Poles are widely known for migrations, so it should not come as a surprise that a lot of them live and work abroad. Some start families, others start businesses. They immigrate to study or to advance their careers, often very successfully. Today I will bring you closer to a few very successful and widely known Polish natives you might have not even known had their roots here.
This one’s for the girls. Do you ever just sit in your room, mindlessly watching TikTok compilations on YouTube, and then suddenly the ad pops up encouraging you to buy that mascara that will supposedly make your lashes dramatically long? If so, you might want to know whom to either blame for the interruption, or to thank for the prettiest lashes your crush has ever seen. This person is, obviously, the founder of the company – Max Factor, or rather - Maksymilian Faktorowicz. Born in Zdunska Wola in 1872 to a Jewish family, had always dreamt of becoming an artist. As a teenager he had already had an experience working with wig makers and beauticians in Poland, Germany, and Russia, so when he immigrated to the United States his interest in the industry only grew bigger. Starting off as a make-up artist on movie sets, he quickly developed his skills, eventually establishing his own company in 1909. Now, more than 100 years later, we can enjoy Max Factor’s various make up products all around the world.
Saturday night; you turn on the TV desperately looking for a movie that would actually be worth your precious time. There it is – you see the familiar logo with a majestic, roaring lion and you know – the movie is going to be GOOD. Obviously – a movie produced by the famous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. must be good. But you wouldn’t be able to munch on your second bowl of popcorn looking at the beautiful lion if it wasn’t for the MGM founders, right? Well, what if I told you one of them was in fact Polish? Samuel Goldwyn was born as Szmul Gelbfisz in Warsaw in 1879 and after seeking his fortune in Germany and UK, he finally settled down in New York. Things went smoothly from then on – he became a businessman, soon associated with Paramount. Throughout the years his career flourished, in 1916 Goldwyn established Goldwyn Pictures and 8 years later merged the company with Marcus Loew’s Metro Pictures Corporation, thus creating iconic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This interesting fact is a way to show of next time you’re watching a movie with your lads!
Boys, don’t worry, I’ve got your back too. A lot of girls like movie classics so it is safe to say that if you want to impress your lady, a movie date with a 1920s film and a bottle of wine is usually a bull’s-eye. If you want her to be REALLY impressed, you might even want to comment on a thing or two during the screening. A great move would be a little piece of trivia about an actress from the 1920s. How about the famous Pola Negri? The movies in which she starred are real gems of cinematography yet, not many people know the actress’ origins. Apolonia Chalupiec (Pola Negri’s real name) was born in Lipno in 1897 and from a young age was interested in art. Had been accepted to several elite academies, such as Warsaw’s Imperial Ballet Academy and Warsaw Imperial Academy of Dramatic Arts, Apolonia soon rose to fame and also started appearing in German theatres and films. That soon brought her to America where she became one of the top stars of Hollywood’s golden era. She worked with the biggest production companies such as Paramount and Motion Pictrues, the biggest directors (eg. Billy Wilder, Vincente Minnelli) and alongside the biggest actors, often her being the biggest deal out of them all. Polish femme fatale icon even got her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Now, talk about flex…
Hope you have actually learnt something and next time you’ll be talking about your amazing experience on Erasmus in Poland, you’ll have some interesting facts to tell when someone asks you if Poland is indeed where Robert Lewandowski was born. He’s merely one of a whole bunch of amazing Poles ;)