Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis
Athina Klioumis Marturet is a talented actress and model who has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry. She began her acting career in Venezuela, studying drama, art, and modeling. Athina’s hard work and dedication paid off when she landed a leading role in the popular Mexican-American television series. Her natural talent and beauty have made her a sought-after model, and she has graced the pages of numerous fashion magazines. Athina’s versatility as an actress and model has allowed her to take on a wide range of roles, from dramatic to comedic, and she has proven herself to be a true professional in every sense of the word. Her passion for her craft is evident in every performance, and she has won the hearts of audiences worldwide. Athina Klioumis Morturet is a rising star in the entertainment industry, and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.
Can you tell us a few things about yourself being raised in a Greek environment? How does it have affected your outlook on life?
My parents both are Greek. My father Dr. Spiros Klioumis comes from Epirus and my mother Parthena Avjetidou from Thraki. They grew up in Germany where they studied and graduated. I was born in Berlin, but every year, we used to come in the summertime to visit my grandparents, aunts, and cousins in Greece. It was the best time of the year. My father is a geologist and worked for international oil companies, so we lived in many different countries, such as Peru and Egypt, and then we spent many years in Venezuela. Wherever we lived, we were involved with the Greek community, and in the summertime, my brother Tasos and I went to a Greek school to learn some basic Greek. We all speak Greek, dance Greek, eat Greek and maintain Greek traditions. I believe that Greeks around the world are always welcomed and treated with love. I am very proud of being Greek which comes through in many of the films, TV series, and performances I participate in as a Greek. Many times they even leave my name in those productions: Athina, the Greek, “Tina la griega” (English Translation: “Tina The Greek”) and so on. Greeks are always inspiring!!!
Living in various countries during your early years must have been a unique experience. How do you think these diverse cultural influences have shaped your acting style and performances?
It definitely opened my horizons and I made friends quickly with all kinds of different people. We are very easy-going and open to different cultures and learn quickly. Yes, Greeks love music and dance; they are so dramatic since drama comes from Greece. In various film roles, I was inspired by my aunts and cousins. Our dance and culture and mythology are so loved by the world. In my castings, I always get the line. “Oh! You are Greek. I have been to Mykonos. I have a Greek friend, I love Greek food, I love Greece”. I think Greeks have a great reputation and must maintain it.
From a young age, you were involved in dance and theater. How has your background in oriental dance and yoga contributed to your acting career?
As an actress, it is always great if you can dance and sing. Since very young, I used to dance in the summer festivals (panigiri). I was maybe 11 and we lived in Egypt and came for vacation to Greece I started dancing the belly dance until late at night at the panigiri. The musicians accompanied me and I was so happy. I also practiced yoga and karate together with my mother Parthena Avjetidou in Egypt. She is my great inspiration. Later in life, I performed in a Chicago musical, in Spanish, where again I had a main role as Tina, the daughter of the feta cheese producer in Manhattan. The preparation of the Bob Fosse Jazz dance and singing was exceptional. My husband conductor Eduardo Marturet brought an amazing jazz orchestra to this successful mega production and also added to its success. I always dance and keep up with my singing training or martial arts training which is very useful for acting. Acting is very physical; the more talent you cultivate, the better.
You have had the opportunity to work with renowned personalities in the world of cinematography and TV. How has their mentorship impacted your growth as an actress?
I love the challenge of new characters, new productions, and cultures. I have acted in different languages. I acted mainly in Spanish and English, but I even acted in a Greek soap opera. I was blessed to study with the best acting coaches and drama schools in different countries, which greatly nourished me. Acting is a constant learning process. You must be fit, flexible, and open to whatever comes up. Transforming into a new character is really a fun process, and then, depending on the language, I prepare myself accordingly. Years of working in Venezuela, Mexico, Japan, Los Angeles, France, etc. All this brought me to learn several techniques on how to get into a role, but you learn so much to be on set with your acting colleagues and crew. I love teamwork and being on set in different productions or countries. Working with great actors makes you great as well. It is so inspiring and wonderful to see the uniqueness of each. As we people, each actor has his way, it is fascinating to see and get inspired by them. I love actors who rehearse and contribute to the process. Many great actors gave me great advice and support and I am very grateful.
Your performance as Princess Scheherazade in Miami’s Knight Concert Hall received much acclaim. Can you share how you prepared for such a significant role and what it meant to you personally?
Princess Scheherazade from the 1001 Arabian Nights, was a huge success in Florida, where I reside. I also got involved in the script and did it very much “my way”. It was easy to relate to being a Greek. My grandparents, for example, when I was a young girl, were telling me those Greek-Turkish stories of Ali Pasha, who killed his Greek mistress in Ioannina and other places in Greece. Dressed up in a couture dress and with a real gold princess crown on my head, I narrated the story in front of a 2,500 audience in a huge hall, and my husband, conductor Eduardo Marturet who was conducting the beautiful, romantic music accompanied me. Me, Athina: “I am Scheherazade my Sultan, the daughter of the Vizier. Perhaps you would not remember, but we played together when we were children. I know you have lost your faith in everything around you, in humans, in your family, and even in yourself. Please. Let me tell you a story and I am sure you will feel calm your Highness. People need stories more than bread itself”.
You’ve portrayed various characters in theater plays and films across different countries. How do you approach character preparation, and what techniques do you use to immerse yourself in a role?
The preparation is very important for me. First of all, you have to know your lines perfectly. That gives you self-confidence. Learn it by heart. Write it down or visualize it in your mind but it has to become your own. Parallel to it, you have to create a whole new character. Her age, upbringing, personality, her way of talking and moving and I have a wonderful acting coach with whom I work. I also studied the Lee Strasberg technique.
Being multilingual with the ability to speak various accents is impressive. How has this skill helped you in your acting career, especially when portraying characters from different cultural backgrounds?
I was a child when I learned most of these languages. I played in the streets with other children, imitating and playing with them. You learn quickly. As a child, you are more free and uninhibited. Acting is like this, you play and imitate and you’re free to copy ways and manners of expression. You exaggerate sometimes in doing so, and your facial muscles even change until you get there. You’re not ashamed to say something wrong. It is like playing!
You’ve had a successful career as a model and spokesperson for brands like Max Factor. How do you balance your work in the modeling industry with your acting pursuits?
One brings the other! Modeling and acting go hand in hand. I love acting, and it takes more time to do a film and TV series than to close a runway or do a commercial or fashion campaign. When I have a TV series, there is no time for anything else for 3 months or more during that time. You film all day and prepare yourself for the next day. Doing a campaign for a brand normally takes much less time. Fashion is like a second skin and healing for me. It makes me happy and nourishes me. I am very grateful, I have so many friends in the fashion industry, and we all support each other and do amazing creative productions together. Even combined with the symphony, we have done incredible productions, always fusing the best music, fashion, and art!
Traveling and living in different countries can be both enriching and challenging. How do you maintain a sense of stability and focus on your career amidst these diverse experiences?
Yes, they are! But my husband keeps me very down to earth! The Miami Symphony (MISO) season starts in October and ends in May. As the ambassador of Miso, I am also working for the official Symphony of the City of Miami, behind the stage and on the stage, so yes, I have to organize myself very well to do all the other things. The schedule of the Miami Symphony is planned way before; usually, film or fashion projects come in some months or weeks before. As I support my husband, he also does, which makes it all possible!
As an artist, it’s crucial to be selective about the roles and projects. How do you approach the process of choosing roles, and what criteria do you consider when deciding which projects to pursue?
The good projects come to you because they are meant to come to you! When they are not really for you, you can feel it. Intuition and lots of info about a project and its people are important. I live in a very diverse city with many people coming into town and great ideas, but to make it happen, you need more than that. It takes a good team with planning, organization, realization skills, transparency, and great energy to make it all happen. I always believe everything is possible, but you need the right people. It is all about the right people!!!!
As the ambassador of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, how would you leverage your unique skills, passion, and influence to promote and elevate the appreciation of classical music within Miami’s diverse and vibrant community?
I love people. I am curious and love to unite people and work in real teamwork. I also love to communicate and also write about it. I used to write for different magazines. I believe in what my husband built in Miami, our hometown. He transformed The Miami Symphony into a world-class orchestra and now MISO is not only the official Symphony of Miami but also the hippest one. As he says: “We present the most fun and artistic performances which go from Celia Cruz to Beethoven and beyond”. The Miami Symphony Orchestra presents the most amazing music reflecting all our diversity in Miami. The most international cross-over performances you can find!!!!
Athina Marturet https://linktr.ee/athinamarturet