As annual media traditions go, Time magazine’s “person of the year” announcement is one of the most important ones in our civilized society. This year, there must have been many candidates, but one of them stood out head and torso above the rest — the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and the spirit of Ukraine.
As the magazine notes, Zelensky’s vision of victory goes beyond the liberation of Ukrainian territory from Russian occupiers. According to him, Russia’s full-scale invasion this year is just another attempt to conquer Ukraine. There’s a long history of russia waging genocidal wars, causing famine, and repressing millions of Ukrainians in the past 300 years.
While you can go ahead and read the Times article when you get the chance, there are some interesting facts about Zelensky that didn’t make it to the magazine pages.
1. Since childhood, Volodymyr had a rather low voice, which made him feel inadequate among his peers. But later, Zelensky realized that he should treat it as a blessing as it made him stand out among other stage performers.
2. As a schoolboy, Zelensky dreamed of becoming a diplomat and was even preparing to study in Moscow, but instead, he received a law degree in Kryvyi Rih. Before becoming president, Volodymyr had never used his law degree except for the two mandatory months of practice.
3. Zelensky started his stand-up career when he was 16 years old. Of course, he didn’t do solo acts back then, as the comedy club shows were team-based competitions in CIS countries.
4. Speaking of teams, the now-legendary “95th District,” where Zelensky debuted, was created in 1997. From 1999 to 2003, the team of comedians played in the Higher League of the aforementioned comedy club. At that time, the players practically lived in Moscow and constantly toured the post-soviet countries. In 2003, the comedy club higher-ups had a big problem with Zelenskyy’s team, but he was offered to stay as a writer and editor. Naturally, Zelenskyy refused and came back to Ukraine with his team.
5. In 2006, Zelensky was on the Ukrainian version of the project “Dancing with the Stars” and absolutely slaughtered the competition.
6. In 2008, Volodymyr Zelensky was named the most handsome man according to the “Viva!” magazine. And in 2012, he received the title again!
7. Volodymyr was born in Kryvyi Rih, but soon the family moved to Mongolia, where little Vova went to school. Even though they did not live there for long, that time was enough for him to learn many phrases in the local language. Naturally, after all these years, Volodymyr can hardly remember any of them.
8. Before becoming popular, Zelensky worked by writing scripts for various corporate parties and concerts.
9. Volodymyr met his wife, Olena, while still at school. The future couple saw each other almost daily but practically did not talk. They started dating when they were students and tied the knot in 2003. By the way, Olena is a heck of a writer too, and has been helping Volodymyr with his shows and now his presidential speeches.
10.Zelensky has a daughter, Oleksandra, born on July 15, 2004, and Kyrylo, born on January 21, 2013. While Kyrylo is still pretty much a baby, his big sister is already a celebrity. In 2014 she starred in the movie “8 New Dates” as Sasha, the daughter of the main character, and in 2016 she tried her hand at being a comedian in the kids’ version of the show “Make the Comedian Laugh.” She nailed it and brought home 50,000 UAH with her.