miss july hits a high note
Two years ago Marketa Janska left her home in the Czech Republic to travel in Europe. Then the 22-year-old received an offer to model in Los Angeles, and we were delighted to learn that she moved into the apartment complex where one of our friends lives. We asked her to meet us by the building's pool rather than at the Mansion, and the minute she approached us it was clear that the casual setting suited her perfectly. Modest Marketa wears no makeup and seems immune from the posturing that often accompanies the "L.A. model" label. As you listen to this fresh-faced beauty communicate her dream of becoming a professional singer, what she says is more telling than the English she uses to express it. "I want to do something no one else has done," Marketa says in her soft voice. "I've studied since I was six and am now a trained classical singer. I play the piano, guitar and flute. At home, I was studying to become a grammar school teacher like my mother. It was not exciting for me." Marketa found a vocal coach she likes and is currently working on a demo. "Right now, I'm trying to lose my accent and sing perfectly." Marketa comes off so naturally -- her green eyes convey a sincerity that makes us want to help her out in any way we can -- yet we hope she doesn't lose her engaging accent completely.
Miss July comes from a small village outside of Prague that she describes as down-to-earth, an atmosphere that helped her remain grounded when she left home to start modeling. "I was slowly getting used to traveling to bigger cities and meeting new people, so it was not that shocking to come to L.A.," she says. It didn't take long for Marketa to pick up on the different dating styles of Czech and American guys. Does she have a preference? "It depends on the person and how charismatic he is," she says. "In America, a guy would want to impress me by taking me to an expensive restaurant, something fancy. In the Czech Republic, we would go for a bicycle ride or on an afternoon hike or maybe enjoy a barbecue -- something simple. I don't like show-offs -- I like nice guys who don't try too hard. It doesn't matter what a man looks like -- he should be easy to talk to and straightforward, and he should move slowly."
Marketa, who is here on a work permit, wants to try to become an American citizen in a few years. Still, she has strong ties to those she left behind. "I have two younger brothers and I care a lot about my family," she says. "In five years I see myself living in the U.S., but not married. I want to have children much later, too -- maybe in 10 years. I'm going to enjoy every day and see what happens." One unexpected turn for Marketa was an offer to play a Czech girl in a movie. "Acting can be fun and I'm very serious about all the work that I do, but I am happiest when I'm singing," she says. "That is where my heart is."
Photography by Stephen Wayda