Actress, model, TV-host, nutritionist and fitness activist Katya Bakat is well known for her modelling work with brands such as L‘Oreal, Armani and Bulgari Jewelry. She is an independent self-starter from the very beginning who knew the value of a hard day’s work.
After travelling the world with modelling, Bakat wanted more and dreamed of being on the big screen. She started studying at the Lee Strasberg Film Institute and Theatre. Bakat then relocated from New York to LA to become a method actor.
All of the hard work paid off when she landed a lead role in Empire Queen. Her acting career expanded to include roles in Angel Has Fallen, Honeymoon in Paradise, African Mystique and Shadow Wolves.
We spoke with Katya to find out more about her happy, healthy and fancy life with her dog.
Tell us all about all the dogs you've loved in your life. (this is your chance to tell us everything about your dogs, past or present. Names, ages, breeds - we want to know everything!)
I was born in St Petersburg, Russia and we had 2 German shepherds in our family. They are one of the most intelligent dogs and no wonder they’re the breed of choice for the police force.
And my dad worked in the “law and order “department back then, so we had these two very well trained dogs, named Rex and Regina, meaning King and Queen in Latin.
The shepherds are naturally protective, that’s why they are commonly used as guard dogs for that reason... I have very good memories of them.
Then we had another German Shepherd - Karol, that’s king in the Russian language. Another extraordinary dog.
I left Russia when I was very young for modelling. When you travel the world, working in different countries every couple of months- there was no real home and I didn’t have a dog.
I then moved to NYC and been living and studying acting there... It was also not the right place for having a pup. I lived on the 48th floor on Manhattan, with no pets allowed... Since I also love large breeds, an apartment was not an option anyway...
But here we are in LA... Here are so many dog lovers, perfect weather and plenty of great places for walking with your dog.
Now I have two black labs. Wilson and Kobe. They are brothers from a different litter, adorable and with different personalities.
Both are very well trained by professionals. Labs are perfect family dogs, loyal, patient, kind. They love activities, walk. And I love them.
You're obviously a huge dog lover. How long have dogs been a major part of your life and how would you explain the importance of dogs to someone who hadn't ever experienced the joy of a canine/human relationship in their life?
As a dog lover and a dog owner, you take responsibility for taking care of them. You feed them, entertain, teach them, play with them, buy them toys, you check their health with the vet...
We have a saying in Russia “If you are ready to become a parent, get a dog first”. Lol
Meaning that it’s a commitment and great training and teaching for you to take care of someone who completely depends on you. But it’s really worth it... Like toddlers love their parents unconditionally, dogs love you the same way.
It doesn’t matter if you were away for 5 min or a day, they meet you at home with the happiest greetings, tails wagging, cuddling. It’s proven that having a dog reduces stress, alleviate depression, lower blood pressure.
As if your pup has magical healing powers that will keep you happy and healthy. Plus you definitely get the benefit of getting more exercise through walks and playing with him.
What are your favourite things to do with your dog(s)?
I love taking them for a long hiking or beach walk. We all get great physical activities. I also enjoy playing fetch with them. They have so many different toys for that. It’s always fun.
You have a really interesting career... What advice would you give to the many people who wanted to follow your path in career terms? What are the absolute best (and worst) things about your work?
Thank you, I’m a creative person, started from modelling, made a transition to acting later on. Over a year ago, I started studying tv-hosting, then I created my website HappyHealthyFancy.com and YouTube channel...
I truly enjoy photoshoots, creating beautiful images for the magazines, being a part of the projects. It’s always interesting, with different makeup, hair and clothing style you can be completely surprising or even unrecognizable for yourself...
Being an actress is a big passion of mine. Here I have a chance not only physically demonstrate another image or idea, but fully transform it from the inside out.
Depending on the project, I can portray various characters from different era, places, background, lives...
It’s a very interesting but sometimes difficult process to understand the character, ”to be real” on the set... I’ve been studying “ method acting” in NYC, so it’s doable for me... Lol
Unfortunately, now there are a lot of projects that been postponed or cancelled, so instead of waiting and getting upset, I put my energy into my blog and a website...
The best things about modelling are chances to see the works from a young age, make money, get a lot of different friends and meet different cultures.
The hardest thing is that there is no emotionally hard, being a certain size, image, a lot of rejections, staying away from your family and friends...
But you also have a lot of great opportunities and this job can lead to acting or designing, TV hosting...
I think you have to listen to your heart and if you have a certain passion or talent in something, go for it, give it chance. So you won’t ever have regrets that you didn’t.
Here are our quick-fire questions, are you ready?
Which do you prefer and why?
Big dogs or little dogs?
I love large breeds. It’s probably depending on everyone’s taste. I guess I love well-trained dogs and well mannered... Who can go for a long walk, confident, brave, with no barking. I guess I’m describing my labs lol And large breeds live a longer life.
Calm, relaxed dogs or dogs who live at 100mph?
Both. I’m Gemini and the choices are not easy for me. My two labs are having totally opposite character traits. One is chill, calm and slow and another one is hype, active, never gets tired and always on a move. But he is also a puppy, still growing.
Dogs who do as they're asked most of the time or dogs who do pretty much whatever they like whenever they like?
Well trained and intelligent dogs. Because I think it’s the way it should be. They don’t sleep on the couch, the have their own beds.
They don’t eat human food, they listen to you and understand you. I think it’s great.
Dogs who love to walk by your side or dogs who like to race off and cover ten thousand yards in 3 seconds?
When I take dogs for a walk, they walk by my side. They are on the leash when on the beach or on the walk in the neighbourhood, but in a dog park, they are off-leash, so they play with other dogs, run and have fun.
Days off or days at work?
Again both. I love balance and I enjoy it all. You enjoy the vacation because it will end and you can go back to work, do something you love and enjoy doing.
The fastest route or the scenic route?
The fastest. It’s LA, the scenic route can take hours to get to your destination. If you mean driving lol I can always enjoy beautiful views on my regular walkings.
Nighttime or early morning?
I’m not an early bird. But I also try to get to bed not that late... But naturally, I’m a night owl... I have the energy to read, write or so in the late evenings...
Describe the last time you laughed out loud because of something you saw a dog do?
The dogs make me laugh or smile all the time. So I’ve heard about this tv for dogs but was a bit sceptical about it. A few days ago I actually decided to try it and signed up for it. I turned on some episode.
There were some dogs walking and playing and it was music in the background. The pups stopped playing around right away, moved toward TV and started watching it with real interest and attention.
That was so funny. I took a video, it was really cute seeing them being entertained.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
Besides physical activities, barre classes, tennis, I love yoga and meditation. I try practising it regularly. I love reading and writing. And I also enjoy spas, beauty salons, massages...
Let us in on a secret that very few people know about you?
I have a brown belt in karate, it comes before a black one, the highest rank. I got it when was a teenager before I started modelling... I was into martial arts.
The purpose of Traditional Karate is to develop a well-balanced mind and body, through training in fighting techniques. Karate is a spiritual endeavour. Training in karate teaches us not only self-defence but to respect others as well as ourselves.
I don’t like cold at all... I was born in Russia, with a lot of snow and real freezing weather... I don’t miss it. Haha!
And I literally feel one degree down and wrap myself in multiple layers. And always have extra sweaters and jackets in the car just in case. That’s why sunny California is perfect for me.
What is your current favourite…?
The queen’s Gambit. Amazing show. Even if you don’t play chess, you will love it. The screenplay, directing, acting- top.
Can’t say, I don’t follow albums, I have favourite singers and bands I listen to, Post Malone, Lady Gaga, Future. But actually, I listen to a lot of different music from oldies, classic to hip hop and pop.
I watch a lot of tv series lately, there are so many great ones you can just binge-watch.
And the movie I just thought of was “The way back” with Ben Affleck. It is a high school basketball movie with a side of addiction drama. Its dark, sad, intense. But it’s really great acting.
Apps more precise
IG, shopping, beauty, health apps
It’s non-profit organizations dedicated to saving the lives of homeless pets. They partner with nearly 4,000 nonprofits and governmental entities to support the human-animal bond.
It has been first to serve, wherever animals are in need of rescue, shelter, protection or security. On of the program train dogs in need of forever homes to become service animals for veterans.
Finish the following sentence, "dogs are..."
I read it somewhere and it touched me
"Dogs are the only things on earth that love you more than they love themselves “
And finally, this is always a tough question and often requires some serious thought… If dogs had the ability to speak and you could ask your dog just one question and one question only, what would you ask them and what do you think that they'd say?
Me: Pups, Why do you sleep or nap so much?
Wilson and Kobe: Because we can 😊