The year 2020 is the poster child for pure, unobstructed chaos, and few do it better than Borat Sagdiyev and, now, his offspring played by Maria Bakalova.
It's been nearly 15 years since comedian Sacha Baron Cohen introduced us to the well-meaning but wildly offensive journalist from Kazakhstan whose obscene humor led to some pretty uncomfortable conversations (yes, that car dealership scene). Like all good satire, the 2006 film caused many to face the racist, misogynistic biases that can be perpetuated on a daily basis, often unintentionally.
This time the character isn't alone: His fictional daughter, Tutar, played by Bakalova, is getting just as much attention. Tutar, who also goes by Sandra Jessica Parker in the film, subjects herself to some pretty mortifying situations, serving as a catalyst to discussions surrounding a woman's right to choose and closed-door conversations with politicians, based on the clips out so far.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan premieres tomorrow, and from the clips released so far, both Cohen and Bakalova are ready to show off plenty of new squeamish moments with the unsuspecting, including a pro-life pastor and—as you might have heard—President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
While the film's yet to be released, unsurprisingly, it's already causing a stir. There's a particular scene in which Bakalova pretends to be a reporter and seemingly flirts with Guiliani, who perhaps reaches down into his pants at one point as she's turned away. The former mayor of New York City has already denied that it was a sexually explicit act and claimed he was tucking in his shirt.
There's sure to be more wild moments coming out of the sequel, but for now, here's everything to know about Bakalova, the film's breakout star.
Maria Bakalova recently moved to Los Angeles.
The 24-year-old actor was born in Burgas, the second-largest city along the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria. Having spent most of her life studying and working at home, it looks like Bakalova recently made a move to California. At the time of this post back in April, she had been living in Los Angeles for less than a year.
She’s been acting for several years.
While Bakalova may be new to American audiences, the actor has been working in the industry for years in her home country. According to her IMDb page, she's starred in several TV shows and films including Tipichno (2015), Transgression (2018), and Last Call (2020).
Bakalova appears to have always been passionate about the performing arts, having majored in acting for drama theater at the National School of Arts in Burgas, according to her IMDb. She would later go on to major in drama at the National Academy for Theater and Films Arts, graduating in 2019.
She’s also a trained musician.
Parallel to her acting studies, Bakalova is also trained in the flute. She started taking singing and flute lessons at the age of six, although it's unclear if she's kept either activity up.
She doesn’t shy away from politics.
Back in July, Bakalova shared a post in solidarity with Bulgarians protesting against government corruption and the country's mishandling of the pandemic. “Thousands of people packed the center of Sofia in what is being dubbed a ‘grand national uprising’ to demand the resignation of both Borissov and the country's chief prosecutor, Ivan Geshev,” Politico reported in September. The demonstrations are still going on, surpassing the 100-day mark.
She's also posted in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has played a crucial role in bringing light to police brutality and the disparities in access to health care, education, and income that African Americans face.
She loves animals.
Some of her earliest posts on the ’gram feature a very fluffy cat. If the number of features is any indication, Bakalova can't get enough of her furry friends. And it's not just cats, she seems to be fond of horses, and her canine friend, Steven M. Richter, a half English sheepdog, half poodle who has their own active Instagram.
Originally Appeared on Glamour