In the Spotify original podcast "Quality Time with Riccardo and Anke" (a new episode available every Friday from February 24), Riccardo Simonetti (30) and Anke Engelke (57) will take their listeners into their everyday lives. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, they reveal what the moderator and the actress want to achieve with their joint project, why it could get emotional and what the two can learn from each other.
Riccardo Simonetti: That was at the very beginning, before we started shooting. We were wired and I had Florian with me doing my hair and makeup. He fiddled with me and Anke next to me asked if I always travel with my own people. I said: I often work seven days a week and feel like I'm somewhere different every day. I have to have them with me because otherwise I would always be alone or with someone I don't know. For me, this is my protected space. For others I tell this to, there might be a hint of condemnation. That was not the case at all with Anke. There was just curiosity and interest and we talked about it. Of course I've always been a big admirer and fan of Anke and what she does, but those were such small human moments that showed me what a great person she is next to "Show Anke".
Anke Engelke: With Riccardo you can directly feel a phenomenon that I have never encountered before, namely an openness that not only manifests itself in his really undisguised look and a body that radiates: Here I am and I am real, but also in content. As we talked and got to know each other, I didn't have to decode anything. Quite often in the so-called media world there are codes and people hide behind many curtains. I got the impression that we have very similar approaches and a similar attitude when it comes to communication and interpersonal relationships. Riccardo has a feeling for the other person, he doesn't scare him and doesn't treat him with distrust. He leaves a place where you can take place and I could take place there.
Simonetti: We both actually have more of a face for television, it's actually a waste that it's a podcast (laughs). But of course it is a medium that is very close to people and our name "Quality Time" should also be a program. We want to pack a lot of quality into this time. When you spend quality time with your girlfriends, all emotions are played through, there is no filter and you talk how you feel at the moment. We definitely want to do that too. In a podcast you can give so many food for thought, make recommendations and convey feelings.
Engelke: Even if we are both very practiced in front of the camera, a podcast is a completely different approach. Whether in moderation, in acting or in public appearances per se, it always requires a certain amount of preparation. We can always do the podcast semi-spontaneously and with undone hair and no make-up from a makeup van, from backstage or from home. It's just quicker to implement. And right now, at the start, I also find it exciting to see: What is it actually like when you meet someone new and feel curious and take pleasure in wanting to know more and more.
Simonetti: We're sort of in the wild dating phase right now. And you treat each other with so much empathy and respect that you feel like you can ask anything. You run towards each other and hug each other emotionally. By letting people participate, we can hopefully give them something to take away. That is our claim. We don't just do this to amuse ourselves. Even if our everyday life is very far away from the reality of many people, I believe that the situations that we encounter and the way in which we master them can certainly be applied to many different paths in life.
Simonetti: We both found that we like to listen to recommendations from those around us. Otherwise, I don't listen to podcasts regularly. I don't have one that I actively follow and don't want to miss an episode.
Engelke: What unites us is that we tend to prefer to hear something specific that concerns an area that interests us. With Riccardo, it's kind of like the story behind Madonna songs.
Engelke: Our great hope with "Quality Time" is that people will hear us and say: Hey, that was intense, informative, extremely entertaining, surprising and also very emotional. We're not afraid of tears. I even look forward to the first ones that will flow. We've had a lot of goosebumps.
Simonetti: I already had tears in my eyes when we talked about the different career paths. I had to hold myself back because I was wearing make-up. Florian would have freaked out (laughs). So the episodes in which we are without make-up could be particularly emotional.
Engelke: And we will also laugh tears because I can make Riccardo laugh so easily. I know exactly what triggers him. It's my new favorite activity. If they're all stuck on their smartphones, I just wait until he looks up and then I do something and it always works. With a word, a sound or a stumble. And vice versa, because Riccardo has a good sense of timing. He has a predisposition and is socialized in a similar way to me, with an affinity for US film and television.
Engelke: We are very interested in each other. Of course I don't know what it's like to live as a gay man with make-up on. And of course Riccardo doesn't know what it must have been like when it started for me in the 70s, when women on television were part of the minority. I show him my world and also enjoy looking back with him. And Riccardo takes me to his as well. For example, I look at Madonna very differently now. I experienced them intensively as a fan in the 80s, I noticed everything. Now Riccardo is around the corner and knows her on another level much better than I do. We will work through so many things, which hopefully will also be of interest to many other people.
Engelke: Riccardo is talented in that area for the two of us, so he's more than welcome to do it for me.
Simonetti: It's nice to see how people react when I post something and show myself with her. She is loved very much and by many different generations. When you see what that triggers in people and how happy people are and don't even know what to expect, that's something very valuable that not many people can do. I also find it exciting how people react to our humor and the constellation and feel the vibes and see that it harmonizes.
Simonetti: We're used to giving interviews. Now we are in the position to ask the questions and you can feel exactly how much a person wants to give and where the person's limits are. I think if you do it properly and properly, you don't have to go further than the person wants you to. That's enough to have a very private, very intimate conversation. One does not have to give the last step or drop the last barrier. If a person defines their comfort zone, you can make an incredible difference in this zone.
Engelke: It would be a lie to claim that we are not aware of the microphone and/or a camera. We are really too professional show horses for that. But that doesn't mean anything is played. We don't write down anything concrete, we answer on the fly. As an old diary writer, I will probably always come up with a list of things that I really want to discuss with Riccardo, that I want to ask him, or where I might just need advice.
Simonetti: Of course we also have things that we don't necessarily discuss in front of the microphone. But I can already guarantee that no one who listens to the podcast will miss anything because we still communicate and share so many things with each other and with people.
Simonetti: I'm very grateful to be in the position I'm in and I enjoy it because it's what I've dreamed of for so long. Just the fact that Anke and I are doing this podcast. I have grown up with Anke Engelke all my life and have always celebrated her and been fascinated by her work. Working with someone you admire is a great gift. However, I would like to say that it is not difficult. My life is often told like a fairy tale. The bullied gay teenager becomes a celebrated star - happy ending. But that's not the end. There are still so many stones to be cleared out of the way. Not only socially, but also personally. That's why I'm someone who doesn't rest on my laurels and is apolitical. Because I know that it's not just the issue I'm working on that benefits, I'm also in the same boat myself. Just because I may have found a better place doesn't mean the journey is over.
Engelke: This project marks the beginning of a wonderful new year for me and I also have a very exciting professional year behind me. It is always very exciting for me to work in a completely different way and to deviate from the usual paths. I shot a series in Poland about the Auschwitz trials in Frankfurt from 1963 to 1965. For me it was the first time that I played a character in such a historical context that doesn't only have positive connotations. It was very intensive shooting, which the subject brings with it. I would also like to talk to Riccardo about this, because there are some things I haven't really processed yet.
Simonetti: I have a very good role model in my mother. She's turning 60 this year and she's showing me that it really doesn't affect how you have to be at all. That you can just be who you feel and not let your age dominate you. I was always very grateful that I had someone like that in my life. But I still think about it differently when I'm 30, because I think when you have a change of decade, you can take a moment and ask yourself how the last few years were. My 20s were characterized by focus and discipline. Sometimes I wonder if I might have missed something. When all other people have had so many experiences that I have never had. Will this ever catch up with me? At the age of 30 I write on my imaginary note in my head: Don't forget life. In addition to focus, work and discipline, I must not forget to have experiences that are valuable to me as a person. That I sometimes do without a day of shooting for a wedding, birthday or christening. Who knows, in a year's time it will still be important if you missed this or that project. But if you don't go to your nephew's christening right away, you might already remember.
Engelke: I can understand that very well. I have an agent who fortunately always supports my motto and pays close attention to it: family first. You have to be very careful with your priorities.