Meet Maria Bakalova, the Actress Who Crashed the White House in the New ‘Borat’ Movie

"Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

If you’re like us, you may be curious to know who is Maria Bakalova from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm?

Bakalova became the breakout of the most recent Borat movie—whose full title is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan—when the film premiered on Amazon on October 23. In the film, Bakalova plays Tutar Sagdiyev, the teenage daughter of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat Margaret Sagdiyev, a Kazakh news reporter who travels to America from Kazakhstan, where he’s been imprisoned for the past 14 years due to the belief that he’s brought shame on the country. The film—which is a sequel to 2006’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan—is a mockumentary comedy, in which Borat offers Tutar as a bride to Vice President Mike Pence amid the 2020 presidential election.

Though some characters are played by actors, such as Cohen and Bakalova, there are many people who appear in the film as themselves with or without their permission, such as Vice President Mike Pence, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Instagram influencer Macy Chanel. Despite the massive names in the film, it’s widely agreed that Bakalova is the breakout. Find out more about the actress who played Borat’s daughter ahead.

Who is Maria Bakalova?

Bakalova was born on June 4, 1996 in Burgas, Bulgaria, which means she was 24 when Borat Subsequent Moviefilm premiered. She started singing lessons and playing the flute when she was 6 years old before majoring in drama theater at the National School of Arts in Burgas when she was older. Bakalova went on to major in drama at the Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia, where she graduated in 2019. Before Borat, she starred in films like 2018’s Transgression and 2020’s Last Call, according to her IMDb.

She Was Chosen Out of 600 Actresses

Bakalova, a relative unknown at the time, was cast via an open casting call she responded to. After she sent in a tape, Bakalova went to London where she auditioned for the part in front of producers, such as Cohen. Cohen told IndieWire that Bakalova was selected from more than 600 women across the world who auditioned to Tular. “She’s an incredible actor,” he said. “We interviewed 600 young women from all around the world and she’s hilarious. She is one of the most courageous actors in history.”

Borat Is the First Time She’s Come to America

Cohen also revealed to IndieWire that Bakalova came to America for the first time to film the Borat sequel. She’s since relocated to Los Angeles, as seen by her Instagram.

“She’s hilarious and has the capacity to deliver a scene and make you cry. That’s what finally got her the part,” Cohen said. “When we did the breakup scene in the movie, I had to stop it because I felt myself getting quite emotional. She’s one of a kind. Imagine coming to America for the first time and you’re playing a role with real people in some terrifying situations. She got through it all. She’s a revelation.”

She Could win an Oscar

Cohen also told IndieWire that he’s campaigning Bakalova to win an Oscar at the 93rd annual Academy Awards in April 2021. Bakalova is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. “If she doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar then that’s a travesty,” Cohen said. Cohen also told Vulture, “If she doesn’t win an Oscar. Then I don’t know what the Academy’s for.”

It looks like Cohen’s campaigning paid off. In fact, Bakalova has earned tons o attention this awards season. Prior to the Oscars, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture at the 2021 Golden Globes.

She Shook Hands With Donald Trump Jr.

Bakalova crashed the White House in a deleted scene Borat 2 by shadowing Chanel Rion, a White House correspondent for One America News Network, a far-right cable channel. Borat’s official Twitter shared a video of the scene, which showed Rion guiding Bakalova (playing Tutar) through the White House. In one scene, the date is listed as September 20, days before President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19. The camera shows Tutar appear in the same room as Trump, with no one wearing face masks. The video also shows Tutar shaking hands and meeting the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.. “I’m a bit nervous, but I’m really excited to meet you,” she tells Donald Jr., who responds, “Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Good to meet you.”

n the voiceover, Borat reveals that Bakalova didn’t receive a security check or a COVID-19 test. Borat 2 also shows Borat (dressed as Trump) sneaking into a White House press conference where he offers Tutar to him. “Michael Pence, I brought the girl to you,” he says.

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