Italian/Greek | Lithuanian/Czech
I would identify myself as mixed-race, really a ‘remix’ of nationalities. I’m Catholic baptised, but due my Greek heritage there’s also a connection to the Orthodox Church. I never had any problems with my sexuality. And because of the Italian roots, I really adore woman!
My mother is half Italian-Greek and my father is half Lithuanian-Czech. My mom’s Mother was born and raised in Piraeus and Thessaloniki, Greece and my mom’s Dad is from Ancona, Italy. My Dad’s mom was really affected by WW2 and was on the run for her whole life. Originally, she’s from Vilnius. My dad’s father has Czech but also German roots. The first time they met was on the phone at my Greek Nana house. My mother was looking out for a date with Günter, my father’s older brother. But he wasn’t at home that time, so my dad was put on the phone. That’s how it all started. by coincidence or fate.
I grew up in Stuttgart, which is in the south west of Germany. In June, July and August we spend a lot time in Greece, my Grandparents have a home there and there is lots to do. We spend our summers working in the sun. In Stuttgart I had really a nice and calm childhood. It was a nice place to grow up. This city is like the home of many ‘masterminds’ of the German industry. Mercedes-Benz, AMG, Porsche, Bosch, Festo, Mahle and many other companies were founded there. The place where the first car of the world was invented was only a couple of minutes away from the first place we lived.
I think the first time that I recognised I was mixed-race must have been in school. I was in grammar school from 1998 to 2002. At that time there hadn’t been so many mixed-race people around, so with a couple of other children, let’s say like four or five we were the only mixed raced in class. Our family history goes way back to the late 60s and 70s, when Germany really needed people from outside to work, as the industry was booming at the time. So my grandparents took the call, came to work and stayed here. That’s something a lot of my friends, and my parents’ friends have in common. A generation of foreign workers. My parents had no issues with the different cultures, because at home German was the present language. Due the similarity of the opened hearted mentality, they got along very well.
I wouldn’t call any issues I’ve had challenges, I would call it a process of integration. We learned that in Germany everything is very organised and structured. Sometimes you have the feeling they are a bit cold or reserved, but we learned how to get along with it. If you build yourself a community of the right people and real honest friends, you’ll learn that the German culture can be very interesting, and they’ll support you in every way. Sometimes when I’m at the airport, they pull my out and check me for explosives or something like that. Just because of the way I look. It’s not a certain type of racism, but sometimes you’ll get the feeling they judge you because of the way you look.
My social environment doesn’t affect my choices or ‘limit’ me. As my culture(s) are very open and good hearted I’m open for everybody and any new person that comes into my life. Sometimes you have like an inner voice in your head that tells you the Germans are like this and that, but there will be always differences in every culture. The best way is to accept them, and not to challenge them. The differences can be so moving and interesting, that’s why I’ll keep myself always open.
Being mixed-race affects me every day. In my work as an actor it’s something that’s makes me special, for certain roles and when a certain look is searched for by agents and directors. I learned how to use my variety and not to see it as an obstacle. In my personal life it has been only positive. Women like the fact when you have many different parts of the world in you, it’s something you can talk about for hours. And I really like to tell people my story and hear their stories. I have been introduced to so many things through those conversations: music, art, culture, simply everything. So I would say it affects my personal life in a positive way, and also in my past relationships I could always give my partner something back, a spark of a journey of my life.
I only speak German and English. When I’m in Greece I can communicate and talk to the people, but it takes me a couple of weeks. I was really lazy as a child and didn’t want to learn any languages besides of English. As my parents and grandparents could not speak very good English and German, I said to myself I want to learn and speak those languages as well as I possibly can. Sometimes it’s funny when we have like Christmas or something going on. My mom and my Nana are talking in Greek to each other. I’m talking German to my father, and when my grand aunt from the US is calling I’m talking English to her.
For me culture is always connected to food. Food brings us together. If you sit around a table with so many of your family and friends, you talk about everything there. Your work, your personal life and things that will come for you or things on which we’ll have to decide. It brings people in our culture together and is a place and a situation where there is room for everybody and everything. The kitchen is also a very common place for deep and honest conversations, and also a place where the magic happens.
When people ask where I’m from I respond that “I’m from Germany, I’m German”, as I was born and raised here. I went to school here, I did my exams here, I studied, and work most of the time here. Since, there is always a feeling of being not at really at “home” here, and it will always be. When you have so many different countries running through your veins, you’ll feel like a traveller all the time. Home for me is here in Germany. Home for me is in Greece. Home for me is in Italy. Home for me can be everywhere. We can match with every place we go, cause it’s in our nature to move and to move on.
Being mixed-race can never gets boring. It never gets ordinary. The best positive experience is when I realized that my family and I are basically all over the world. In almost every part there’s somebody for you to call and to visit. You can be a traveller all the time. And the opportunity to introduce your friends and close ones to this is the most satisfying feeling you can get as a mixed-race.
The future for mixed-race? I hope it’s good. I hope all mixed-race people are doing well in the world. But for now, we see that they are so many crises and wars going on. All based on religion and the greed for money and power. People suffer. People die every day. Being mixed-race can be challenging, you’re absolutely right. I hope that we all see being different and being not ordinary can be very enhancing. I hope people step off their fears that mixed-race people want to convert them to anything or affect their lives in a bad way.
I don’t want to be born again. I believe we’re here to last only once in a lifetime. I believe that my life is like a book. Each and every day there’s a new page coming up. We are the ones who are writing. We are the ones who can make history in the making. You can look to the past pages, see all and everything that was happening in the past. But what’s coming up next, every day on the page is in your concern. I believe we have a bag on our back. We collect places, people and emotions in it. Some things you grab and take them with you, some things you just leave behind. Again, it’s your story, it’s your journey, once in a lifetime. Every page that is now coming up could be the final one. So, let’s celebrate life. Let’s celebrate the human being. We humans tend to do everything based up on two occasions- time and a place. That’s far enough. Let’s trust our inner child and the feelings we’ll all have. Life is not about returning- it’s about creating an environment for our kids and the future generations. So let’s get busy and get this done! Being mixed-race is perfect. Being mixed-race means you're in the middle of an adventure, and that’s the perfect place to start.