‘Borat’ Star Maria Bakalova Describes Emotional Reunion With Her ‘Babysitter’

Maria Bakalova, the breakout star of Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat 2,” has revealed she’s still in touch with Jeanise Jones, the kindly grandmother who babysat her character in the movie.

Jones made headlines after the film’s release for her poignant advice to Bakalova’s character, Borat’s daughter Tutar. Jones revealed shortly afterward that she thought she was in a documentary and had no idea she was being filmed for “Borat.” 

“Jeanise is a true angel. I will probably always think of her as my godmother, a real hero and life coach,” Bakalova told the Los Angeles Times in an interview.

“She just wanted to help this girl become a strong woman. We had a real human connection from the very first day we met.”

The 24-year-old Bulgarian actor said that she rang Jones on Thanksgiving.

“I was so happy to talk to her that I started to cry. When we were shooting, it was very hard for me, because I wanted to tell her not to worry about me,” she said. “She is a really good example of how important it is to be a good person and care about others.”

The sequel to Baron Cohen’s 2006 hit mockumentary revolves around the titular character’s 15-year-old daughter, Tutar, whom he brings to America from Kazakhstan. As she learns more about American culture, she gradually escapes from her father’s sexist perspectives. She was helped in large part by her conversations with Jones, who told her that “any man should like you as you are,” and “your daddy is a liar.”

When Jones revealed she was clueless about her role being a setup, her guidance became all the more remarkable. A GoFundMe raised more than $180,000 for her after her pastor in Oklahoma City revealed she had lost her job in the coronavirus pandemic. Baron Cohen donated $100,000.




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