Luana Vjollca is a woman of many talents. Not only that she is a famous singer, she also multitasks with moderating, TV presenting and also producing. Now she is ready to take some time from other projects and once again focus on her music, which she loves so much. How does she manage her career and what she plans for the future and her new album? Read on!
Q: You carry out various professions like entertaining, moderating, TV presenting or singing. Tell us, how did your career start? What was the turning point that got you to where you’re now?
My career started quite early and is a combination of chance, hard work, and dedication. I am from a small country that offers little opportunities- Albania. Everyone here tries hard to create opportunities for himself. I was really proud I could provide for my family from a young age. I lost my dad when I was 11 months old, so my mom had to raise me and my 3 sisters on her own. I “was discovered” by chance, as it usually happens- I am thankful to God every day for giving me this opportunity. I was at the beauty salon, just next to my home, getting my hair done. A famous Albanian fashion designer spotted me and he offered me to be the image of his fashion company. I was only 14 years old at the time! Thanks to this collaboration, I was featured in several magazines covers, which happened to be the most prestigious at the time in Albania. I WAS THRILLED THAT THIS MARVELLOUS COINCIDENCE HAD HAPPENED. I saw an opportunity and I grabbed it with all my will. Thanks to all this I was noticed by TV producers from the most successful TV in Albania, Top Channel They were interested in casting me and I was invited to audition. Since I can remember I always wanted to do something with arts- I enjoyed being filmed and when I was a child I participated in many festivals. So, naturally, I wanted to do very well in the auditions. At the auditions I saw so many beautiful girls, some prettier than me, some taller…and there I was waiting for my turn. When I was up, I came before the jury and did my presentation. By nature I am mischievous, so naturally, my performance was full of humor and energy- I member that at the end I made a full turn and winked at the camera. The casting party was so surprised and I was chosen on the spot. And now here I am, with 11 years of experience in the TV business! This world is full of obstacles, people are very competitive and not always nice and collaborative- you have to work hard and be very strong! And I did! So if you are asking what is the key to my success I would say 1st is working without giving up, 2nd is completing your part with dedication, while believing in yourself and staying true to yourself. If you cannot rely on yourself then do not expect other people to be there for you.
Q: Working in so many areas as you do might be sometimes hard. Which one of your jobs is your favorite one and why?
I am often asked, especially by people who get to know me-do you ever get tired?! And they go on- How is it possible that you accomplish so many things, let alone in a small country with scarce opportunities?! Well, I love what I do and all I do is because I want to do it. I am a happy workaholic. If I wait around for a project to be concluded, to me it seems that I am wasting my time. I like to exploit every moment to grow up professionally. Working as a television host and as a TV producer has taught me to deal with so many responsibilities! Sometimes even when I am tired it feels right, because it makes me feel that things are moving on the right track. On the other hand, doing music, making songs, music videos give me a totally different amazing energy, which I love and I am totally addicted to it. It has a separate room in my heart. I am also working with photos, videos and contracts with various brands for Marketing- it’s a job that gives me another kind of satisfaction since I get to collaborate with so many brands, which each one has its own culture and has something to teach you. In Albania, I have made it as the woman with the most influence in social media, especially on Instagram where my profile reaches 16M views a week.
Q: You’re also well-known as a singer and you released some of your singles. Have you always been interested in music? Can you play any musical instrument?
I love music and I have always been in love with it. My mother was a successful singer when she was young, however, her dreams were cut short when she got married. Opportunities were one in a million in Communist Albania and they had such rigid rules. I would like to say that music is in my blood. When I was 8-9 years old, I was in a school and I used to participate in children singing competitions, where I also have won prices. I also studied one year for guitar and another one the violin. At this time, when I was so focused on music and so in love with it, my family was struggling economically. I, my mom and my sisters had to immigrate for a chance at a better life. It was so common during these years in Albania- the country was totally broke. So, I had to abandon my dreams of music… although I never forgot it. My mom always reminds me joking, because apparently, I told her “Let’s go back home, cause I will become a very important person and I will help you”. I do not especially recall this moment, I just remember that I wanted to go back to Albania; I wanted to be back in my country. My mom says that I was very persistent. In the end, things turned like I said- today I am someone in my country and I can afford to help my mother- exactly like I told her I would. But I never abandoned my first love, and at the first chance I had, I came back to invest in my music.
Q: What was your debut song “Terbohu” inspired by?
“Terbohu” (Go crazy/Get wild) is my first debut song in the market and actually I wrote the lyrics myself. Is a song about a girl who can make it on her own, she is independent and she has courage- she needs no help to shine! I remember being so proud of the lyrics, I went in front of my mom and sisters and I sang it for them. My mom was thrilled that I was going back to music, kind of fulfilling her dream as well. Moreover, she was totally in love with the lyrics, with this girl who could make it on her own.
Q: Are you working on any new musical projects or collaborations at the moment?
Yes, I am! Among other things and projects, I expect to launch 2 new songs very soon, they are both collaborations and I have high expectations that they will become summer hits. At the moment I am focused on my music, considering that for the moment I do not have a TV show on the air. I want my music to be energetic and joyous, something to make people dance and feel good about it. And…this is the first time I am saying this, cause I am taking a little break to focus on my music and I have rejected all interview invitations so far. I am pretty sure that my fans will read this- so this is a gift to you all.
Q: You also introduced weather after the top news which is a dream job for many girls and women. What was it like?
Yes, you are right many girls wanted that job. I was the first Albanian girl in Albanian TV to present the weather. To be honest, at the beginning I was not at all convinced that I was right for the job, because I am very joyous, I love to make jokes and move a lot on stage. Presenting the weather had to be serious- so I wondered how I would fit in it. However, I accepted and it resulted to be more successful than any of us could have imagined. The second year that I was presenting the weather at Top Channel, other TV stations copied us. Meanwhile, I realized that I wanted to do this; I wanted to be a TV host and a very good one. My potential did not pass unseen from the TV executives at the time and they trusted me with several projects, which helped me to grow professionally. But, all along they wanted me to present the weather, so 3 years went by. At the 4th year I wanted out of the weather, it took time and focus from my other programs and I felt I was done with this phase. The TV executives acknowledged my reasoning and agreed with me, but they could not find a replacement. So, I ended up presenting the weather for 6 years. So, even today after 3-4 years they have not succeeded in finding a replacement for the weather girl. It was a good step for beginning and it went on due to their persistence!
Q: You have a very nice relationship with your family members, especially with your sister Marina who hosted Top Fest and Summer Fest together with you. How do you feel about having your sister by your side?
Well, several times during this interview I have mentioned my mom and sisters. You can easily understand that family for me is everything. My mother- Maria, my sisters- Lira, Marseda, and Marina- the four of us. We were brought up and taught that we always have to be there for each other. I am the youngest one. I was always such a “tomboy” personality- they used to call me the boss of the house. I have a very strong personality and I wanted to be the one to protect them! Marina and I have only 1 year of difference from each other and we were inseparable from kindergarten to school than at work. We are like twins sisters really. Marina has been and still is the most precious support in my career and in my life. We have gone through so much together and were entrusted with very big television projects and have completed them with great praise and success. Ah, I do not like to forget my 3 beautiful nieces. We are a big family of women they are my biggest support and motivation.
Q: The show “Shiko kush LUAN” (Look who is playing) became very popular. What was it about?
Oh, I am still enjoying its success; it is one of the projects I am most proud of. When this project was first introduced to me, I had my doubts since it was very ambitious, we are talking about prime time TV that had to be done with very few people and had to be concluded in the nick of time. All these decisions were out of my hand- so were the “politics” in Top Channel at that moment. I was also proposed to become the executive producer of the show and when all people advised me not to do it, because the conditions I was offered did not favor me, there were a lot of articles in the media doubting my abilities and all, I followed my intuition and I accepted. It was for a greater success from what anyone expected, even the main people at Top Channel. Being a producer is such a different challenge than being a host. I remember that in one of the episodes I was getting ready in my dressing room while we were skimming through the script with the team, just to have a last look before going on air. It was 20-30 minutes before shooting and we were one game short. The team started to panic. I remember saying that it was fine, we will do this game- something that I just improvised to save the moment and only for that episode. But it became very successful and we used it in every episode afterward. We named it Zig-Zag since the guests had to ask a question in this Zig-Zag movement. Doing production and hosting at the same time…was wow! However, it was worth it. I was completely in love with the show; it made me happy to serve a TV production that made people forget about their troubles, even if it’s only for 2 hours every Saturday. The audience simply loved it, responded so well that they are ready for a second season. I can say that it was one of the most beautiful and most challenging experiences I have had so far in TV business.
Q: Which one of your shows did you like the most?
Well…this is a tough one, there have been so many shows I have not even counted how many- maybe I should do it, sit down and count in how many projects I have been. Kidding, because it would take some time. Anyways! I have worked with so many different people; I have exchanged so much with each one of them. I can say that each project had its own particularity and its beauty. That being said, I would mention, “Top Fest”, “Summer Fest”, the “E Diell”, (Sunday Show) “Pa Limit” (No Limit) and definitely the last one- “Shiko kush LUAN” (Look who is playing)- which was like my baby, it really made me feel like I was taking care of someone, it had my absolute dedicated attention for 24 hours all the time it lasted.
Q: You’re a successful and ambitious woman who fully follows her dreams. Where do you find the inspiration to keep going and not to give up?
The first thing that comes to my mind is that I am a woman who has made it on her own. I always believed in the strength that women have, in the power of their minds and the strength of their will. The world of show business looks very beautiful and interesting from the outside, but from the inside is a “jungle” with no rules. But no matter how difficult it was- I never doubted myself and I was never tempted to take shortcuts, rather than trust in myself and in my work. I had my mom as a role model, a courageous woman in a patriarchal culture. Also, my fans are an inexhaustible source of inspiration; they give me so much positive energy and motivate me to never let them down and overcome every new challenge that I might face. I am so grateful for the support I get from my dedicated fans, which actually go by the name #Luanator on Instagram.
Q: You participate in various charity events. You frequently visit the “Zyber Hallulli” Children’s Home in Tirana. What motivated you for making these steps?
Although, I do not like to make it public I often participate in activities which involve children in need and I frequently visit the children at “Zyber Hallulli”. I am very connected with them and I have such a great time every time I go there- they are like angels really. It is a long-lasting dream of mine to help as many people as I can, especially children who so much need love and dedication. I have never made this dream of mine public since I was waiting the right moment, but I have never stopped feeding it. One day I am sure I will make this happen, I want to make sure that children from vulnerable groups in Albania have a helping hand and someone they can rely on. I get very emotional about this; I was raised with only one of my parents, so I know at firsthand how difficult life can be this way.
Q: How do you spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
Free time is a luxury I cannot afford; it has been like that for some time now. Once a project is over, my mind is filled with ideas that I want to bring to life, so I do not waste time, I just jump at the next opportunity. But one of my favorite things to do when I have free time, rather when I make free time- is spending time with my family. Or travel around the world, see other places and experience other cultures. I also like to read a lot, I grab a book and immerse in its world any time I can.
Q: What are your next plans or goals you would like to achieve?
Haha, I have so many plans and I have so much I want to do…how many pages do you have just kidding! I am a woman of actions rather than words, to be honest. Truth be told, I never go out like other people my age, so my group of friends shrank over the years. Today, I am glad to have a qualitative group of friends and collaborators, who care for me a lot, support me and we work together to conquer new horizons. It is not that I do not like to tell, I actually shared with you a lot, but I prefer to materialize my goals and then show to the world the full product and not just the description.
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