Hanja Kochansky – Their Time.
At the age of six Hanja became a refugee as she fled on a boat from World-War-II torn Croatia (then Yugoslavia) to start a new life in Italy.
Aged 11 she was moved to apartheid South Africa where she met her husband-to-be but she missed Italy terribly.
After returning to Rome she starred in films and then moved to London where she had her daughter and embraced the sex, drugs and rock and roll of the 1960s.
Whilst in the UK she worked at the Playboy Club as a bunny croupier and wrote a novel which was bought by 20th Century Fox in 1969. They paid her well and she hoped to have made it but, in the end, the film never got made.
Not one to rest on her laurels she went on to write Female Sexual Fantasies — the first book in our times on women’s sexual fantasies. It was published in America (where it sold 250,000 copies) and also in England and Australia.
She went to India where she discovered the Goddess in a temple. Then in 1973, she met an American actor who lived in Rome. They had a son and built a commune in Sardinia along with the actor’s other partner. Thousands of people came through and they kept animals and tended the gardens. She came to realise that the people who drifted through were the people who nobody else would put up with and the hostility between her and the “other woman” eventually got too much so she returned to Rome. There she wrote songs, worked as a film actress and performed a one-woman cabaret show, Story of a Life in 21 Songs. However, she found it hard to go on stage as she was shy and eventually stopped.
In 1987 she got a major part in Ettore Scola’s, La Famiglia. The film was selected by the American Academy of Motion Pictures as one of the best foreign language films of that year, and she was sent to the Oscars.
A few years later she was certified as an aromatherapist and established the first aromatherapy studio in Rome.
After over thirty years in Rome, she now lives in London, aged 83. She is having a wonderful new life practicing her healing skills and writing books. She takes time away to visit her son in Italy and her daughter in the United States. She says she is always interested in getting to know herself better. She is curious and the learning never stops.
Her motto is: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
“Through Their Time, Laura Page, Photographer and Rebecca Vassie Memorial award winner, has captured the lives of older people during the pandemic, setting out to challenge the perceptions of ageing. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing the intricate stories captured throughout the past year. So keep an eye out on STOPageism and across our social channels!
To learn more about Laura, her perception of ageing and ageism, and to discover more about Their Time, click here.”