A fearless ride: Polly Gotseva, Co-Founder of BKP Group, talks to Emirates Woman about taking your hobbies to brave new heights.
What do you describe BKP as?
We are a music and film production company based here since 2000. We care about our people, our reputation, and the work we do – we are fearless in taking on big projects.
What do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine?
First order of the day is coffee as I need my caffeine fix to wake me up! Second is New York Times Wordle to wake my brain up and cuddles from my two Persian cats, Prada and
Gucci – I am then ready and raring to go.
You have an unusual hobby – tell us how you got into motorcycle riding?
Where do I start, I have a few! I have skydived, climbed Kilimanjaro, walked the Great Wall of China, husky sledded through the North Pole, climbed to Annapurna Base Camp, ridden through Myanmar on an old bicycle, cross country Mongolia – horses and cycling, Inca trail Machu Picchu, but my two enduring passions are scuba diving – where I dived to 60m in Mauritius one year and done over 120 dives around the world and as you mention, motorcycling. My husband Martin is a life-long motorcyclist and when we first met, he took me as a passenger on his bike so fast, I vowed never to ride with him again. So, my introduction to motorcycling was Martin showing me a YouTube ‘learners’ guide and sitting me on his Yamaha XJR 1300 in the Nad Al Sheba car park for my first tentative laps! I was hooked immediately and took my bike license in the middle of Covid with 26 hours of tough yard technical riding racing Deliveroo graduates to pass my official license. I am now the proud owner of a custom Harley 1200 sportster and Harley 1500 Road King!
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Where is the most unusual place you’ve ridden your motorbike and where else is on the Wishlist?
My furthest ride so far has been Dubai to Fairmount hotel, Fujeirah Hotel via Hatta to stay the night and ride back the next day. My most unusual ride so far was a group ride with the Café Rider guys to Hatta Dam and then earlier this year, to the top of Jebel Jaise – up was okay; down was super challenging and technical. Next, I will be doing a motorcycle tour in Japan, including Mount Fuji which we will probably do next year to coincide with the cherry blossom season. You have your own fearless style – how has this evolved? I grew up in Bulgaria behind the Iron Curtain – it taught us to be self-sufficient, hard-working, respectful and take early responsibility for family and income. We studied very hard at school – although my mother was often called in to try and calm my rebellious nature – we were sent harvesting during the summer, and I did my National Service – leading my platoon and winning the prize for fastest Kalashnikov machine gun strip down and reassembly. My hard work ethic saw me selected for Bulgarian National Dance group entry and through constant practice I was selected by the Communist Party to tour through Europe and ultimately dance in Paris – we travelled on an old communist bus with a party member chaperone and our mobile kitchen on the roof – not business class but it opened my young eyes to the outside world and the potential adventures that awaited me and this included how I express myself though my style.
When else have you had to be fearless in life and how did this materialise?
When I was 27 years old working for the Bulgarian National Radio, a friend of mine started saving a few dollars a month and trying to learn English – we planned to ‘escape’ to Dubai which we had heard was fast developing and had huge potential opportunities. In the end my friend pulled out at the last minute and sent her 19-year-old daughter with me instead. We landed with 250 USA dollars between us and no return ticket– I was 27 years old and spoke very little English.
What is your biggest strength?
Never give up, remain positive despite the challenges, love and laugh with the people who love you – distance yourself from the people who don’t. How do you approach scaling fearlessly in business without compromising on quality? You need options. Without options, you panic, and panic is not an option. In my life challenges, I could have panicked many times but have applied my fearlessness and have always taken a strategic approach to solving the problem. Imagine you are husky sledding like I did, and you are about to be attacked by a polar bear, you need to look at your options mighty quickly. Same rationales apply in business, be fearless but with options. Most people dream of starting their own business, but very few do. Why? Because of fear. Many people fear things that wont even happen. Fearlessness brings far greater opportunities.
What have been the most challenging or rewarding aspects to date?
In business, surviving Covid. It was something we couldn’t control. We moved to Saudi Arabia during that time and successfully supported delivering Expo 2020 and opening of the Museum of the Future with the entertainment required – we had to find a full-size orchestra within a week!
Have you had any mentors in life and if so, what knowledge did they impart?
My business partner Barry Kirsch, for 23 years has been my great mentor in business and life. We went through so much as we built the business and his huge experience of working internationally in the music industry gave me amazing insights into the industry.
What is a kindness you’ve received or a lesson you’ve learned that you’d like to pay forward?
The kindness that my mother and father showed us when we were growing up. They taught us the values of hard work, honesty, respect, love, and loyalty. We did not have much in terms of material wealth, but we were rich in terms of family support, love, and experiences. It is part of the Bulgarian culture that family closeness and support is still a central value. I am proud and I am fortunate enough to maintain these lessons and still visit my mother, father, and sister regularly and this extends to the support of my son Martino, his wife Gabby and my grandson Nikki.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Spend more on travel and life’s experiences and less on the exotic fashion brands. Experiences and memories are priceless and last forever. This is The Fearlessness Issue – what does being fearless mean to you? Embrace every challenge and finding a solution with the people I trust and love – that is what makes me stronger. Live life to the maximum and enjoy life’s journey, however I am travelling!
October – The Fearlessness Issue with Chaumet – Download Now
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