I’ve had a lot of fun to myself these days since the thought occurred to me that even I have something in common with Nicole Kidman. Apart from a man in my past who fancied her in his dreams and me in reality, the other thing we have in common is that we’ve both stood in front of Stasy Kara’s camera and microphone. And what is it that connects me and Stasy? Now that I come to think of it, nothing but fun and memorable moments.
Our first meeting: (Sofia). A tough morning quite a few years ago. I was wearing dental braces and because of that the last thing I wanted was to talk in front of the camera. But my work, alas, meant I had to. I had hardly slept the whole night through out of worry, so taking a little dose of homeopathy for courage (J)), I arrived in the morning at the cable TV studio, slightly horrified and heavily made-up. At that moment, Stasy, the host of the breakfast slot, popped up from somewhere: calm, casual and with that switched-on look and slightly mischievous smile which are her trademarks to this very day. I immediately felt some relief and once I found out that both of us are former pupils of the Spanish High School, my worries melted away completely. And so it was: by speaking to her, to Stasy from the Spanish School, I managed to relax in front of the cameras.
In the meantime… (Cannes). Our paths have crossed several times in the years which followed, on different occasions, but of all our meetings, the one at the Cannes Film Festival shines brightest. From the whole adventure which the event turned out to be, one which we’ll doubtless never forget, the most fun moment has to remain the companiable process of getting changed into our evening dresses. Simply because this was NOT the typical glamorous Cannes-style of preparation, but a hurried transformation in a poky little back-room in the Festival Complex which had definitely not been intended for this purpose. Lots of laughter: Pass me the dress from the rucksack; Have you got a black pencil? What lipstick shall I put on? And where are the shoes? And so on…When it came down to it, our appearance did nothing to give us away and was perfectly fitting for the red carpet (or so we thought at least).
The last meeting (Barcelona): There is something about this meeting which is both a mirror-image of the first one- in the sense that I was the one asking her and she was answering–and that involves some of the emotion in Cannes too: there was once again a long dress (and what a one it was!) and, since there’s a beautiful dress involved, there’s female coquetry and lots of laughter.
And yes, at this point Stasy was quite a bit more popular as a TV figure in comparison to our first meeting, but the nice thing is that I was still just talking to Stasy from the Spanish School and this is what it was about:
Why did you yourself start to learn the Spanish language? How did you end up in the Spanish School- was it because of the language or it just turned out that way when you were applying?
The Spanish School was my first and greatest wish. I’d already been learning English for several years and I felt like something more exotic. I’m exceptionally glad that I graduated from this school. I discovered the beauty of the culture, music and cuisine of the Spanish-speaking world and of course I’ve got friends for life from high-school.
What is the role of the Spanish language in your life at the moment?
I try to practise it as much as possible, whenever I travel and have the chance to speak in Spanish. I sometimes have to write and I’m proud when people tell me I have a Mexican accent. I’ve never been in Mexico, so I don’t know where that comes from, but it amuses me. I’ve lived for a few months in Colombia and apart from our everyday conversations I also did quite a few interviews in Spanish, including one with the President of the country at that time, Alvaro Uribe.
At the moment you’re the girl from Bulgaria who interviews Hollywood stars. How did you go from being a cinema fan to being a cinema journalist?
That was once I’d won a competition to be the correspondent on the film set of Kevin Spacey’s production company and I did interviews with Spacey and Willem Defoe. Things got going from then on and gradually more and more big names let me get close to them. Nicole Kidman, Mark Wahlberg, Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Benedict Cumberbatch and lots of others. I’ve spoken Spanish with Guillermo del Toro and recently I did an interview with a producer from Spain. I’m delighted that I’ve had the opportunity to meet these people and all the emotions and experiences involved in this are described in my book ‘Just like in the movies’. Some things remain hidden from the camera and I wanted to preserve them in some way.
So you’ve managed to ‘insert’ the cinema into books, but have you ever envisaged doing the opposite: having one of your books get the screen treatment or perhaps writing a screenplay at some point?
I make no secret of the fact that this is my greatest dream and I really would like one of my novels to be filmed. I’m trying to write a screenplay but I’m still learning and I feel like I want it to happen at a point when I feel totally sure of myself.
What brought you to Barcelona?
I attended a really big cinematic event where the new titles of the forthcoming season were presented and I met up with the director of ‘Training Day’, Antoine Fuqua, who was showing part of his new film, ‘The Magnificent Seven’, as well as with the director of the new version of ‘Ghostbusters’, Paul Feig. Both of them were truly wonderful.
And what about the dress? Who designed this dress that garnered all the applause?
It’s by a Bulgarian designer label, Knapp They do collections which are one of a kind and which genuinely make an impression all over the world. I’ve worn their dresses to red-carpet events and film awards and they’ve always made a splash. It really appeals to me that each dress has its own name and is tailored with incredible materials. This one is called The Tamarind Dress.
When we saw each other in Barcelona, you’d started to tell me a story about the string of Bulgarian baddies which you’d spotted in films by the director Paul Feig. Can you tell me the rest of the story here?
Yes, it had caught my attention several times that he has characters like this in his films and I asked him why that was when I met him. He laughed a lot and told me that he had been shooting in Bulgaria in 2002 and that he’d really liked the country. But he’d immediately been struck by the big men with an arrogant air getting out of big black cars. That’s why he went on to create a few villains of Bulgarian origin.
Do you still give one of your books as a gift to the people you interview? How many books have you got by now actually?
Yes, I like to give them my books as gifts. The ones that have been translated into English of course, namely my two novels: ‘Fake is a state of mind’ and ‘Serendipity calls’. My non-fiction book ‘Just like in the movies’ still doesn’t have an English version. I’ve got three books in all, but I’m working on the fourth.
In one of them you’ve interwoven your real impressions of Colombia. How did you find yourself there and what made the greatest impression on you?
Yes, Colombia is present in ‘Fake is a state of mind’ and is one of the places which I’ve visited during my life which has made the biggest impression on me. The people, the food, the music and the whole set of circumstances in this country greatly appeal to me. I’ve still got friends there and I know that I’m always welcome if I decide to visit them. It’s a magical place, regardless of all the awful stories we’ve heard about it.
The feeling that’s stayed with you from Colombia: an unforgettable period of my life.
The people there are…wonderful, genuine and hospitable.
The food: my favourite soup, Ajiaco, incredibly tasty!
The smell that you associate with Colombia: I don’t know how to define it, you just sense that it’s teeming with life.
The President, Alvaro Uribe was wonderful. They warned us that it’s good to catch him in the right mood and that’s what happened. He kissed me on both cheeks after the interview and sent his regards to my parents.
Colombia in your book:
I have a chapter devoted to Columbia …..
As far as Colombia and cinema go, I can hardly wait to see how Javier Bardem transforms himself into the role of Pablo Escobar. Can we expect you to do an interview with him?
To interview Javier Bardem, I’d be willing to go anywhere in the world. I consider him an actor of genius and I hope to meet him. Apart from the fact that I’m eager to see him as Escobar, I’ve got the perfect role for him in my novels J
Stasy Kara’s books:
Just like in the movies, Colibri publishing house: 2016
Serendipity calls, Ciela publ. 2014
Fake is a state of mind, 2012
Stasy Kara on air:
Just like in the movies, bTV
Tranlated by Neil Scarth