Interview with Catherine de Crumbenowe “Vampire Goddess” 2019

She is our 1st place winner of the contest Vampire Goddess 2019! Born in Czech Republic, surrounded with gothic atmosphere of the beautiful melancholic architecture from the past time… She is Catherine de Crumbenowe from Český Krumlov. We finaly got the chance to interview her and to let know more about her and her life.

1. Welcome on board! As a start of our interview tell us who is Catherine de Crumbenowe? 

People who know me personally know that I was born in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. Imagine a little girl who grew up in a city that seemed to fall out of a fairy tale. It had a castle and chateau where bears lived, and horses raced along the surrounding hills. A White lady haunted the castle at night, and you met a ghost in the city in broad daylight.

I don’t know how to explain it. The town of Český Krumlov has grown close to my heart. And so even today,  though I don’t spend most of my time here, I consider this place my home. This place was once called Crumbenowe. When I was thinking about what stage name to choose, it came very naturally to me.…

Photo by Rohan Shetty, edited by Neko Mishu Hyuni

2. You won the 1st place prize by My Witchery in the Halloween edition of the beauty contest Vampire Goddess 2019 back in October 2019 hosted by World Gothic Models! Share with us what did it feel like competing in such a contest? How did you feel being the Vampire Goddess? 

You know, I often hear various remarks from family and friends that I look like a vampire. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised to get this title (he-he). Now I have the official confirmation that the opinion of family and my friends is true. I’ve always loved vampire aesthetics, mystery and mysticism.

As a teenager, I enjoyed reading vampire novels. Maybe it’s the never-ending youth and freshness that fascinates me most about the vampire phenomenon. Being young and beautiful forever is the dream of many women, and perhaps some men. Not that I like blood so much, but I don’t mind looking at it either.

Vampires are both beautiful and scary. Their appearance arouses admiration and natural respect. I tried to “embody” these qualities in my feeling when photographing for the competition. I have a great team that is a pleasure to work with, so it was easy to choose the pictures we agreed on for the competition. And of course the competition itself amused me! I like challenges.

The competitions from WGM motivate me to create and I’m really happy about that. It’s something that always moves me a little further, in many ways. Thank you very much for that.

3. Have you ever participated in other contests before and, if yes, what kind of experience did you have? 

Yes, it was in competitions here from World Gothic Models. Some of these were GOTH QUEEN contest 2017, where I reached the 25th place. That motivated me a lot. I applied a bit blindly, with the feeling that I would “just try” and so it was a big surprise for me that I placed behind my then favorite model, Crimson Rose.

And then the next years of WGM competitions followed. It was GOTH QUEEN 2018, where I placed 4th, in collaboration with photographer Luboš Janovský. This was followed by the VAMPIRE GODDESS CONTEST 2018 competition, where I won 3rd place. It was a great collaboration with photographer Enochian. And the last, big surprise was last year’s Vampire Goddess 2019. It brought the 1st place win, for which I am really grateful. Many thanks to the photographer Jiří Drábek, my team, family and my fans who supported me in the competition.

In addition to these competitions, my photography also appeared in the Photographer of the Year 2019 competition, which was attended by photographer Jiří Frantál. He received the Creativity award for his portrait photography. It is interesting that this photo was created spontaneously during the official photo shoot for the VAMPIRE GODDESS CONTEST 2018, which I decided to take in the studio of Mr. Frantál.

As for my experience with competitions, I must say that all my experience so far has been very positive! I really like meeting new people. Both other models and fans of gothic and related aesthetics. Sharing photos with fans brings me joy, whether in the form of a competition or “just like that”, as part of sharing my work on networks… I add new photos to my site all year round. I can always be in contact with my friends who are interested in my photography and fans of the site. Many of them have become my friends.

4. When did you start modeling in general? Tell us about your first steps in modeling and what inspired you to embark upon this endeavour. 

Even when I was little, I was interested in dresses, hairstyles, make-up. I liked trying on my dad’s mom’s wardrobe, especially makeup, hair stuff and her pumps.  The same was true for all of the wardrobe I found in the family. I was most interested in different dresses, preferably after my grandmother and the elderly or vintage styles.

I was very happy to show my “models“, which I put on, to the family. Some are even photographically documented. Could it be considered modeling? Perhaps so! In the family archive, I even found a “gothic” dress that I once borrowed from my great-aunt’s closet…;)

As for real modeling, I first experimented with the camera from the other side. When I was 15, I documented most of my life, friends, family, travel experiences, but I couldn’t help but try a self-portrait.

The moment I realized that I would like to devote myself to photomodeling came at the age of 16, it was in 2011. I went to the dance courses for the first time, where we were often photographed by photographers. I really liked the resulting photos. That gave me a little more confidence. But I didn’t take the first professional pictures until a year later. That’s when my friend took me to a genuine photo shoot. So, I’ve been taking pictures ever since. Although with pauses, but more and more often. However, I have been taking more active photos since 2017, when I first participated in the competition from World Gothic Models.

5. Speaking of gothic stereotypes, which is the one that you mostly cling to? Which others do you like? 

The biggest gothic stereotype? I think I would know about one. It’s that famous black outfit. For me, my appearance is also a form of self-expression. I like extravagant things. Black color, barbed bracelets and chains are a matter of course for my summer outfits. I also like to wear fine romantic dresses or something more sporty, if circumstances so require.

I am happy to underline all this with an extravagant make-up look, too. And as for the other stereotypes – I’m not very happy to sunbathe… That’s why I earned several “vampire” nicknames. In summer I also wear a parasol and a wide-brimmed hat. Sunglasses are my “must have”. But if it calms anyone down, I don’t sleep in a coffin, I don’t keep a raven at home, I never hurt myself. You could say that this is a stereotype of what ordinary people think of when they meet Gothic people…

Often people also mistake us for emo, they think we´re Satanists, and so on. But we really only like gothic music, fashion and art.

Photo by Drábek Photography, Jewelry by Floriebeads

6. Do you have a role model? If yes, what’s the one thing that attracts you to him/her the most?

Yes, I have some favorite role models. These include Absentia, Julia Milovskaya (@melissamoonmercy on Instagram) and Katrin Lanfire. Then there are Alexandria *Barbie* Gothe, Ellone Andrеea and of course Plam Chelavrova from WGM. 😉

All the ladies fascinated me both in their appearance and in the colors and appearance of their photographs in general. They are also very versatile and artistic.

For example, Absentia is a wonderful addition to photography.

Julia Milovskaya, on the other hand, has the style of photography closest to my taste. I really like the atmosphere of her photos.

In addition to photography, Katrin Lanfire is also a talented and versatile artist.

Alexandria *Barbie* Gothe is a proof that a successful model is still a person who will remain herself and always authentic. She even connected modeling with a short film.

Ellone Andreea fascinated me again with her unusual conception of costumes and make-up in her work.

And Plam Chelavrova is just as versatile. I like that she connects photo modeling with her own creation of jewelry and other accessories under Plamendura Art. She also sings and has her own band Lake Of Flames. She does a lot for the gothic subculture. By the way, she is an amazing and very kind person. And that is very inspiring for others. She is the one who supported me the most in my own work.

Photo by Drábek Photography, Jewelry by Floriebeads
Photo by Drábek Photography, Jewelry by Floriebeads

7. What do you think is the single most important trait for a role model and how he/she should manifest it?

In my opinion, it is perseverance…  and authenticity. Not just being the one who copies others. My own invention is very important to me. On the other hand, photography can be very spontaneous. But careful preparations pay off. I have tested this many times. I also think that what is said is generally true, with honesty you go the furthest. For me, for example, the most important thing is that people treat each other decently.

The model also has her duties. For example, adhering to shooting times and deadlines. The ability to work in a team and the ability to agree on a collaboration that will benefit everyone. Personally, I am lucky to have great photographers. Equally important for me is communication with fans of my site and feedback from them. They are the people who motivate me to move on, a grateful audience that won’t bother you just because you haven’t uploaded a photo to the net for a few weeks… I’m always happy when many of them enjoy new photos. I find it exactly the same when I watch the work of other models.

Photographer: Marek Šťastný
Headdress: My Witchery (Catherine’s Prize from Vampire Goddess contest 2019)

8. Could you point out how you perceive gothic in a general sense and how it impacts your life?

For me, Gothic is above all an amazing world that I enjoy and in which I find a lot of freedom, art, music and inspiration. When I think about it, I think it affects me a lot more now than ever before.

This subculture gives and receives. Once you discover it, it will draw you in. Someone knows it through music. Sometimes another through the typical aesthetics, thanks to which most of the public knows it. But it was music that created the essential essence of this subculture.

I’m not going to lie that I got to the music much later than the visual side of things. But I believe that I am not the only one. If you don’t know any gothic music, I recommend listening to at least a few bands that contributed to the creation of this subculture. For example, these include Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sister of Mercy, Bauhaus and Joy Division.

Photographer: Jiří Frantál Fotograf
Necklace: Bijou Brigitte
Corset: Gothicana by EMP
Bracelet – left hand: Metalshop
Gloves – right hand: Claire’s
Belt: Queen of Darkness
Boots (vegan): Nevermind
Spiked choker/belt: 

What is very typical of the gothic community are the so-called parties. Unfortunately, we can usually find them just in larger cities. I really like these events, so even though I’m not from the big city, I like to visit some from time to time. I would like to take a look at the Prague Gothic Treffen, which is here in the Czech Republic, this year. In the future, I would like to visit festivals such as Wave Gothic Treffen or Mera Luna in Germany. I like to look at photos from these festivals. As well as regularly following the work of many other artists.

Gothics do not see life only “black”, on the contrary – they perceive it as a whole. Yes, it is indeed the case that we often find love in those things. But this is not the rule. We do not avoid its bright sides either. It’s like light and shadow. Together they form the whole picture.

There is also one great thing in the Gothic community freedom – and acceptance. In my opinion, this community and philosophy in general is one of the most tolerant. Gothic as such gives a person space for individuality. Personally, I perceive great freedom in self-expression here, in whatever form. I like that best in Gothic.

Photo by Irena Mikešová

9. What’s your favourite colour palette and the type of clothing that you love to get dressed with?

As for the colors, I combine them rather sparingly. On the other hand, I also have a few pieces of clothing that are clearly multicolored. I like slightly extravagant elegance. It ranges from my regular outfits to more eccentric variants. Of the colors, I really like different shades of red, especially burgundy red, scarlet and crimson, which I often combine with black and white. But I’m not against other colors either.

Despite the fact that most of my photo sessions take place in dresses, in civilian clothes you most often meet me in a tank top, mini skirt and leggings. Occasionally, I still like to wear a dress or pants.

I have a weakness for high heels and gothic coats. My favorite gothic pieces of clothing are black pants with belts and chains and a sweatshirt with a wing motif, which has decorative lacing. 

10. Do you have a motto that you live by? If yes, could you tell us what is it?

Respect yourself, know your value. Always help others when you can, you never know when they will help each other. Be generous, think positive. You are the creator of your life. Don’t wait until luck comes to you, go to meet it. Never give up things that make you happy.

11. Say you are on a lonely island, what are the 3 gothic items that you will make sure to have in order to survive?

A bat cave…. 😀 Then I would need a parasol and sunscreen when l have to go out. 😀 And if I could choose the fourth, it would be the raven wings on which I would fly back from the island…

12. Tell us more about your country Czech Republic, are there any gothic places where people can go and taste the gothic spirit? What about the goth music scene? 

Here we can look at the answer from two perspectives. Are we looking for gothic clubs, or a dark, mystical gothic atmosphere? Or even historical places reminiscent of mystery, connected with the gothic subculture? Since I’ve already talked about my hometown with the historic center, I would like to mention the gothic scene.

In our country, it is mainly clubs in Prague and Brno. There are no purely Gothic clubs, but parties are held in many different places. For example, in České Budějovice I have many metal and gothic friends with whom I go to a gothic bar, formerly called Nosferatu, now La Muerte, in České Budějovice. We all love this bar. Its atmosphere is dark, but still very friendly. This bar also hosts alternative costume events. But these are not typical gothic parties.

Photo by Katerina Kalenska, dress – Burleska

As for the gothic subculture itself, there are also various events and parties that local goths hold, as I mentioned above. However, I can’t miss the concerts of bands that are also considered gothic or part of gothic music. Recently, for me it was a concert of the band XIII. Století, which I visited last year with my boyfriend.

There are also alternative fashion shows and other similar events I like to attend.… But not everyone prefers this sort of entertainment.

And so it goes for architecture, for example. Popular buildings related to “gothic” aesthetics include, for example, the neo-gothic castle Hluboká and Schwarzenberg tombs, the St. Vitus Cathedral and – or any dark / otherwise interesting or even dilapidated buildings.

Gothic subculture is sometimes confused with gothic style. But it is not so. The Gothic subculture takes over part of the aesthetics of the Gothic style, but is not defined by the historical Gothic style.

The poster of Vampire God-dess 2020 with the winner from 2019
Photo by Jiří Pilar
Models: Catherine de Crumbenowe & Daniel Chmelar

Simply… Anyone looking for gothic romance will find it everywhere. For example, some cemeteries are an absolute classic. Among the favorites are, for example, the Cemetery in Bohnice or Olšanské Cemeteries in Prague.

In Olšany, for example, we photographed a vampire necklace by Plamendura Art with Enochian photographer and make-up artist Lucie Vodrážková in 2018. It was a very interesting experience.

Personally, I like to walk to the cemetery in the winter, when the fresh snow falls in the morning. It is immediately followed by my favorite ruin of the Dívčí Kámen castle. The Celts used to live in its vicinity. It has an absolutely amazing, unique atmosphere there. And wait, I almost forgot … There’s even a vampire princess buried in our city … It’s worth mentioning, too. Her name was Eleonora.

13. Where can people find you on social networks

They will find my page Catherine de Crumbenowe on Facebook, the Instagram of the page is of the same name. I don’t have time to add a new creation to Facebook and Instagram right now. But I’ll steam it soon, I promise. Lots of material, photos and more are still waiting to be published. 😉

It was a great pleasure to have you! We hope you enjoyed answering our questions! Thank you for your time and energy! 

Yes, of course I enjoyed the interview! These were very interesting questions, some of which required a fair bit of thought. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity and space for talking about something I love to do. I’m grateful that someone is interested in all this.

Thank you also for the opportunity to participate in this interview, collaboration with artists and the opportunity to participate in competitions from WGM. It is an amazing and for me today inseparable part of my life, for which I am very grateful to you. Because thanks to WGM, I decided to really start photomodeling and not give up at the beginning.

Photographers’ profiles:

Michaela Peřinová – Yassmine Photography
Jiří Frantál
Jiří Drábek
Jiří Pilar
Marek Šťastný
RS photography

English editor: Tamara Kane

WGM Team
WGM Team
WGM promotes Gothic culture and alternative self-expression. Our mission is to share the latest trends from the community and support the artists whose creative spark keeps it alive. See through our eyes the light in the darkness.