Katya Bakat is a rising actress currently working on several films and television projects. She began her career originally as a model, doing beauty competitions until she was signed by IMG Models at the age of 14. She has since worked for several well-known brands, Pacco Rabbana, Armani, Lanvin, L’Oréal, and Bulgari Jewelry.
It was after she established herself as a model that Katya began to find herself gravitating towards acting. Since her transition to acting, Katya has just wrapped a role in the mega-budget action feature film, Angel Has Fallen, which stars Gerald Butler, Morgan Freeman, and Nick Nolte. On the small screen, Katya has a lead role in the upcoming series Magic 7 and has filmed for pilot show a Shadow Wolves. She also has a starring role in Honeymoon in Paradise, a film about a group of reality contestants looking for love and fame at a luxurious resort set in Saint Lucia.
In our Q&A with Katya, she describes her transition to acting, exciting roles and what the future holds for this rising star!
Clichė: You were signed to a modeling agency at the age of 14 before gravitating towards acting. What is it about acting that made you want to pursue it? Has it always a passion of yours?
Katya: I’m a creative person and could never imagine having a repetitive monotonous work in the office. Being a signer, designer, painter, model [and] actor are classic examples of creativity. Modeling is a great opportunity for a young girl to become financially independent, create [her] own style, meet different people, cultures, travel the world and explore. It’s really amazing [and] motivating because you really have to take care of your physical look. Being an actress is a totally different dimension. I’ve never dreamed of being an actress. I thought that [I] had to be outgoing, very communicative and social to be able to portray someone’s life story. At some point in my life, [while] I was a professional model, I realized that I have this desire to open up, to show the depth of my character, vulnerability, and be able to experience the lives of different characters, times, cultures…at that moment I knew that modeling is not enough, I wanted to be an actress.
What has the transition from modeling to acting been like for you? Were there any obstacles you had to overcome?
It is an entirely different profession, which requires different skills. Models are trained for posing, which includes extensive training that teaches them to keep the best postures, mimic and move. It’s all about the momentum. Even though models have a certain advantage when it comes to becoming an actor due to their comfort in front of the camera, however, models are not familiar with important aspects of acting, like the ability to analyze a script, breakdown a character, and make appropriate performance choices. Acting is a long run. Actors should understand and provide an adequate reaction to what’s going on on the stage or on set. It requires an understanding of emotional and physical responses of your own and of others. It wasn’t that hard for me. I went to The Lee Strasberg Film Institute and Theatre in NYC. It’s a traditional classic “method actors” education. And I’m very grateful to all the teachers who helped me let my fears [and] my shyness go, and open my acting abilities and talent. I’ve studied different techniques and I’m still attending acting school here in Los Angeles.
Since your transition into acting, you have landed roles alongside big names like Gerald Butler and Morgan Freeman. (Angel Has Fallen) Are you ever nervous on set? If so, how do you calm your nerves?
It’s an interesting fact! Before I’m on the set, I’m practicing, getting prepared, getting nervous, it’s a normal process…but as soon as I’m on the set, I’m getting this inner confidence, calmness, and clarity. No matter who I’m working with, we are a team, who are working on the same idea, the same project. I’m always excited and ready to be a part of it! But in any stressful situation, I’m trying to find 5-10 minutes to meditate. It’s very helpful!
Your upcoming film Honeymoon in Paradise is about a group of reality contestants looking for love. Before taking on this role, were you a fan of reality dating shows?
Absolutely not. I’ve been invited a couple of times to be a part of the dating reality shows. I might sound naive, but I still don’t know if it’s all set up and the contestants have the scripts and play “the roles” or it’s real stories, dramas, laughs and falling in real love. Either way, it’s not for me! But to experience “the dating show” in the movie was really fun. A beautiful Caribbean island, an incredible team, very positive vibes, and professionalism!
What is the backstory of your character in Honeymoon in Paradise?
My character is Britney, bikini model, hot, but kind of a mean girl. She is competitive. She is self-confident and ready to achieve her goals no matter what, even if it can hurt some people. She is self-centered, but also flirty, playful and positive. Since it’s a romantic comedy, there is no real drama or psychological twists. So Britney is not an evil person. She is just a young girl who uses her charm, beauty and manipulative skills to play her game!
In addition to modeling and acting in films, you also have the lead role in an upcoming series titled Magic 7. How has filming a television series differ from acting in films? Which do you prefer?
I love it all. There really isn’t much of a difference, I think. Having a part in an ongoing TV show gives you an opportunity to have a really long term job. And if it’s successful and has high ratings it can last for years! There’s a considerable difference in that TV actors have a chance to explore their characters over multiple episodes and seasons. Often, if the producers and writers on a show are reasonably collaborative, the actor will shape the character as the show evolves.
You’re currently filming a fantasy film Empire Queen, can you tell us about your leading role in the film and what has filming has been like?
This film is produced by Christopher Dane Owens and Jason Schulz. It’s a beautiful fantasy film, let’s say [it’s] Harry Potter for adults! The Golden Age of Magic. Jason is my dear friend for years, we’ve been already working together on a couple of great projects, one of it was a short film “Fashion Assassin”. So he knew my professionalism, work ethic, and experience. So I was invited to be a part of this interesting project. The filming is happening in California, I’m playing the role of Terra Winter, a powerful witch. I really enjoy it.
You’ve taken on plenty of projects this year. 2019 seems to be a big year for you! Do you ever get overwhelmed with the amount of work you do?
I love it all. I’m ready for much more ahead. It’s my passion, it’s my vocation. I love to be proactive and create or be a part of some interesting projects.
In all of the characters that you’ve played, which one is the most similar to you and why?
Well, I haven’t played a part yet, where I can say that. All the characters I’ve played are far from my own personality. Maybe the witch Terra Winter, she has a kind heart, compassionate, all is about justice and protective to her beloved ones. These qualities are essential for me.
Lastly, where do you see yourself in 5 years? What is the biggest goal you hope to accomplish by then?
5 years from now, I definitely want to have a family and kids. It’s really important to me. I want to achieve a big success in the film industry and become a big actress. I want to work on big projects. You know there is a saying – “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. I also want to create a charity foundation for the kids. In my opinion, the greatest benefit of an actor has is the ability to participate in fundraising events and help people!
You can follow and check out on Katya on Instagram!
Q&A With Model Turned Actress Katya Bakat: Featured Image: Courtesy of Shan Jad / Shandrew PR