Monday, January 25, 2021

‘Borat’ Star Maria Bakalova Calls Babysitter Jeanise Jones ‘A Real Hero and Life Coach’

*Maria Bakalova, the breakout star of Sacha Baron Cohen’sBorat” sequel, says she has kept in contact with babysitter Jeanise Jones, who was a huge highlight of mockumentary. 

We previously reported, Jones, 62, claims she was tricked into participating in “Borat 2.” She quickly became a celebrated star of the movie when she appeared as a “babysitter” for Tutar (Bakalova), the 15-year-old daughter of Borat (played by Cohen). Jones believed Tutar was a child bride and in danger of being married off to an older man.

Jones even told her church to pray for Tutar because she was so concerned for her well-being.  She originally thought she was taking part in a documentary about child brides. Jones learned the truth when the trailer for “Borat 2” dropped. 

READ MORE: Sacha Baron Cohen Donates $100K to ‘Borat 2’ Babysitter Jeanise Jones

Sympathetic “Borat” fans raised tens of thousands of dollars for Jones after the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, where she volunteers, launched a GoFundMe campaign for her. The fundraiser hit $184,000 in donations, with Cohen donating $100k after it was revealed Jones only earned $3,600 for her participation in the sequel. 

“Jeanise is a true angel. I will probably always think of her as my godmother, a real hero and life coach,” explained Bakalova in a Los Angeles Times profile. “She just wanted to help this girl become a strong woman. We had a real human connection from the very first day we me.”

She even spoke with Jones on Thanksgiving.

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

Elsewhere in the interview, Bakalova noted: “One of the things that really appealed to me about the movie was its message, that we have to treat everyone equally regardless of their nationality, race, gender and sexuality.”

Read the full Los Angeles Times profile here.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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