“I really loved being on stage as a kid, it just felt natural. I wouldn’t get nervous, I would just enjoy it as much as possible. I never wanted to leave!” This attitude comes as no surprise from Danish-born musician turned actress Tatiana Pajkovic, who went from studying piano in Copenhagen, to hopping on a plane and relocating to New York City within days of Universal Records expressing interest in her demos and asking to meet her in person. She in turn made the most arduous of artistic pilgrimages to NYC, making it look as easy as pie. “I just sent a demo to Universal Def Jam because I really wanted to see where it could go. I’d never been in a real studio before, but I got a call to come and meet Universal in New York. I went that same week and started working with a producer, recording and writing songs. I was learning everything I could about music and playing live in small bars…I did that for many years. I just loved going to a bar, setting up, and playing. They were never big venues in the beginning, but I made theater of it! I would have costume changes, I would put little lights and flowers on each table… It was this dream of performing.” She went on to make waves in the music scene, performing multiple times at South By Southwest in Austin and laying the seeds of a career in the industry. “I was really excited for SXSW, just because I’d never been to Austin before. It was a mind-blowing experience, being alongside so many talented musicians, having people show up at your show that are really there for the music.”
Her music, which she describes as the “imaginary love child of Lenny Cohen and Nina Simone”, would turn out to be only the tip of the iceberg of her career as an artist. Soon after settling in NYC, Tatiana signed to One Model Management, where she was encouraged to branch out into acting by her agent. Years went by before she finally decided to try her hand. “I was in the studio recording some songs and my agent from Paris called me and asked me if I wanted to do a casting. I had been told a lot of times that, ‘you know, you should really do some castings,’ and it just seemed too far away from my focus at the moment, and I wasn’t really sure if I could do it, not the just the acting but…it’s a tough industry to break into… And then she mentioned that it was for a Luc Besson film. And I was like, ‘yeah, you know what? I really want to do that. Let’s see how it goes.’ I did the first audition at home using iMovie, and they ended up calling me back a few days later and were like ‘hey, do you want to come to Paris? Luc Besson wants to meet with you in person!’”
And just like that, nearly a decade after first landing in New York, Tatiana launched the second phase of her career in entertainment, snagging a lead role in the iconic action thriller franchise, The Transporter [Refueled]. “I really liked the script – it was a girl power film. I just thought it would be so interesting to do an action movie. So I was like ‘ok, let’s see you know… And I got [the role] in the first week. All of the sudden it all made sense: performing as a musician, performing as a singer, taking what I know from modeling, all of it could be combined in film. And so it just felt really natural. I worked really hard on it as well. But yeah, it was an organic transition.” The film taps into her ambitious personality as well as her self- professed love for adrenaline. “ [With] The Transporter films, 1, 2, and 3, the female characters are in the background…the women’s roles aren’t as strong as they are in Transporter Refueled. And I think the reason why I so fancied the script and the film is that it’s so girl power and kick ass you know. It’s the girls who run the show. And I think it’s just refreshing. It’s refreshing to see girls in their right element… When I was filming, I would get bruises almost every day but it was worth it. It was all a part of the character as well. She’s is a very physical go-getter. She goes out there, she does the job. She’s like the road-runner in the field of the girls… Maybe I’ve just been lucky, maybe that’s what it is, but I felt there were just as many kickass women in this film in front of the camera and behind the camera as they were kickass men”.
Tatiana’s attitude toward empowerment can in large be attributed to her roots, as she deems both of her parents to be feminists. “You know, what I usually say is that my mom is a feminist and so is my dad. I feel that we all have the same qualities and if we embrace them just as humans we can actually coexist in a better way than we do now. But I definitely love women, and I definitely love kickass girls in films. I’m so for it!”
With such exuberance, it’s clear that she shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. As for what’s on the horizon for the up-and-coming star, it seems she has found her niche. “I’m definitely pursuing the film career. I’m really excited about what’s happened and the development so far. I just feel really blessed that I can do it.”
Interview by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine #GirlPower Issue
Photography by Anne Menke
Stylist: Andrea Menke
Make-up by Rebecca Alexander
Hair by Frank Rizzieri
This article originally appeared in The #GirlPower Issue of The Untitled Magazine (2015), App Edition. Pick up a print edition of the issue today!