Giannis Spaliaras and Athina Klioumi Marturet are featured in a cover editorial in the multi-cover “Reasons to be Thankful” edition of Mode Lifestyle Magazine.
What a way to end one year and begin another, with a beautiful photo shoot at Cape Sounio, an exotic beachfront resort facing the temple of Poseidon which is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Europe if not the world. It is here that Mode Lifestyle Magazine interviews Greek actor, model and heartthrob Giannis Spaliaras and American based Greek/German actress Athina Klioumi Marturet for our cover feature. The romantic and energetic ambience of the Grecotel Cape Sounio location is very fitting for the shoot because it mirrors the role of husband and wife played by Giannis and Athina in the very popular Television Series “Lord of the Skies (El señor de los Cielos) which is showing on Netflix. In the show Athina plays the role of Greek born CIA agent “Athina” and Giannis plays the role of a spy “Nicos”.
MODE – Athina: Athina you do a lot of travelling during the year to multiple countries. How does it feel to be back in Greece and to be doing this cover photo shoot at the magnificent Grecotel Cape Sounio with its close proximity to the Temple of Poseidon? What do you love the most about Greece and the Greek culture? Athina: Really it was a such rewarding experience doing this photo shoot in this amazing real setting and even more in those intense times and after some months in quarantine in Miami. I say “real” because we actors are used to being in recreated settings but being in a real temple is something out of this world. The light, the breathtaking view to the blue Mediterranean Sea, the smell of the jasmine & eucalyptus trees, the green olive trees, and the lovely kind of mysterious wind, it all takes you back to ancient times. Grecotel Sounio is a magnificent hotel with a view right to the Poseidon Temple at Sounion, 50 miles outside Athens. It is majestic and looks like a temple itself and yet has the Greek simplicity. The sunset we witness in this hotel and on the Sounion temple are something really out of this world and so inspiring. It has all that I love about Greece; the beautiful nature, views, colors, pure food and best hospitality, amazing ancient sites and lovely people. Greece has also almost all year round sunny days, even in winter, and the light in Greece is magic. You should try to at least visit once in your lifetime because it is unique and connects your soul.
I was so excited to shoot there since this temple is one of my favorite of all and I have visited it since I was a small girl. The most beautiful thing of all though, was to come together again once more with our local Greek producer of the TV series “Lord of the Skies 7”, Elektra Apostolaki. Telemundo/NBC under the leadership of executive producer Marcos Santana together with producer Mariana Iskandarani and crew filmed several scenes in Greece as well and Elektra was in charge for those. Last year we were part of a super production which brought 50 people from USA and Greece together. Memorable scenes were shot in Greece like the Greek wedding of my daughter Irene (Christina Sotiriou), the fighting scenes and Greek hospitality with main cast super stars Amado Leal played by Matias Novoa and Diana Ahumada played by Isabella Castillo. The tai chi scenes with Amado and also some shots with quite some brutality and sadness when Athina lost her daughter and Amado steals her out of Greece to Mexico, were all scenes shot in Mykonos. Writer Luis Zelkowics, as a connoisseur of so many cultures and also a big Greece lover, really wrote that script with great inspiration and maintained my real name Athina. Of course for this photoshoot in Greece and in pandemic times we had a very small crew, but I loved to work with Elektra and my TV husband Giannis again. It was a unique moment and I miss my co-workers so much, especially my film partner Mexican actor Fernando Noriega (El Rojo) and with all others with whom I had amazing scenes as with actors Luis Ivan Arana, Carmen Aub, Claudia Lobo, Eduardo Santamaria, Nacho Fresnada, Alejandro Lopez, Fernando Bandaaa, Alex Walerstein, David Ponce, Carlo Puente, Elkin Cordoba, Ruben Arciniegas, Karen Sandoval, Ninel Conde, Robinson Diaz, and Roberto Escobar.
MODE – Giannis: As part of your modeling career you have modelled with multiple brands and at different locations. What places have you enjoyed visiting the most either for modeling or just for vacation? How did you enjoy the Grecotel Cape Sounio location? Giannis: I have visited more than 20 countries and most of them have been work related. The most amazing beautiful cities & countries I have visited is South Africa, Cape Town, Brazil, Mexico is also a very beautiful country with huge history and colors everywhere, and recently I was in Iran Shooting for a TV series and was astonished by its natural beauty. I enjoy the Grecotel Sounion location in the most amazing area of Athens opposite the Temple of Poseidon. As you arrive there you immediately feel the energy of the field and the beauty of the Greek light.
MODE – Giannis: We understand that you first started working as a model and then progressed to acting with your first film role in The Attack of the Giant Moussaka in 1999. You’ve also been in various Greek TV shows. How has your life changed since those early beginning? Giannis: I Started at 20 years old as a model and I visited many places working as a model in Europe but also around the world. I love modeling also because it gave me a very good start, but acting is much more exciting and interesting for me because I can be much more creative and it makes me feel much more alive. The main ways my life has changed is that many things that were mainly dreams in my early years are now my reality. I like to be evolving, and as I continued to focus through the years I have become known for my work and the fame has come along with it.
MODE – Athina: As wife and husband on the show, how do you maintain the realism or chemistry that can often be challenging when two people are supposed to be acting together? Athina: You look for things you have in common and work from there…hahahah. It was easy to work with Gianni. We both are Greeks and although I grew up in different countries of the world, in summertime we always visit Greece and I have a lot of family there. I love Greece and their people, the Greek culture, dance and understand the Greek mentality. Gianni and I met before through our friend Elektra Apostolaki and studied together our lines, practiced Spanish and communicated a lot via zoom. He has everything we love about Greeks: he is very athletic, charming, a bit savage, down to earth and very handsome. In fact, look at him. Does he not look like Hercules or one of the Greek ancient gods? He is also super tall. Also his Greek accent when speaking English was perfect for the part and surprised because it is very similar to the one we know of the Latinos. Remember Anthony Quinn? We understood us immediately without talking I think and he was always up for a rehearsal anytime. He is a hard worker and very natural intuitive actor. I think local Greek producer Elektra Apostolaki together with Marcos Santana and Marianna Iskandarani from Telemundo, and Monica Vizzi from Argos TV did an amazing job. Anyway, the cast of El senor de los Cielos 7 is just amazing. Have a look at a compilation of a cast with most renown excellent actors from Mexico, Colombia, Cuba and USA. You will see incredible inspired acting, perfect direction of the many directors as Mauricio Corredor (who shot in Greece), Sergio Osorio (Colombia), Jorge Rios (Mexico), and others and the fierce crew we had together with great photography. Oh I really miss all my co-workers and being on set. I have such great respect for all the work behind the lens and production of such a series as produced by producer Marcos Santana. It is a titanic undertaking but he made history with making a TV series like #ELSEÑORDELOSCIELOS 7 known all over the world.
MODE – Giannis: You play the role of a spy, Nicos, that is married to Athina with a daughter Irene (Christina Sotiriou). How did you land this important role in this series and how do you think it has it impacted your career path? Giannis: This was my first International job and it was a great experience for me. I had to learn Spanish fast and speak English, Spanish and Greek but mostly Spanish. So in the beginning it was difficult but as soon as I got to Mexico it was much easier to learn because everyone was speaking Spanish. I tried being focused on my role to give the best of me, and this path elevated my psychology and opened new horizons and I saw that new international productions can trust me. After one month of finishing shooting with El Senor I booked my 2nd international job which lasted for 3 months in Iran and that gave me a big boost.
MODE – Giannis: When we were speaking with Athina about her visit to Greece for the cover photoshoot she said that you were quite the celebrity. How does it feel to be recognized as a celebrity when going about doing your day to day things? Giannis: It’s a very nice feeling to be recognized in your country, to be loved by people and having them talk to me in the street, but I try to not be trapped by this image and not lose my spontaneity. In general, when I wake up in my everyday life I am Giannis.
MODE – Athina: You wear many hats with your work as Ambassador of Miami Symphony Orchestra, with your acting, and as well as your modeling career. How do you manage to juggle them all and how do you find the time to even do half of the things you do? Athina: Oh I do not have children…hahahaha.. only two Chihuahuas. Well, it is all about organizing your life very well. Having discipline and an understanding husband who is in the same line is a great plus. I am lucky that I have such a partner. Eduardo, my husband, is the conductor of the Miami Symphony and I love to work with him on stage and behind, as an ambassador or helping out with all the many events. We support each other very much. He is my muse and I am his and this gives us lots of energy to make happen any project. When I filmed the TV series Lord of the Skies 7 in Mexico and Greece he accompanied me all the time. As an artist himself, Maestro, and big motivator of new talent, he understands my artistic needs. He met me like this, as a model and actress, and I met him as a Maestro. We admire each other and organize our lives together so we can accomplish every year our dreams.
MODE – Athina: You have started using social media quite a bit more since the coronavirus pandemic than you used to. What have you learnt about how to make the most of social media since you started focusing on it and how much time do you find you are dedicating to it for promoting your various activities? Athina: Social media is everything right now. Through the pandemic it was an important tool specially for us artists. Thanks to it we could keep on connecting to our audience. Miami Symphony does digital concerts for free on YouTube almost every 10 days and people love them. Check them out! You will find all kinds of crossover & classical beauties. It is very important for the musicians and artists to go on playing, performing. I think these were times of great changes, challenging times but times to renew us, to get to know what we really want in our lives, to innovate. I love my Instagram Live that I do regularly. To connect with the world is a big important tool for us artists. In fact, everything is going digital now. Castings are done digitally. During the pandemic my husband and I constantly did interviews, castings and all kinds of programs from our home now all digitally. Our home has transformed into a studio, although I realized that the best light I have is in the bathroom…hahahaha.. So my new casting spot is in the bathroom. For example, being in Greece we even had to record a program for Microsoft where my husband had to conduct the musicians who were in the USA. So I recorded him conducting in Greece. Yes, it is a new world and so much to learn. An Instagram Live has become routine and readings & rehearsals are done by Zoom. So yes, it really saves you time because you do not have to move around so much. I think the pandemic made us more human and helped us to stop for a moment to go inside and rethink everything.
MODE – Giannis: The modeling is obviously a major part of your life since it was how you started. Do you consider the modeling still as importantly as you continue with your acting career and do you find that both careers do complement each other? Giannis: Modeling is a wonderful way to see the world, traveling around countries and meeting different people and cultures! Throughout all these years I have been privileged and really done amazing modeling jobs. Modeling and acting definitely do complement each other, and now acting has become my biggest passion and film offers are starting to be really very good. Right now I can say that I am in a good moment of my life.
MODE – Giannis: You competed in the fifth series of Greece’s Survivor and that is what led to your widespread fame. What led to you getting on that show and how was the experience? What did you like most about your time on the show and what was the most challenging? Giannis: Survivor was a very big challenge for me. It helped me a lot to understand the real me because when you are under cameras for 24/7 people will see your real character. The thing I liked during Survivor, the actual reason I went, was that it makes you see your limits and it’s extremely challenging. Another thing that I liked about it was that I got to detox from technology such as cell phone, pollution, traffic, cars, driving etc., and from all those hunger tests and exhaustion you get to realize where the human limits can reach.
MODE – Giannis: How did your immediate family and friends respond to your growing fame at the beginning and were they surprised by it all? Giannis: I built my career step by step over the years and I think my family got used to it because my fame didn’t happen overnight. Because of this measured and deliberate growth it was easier for me and my family to handle. My mother is still surprised by my jobs because I travel a lot and she is kind of scared sometimes. After Survivor I participated in Nomads in Madagascar. Nomads is another kind of survivor game and after that I booked a job in Mexico and when I did that I went to her house and called her Madre and started speaking to her in Spanish. Also when I booked the job in Iran I went to her and said Salem and she was like “Oh My God where are you going this time?”
MODE – Athina & Giannis: Are you two planning on working on any future projects together in the near future and if so what ideas? Athina: Absolutely. There are new projects in the air. Let’s ask the GREEK GODS to help us!!!! Hahahaha…We both work with our agent Marisol Mata Management Greece and USA and they have made us already some offers and we are very optimistic. Giannis: I enjoy working with Athina so hopefully when this pandemic is over I will fly to Miami for more shootings and interviews with her. It would be nice to work together again in another TV production
MODE – Athina & Giannis: 2020 has been a very tumultuous year, especially because of the coronavirus, and it has impacted many people around the world in sometimes really challenging ways. Still, there are always positive things that happen all around us. What would you say are the things you are most thankful for from 2020? Athina: I am thankful to be alive, to be healthy and to also have a healthy family. I am thankful for having all the wonderful friends in my life, for having food and shelter. I am also thankful for being granted quite a knowledge of how to keep fit and healthy. I am privileged to have holistic & spiritual people around me who have guided, healed and inspired me through these intense times. Without it I think I would not have travelled to Greece this summer and done this project. In general this year was about overcoming sometimes frustrating obstacles to get into great wins, learning to canalize all the time one’s emotions & creativity. Staying away from fear and getting lost somehow. My martial arts & meditation, which you can watch in the TV series, was also of great help in my private life. These times made us take out all the possible instruments we have to survive: physically, mentally and spiritually. It was all about staying away from fear, about real change, healing, keeping going, understanding of how to keep inspired, being positive despite all, anything that brings our experience to a higher level. Yes, I really experienced profoundly what keeps my frequency high and that is art, beauty, good friends and family members, optimism, any progress, nature, freedom, enthusiasm, determination… What a year! Hope we got the lesson. Giannis: 2020, despite the Coronavirus, I can say was a successful year for me. I moved to Iran in January for 3 months for an epic historical serial Greeks vs Persians, as I got back from Iran everything froze due to covid and paused my work. As I was talking about doing more international jobs we cannot ignore something that under these circumstances is sad because we see around us a lot of poverty and sadness, many people have lost their lives many are in hospital fighting for their lives. So from this point of view I am feeling blessed that I have my health. I am grateful and feel strongly in my wish that these challenges will bring all of us together to fight this situation in a stronger level. In moments like these people like me, actors, singers, athletes and so on, our opinions matter of course but it should be subservient to those of the doctors and scientists. I am healthy, my family is okay, workwise was a good year under the circumstances after the show in Iran and currently working on Greek TV serial “8 words”. So overall I am thankful for my health and work in 2020.