Visit Germany for a day, and it’ll be hard to miss Palina Rojinski. Known throughout the country as an actress, TV host, and DJ, Palina can now add top-ranked podcaster to her CV. After just a few episodes of Podkinski, the podcast already enjoys extreme popularity in Germany. The secret to her instant impact in audio is simple: Fans are drawn to Palina’s sense of humor and her approachable, conversational style.
She selects the guests for her show, guides the conversation, and keeps her subjects in the studio for as long as she feels necessary to create a compelling interview. No format is off-limits, whether that means improvising, using tarot cards, or playing memory games to get inside a guest’s head.
Palina’s first guests were actor Fahri Yardim, model Stefanie Giesinger (winner of Germany’s Next Topmodel) and Saudi Arabia-born actress and hip-hop artist Nura. Just after the release of the fourth episode of Podkinski, featuring German fashion designer and TV host Guido Maria Kretschmer, Palina spoke with us about her unique approach to podcasting.
Most Germans know you from TV and film. What has been the most interesting and different aspect of recording a podcast as opposed to working with scripted material for TV and movies?
It is very freeing to be invisible. I usually really enjoy getting ready for a film shoot, and I love makeup and fashion in general. But being invisible to the audience allows me to approach the recording in a very relaxed manner. The studio is a more intimate setting.
German TV and audio seem to have become more open, playful, and conversational, similar to your style, since you started out 10 years ago. How much of that can you take credit for, and how much is an evolution of technology and a change in how Europeans consume content?
I believe that everything changes all the time—with or without me. The German entertainment industry really looks up to America and tries to keep up. Also, Germany is looking at a comeback of the ’90s in style and fashion, and this means putting fun first. Also, maybe our society is looking for balance. If issues regarding the environment and politics are getting pretty serious, we long for fun in entertainment, art, and fashion.
How does your style of interviewing help guests share more personal or interesting information that they might not share with another podcast host?
It certainly helps that most of my guests are my friends. That makes it a bit easier to find the right start. I try to be myself—that’s a general rule of mine, being myself and inviting my guests to be themselves as well. I’m happy if that works out for both of us.
You’re one of the hosts of a new version of “Yo! MTV Raps.” What does hip-hop music mean to you, and why you do think Europeans, and Germans in particular, have such fondness of hip-hop?
It was the soundtrack of my teenage years—it means rebellion, it means adventure, and a certain kind of looking for an identity. Am I cool? Are you cool? The kinds of questions that we suffer with as teenagers. Hip-hop helped me a lot, lifted me up, and made me feel strong at times. It also creates a wonderful sense of community, which we are all in need of, I guess.
Talk about the games you like to play with your guests, such as “Ich packe meinen koffer” (I’m packing my suitcase). How does the game work?
You basically name an object that you would take along on a trip, and the other person has to repeat what you said and add one thing he or she would take along, and so on. Actually, it’s a good memory game, and I played it with a famous German actor. We tested how well our memory works (we have to memorize lines for acting), but also found out how he is packing his luggage either for a certain role or for a long-term filming away from home. Every guest gets a different game that suits his or her personality.
What podcasts and musicians do you enjoy listening to when you are not working?
My favorite podcast is Fest & Flauschig by my friends Olli and Jan, and I love a good mix of music. For example, I love classic bands like Talking Heads or Fleetwood Mac, and of course, some hip-hop like Cardi B, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, and Drake, plus Ariana Grande.
Listen to the latest episode of Podkinski here.