Maria Bakalova, the Bulgarian breakout star of Borat 2, shared a message of support for the people of Ukraine at the Critics Choice Awards red carpet on Sunday night.
“We all can agree that what’s going on is insane and crazy and just heartbreaking,” she told Deadline. “I am Eastern European. My country and hometown are just a few miles away from Ukraine. I truly support them. I see all the Ukrainian fighters— their bravery, their resilience. All they’re doing is defending their independence and democracy, which is crucial for every single nation. The right to vote, the right to choose your government—even people from Russia.”
She continued, “The only thing that I can do as an artist is to try to bring more attention to our region of the world and to create this exchange in cultural and artistic ways between Eastern Europe and Hollywood— that’s been fundamental for us in the first half of the 21st century.”
Bakalova, who served as a presenter at the yearly awards show, also used her allotted time on stage to share the plight of the Ukrainian people. She hopes she’ll be able to “raise awareness and support each other as human beings, no matter where we’re from.”
“If we can make even a small difference, we have to try,” she added. “Unfortunately it’s happening now in Eastern Europe, but this could happen anywhere. If it’s possible, I hope the people of Ukraine know that we are with them, we see them. We stand with them. Our hearts are with them.”
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