In a world of snowy white, full of pale blondes with icy blue eyes, those eyes are stuck on a dark- eyed, dark-haired Greek journalist and TV personality who speaks fluent Swedish. Although her Greek name is difficult to pronounce by her adopted countrymen and women, Alexandra Pascalidou is one name most Swedes can recognize. Alexandra has been a television reporter, lecturer, blogger, documentary maker and human rights activist in Scandanavia. She is also a published author, as her latest Greek cookbook, My Big Fat Greek Cookbook, is filled with recipes from her native land. She recently released an in-depth documentary on the Greek economic crisis subtitled in English, “What is the problem with the Greeks?”
Watch the Documentary “What is the problem with the Greeks?”
Alexandra incidentally was born in Bucharest, Romania to Greek parents. To seek a better life for themselves, they moved to Sweden before Alexandra started school. She was raised in one of the poorest neighborhoods outside of Stockholm. She had many strikes against her, yet that did not keep her from being successful. As she states in an interview, “I have had all the obstacles you may have to be successful- an immigrant, a woman, child of divorce, from a suburban neglected working class.”
She attributes much of her success to her Hellenic spirit. As she stated in an exclusive interview with greekamericangirl.com, “I thank my Greek roots and origin for almost everything – for my never ending energy, for my warrior soul and happy heart, for my talent to reach people and become friends with anybody with no effort but also for the nostalgic and melancholic moments.”
Alexandra became known to the public in 1995, when she started hosting the multicultural TV-show Mosaik in SVT, one of Sweden’s Public Service channels. Between 2000-2001 she hosted “Som Sagt” in SVT, a Saturday night quiz show focusing on literature and language. At the same time, she was the producer and reporter for the TV show “Striptease” that focused on investigative journalism.
She spent two years in Greece from 2004-2006 dabbling in TV media for both countries simultaneously. Alexandra hosted the Olympics in Athens for SVT and the Friday night entertainment show in ERT “A Day with Alexandra Pascalidou” where she tracked the day in the life of such celebrities as Roberto Cavalli, Isabel Allende and Roger Moore, and Maradonna. She was also hosting Greek morning television every day with three hours of live coverage for each episode. Not at a loss for energy or words, Alexandra played hostess forthe Eurovision Song Contest in Greece and it so happened that she was emceeing in Kiev in 2005 when Greece won the competition for the first time. It was a “magical moment” because her friend Elena Paparidou, another Greek Swede, won with the song “You’re My Number One.” She actually broke down crying during that event, the first time in Eurovision history when Greece won. That same year Alexandra went on to host Melodifestivalen in Sweden from Gothenburg.
A segment from “A Day with Alexandra Pascalidou” interviewing Maradona
Interview with Radio about her involvement in Eurovision Song Contest
In January 2007 she became one of five hostesses of TV4’s Förkväll a daytime lifestyle program. She participated in the show Pokermiljonen in TV4 and has been hostess for a series of charity galas in SVT, for example “På flykt” with Kjell Lönnå and “Uppesittarkväll” with Anders Lundin.
Besides her work in TV, Alexandra works in print as a columnist and freelance writer in newspapers such as GP, Metro and Expressen. She blogs continuallyon Metrobloggen and she gives lectures on diversity and the media, democracy and justice issues, rhetoric and leadership, gender and cultural competence.
Besides her successful media career, Alexandra is a noted philanthropist and human rights activist. She has served on the Board of BRIS (the Swedish version of a children’s rights not-for-profit) and the board of a women’s domestic violence resistance organization. She is active in other causes such as women’s health, rights of mothers, and sits on the board of the foundation Läxhjälpen which helps young people in troubled areas with their homework to help them get access to secondary education.
Alexandra served in the mid-1990s, along with Michael Alonzo, Dogge Doggelito and Cissi Elwin, in the Europarådets anti-racism campaign “All Different All Equal” and its equivalent counterpart “Youth against Racism”(UMR). Her work against racism and for human rights has led to hundreds of death threats. But she continues her lectures on human rights and operates a number of charity projects for children in Sweden’s projects.
She has five published books, two of which have been translated into Greek. One is Taxi, a nonfiction collection of interviews of taxi drivers from around the world from Nairobi to New York. The other entitled Beyond My Mom’s Street (2001) is a memoir about growing up in one of Sweden’s poorest neighborhoods. The book was hailed by critics and included as inspirational literature on the Swedish secondary school reading curriculum.
Alexandra also made a brief appearance in the film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) as a Swedish TV reporter covering the protagonist’s trial.
She is very proud to be a Hellenic woman of the Diaspora. As she states in an interview, “I have Sweden in my heart, I have Greece in my heart, and I love Romania.” A true child of the Diaspora, her grandparents came from Georgia and her father lives in the former Yugoslavia. Check her out on her blog alexandrapascalidou.com.