Maria Bata: From Transylvania to Hollywood
Born and raised in mystical Transylvania, Maria is not a vampire, as far as she knows. However, Maria Bata is a Romanian actress and model with 15 years of experience in front of the camera. She has been featured in over 100 TV commercials for big brands such as Cadillac, Coca-Cola, and Apple. Her movie projects have also earned recognition at prestigious film festivals like Sundance and the Transylvania International Film Festival.
For the moment, she is continuing her acting career in Los Angeles and is a curious student of various energy healing techniques. Miami Living sat down with Maria to learn more about her passions, current projects, Miami inspirations, and more.
Miami Living: How did you discover your passion for modeling and acting, and what steps did you take to pursue it despite initially studying management?
Maria Bata: Although I considered attending an acting school after high school, I chose to be more pragmatic. Instead, I attended the University of Management in Bucharest, which sounded very cool and seemed to have more career opportunities. Nevertheless, the desire to explore my artistic side remained strong within me.
Once in Bucharest, under the “guidance” of my older sister, who was already a well-known model in Romania, I signed up with modeling and casting agencies, mostly with the desire to have more financial freedom and flexibility. In a very short time, I began getting auditions and shooting commercials and advertising photo campaigns during my free time between classes.
As I received encouragement from the people I collaborated with, I decided that after finishing my studies, I would take the admission exam for an acting school. That’s exactly what I did, and it marked the beginning of my journey in the film industry.
ML: Can you discuss some of the notable campaigns and projects you have been involved in, both in print media and film?
MB: In my 15+ years of experience in front of the camera, I have shot over 100 TV commercials and photo campaigns for brands like Cadillac, Coca-Cola, Apple, Nescafe, Skechers, and Vogue, to name a few. Each project had something special—the makeup, the wardrobe, or the people that I met on set—that added value to who I am now, both as an artist and as a human being.
One of the highlights was when I arrived on set for a Wells Fargo shoot (one of my first commercials when I moved to LA) and had the chance to collaborate with the talented director of photography, Linus Sandgren, who won the Oscar for “Best Cinematography” for “La La Land”.
Additionally, I had the incredible opportunity to work alongside well-known actors like Laurence Fishburne, Rose Byrne, and Michael Keaton. Observing their approach to their roles and their interactions with other team members was an exciting and enlightening experience. Their professionalism, relaxed demeanor, sense of humor, and lack of superiority left a lasting impression on me.
ML: What has been the biggest challenge you faced during your career, and how did you overcome it?
MB: The biggest challenge I faced during my career was staying consistent and not giving up. Things don’t always happen as we expect or wish, and in this profession, we receive so many “No’s” and rejections. However, I learned to accept that they are part of an actor’s career and life, and I found ways to manage my disappointments in order to become stronger and succeed on this path.
ML: How did you overcome it?
MB: Overcoming this challenge required a combination of factors. My stubbornness and determination as a Capricorn played a significant role. Moreover, I kept recalling the feeling of fulfillment I experience when I’m on a film set. And, of course, a few therapy and meditation sessions didn’t hurt! ;)
ML: What motivated you to move to Los Angeles, and how has your career evolved since then?
MB: Los Angeles is like a “Mecca” for any actor, and I had been dreaming of moving there for a long time, but I didn’t have the courage, I believe. Then, one of my movies, “Pioneers Palace,” directed by Bobby Păunescu, was selected for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. In 2015, I traveled to America for the world premiere of the film, in which I had the lead role. The experience I had at the festival increased my curiosity and desire to start a career in the United States of America. In 2017, my artist visa was approved, and I moved to Los Angeles. I remember it was Thanksgiving Day, and I truly felt the significance of this holiday.
Since then, I feel like I’m growing and being inspired as an actor and, on a personal level, day by day, just living in this city—a hub of talent and creativity. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate and be invited to various events and private parties with actors and directors from my favorite movies.
ML: How would you describe your energy and style as a model and actress, and how does it contribute to your work?
MB: That’s a hard question. I guess I would say that I approach my work with a lot of awareness and curiosity, but don’t have one particular style. My approach centers around my ability to find the truth and beauty of each moment.
ML: Tell us about your upcoming projects.
MB: I am working on a personal project where I will be the host of a show about wine and wine culture. Our goal is to educate people about wine and entertain them with various adventures from California’s vineyards. Additionally, I have a few projects in the discussion or pre-production stage, about which I cannot offer specific details at the moment. Two of these projects are an action film directed by Keoni Waxman, in which I have a leading role, and another one is a story of Dracula that I am very excited about, especially since I was born and raised in Transylvania.
ML: Have you ever considered expanding your acting career to other markets, such as Miami? If so, what attracts you to the Miami entertainment scene?
MB: I consider myself to be an international artist. I’ve worked before in other markets such as Mexico City, Madrid, Cape Town, Milan, and, of course, Romania. Now that I’ve been working in LA for a few years, I am very open to exploring other places in the US and all over the world. Miami, I must confess, is very exciting. I’ve only been to Miami a few times, but I love the city’s unique blend of culture, music, vibrant nightlife, beach and outdoor activities, and the presence of various industries (music, sport, film, technological innovation, art). It truly gives me the feeling that I could live there one day.
ML: What are your thoughts on the Miami entertainment industry and its potential for growth and opportunities?
MB: The Miami entertainment industry already thrives in various sectors, but, of course, there is always room for expansion and innovation. As far as film production goes, the success of markets outside of Hollywood - such as Atlanta - provides a great blueprint for what Miami can achieve. By leveraging its strengths, fostering collaboration, and embracing emerging trends, the industry in Miami has the potential for unlimited growth and can offer exciting opportunities for entertainment professionals and entrepreneurs alike.
ML: How do you envision Miami fitting into your long-term career goals and aspirations? Is it a city where you see yourself thriving and pursuing new opportunities?
MB: Absolutely! Miami has established itself as a popular filming location, with a vibrant film and television industry. The city’s diverse landscapes, modern infrastructure, and generous tax incentives have already attracted major film and television productions. I believe this trend will continue, creating industry-wide jobs and boosting the local economy. This, of course, gives me plenty of opportunities to do what I do best in such an exciting and fun city.
ML: And lastly, what can you tell us about your energy healing techniques?
MB: I was initiated into becoming a practitioner of Angelic Reiki in Mexico City a few years ago. Right now, I am just practicing on myself. I am planning to get certified in the Usui Reiki technique as well, and start helping those in need.
ML: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us!
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