind the scenes of television, and also made classic videos “for girls” – about fashion or make-up. A social network based on amateur videos was practically in its infancy in the Czech Republic at that time, nobody thought of YouTuber as a career. No one even expected that one day it would be the dream profession of the young generation.

“It was a new medium that no one understood. We were in the right place at the right time and that’s why it worked,” says Gabriela.

She gained an audience very quickly. In the end, almost 300,000 people watched her channel. Teenagers devoured the work of YouTubers, the network magically attracted them. As well as the personalities who influenced her. They hung on their lips, admired them, wanted to be like them.

“I remember the Utubering festival, which took place seven years ago in Prague’s Letňany. Twenty-two thousand people who came to watch YouTube stars scream our names and love us. And of course we enjoyed it, it was incredible,” describes Gabriela.

She only slept three hours

Even big commercial brands quickly noticed the popularity of YouTubers and targeted them. “Because there were relatively few of us, we had a lot of their attention,” says the actress. The hobby suddenly became a huge business, in which hundreds of thousands were spinning. This only whetted the appetite of young internet celebrities.

“Already at the age of sixteen, I worked with brands such as Coca-Cola.”

The young YouTuber let herself be absorbed by it. “I had school from eight in the morning to seven in the evening, and I commuted from my parents to Prague from Kladno. Then the work started, I dealt with a lot of e-mails,” she says. Fans and advertisers wrote to her, reminding her of contractual deadlines. She said many times she went to bed until three in the morning and slept only three hours.

Gabriela Heclová

Photo: Petr Hloušek, Law

Over time, media pressure also increased. “Once a tabloid even called me for some porn. One YouTuber made a reaction video in which he dissects porn where I am supposed to be performing,” he recalls. Therefore, everyone thought that he also made a living as a playmate. In several cases, she reportedly had to threaten the media to stop the spread of false rumours.

Fevers, bulimia, immune failure

This naturally affected her health. “The enormous stress started to cause me problems. I got a fever out of nowhere, but no one knew why. It lasted for about half a year and it was a clear sign that my immunity was failing,” he says. An eating disorder has also been added.

“In other words: I developed bulimia. I suffered from the idea that I was imperfect, that maybe I didn’t have slim enough legs. And that everyone can see it,” he says. She is said to have nearly destroyed the valve between her stomach and esophagus because of it, which would have deprived her of her voice.

“The last straw was when I felt a lump in my breast. It turned out to be benign, but it was a clear message for me. I realized that I have to end this way of life because I am not immortal,” she adds.

She froze her channel and didn’t post any new videos on it. For a while, she moved to Instagram, where she continued as an influencer, but today she no longer works on this platform either.

I don’t want anything to do with YouTubers and influencers anymore. They have a huge influence on people, so they logically use it mainly for profit

“I would like to earn a place elsewhere, not only on the Internet. I found that this place is not good for me. It gave me a lot of great opportunities, but it doesn’t make me happy,” he explains.

She applied to FAMU and began studying production. In this, he returns to acting again.

She tried new sports on vacation in Crete.

“I don’t want to have anything to do with YouTubers and influencers anymore. They have a huge influence on people, so they logically use it mainly for profit. They are salting the Internet one brand after another,” he says. According to her, some even misused it to spread misinformation about covid or the start of the war in Ukraine.

“Which is scary and dangerous,” says Gábina and continues: “A number of people who started with me are already leaving this world, just like me.” They have grown up and are busy with other things. They use know-how and contacts from the Internet world and transform their platforms into what they want to do in the future,” he says.

Still, she says she doesn’t regret her previous career, it taught her a lot. “At the same time, she opened doors for me to places where today I would work my way through in a very complicated and long way,” she adds.

Fiancée of a legendary smuggler

In the fall, Gabriela Heclová will appear in social networks on TV screens. She got a role in the period mini-series The Return of the Šumava King, which was filmed for Voyo by director David Ondříček.

In it, she will play the seventeen-year-old Maria Vávrová – the fiancee of the legendary trafficker Josef Hasil, nicknamed by the estébáques the King of Šumava.

“A lot of people were surprised at first that David Ondříček chose me. Some even questioned this selection. They imagined Maria as a fragile and submissive girl, which are characteristics that don’t really connect with me,” says the young actress and continues: “Marie was a very dynamic personality. She was also very smart and cheeky, far ahead of her lover in intellect. That’s why we’re not that far apart by nature.”

“A lot of people were surprised at first that David Ondříček chose me. Some even questioned this choice,” he says about his role in the miniseries Return of the King of Šumava.

She and the lover of 25-year-old Josef Hasil, aka Král Šumava, are said to have other qualities in common: “We are both very naive and trusting in relation to people, especially if we really fall in love with someone,” she alludes to the plot, in which it will be revealed in the miniseries that Král Šumavy drove his “queen” a lot.

“That’s why I got along with Maria without any problems and I felt good with her during the filming.”

Filming in dark places

As a former Girl Scout, she even enjoyed being in the fresh air. The miniseries was filmed mostly outdoors, specifically in the forests of Šumava, in Brdy or around Prague. Moreover, often at night.

The staff even went to the Valley of Death near Kamenná hlavá – i.e. to the places where Bohumil Hasil, the brother of King Šumava, was shot.

“It is a very dark place where the most people died – either border guards or fleeing residents. They were often buried without their identity being established,” director David Ondříček recently described this fragment from the filming.

According to him, the weight of the place hit all the actors so much that he no longer had to explain anything to any of them. “You just walked through there and everything went by itself,” he said. Gabriela Heclová agrees with him. She herself said she experienced a strange feeling even while filming the scenes in the cemetery.

I have such a cut throat and I’m so stubborn that if there was an authoritarian regime here, they would definitely come after me

“Of course, there was also the adrenaline, which mainly occurred while driving on the back of the car,” the actress continues. The crew raced through the hills of Šumava in a historic car, which was also featured in Anthropoid.

“But his trunk was quite small, so we barely fit in there. Everything was shaking because the terrain was uneven and the car was really noisy. So when we were finally supposed to start playing and interacting, I had to do something not to fall out along the way,” laughs Gabriela.

Portuguese beach bar

She says she can’t imagine life at the turn of the fifties herself. “I don’t think I would do well. My grip is so cut and I’m so stubborn that if there was an authoritarian regime here, it would definitely come after me. Just like he went after Maria,” he says.

The fiancee of smuggler Josef Hasil was being watched by the State Security all the time, including her family. She even imprisoned her three times. In total, Marie served two and a half years in prison.

Gabriela Heclová

Photo: Petr Hloušek, Law

“So when I read her story, I thought, what a terrible time it was,” the actress continues. But he doesn’t want to judge any of the characters, that would be presumptuous. “I’m living in a completely different time, I’m relatively well and for now I’m not burdened by any obligations – I don’t have children and I don’t have to worry about a roof over my head,” he admits.

Now he is preparing for his next role. She should shoot for Voyo again and again it should be a series inspired by real events.

“This time, however, it will be a contemporary story – the series should discuss two young Czech women who disappeared in Pakistan in March 2013 and did not get back to the Czech Republic until more than two years later,” he adds.

In time, Gabriela wants to devote herself to production and organize various cultural events. “I enjoy art, especially film and music. I also enjoy organization. That’s why I want to use all my contacts and experience and show people that there are other things than what radio and television serve to them every day,” he says and adds:

“And if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t matter. I will move to Portugal and open a bar somewhere on the beach. And it will be fine again.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.