There’s something about Effie

Cultural icon Effie Stephanides is back on stage with her latest live show A Date with Effie. Here she talks to Neos Kosmos on what it’s like for the Big E to look for the Big L

Effie Stephanides is making no secret of the fact she’s looking for love. The self-confessed cultural icon, confesses she’s not on the shelf; she’s on a pedestal…. and it’s getting lonely on the top. So now, the big haired Greek Australian from Broadmeadows is set to take the search to Oakleigh to find her Mr Right and will play out her love pursuit on stage for all to see.

“People look at me and think ‘she’s got everything,'” Effie tells Neos Kosmos, “and I do… but I don’t have fulfilled love.” Effie admits she is looking for love, but her “objections [sic] are multipronged” as she also wants financial relief from her partner. Just like Greece, she says she too is looking for a bailout but wants to avoid men who are like Germany and are going to “bitch about giving the money back”.

In her latest show, A Date with Effie, the funny lady is back on stage and frankly can’t wait for her return to the live arena, after all, that’s where her career started nearly 30 years ago. Effie Stephanides made her debut in the live comedy phenomenon Wogs Out of Work, (as the character Poppy). After that, she became a household name as ‘Jim’s cousin’ in the hit Australian television show Acropolis Now.

She has a top 20 single under her belt, is the published author of Effie’s Guide To Being Up Yourself, was the host of the television talks show Greeks on the Roof and even picked up the silver Logie for Most Popular Comedy Personality in 1993. “It came as a surprise because it took so long,” says Effie of her Logie win. “I’ve always been popular,” she quips. “I am very magnetic, charismatic and people were drawn to me and I understand that. I give people a good time in a hygienic way and they showed their appreciation with a pewter award. It’s not silver… but silverish.”

But surely the Logie is just small fry for someone as extraordinary as Effie. What about an Oscar I ask? “I don’t think there is a category for me in the Oscars for what I do,” she explains. “When you are a social pioneer, when you’ve changed people’s lives and identities, it’s not a movie – it’s a reality.” By thrusting Greek Australian culture to the masses, Effie has subconsciously found herself as somewhat of a role model to the men and women of Hellenic descent.

In her words, she says that people are no longer ashamed of their Greek background. Their surnames, how loud their family are, the aroma of garlic that lingers, they way they speak with an accent; she says she has ridden all of the shame by “opening the closet and running out”. “I didn’t set out to save anyone,” Effie says, “I am not like Aussie Home Loans – I was just trying to make my life better.” A phenomena, a social scientist, a pioneer, a ground breaker – that’s how Effie see’s herself.

So how is this worldly woman from the ‘burbs going to find herself a love match who compliments her and lives up to her social status? “I think anyone that’s got the kahuna’s big enough to take me on and to not lose sight of who they are and let me be who I am is the type of person I am looking for… and if they are cashed up that would really help.”

She is looking for a man who is close to their family, but without mother issues as she’s “not a therapist”. And she is looking for someone with a full head of hair but that isn’t overly hairy as she wants to be the “hairy one in the relationship”. On the subject of hair, Effie sadly gave up hairdressing, a career she loved dearly, in the ’80s when stardom came her way. She loved to transform people with her craft, even if the result meant her clients looked like different versions of herself. But she says for Greeks, there was a method to her madness.

“Height [in hair] is very important for Greeks, we aren’t the tallest race and because your nose and ears keep growing – we are screwed either way. Big hair distracts from that,” she says of the huge perms she’d give to her Greek clientele.

In the Big L department, Effie sees herself a lot like Greece with so many people “dreaming of invading; some that have come close and some nowhere near”. “They want a piece of me because I am prime real estate like Greece is in Europe. I may not come with islands, but I come with assets that are very much lauded by your average person – fame, Logies, things like that.” She adds that the Greek community see her as a prized possession, like Greece does with the Acropolis, or Elgin Marbles. “I am something they adore, but can’t quite access. Something that was there, something they want back and something that’s not easy to get.”

But with all that said and done, the superstar still remains positive true love will come her way by her staying true to who she is. She says having a big heart may be dangerous, but it’s worth it in the long run. And not just in love, but also in life she urges everyone to put themselves on the line. “Don’t be afraid,” she says, “many people in Australia are very fearful, as we have tall poppy syndrome.

“People in Australia start putting a muzzle on their personalities and the Greeks don’t do that – they are muzzle-less convertibles who say whatever they want!”

Effie Stephanides will perform A Date with Effie at Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh RSL, 95-97 Drummond Street, Oakleigh, on Thursday 29 November with special guest Xavier Michelides. For tickets visit www.caravanmusic.com.au/gigs/a-date-with-effie/. To keep up-to-date with all the latest happenings in the world of Effie, like www.facebook.com/effiegoodthanks on Facebook.