On The Cover
Updated: Apr 19
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.
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:
Barns & Noble
To find out more from Hana visit her website at http://hannanoka.com.