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Nicoletta Ioannou: The Art of Being Yourself
Nicoletta Ioannou
The Art of Being Yourself
315
Evgeniya Kondakova-Theodorou
Author: Evgeniya Kondakova-Theodorou
Translation: Inna Guseva
23.04.2020

Having absorbed artistic traditions of modern Greece in the childhood, today she is one of the triathlon training organizers who dreams of becoming a Bond girl one day…
I’m delighted to introduce you to my guest: Nicoletta, an architect.
Country: Greec

I was born and raised in the northwest part of Greece, in a small town called Florina. My mother is Cypriot and my father is Greek. My childhood was careless and serene, full of joy…and cold! Don’t be shocked! Those who were there know that this region is often called Greek Siberia! When I was a kid I’ve dreamed of becoming an astronaut, I loved the mystery and the beauty of the space! But earthly wonders and fine arts soon outweigh it and led me to the career path of an architect. My sister and I were young when we discovered the art world. My father’s art studio was the place where we spent almost all of our free time learning how to draw, helping with painting packaging for exhibitions and meeting local artists. You know, despite its tiny size, Florina is a town of artists. And I think I’m so lucky that I was growing in the atmosphere full of artistic traditions. I can say that the impressionist works of my father influenced my aesthetic development a lot. As you might see on his website — www.arisioannouart.com, the main part of his works are portraits revealing the inner world of Greeks.

So, I’m an architect. I’ve studied in Oxford and have a Master’s degree in International Architectural Regeneration and Development. My professional experience includes design projects of museum and exhibition spaces as well as several private houses. The architecture, it is all about people. Every project we develop influences lives of the people there and that’s a huge responsibility. What does it mean to be an architect? You always work with people, hear their ideas, transform and find ways to make them real. It’s the most interesting part of my job. I also find joy in transforming the space and renovating old buildings. The Old Town of Nicosia is a great example of reuse of abandoned houses and wasteland. It’s not only the external “makeover” but also the reflection of the economical and social identity of the city.

If you are interested, I can tell you about my performing art classes I’ve recently started at the Cyprus Youth Council in Paphos. This is the perfect and meaningful way of self-understanding and a great opportunity to go to public. 

In contrast to my private life, I like being in the spotlight on the stage and choose dashy leading characters. I wish I could play any of Helena Bonham Carter or Helen Mirren characters. Ask me to play one of Bond girls, and the next second I would say yes! The theatre will change your life; it gives the chance to open up, to think outside the box and…to discover another version of yourself. That is what I expect from my classes.

For the first time I came to Cyprus to visit my relatives 4 years ago. I’ve lived in Athens until recently I decided to try my luck and stay on the island. The financial crisis there was another strong argument for that. 

I can honestly say that my life turned upside down in a positive way since I live in Cyprus. I’ve met wonderful people here; if I stayed at home, all these might not have happened. Now I’m a part of a great team, we share a common goal and perspectives. Besides the fact that I met my husband when “things were in process”, as they say. ;)

Speaking about my professional integration, I’ve not found the application for my skills yet. So I had to stop my work as an architect two years ago, right after my moving to Cyprus.

We founded our company — Mokapot Productions in 2015. It was like they call it today a dynamically developing start-up in sport industry and one of the very few companies that offered triathlon training camps in Cyprus. Our goal is to promote Cyprus and Paphos as the best places for triathlon training in the Mediterranean and also to inspire the youth to be active and focus on the result.

Nicoletta Ioannou

You are asking me if I take part in the training programs? Unfortunately I have no time for that. But you can see me during the trainings walking with my camera and trying to take some inspiring photos for the triathlon fans. By the way Mokapot is the organizer of XTERRA Cyprus, an international extreme triathlon event that will take place in Akamas in April 2017.
I’m inspired by the art because it gives you freedom and by the way children constantly remind us that the life is a simple thing indeed!

Is that an easy thing to be or to become a Cypriot? I don’t even think that it’s easy to be somebody else except being yourself. Anyway I’ve noticed that the culture of Cyprus is open for new ideas that are different from the mainstream ones, so you can feel at home very quick.

Friendly and easy-going Cypriots encourage me! I’m impressed by the kind of intimacy you feel here and how easy it is to communicate with others.

I don’t often see my Greek friends. We like to meet after one of us took a trip to Greece: to share some info about new shopping places and cozy cafes that we found there. 
My favourite way to rest? Frankly speaking nothing could be compared with the pleasure I feel ending the busy day watching the sunset from my seat at “The Muse” bar in Paphos.
And I adore the eastern countries! Hong Kong and China are so magnificent that it takes your breath away. And generosity and modesty of people in Thailand and Philippines are just incredible. My dream is to visit Japan and New Zealand one day.

I wish your readers, both the ones who live in Cyprus and those who plan to come here for the first time, take a full breath and enjoy your stay here. It’s a true blessing to have the opportunity to live near the sea bathing in sunlight and being filled with the infinite love.

More specifically, I want to recommend you to take a trip from the peaks of Troodos where you can enjoy a hot chocolate in the winter season to Aphrodite’s Rock near Paphos.
These incredible mix of seasons of the nature makes Cyprus a unique place indeed!

Nicoletta Ioannou