What You Didn't Know About Borat Star Maria Bakalova

Everyone is talking about the Borat sequel, entitled Borat Subsequent Moviefilm — mostly because of a certain scene involving former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (via Los Angeles Times). In the now-viral scene, an actress portraying Borat's 15-year-old daughter dupes Giuliani into following her into a hotel bedroom — he thinks he is there to be interviewed about the Trump administration's COVID-19 response (via The Hollywood Reporter). Instead, the "teen" somehow convinces the president's lawyer to lie down on the bed, at which point Borat bursts in to inform Giuliani the girl is underage. 

For his part, the 76-year-old has denied any wrongdoing, assuring naysayers that when he realized he was being set up, he left. Meanwhile, many people are wondering just who the young actress is in the buzzworthy scene. Her name is Maria Bakalova, and she is a 24-year-old actor from Bulgaria. According to her IMDb page, she is fairly new to acting, although she studied the trade in school at the National School of Arts in Burgas.

How did Maria Bakalova end up in the Borat movie?

Bakalova auditioned for the part of Borat's daughter, Tutar, along with 600 other hopefuls, but was ultimately chosen for the role due to her believability as a fake journalist. In real life, the newly-minted star thinks of Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays Borat, as a real parental figure. "You really are like a father to me!" she wrote to the actor on Instagram. She thanked the funnyman for his support and guidance, adding, "You are my biggest teacher! I am so so grateful for the opportunity to create such an brilliant character like #Tutar with you."

Bakalova went on to share, "There are almost no leading characters for actors from my background or actors who have a foreign accent so to be given this platform to perform and show what I can do really means the world to me! Thank you! I love you!!" In a Good Morning America interview about the film, Bakalova also affirmed she felt safe while filming the scandalous scene. Meanwhile, Baron Cohen says she deserves an Oscar for her performance in the movie.