Are you ready? Here are 20 Funny Things You Didn’t Know About Me:
1. I played an old man in a school play when I was 11. I’d observed old men feeding pigeons in parks for weeks beforehand in preparation and this was well before I even knew the meaning of ‘method acting’. Despite a standing ovation and seemingly a gift for playing the elderly, my parents still wouldn’t let me go to drama school when I reached 16. I never forgave them.
2. I came 4th in the North (of England) in the regional heats of Junior Masterchef aged 12. They only needed 3 contestants for the TV show and Papa G was so upset I’d missed out, he stomped up to the judges in front of everyone and started shouting that I should have got through. Embarrassing was not the word.
3. I love gangster movies… and Coronation Street. I didn’t say I was normal.
4. I’m happiest when I’m with my the family, talking (aka shouting to the rest of the non Greek world), laughing, eating …and erm, shouting.
5. I don’t understand people who don’t kiss on both cheeks when they greet one another. Continental is best. For breakfast and kissing.
6. I can sometimes say the wrong thing especially when it’s ‘the time of the month’ (you know that time you don’t quite recognise who you are anymore when the ‘hormonies’ take over) but despite being too sensitive and a little hot headed (I am Greek after all) I’m a warm girl at heart who is fiercely loyal to her family and friends, oh and I make a great cup of rooibos tea to boot.
7. I hate tight people, I just don’t get it. I was brought up with the ethos that generosity is key in life and quite honestly would give away my last penny. My Dad always reminisces about the time I was a student with little money yet I had 3 standing orders to various charities. Warm-hearted indeed.
8. I learnt to speak English and Greek at the same time as a baby but announced to my Mother after my first day of school that I was no longer Greek. I felt ashamed to be different. That all changed when my friend Yiannis invited me to his house, played me old Greek records as well as a few Madonna hits (I know she’s not Greek but she’s part Italian so she’s almost Greek) and made me realise speaking another language was actually pretty cool. Especially if no one else understands you. From that day forward, he made me proud to be Greek and although we’re no longer in touch, I will never forget what he did for me.
9. I did however protest about having to go to Greek school every Saturday from the age of 4-16 but looking back those were some of the best times, laughing with my Greek friends particularly when our teacher Maria would shout, ‘everyone in the glass’ instead of class when lessons began. (Oh the hours of fun mispronunciations gave us, we were terribly simple minded then!) Now looking back, I’m glad my folks forced me to go as I learnt to speak and write Greek which enabled me to have such close relationships with my grandmothers. Priceless.
10. I used to entertain my Big Fat Greek family with impressions of Margaret Thatcher. They loved it. But not enough to send me to drama school.
11. I feel naked if my toenails aren’t painted.
12. I have won awards for my short films, TV dramas and documentaries which have screened at film festivals worldwide, on the telly box here and the US and Channel 4 even heralded me a ‘future creative hero’ giving me an award for Best Filmmaker. Nice.
13. I once danced the night away at a very glamorous film party at the Cannes Film Festival but by 6am we had a long walk back to the villa so I (dare I write it) took my heels off. The French thought I was crackers and kept stopping me in the street and asking me to put them back on. They had a point and to this day I feel personally to blame for the often difficult Anglo/French relations.
14. My hair was poker straight until I was 13 then it went curly. Bloody hormones again.
15. I’m a big baby and cannot watch horror movies. I get scared watching The Simpson’s Halloween Special. True Story.
16. I love shopping (who doesn’t) especially shoes and bags. A girl can never have too many. My husband disagrees and would like his side of the wardrobe back.
17. I once stroked a ‘tame’ cheetah on safari in South Africa. Despite supposedly being ‘tame’ I was convinced he’d instantly love the smell of me (who could blame him?) and want to eat me. He didn’t, but I won’t chance that again.
18. I can do the splits. Don’t ask me to though.
19. Gerard Butler once flirted with me at a film company I was a runner at many moons ago, commenting in front of the whole office that he’d been watching me in the cafe beforehand and was captivated (ooh lala)… I didn’t even know who he was at the time and honestly didn’t fancy him. A few stars have tried it on over the years (check me out!) but this is the story my friends hate the most. Jealous bitches (kidding).
20. I think I’m allergic to pineapple, my lips blow up whenever I eat it. Being Greek I could do with bigger lips so some people might say that’s a good thing.