Her Story, Her Future: How did your love story with movies start? What did little Tany want to become when growing up?

Tanya Kostadinova: My mom was watching a lot of European cinema and for me movies became part of my everyday life. I was inspired by telling stories in different ways , how you can impact an audience – how movies made me feel differently. Frankly, I was bored from everyday life and for me being in the cinema hall or watching a film at home was an escape. It was like traveling to an imaginary world.

HSHF: What are the personal skills a professional needs in this industry? Do you think that a woman brings something different to the table; not better, not worse, just different?

TK: To work in the film industry , you need to have a huge work ethic, you need to be persistent, always on time, well prepared and you need to have good communication skills and very importantly to let your ego behind. Sometimes the decisions made are not about, or because of you – it’s just work. Frankly, I don’t divide people by gender – it always depends on the person but definitely I would say that women are more concentrated at their work and they can multitask which is a massive advantage.

HSHF: Did you have unrealistic expectations about your profession? If so, when did you realize that was the case and what did you do about it?

TK: No, I knew exactly how tough it would be. To work in film you need to be tough skinned and to have a strong character otherwise you will be gone quite quickly.

HSHF: What helps you get up and show up every day?

TK: It will be extremely boring and easy just to give up and find an easy version of a lifestyle. The love for my work is just above me – it’s a lifestyle with sacrifices.

HSHF: It is generally a safe assumption that people make mistakes: can you name the ones you’ve made along the way and that you have learned from? How about the ones that you feel you keep making even now?

TK: I was in a TV show which wasn’t so great, my role / the character I needed to portray wasn’t written in the best possible way and it was just not a good show, it had good intentions to be one but it didn’t become true. It was tough, I thought I made a massive mistake being part of that project but I got a huge lesson – always stick to your guns meaning learn to say NO. Know your worth and what you do as an actor!

HSHF: What is your piece of wisdom that goes against conventional wisdom in your field?

TK: Keep sweet or people must like you constantly. This for me is against me in general. You need to be yourself, you need to be polite, smiley and nice but you need to know your wants and beliefs. Never go against yourself.

HSHF: Can you name three women that have inspired you professionally?
TK: Cate Blancheet, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet.

HSHF: How about three women that have supported you?

TK: My mother, my mother again and my sister.

HSHF: What advice would you give to a young professional that you have received or would have wished to receive yourself?
TK: Believe in yourself more. None would come and tap you by the showder and tell you how talented you are – maybe one day 🙂 You need to believe in yourself, meaning make bold choices, take risks and make mistakes. Allow yourself to make mistakes and be open minded, then the bold choice will come. I wish I had known that earlier.