"I had lost my viewers and my home": Andrea Kiewel, who commutes between her home town of Tel Aviv and Germany, was hit hard by the Corona crisis. In her new book "Mostly sunny: A declaration of love to life" she also describes, among other things, how she was doing with the pandemic: "I sat there and had the feeling that this madness would never stop," she says in an interview with the News agency spot on news. The "ZDF-Fernsehgarten" presenter also talks about her new love and her different lives in Germany and Israel.
You live in Israel and work in Germany. How difficult is that in the Corona crisis?
Andrea Kiewel: Due to the 14-day quarantine in Israel, it was impossible for me to get there during the "TV Garden" season in the summer. It didn't work until the end of August and I was able to stop crying. Then there was a second lockdown in Israel. The mood here is like everywhere else… But I live in a country that is by the sea and where the temperatures are still high even now. The attitude to life is very different there. But the social network here is not as tightly meshed as in Germany. There is hardly any state aid during the crisis.
In Germany you live a little with the handbrake on, you write in your book "Mostly Sunny: A Declaration of Love for Life". Is that because you get recognized on the street?
Kiewel: Yes, it's mainly because of that. A lot of people seem to recognize me by my voice. When I'm shopping with my mother in the supermarket, I only whisper or gesture with hand signals. Sometimes I would like to vanish into thin air. This recognition is never uncomfortable. But there are no moments just for me. Never. The carpet is rolled out for me and I am spoiled like a princess. Of course, I also enjoy my special position. But sometimes I just long to be one of many. And that's me in Israel. Here I can also yell at someone on the street. I would never do that in Germany.
Corona has changed not only travel for you, but also the television business. The large audience was missing in the "TV Garden". How much more difficult has that made hosting the show for you?
Kiewel: Here in Tel Aviv they like to exaggerate and I would therefore say: It was a disaster! And for me personally. Nothing is worse for me than silence and being alone. When I meet friends for dinner in the evening, I leave a small light on in my apartment so that it's not completely dark when I come back. And that's why the "TV Garden" is such a blessing for me: I'm never alone there, the show is pure joie de vivre. Corona suddenly made it very quiet and I felt alone.
That was really difficult for me at the beginning. I cried and thought I couldn't do this. How do you moderate without an audience? How do you create joie de vivre under these circumstances? I bullied - until a colleague said to me: "Now calm down!" And I calmed down. We ended up developing our own gallows humor. In the end, there was a lot of humility involved. ZDF allowed us and also trusted us to broadcast. Otherwise I wouldn't have had much work at all this year. That's why we meticulously adhered to all regulations so as not to take any risks. How we stood together as a team, that was great.
Are you already planning for the coming year?
Kiewel: Johannes B. Kerner and I first celebrate New Year's Eve at the Brandenburg Gate. Really live with a stage, great artists, but without an audience. So I'm spending New Year's Eve with a man I'm not in love with. But of course I'm looking forward to it. I now see it as a bit of a challenge. Am I able to? And if so, what will that look like? I don't like celebrating the turn of the year privately at all. In this respect, I am grateful: working on New Year's is much better for me than celebrating. Hopefully there will be new rules in January, then we will plan further. At the moment we are all driving on sight. Nobody knows what's in a week.
You dedicated a whole chapter in the book to the man you are in love with
Kiewel: I even had a professional translate these pages into Hebrew. Then we read each other sentence by sentence, I in German, he in Hebrew. And I had to cry. Not because I can write so well, but simply because it moves me to realize that there is something in human life that is as strong as love. I'm not making plans or worrying about if this is forever and where it's going. This book is simply an inventory. As if I had pressed the stop button and am describing how it is now.
This is very important to me because I describe so much of my feelings, joy and fear. And how I felt about the pandemic: I sat there and felt like this madness would never end. I had lost - at least temporarily - my viewers and my home. Nobody could tell me when it would be over. In the end it was 130 days that I couldn't go back to Israel. This topic of long-distance relationships and Corona has hardly taken place in public perception. I also felt powerless. I'm from the GDR - and not being able to decide that tomorrow I'll get on a plane and fly to my loved one was a catastrophe for me personally.
Are you making career plans, how do you see your future at "Fernsehgarten"?
Kiewel: I just extended my contract by two years. And I don't think of an end. i love the show It's been a few weeks now without a camera and I already miss it a lot.
How satisfied are you with your career and your image so far?
Kiewel: I still struggle with my image. Occasionally I feel that people think I'm being shallow. I'm working on getting rid of it so that it doesn't affect my well-being because I know that I'm not like that… But that I've been doing the "Fernsehgarten" for 20 years now is crazy. Because it's seasonal work, it means falling in love all over again, a first date every year. I celebrate this show. I celebrate myself I celebrate us so much! It's absurd that this happened to me. Me, a little teacher in Hellersdorf…