Ever since she started working, Yanna Darilis has dynamically applied herself to numerous exciting and impactful projects at once – from building a prolific presence when presenting on Greek TV and lecturing at University to modelling for top designers.
She also developed a passion and eventually an academic interest in health and wellness, which led her to writing, coaching, product development, and media production. Darilis is a bright, dynamo force who is constantly evolving in paths that inspire her – and those around her – such as wellbeing and Hellenism. Based in New York but regularly visiting Greece, where she worked for over 20 years, she is someone we definitely wanted to catch up with and interview!
By Alexia Amvrazi
How would you describe who you are today, in a nutshell?
I am a television producer, director, and on-camera talent, specializing in lifestyle, travel, fitness, fashion, holistic health, and wellness topics. I am proud of my Hellenic roots and heritage, thus dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Hellenism through content creation, film & media. Above all, my mission is to help raise awareness about and reverse issues that plague our planet and society and I have been proudly doing that with various panel discussions at the United Nations through the UNSRC Salus Club.
Tell us a little about your experience of working in Greece.
My 25+ years of experience in the Health, Fitness, Wellness, Media, Beauty, and Fashion industries, was very extensive. It was an exciting experience and a very hectic and busy time of my life. I truly don’t know where the years went! I had just turned 24 years old when I arrived in Athens to work and looking back, I feel like it was yesterday!
The ‘90s was a spectacular time to be working in Greece. It was glorious, and media and fashion were exploding. I feel blessed to have worked as an on-camera talent for the major Greek television channels as a TV host, and as a brand ambassador for many companies, as well as having walked the runway for the very talented Greek and International designers. I truly enjoyed being a public speaker, and I was honored to have been chosen as one of the Master of Ceremonies for the Athens Olympic Games- Opening and Closing ceremonies. I also thoroughly enjoyed teaching future journalists and creating new ideas and programmes as the Associate Director for the Film & Media studies at New York College- State University of New York affiliate in Athens.
Meanwhile, I was blessed to have hosted the first English language show that aired worldwide, on ERT World. I was so happy you also worked with us on the production of “Hellenic Weekly”, Alexia. Good Times! The whole team and what we created was so amazing!
In hindsight, I can confess that although living and working in Greece was beyond a wonderful experience, as an American of Greek descent, I did struggle with the language, and with a different mindset. I also did not have support or many friends at the time to help guide me, and thus learned along the way. As a young adult fresh out of college and as a former educator, the media industry was a totally different space- and environment, which took time to get used to. Eager to learn, I worked hard, greatly appreciated all the amazing opportunities offered to me, and enjoyed my job so much that I decided to go back to college for a second degree in Film & Television. This degree helped me tremendously in my future endeavors.
Since returning to the US 17 years ago you have set up a TV company focused on Greece. Please tell us more about that.
I like to say that I was very lucky, and at the right place at the right time. The first and only Omogeniako Television channel of the diaspora – NGTV, based in New York, was announced for sale. A group of Greek American businessmen and leaders in the Greek American community got together and decided to save and continue the legacy, and I was part of the effort. We ended up acquiring NGTV- rebranding it to New Greek Television, and until this day is working hard to promote and preserve Hellenism and the Greek language through our channel, focusing on the Omogenia.
Over the years you have been highly centered on holistic wellness and Original Medicine, on which you’re currently pursuing a Ph.D. What draws you to this area?
Returning to the US, I was hired to help develop the first luxury Gym for Long Island City in New York. During my time as the General Manager and Personal training manager, I noticed the widespread weight issues that most clients were facing, which led me to get back to my post-graduate studies, and I felt it was necessary to continue this path in Nutrition and Wellness. I have always followed the teachings of Greece’s ancient sage Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. This led to my Certification in Integrative Nutrition and one in Lifestyle Medicine, specializing in Plant-Based Diets. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Original Medicine, which concentrated on healing through Natural methods.
You are currently developing a wellness TV show that will showcase the rise of problems related to chronic illnesses around the world, including the rise in child obesity, autism, ADD ADHD, etc. Can you please tell us more about this?
I am working with a great group of people and a veteran producer and director on developing this show. It will bring valuable information to the public about health and wellness, sustainability, and what our role and responsibility is in making a difference with each other and our planet.
You are also writing a book on Health and Wellness. What is the book’s main perspective? Who is it addressing?
My new book is about the prevention and maintenance of health and well-being. It encompasses all you need to know about health and tips on lifestyle changes that will help you stay healthy!
Throughout your career, you have found interesting ways to promote Greece and educate viewers about its rich culture, history, and natural glory. What are you doing in that direction right now?
I have been part of various productions on Travel and culinary shows, “Mediterranean Blu” aired on PBS in the States and OTE History in Greece. I have also filmed a series named Destination Greece which aired on New Greek Television, and I am working on a new show as we speak.
What are your favourite Greek:
–Destinations: Sounio, Patmos, Kos, Milos, Messinia, Ithaca, Zagorochoria, and many, many more!
–Healing places: I love Costa Navarino, in Messinia, Aqua Blu in Kos, and actually you can create a “ Healing Experience” anywhere you go as long as you incorporate or create peaceful beautiful surroundings- environment, so you can enjoy sleep, self-care, exercise, healthy nutrition, meditation practices- silence, good positive company, swimming, and sun!
Foods / Restaurants: too many to name! Overall I prefer mostly, organic and vegetarian.
Urban areas/places: All of Athens is great. I love Kifissia, Plaka, and Sounio!