London Greek Ekaterina Botziou shares her love of her culture through her books, blogs, and a celebration of the trials and tribulations of Greek life.
When you learn about Ekaterina Botziou, 28, you may find you have the urge to call her a “Renaissance Woman.” Schooled in law as well as theater, Ekaterina is a multi-faceted, multi-talented individual who approaches her work with a healthy dose of humor.
Ekaterina Botziou was born and raised in the UK. She said she spent her formative years in a “semi-Greek” environment.
“I’m half Greek. My father is from Igoumenitsa, and my mother is English. They met in Athens 30 years ago. Mom had moved there to teach ballet. On her third day there, she met my dad and said goodbye to life as she knew it! They moved to the UK just before I was born. Growing up with a bouzouki-loving father and a ballerina mother with roots as mixed as a tequila sunrise, I grew up learning that every word comes from the Greek language.”
Determined to, as she says “battle against the Greek stereotype that a woman’s place was in the kitchen,” she went to law school. She completed her law degree at University College in London, while also pursuing her other passions: writing (she wrote for student magazines), and theater (she acted in small area productions). After, she worked in the legal and financial sections, and continued her theatrical training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She then signed with an agency, and acted in films, television, and voice-over productions, including Disney’s John Carter of Mars.
Ekaterina began writing at an early age, as stories were an important part of her childhood. Preferring to write with humor, three years of legal writing soured her love for the written word.
“Three years of focused essay writing about the state of our legal system, followed by several reworks of that great title, ‘The CV’, had well and truly murdered my love for writing.”
Planning her wedding (she’s married to a Greek Cypriot, also from London), or as many other women can relate to, dealing with everyone’s vision for what your wedding should be, left her with some funny stories that she just had to share. In 2012, she launched her first WordPress blog.
“Ekaterina’s Greek Expectations became a world I would retreat to often in moments of literary madness. Once I got started, there was no stopping me, and before I knew it, a book was forming.”
To date, Ekaterina has authored three books. Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing was published in 2013. She said she had been sharing stories about the “horrors” of wedding planning, and sought books on how to make a successful marriage. Finding none specifically about traditional Mediterranean relationships, she decided to write one.
“It’s part memoir, part rant, part survival guide; a tongue-in-cheek insight into the trials and tribulations of being a modern woman faced with the demands of age-old Greek traditions and shows readers how to survive each stage of life with a Greek man and his family.”
Her second book, Theseus & the Mother-in-Law was an idea that came about while she was penning the first. As a child, she’d devoured the myths and was fascinated by the historical aspect of many legends. In this book, she explores these topics with her signature wit.
Ekaterina then wrote a story that made it to the final shortlist for Vine Leaves Press, an Australian literary journal, called “Stripped Bare.” She followed that with her third published book, Seraphina. Published in 2015, this “unGreek” book is an experimental short story in verse.
“It’s based on one of my favorite comedies, The First Wives Club. The idea was to create a place for all the wives, partners, and girlfriends of Greek men (and any other interested folk) to come together and share their comical tales, frustrations, recipes, and general philosophy about life with a Greek man.”
The concept resonated with readers, and it grew into a website with a wider-reaching goal: “to educate, empower, and inspire women teetering on the edge of Mount Olympus by providing information on Greek marriage, traditions, language, health and well-being, and more.”
Her goal is to promote women-led initiatives and to inspire and educate people on the Hellenic way of life. Greek Wives Club now boasts readers around the world, and offers networking across borders, as well as sharing the odd recipe or words of wisdom. GWC’s business directory is growing and connects people to the Greek ways of life.
“Cultural understanding is a very important topic in today’s modern society as is gender equality, and the two concepts together often result in clashes. The GWC is here to help anyone who needs support in these areas and wants to break through the stereotypical traditional barriers. We’re reaching out to anyone who wants to share anything related to life amongst the Greek community. I want to promote companies and products that have a strong Greek connection.”
In addition to growing The Greek Wives Club and promoting and supporting Greek women-led initiatives, Ekaterina works full-time in finance and is writing her next book — a children’s adventure story. She continues to act, and now, is also juggling a new role: motherhood.
Ekaterina’s books are available on Amazon.