By Dr Shahid Qureshi -:
Vasoula Christodoulou is London based Greek Radio presenter and journalist. She is a black belt in martial art and have been training girls and women. We requested an interview which she kindly agreed. Here are some questions we asked for our readers.
- Please tell us about your life, childhood and family?
I was born in Nicosia in Cyprus into a very loving and affectionate family. My mother was working in the fashion industry. She was a typical Greek mother and wife. She always kept our house spotless, would cook delicious food and bake. When it came to her family she was tireless. With others she was always hospitable, welcoming with visitors and always ready to give her last pound to someone who was in need, even strangers. She always gave us courage and all her support. We were taught to look at the bright side of things.
My father was in the building construction business. He was very affectionate and as I was the youngest in the family he always showed me extra affection and he considered me as a very strong girl. He used to say ‘that he is not worried about me and that even if I am in the dessert I will find a way to survive’. I always felt that he was extremely proud of me which was always encouraging. He had a great sense of humour, which I hope has passed on to me also.
My two older brothers and older sister also gave me lots of affection and like my parents they always had seen me as a very strong person, which in a way, it made me feel confident but however, a few years ago I realised that at the same time it was a lot of pressure for me, as I didn’t want to let them down or make them sad, so even when I was going through difficult times, I felt that I had to be cheerful, in order to show them that I was able to cope on my own.
- How was your schooling, education?
I remember few months before I started school, I think when I was about five years old I used to sit myself in front of boxes such as washing powder, biscuit boxes etc. with a piece of paper and a pencil and I was copying any writing they had so I could learn how to write because I wanted to be one step ahead. I was extremely organised, ready one hour before I had to leave for school in the morning waiting till the time I had to go to school. I had lots of friends and my teachers loved me because I showed them respect and I never went to school without doing my homework. From the early years, I was spotted for my creativeness from teachers and also my family. My favoured subjects were drama, singing, dancing, athletics and I also loved religious studies as I used to love listening to all the stories with a message about spreading love, being humble and helping each other. I was chosen to go for touring in Greece to dance and sing traditional songs and dances. Also I was always selected for the school theatre plays and I was given the lead roles. The early signs of my creativeness developed into becoming an actress, a radio presenter, a professional belly dancer, achieving a black belt in karate and a Reiki Master/Teacher. I graduated from Brian Timoney Acting School where I was taught under the Lee Strasberg Method.
- Please tell us about marriage, homes, kids and family life?
Soon after I have arrived in U.K I got married at the age of 18. I bore two lovely sons but my marriage broke down 23 years later. I have used this challenging period of my life in a positive way, I most definitely became a stronger person. I was living in the countryside but when I had divorced I moved closer to Central London. Although I miss the countryside, living in London it is much more convenient for my jobs where I can also attend workshops to develop myself as an actress as well as networking events and in general my social life is mainly in London.
- How you spend your spare time, and your hobbies, sports and black belt in Karate?
There is never a dull moment in my life. I am always on the go and I am trying to spend my time wisely. I always say that I need few lives to do the things I want to do. I love exercising, walking in the park, practise my dancing which I find that is also a form of therapy, if I have the opportunity I will dance for hours- I feel so relaxed afterwards. I will go to the theatre, actors networking events. I also play tennis if the weather is nice, and although I don’t practice karate as much now, whenever I find the opportunity I will go to the dojo for some training. I also try to find some free time to meet and catch up with my friends, if possible I will combine it with an event, if I want to go and see a film I will ask one of my friends if they wish to join me so I can also watch the film but at the same spend time with them and catch up over a coffee/dinner either before or after the cinema. I also love reading.
- When you decided to become a Radio Presenter?
I would say about a year ago. As an actress about 3 years ago I did a voice over course with Garry Terzza as I wanted to expand my options for jobs as I enjoy learning new things. I enjoyed it and also Garry told me that my voice is very good for the radio as well as my personality. A year ago I was approached by the owners of GREEKBEAT RADIO and asked if I would like become one of their radio presenters. Again they told me that I have a fantastic voice , the perfect personality so they seemed convinced that I will do very well. I agreed to start my Radio show but I’ve told them that I will contact them as soon as I have a bit more time as I was quite busy at that time and I also wanted to have some kind of training to build up my confidence. Since then they’ve contacted me
few times to ask me when I will start and I always said I will give them a call. Few months ago a friend of mine came from Greece who is one of the best radio presenters and he offered to help me as I explained to him that I wasn’t that confident. He said that he will be happy to do few shows with me while he was in U.K and then I can carry on myself so that was it really. So we both went to the radio station and we told the owners of the studio our idea and they loved it. Manos Tsotras came back to U.K again after a months so we started the show. It went amazingly well, the response was a shock for us, thousands of listeners were sending us messages to say how much they loved the show, phone calls at the studio to congratulate the owners and thousand of views on the social media. Now, I am doing the show on my own and I feel much more confident, the supportive messages from the public helped me tremendously. Greek Beat Radio is the new worldwide Greek & English bi-lingual radio station connecting the communities around the world through music and various radio shows. This is the first station of its kind for the Greek Diaspora that can be compared in it’s ethnic and English representation. I feel privileged to be asked to have my own show at Greek Beat Radio.
- What difficulties you faced in becoming Radio Presenter and how did you overcome those difficulties?
Time was and still is the biggest problem I have to face. Being an actress it demands lots of time and at the same time you need to be available even if it’s a short notice. Even before I became a radio presenter I had very little time to spare for anything apart from work. When I started the radio show at the same time I had my rehearsals for a theatre play, learning lines, then the performances plus auditions for new jobs so it was a really difficult time for me trying to manage with everything. Also I had no time at all even to speak to my friends over the phone, although they are all very understanding at times I felt that I was letting my friends and family down. Learning too many things at once at the studio was also a challenge for me and there is still a lot of things to learn, I am not very good with technology so I really need to be shown one thing at a time but I had to learn so many things in a very short time. The show was a great success from day one so I had thousands of messages, emails from the listeners so that was also something new that I had to learn how to deal with it. Initially I have tried to respond to each one individually but eventually when the number grew to thousands I had to change the method of my response.
In order to deal with the above problems I had to work till early hours of the morning and making a daily plan, discipline is of great importance. I have explained to my friends about my new job so I had their full support.
- Please tell us about your success stories?
While I was training in karate I was spotted for my hard work by a Japanese Shihan who came to U.K during that time so he invited me to attend the World tournament in Okinawa and to participate in a Kata demonstration. During my staying in Okinawa I also had my exam and I was awarded the Black belt.
I was offered a big role in the ‘Challenging Time’ and I only had few days to mastered the character and learn a large amount of lines. It was very challenging but I have played the role of ‘Mrs Helen Skapanes’ with great success.
A great success as a Radio presenter at GreekBeat Radio. I was thrilled to see the response of thousands of people all over the world from my first show.
- What advice you will give to young and new comers?
Work hard, there is always plenty of room for development in whatever you do, never assume that you know everything. Spend your time wisely, time is precious so never waste it. Be on time, if you cannot be on time be early, organised and reliable. Use your resources to the maximum. Help other people and be a good member of a team. Believe in yourself and set the sky as the limit.
- What are future plans, how you see yourself in next 5 years?
At the moment I have rehearsals for a theatre play in Camden Town, then in October I will perform in SALOME at Barons Court Theatre and also I will organise the music for the play. Then In November this year I will perform in a variety show.
I will be playing in films as well as theatre and I will get involve with the T.V Also I would like to produce my own theatre play. In the meantime I will carry on working at the radio station, and help as many new talents I can.
Disclaimer Views expressed are not of The London Post