Born in England to Kosovar parents, Dua (meaning ‘love) is proud of her Albanian roots. Not only is she probably one of the prettiest women in the world, but she is also a well-respected singer and songwriter. She started her musical career at the age of 14 when she started posting covers on YouTube. A year later she was signed with Warner Music Group and a few months later she released her first single. She has had multiple UK and US top-10 hits including two number ones and won the EBBA Public Choice Award in 2017.
Born in Pristina, Kosovo to Albanian parents, they fled the country due to political reasons after the break up of Yugoslavia. Relocating to London she attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School and began her singing career. Since then she has become one of the world’s most well-known singers, has won multiple awards and even ventured into acting (Fifty Shades of Grey), design, and television work. She is fluent in Albanian, is involved heavily with philanthropy both in the UK and Kosovo, and she is famed for her outlandish costume choices and stance on equality and sexuality.
Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg
George Skanderbeg (Anglicised) was a famous Albanian commander and nobleman who served the Ottoman Empire between 1423-43, The Republic of Venice 1443-47 and the Kingdom of Naples from then until his death in 1468. He is the national hero of Albania and is well known for leading a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire from all over Albania and Macedonia. His actions against the Ottomans was seen as an important step towards defining and strengthening the ethnic identity of the Albanians, and he is still considered as the most persistent opponent of the Ottoman Empire.
Born in 1936, Kadare is a writer, novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright and he is considered as the leading literary figure in Albania since the 1960s. In 1996, he was made a lifetime member of the Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques is France and he has also been awarded with the Prix Mondial Cino Duca, the Herder Prize, the Man Booker International Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award of Arts, the Jerusalem Prize and the Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur. As well as being considered as one of the best writers of the 20th century, he is well known for his books The Siege, The General of the Dead Army, The Palace of Dreams, The Successor, and The Blinding Order.
A controversial and divisive figure outside of Albania, Mother Theresa was born as Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopje which at the time was a part of the Kosovo Vilayet, but now is the capital of Macedonia. She lived in Macedonia for 18 years before moving to Ireland and then India, where she spent the remainder of her life. in 1950 she founded a Roman Catholic congregation called the Missionaries of Charity with over 4500 sisters in 133 countries. She was made a Saint in December 2015, a move that sparked great debate about her methods and motives, but she remains adored by many for her charitable work.
Inva Mula is an operatic soprano who has gained recognition and acclaim both in and outside of Albania. She was born in Tirana to a Russian mother and an Albanian father in 1963. She started singing at a young age before winning the Cantante d’Albania in Tirana and the George Enescu Competition in Bucharest. She then went on to win a range of awards and performed in some of the world’s most respected spaces. Usually accompanied by French-Albanian Genc Tukici, she has performed the roles of Licia di Lammermoor, La Boheme, Manon, and Violetta in La Traviata, and has sung in Tokyo, Bilbao, Orange, Trieste and Toronto amongst many others. She is also well known for providing the voice of Diva Plavalaguna in the 1997 film ‘Fifth Element’ and she provided her vocal chords to the aria “Oh, giusto cielo! Il dolce suono” and “The Diva Dance”.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bebe’s parents are both of Albanian origin. From an early age she played the trumpet and taught herself to play the piano and guitar before joining a choir when she was still in school. It was there that she discovered she was a coloratura soprano and she signed her first contract at the age of 18. Since then she has gone on to release her own material as well as to write songs for Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Iggy Azalea, Nick Jonas, Tinashe, and David Guetta.
Ferid was born in 1936 to an Albaniafatherer and an American mother. He studied chemistry in the pre-med programme at DePauw Universtiy before getting an MD and a pharmacology Ph.D from Case Western Reserve Universtiy in 1965. It was his research into the effects of nitric oxide on muscle cells that helped to lead towards the creation of Viagra as well as the treatment of disorders due to heart problems, shock, cancer, and lung disease.
Jim Belushi is a famous Albanian-American actor that was born in 1953. He is famous for his roles on productions such as Twin Peaks (2017), Trading Places, K-9, The Ghost Writer, Underdog, and Saturday Night Live. Both parents originated from Korce, but Belushi was born in the US and graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a degree in Speech and Theatre Arts.
The brother of Jim, John Belushi was well known for his work as an actor, comedian and singer, as well as his raucous attitude and intense energy. He started his own comedy troupe at a young age before getting a stint on Saturday Night Live. His most famous gig forever was perhaps in The Blues Brothers, which went on to grow a cult following. During his life, Belushi suffered from personal issues involving drugs and drink and he sadly passed away due to an overdose in 1982.
Born in 1980, Eliza was born to an Albanian father and a Danish/English mother in Watertown, Massachusetts. At the age of 10 she was cast in her first role as Alice in a film called That Night before taking another role alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in This Boy’s Life. She then went on to appear in True Lies, Bye Bye Love, and Race the Sun. Her big break came however when she auditioned for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, landing the role of Faith a central character. She has also had roles in various video games and Disney animations.
Fadil is an Albanian-American photographer that is currently living in Net York. Originally from Tepelena, he moved to the US at the age of 8 and was then able to pursue his dream of being a photographer. He has worked as the official photographer for Miss USA, Miss Universe and Rolex, as well as shooting campaigns for Vogue, Elle, Allure, Cosmpolitan. Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, V, Vanity Fair, W, Esquire, GQ, and Seventeen.Follow The Balkanista!