Updated: Sep 12, 2019


“Must Be Thick-Skinned.”

There is a common job description in Hollywood want ads that say, “Must Be Thick-Skinned.”

What does that mean, exactly?

Well, first of all, Hollywood can be simultaneously wonderful and beyond horrifying. When it comes to show business, everything depends on whom you know, what you can offer, and how you play the game. It’s no secret that Tinseltown is a challenge all in its own. But what you may not realize is the unofficial “Indoctrination” into the cult of Hollywood.

That’s why I want to share my story about what being “thick-skinned” actually means. Because behind closed doors, Hollywood is a barking mad carnival where the powerful and corrupt suck the life, talent, (and money, of course) out of every decent human being who dreams of making a difference in the arts.

My Horror Story

Think of Hollywood as this giant pinball machine called “Unfair Challenge.” Pull the knob, hurtle yourself into the void, experience exhilarating encounters, score some points, get your head banged around, lose yourself. Start over. Start over. Start Over.

Shortly before graduating from The Los Angeles Film School, I was looking for internships to break into the industry. At the time, my dream was to become a screenwriter, or at least somehow work with the craft of storytelling.

Eventually, I landed an internship at a major Hollywood studio working in the creative development department. I was excited to finally have my dream come true: working with screenplays. I read and highlighted scripts that were being made into actual movies. (Like "The Hunger Games.").

There were times when I would look up from my desk and suddenly see a movie star like Chris Hemsworth standing right in front of my computer. I called up their agents all day long. Saw, heard, and learned an incredible amount.

However, there’s a huge price to pay -- an emotional, financial, and soul-annihilating cost.

For example, on a typical day, I might be on the phone, and an executive would run over, grab the phone out of my hand, and slam it down, screaming, "GET THE MINNESOTA BULLSHIT OUT OF YOUR VOICE RIGHT NOW!”

He wanted me to just stick to facts, without any unnecessary friendliness. Although I wasn’t aware I had a Minnesota Bullshit Voice until that moment, that wasn’t the point of him slamming the phone down, however. It was the power and control thing he had to maintain over me. (He also had me do unrelated personal things, like help him with his nephew’s Bar Mitzvah guest list on a yacht in New York State, just to see if I would.)

“Must Be Thick-Skinned.”

At the time, it was legal to have unpaid interns. I was not paid any money whatsoever as an intern. My mileage or gas was not reimbursed. In fact, my "payment" was the unspoken opportunity in and of itself, to work alongside big Hollywood movers and shakers.

Another classic example of being “thick-skinned” was the day I had to help prepare a meeting with the director John Singleton (Boys N The Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious, 8 Mile). One of my jobs was to get poster boards, Post-Its, thumbtacks, etc., to help storyboard the movie beats out for an important meeting. The president of creative development at the time got incredibly hung up on a particularly bad abusive power trip that day.

Let’s just say I made about 50 trips driving my own car back and forth from the studio to Staples, only to find out I kept buying the "wrong" things. I got screamed at and would have to return to buy the right things. Then again I would find out it was "wrong,” and go back.

I tried to prevent unnecessary future trips by taking photos of the "right" kind of office supplies, sending them to the office to confirm I was getting what they wanted. They would say yes, and I would get to the office and they would yell at me and send me back again and again. Eventually, I reached a breaking point and put my foot down.

Screening of "Boudoir" Directed by Gina Lee Ronhovde

I spoke to the creative executive and asked him if he could please do something to help me. The meeting was going to start soon and I had wasted a week’s worth of gas in one day. He just sort of shrugged and said, "She's the boss."

After the meeting, I had to clean up the food and dishes. I stood there in the background, trying not to cry in front of my favorite director, John Singleton.

He must have seen the stress all over my face because he came over and said, "I just wanted to say that I know how hard you work, you are appreciated, and I wanted to personally thank you."

What I have learned about working in Hollywood is that unless you're the kind of person who actually enjoys being on the receiving end of power trips, endless mind games, if you see a job description that says, "Must Be Thick-Skinned" – ?


#thickskinned #articles #showbuisness

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

Hana Noka is an international model, actress, filmmaker and author. Hana recently published her first book called: BesaPo about the untold story of Queen Teuta of Illyria, who was not only a famous Warrior Queen that lived almost two hundred years before Cleopatra, but her love for King Agron was one of the most legendary love stories in history.

BESA PO is inspired by the true story of love, loss, betrayal, victory and defeat.  

Besa Po has been rated with 5 Star review from Readers’ Favorite.

Dress by Ria Victoria Design | Hair and Makeup by Pinksu Johanna Marjomaa

What inspired you to be both a model and actress to writing Besa Po?

HANA: Ever since I was a little girl I was posing and impersonating TV personalities in front of the mirror all the time. My mom has a passion for camera so she was literary taking photos and videos of me every day. Then one day, when I was 7, I was scouted by an agent of Pars McCain Erickson at school and after I shot my first commercial, basically I never stopped. Although I had some emotional pauses after I lost my father at the age of 15 and during my college years.

I was in many TV shows back in Europe, guest starred in the movie ‘The General’ with Goran Visnjic of ER and Armand Assante, its premiere is on July 13th in the most beautiful cinema in the world, Arena in Pula, Croatia. In the short Fashion Film ‘Hana’ along with my husband Binn, I served as Executive Producer and I also was the lead actress. We got 3 nominations at the La Jolla Fashion Film Festival. This fall I will be shooting the movie “Criminal Act” by MPH Films in London.

After the loss of my father - my mom was fighting to give me the best life she could while working very hard. At that time my grandfather, who is a prominent historian, had a big impact in my education. He would tell me about many different historical events and its heroes. The story about Queen Teuta captured not only my full attention but my heart as well. Ever since, her character has been with me and following me. Two years ago I decided to expand my research and I decided to write a fictionalized version of the story inspired by historical facts, thus the book finally came to life. My intention is to inspire other young girls through the story of a magnificent heroine like Queen Teuta.

My novel, Besa Po is inspired by the true story of love, loss, betrayal, victory and defeat. It’s a historical fiction for young adults. Through Besa Po you can venture back into ancient times and discover Queen Teuta’s story, a love so deep it spans the ages, leadership so compelling that Rome was put to shame.. Queen Teuta of Illyria was not only a famous Warrior Queen that lived almost two hundred years before Cleopatra, but her love for King Agron was one of the most legendary love stories in history. She was one of the first women to rise to power in the Kingdom of men. I dedicated this book to all the strong and unstoppable women out there.

Is this book the first of a series?

HANA: Yes, it is.

Do you have plans to make the book into a film? If so could you tell us a bit about your plans?

HANA: My book in a way is a hidden script for a movie. Ever since the release of the book in February, I got hundreds of messages, reviews, phone calls from my readers across the globe telling me that this story needs to become a movie or TV series as they got so inspired by the story. So far, I got 5 star rating from Reader’s Favorite and had book promotions in LA, NYC and during July and August in Croatia, Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro.

I will reveal the exclusive news for you. As of yesterday a team of few top screenwriters started to work on the Screenplay for the movie.

Are there other strong female historic figures you are inspired by?

HANA: Of course, I will mention just few of them. On top of them is a Saint, Mother Theresa, I am proud to share the Albanian blood with her. Audrey Hepburn is also one of my idols. She owned the natural graceful temperament of a classic girl. She was the epitome of grace, class and style. Classic….Timeless…Iconic.

Could you tell us a bit about your background? Did you always want to be a model and actress growing up?

HANA: I was born in Istanbul, Turkey, as an only child to Albanian parents. Due to the diplomatic missions of my mother and my education, I grew up in various countries such as Turkey, Croatia, Kosovo and Ireland. I have traveled and been to so many countries, be it for fun or for work. I have learned several languages such as Albanian, Turkish, Croatian and English, met lots of great people and seen so many amazing places.

At age of 15, I started to host a weekly TV show for teenagers called “TEEN” and for 3 years in a row it was ranked as the number 1 show on RTK, the public TV in Kosovo. In a way, this particular experience through teenage years marked my life in entertainment industry.

Despite my busy life as a child model and actress, I always took education very seriously. I graduated from Griffith College Dublin, in Ireland with BA (honors) in Journalism and Visual Media.

College years had a big impact in my life. Apart from my mother, grandparents who took care of me all along, my friends and my little dog Shih-Tzu called Lucky, they all helped me grow up from a delicate teenager to a strong young girl. In Dublin, during my college years I learned a lot, met great friends from all around the world, studied hard and also had so much fun. One night along with my friends, we watched the movie Taken with Liam Neeson. While watching I truly got so mad that the Albanians were being portrayed in such negative light. It was then when I decided to write a novel about Queen Teuta. My intention was to tell the world that we as Albanians gave so much to the world, from Queen Teuta to Mother Theresa and much more.

I settled in Los Angeles few years ago with my beloved husband Binn, who is my cheerleader, best friend and who gave a new meaning to my life. Alongside him, I feel I can conquer the world.


Do you have a favorite life quote?

HANA: Be the fearless leader of your life. Get the skills that will help you put a signature in your life. And, whatever you do, do it with love and passion.

What do you value most about life?

HANA: I mostly value LOVE. It’s my religion, my 24/7, we are born of love: love is my life roadmap….

If you could give advice to aspiring models and actors out there, what would it be?

HANA: Be your own superhero. Enjoy the journey, have fun and never forget the GOLDEN RULE: Treat everyone with respect and leave your ego at the door because word travels fast and if you are the loud type who has an opinion about everything and think you know it all your career is likely to be short.

Are you involved in any charities? If so could you tell us about them?

HANA: Yes, I am UNICEF volunteer for many years, PETA’s first responder, I donate every couple of months my clothes to different charities…

If you could do change one thing about the acting and modeling industry, what would it be and why?

HANA: There is no major film industry think tank or incubator to consider new models or new approaches for indie filmmakers and also lack of government grants for short films as they are today’s most important communication tool-they would help the industry to develop more stars in all profiles.

If you weren't modeling, acting, and writing, what else would you be doing?

HANA: Definitely I would be a tennis pro… playing tennis was also one of my passions as a kid, a sport that I played professionally. My late father was coordinating the best coaches for me and he would be there, courtside all along cheering me on and monitoring my progress. During my early teenage years, my father was diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately passed away three years later. Losing him at that sensitive age, marked my life in so many ways. I could never explain those feelings properly. My heart was beyond broken, the sun was not shinning the same way anymore, the laughter was not loud anymore and memories became my new best friend. That is when I stopped playing tennis. I couldn’t enter the court for so long, let alone play. I would constantly look around and I would see him, hear his voice… Even after 14 years now the pain never left my heart, as the years passed by, I just learned how to live and cope with that.

If you could tell your 18 year old self anything, what would it be?

HANA: You are on a journey and things will change. Even important things will change, sometimes shockingly. But it is nevertheless a good journey and it’s worth every step.

Theatre, TV, or Films? Do you have a favorite?

HANA: I love a good captivating story. The medium is just the conductor to that story.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned being in the entertainment industry?

HANA: For me, the favorite part of working in the entertainment industry is that I never have to fall into routine. The excitement of getting new projects, fighting to get them as well, the creativity, the travel and the best part of it is that I get to inspire and serve as a role model to young girls. Staying true to myself is the best lesson that keeps following my carrier from the day one.

Where To Find It

Historical Fiction, Adventure Fiction ebook and print copy:

  • Amazon

  • Barns & Noble

  • Apple Books

To find out more from Hana visit her website at http://hannanoka.com.

#onthecover #hananoka #interview #besapo

Updated: Sep 13, 2019


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Representing New and Established Artists

Established in 2018, SALT Gallery aims to unite emerging and established artists with customers by creating an inviting, unintimidating, and thoughtfully curated gallery experience. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to purchase art that speaks to them and enhances their surroundings, whether they are new to buying art or an experienced collector. Located in the eclectic Los Angeles Fashion District, our gallery program focuses on contemporary, surrealist works spanning a variety of mediums and subjects.

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