Tania Zaetta: From Bollywood to Ibiza


Whether she’s hand-feeding sharks, traversing bikes off mountains or conquering the behemoth that is Bollywood, Tania Zaetta has always embraced challenge.

“I’M not so much monetary driven as I am challenge driven. I love setting a challenge for myself and then going about achieving it. I won’t give up, no matter how long it takes.”

Triumphs in her 20-year modelling, acting and presenting career have included hosting Who Dares Wins in her native Australia and slipping into Baywatch’s iconic red swimsuit for a season on the small screen. After falling into modelling when she was discovered by a photographer at a shopping centre, she hankered for opportunities to utilise her natural gregariousness, and by 20 she had secured her first TV show. “It’s something I feel very comfortable doing.”

But by far her greatest achievement is the impact she made on the world’s biggest movie industry. “It didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t happen by accident, it was probably eight years in the making: going into India, learning everything I could. What people don’t understand with Bollywood is that it is a very closed industry. It’s about meeting the right people and putting bums on seats.”

Australia’s then Prime Minister, John Howard, later requested to meet her after watching Salaam Namaste, her biggest commercial success, on a flight to India. “He came up and just said ‘Tania if it wasn’t for you Australia wouldn’t know about Bollywood, well done’.”

On a recent fleeting visit to the White Isle Tania admitted she “fell in love with Ibiza” after initially discovering it four years ago when staying at James Blunt’s villa. “I could easily spend the European summer in Ibiza. I’m a beach girl from Australia, so if I’m away from the ocean I go stir crazy.”

Today, alternating between London, Mumbai and Australia’s Gold Coast, she’s writing her autobiography (“It’s all about my upbringing in the Outback of Australia where I rode a horse to school”), she’s releasing a series of pilates DVDs and she’s just wrapped an Australian film called Just Like You. Having already achieved so much in her 40 years, is there any feat Tania has yet to face? “Marriage and children,” she affirms, without missing a beat. “That’s very much on my agenda at the moment. Recently with girlfriends like Dannii Minogue, one of my best friends, having a baby I’ve been very maternal.”

Needless to say, like anything on Tania’s agenda, there’s no doubt she will follow forth with the same gusto and resolve as she always does. “If you’re determined and you put your mind to it, you can conquer all.”

First published in Ibiza Style Magazine, Ibiza, June 2010.
© Abbey Stirling