Entertainment Interview / TV

Vasilios Filippakis Navigates Sexuality and Culture in New Series “FAK YAASS”

June is Pride Month, which gives us even more of a reason to add fantastic gay content to our to-watch list! Actor and writer Vasilios Filippakis has delivered in the form of popular dramedy, FAK YAASS. Vasilios plays Nico Nicolakis, a young gay Greek man struggling with the idea of returning home to what he assumes will be the judgement of his family. Vasilios is excited to be working on new scripts and is gearing up for a move to LA in the fall. You can stream FAK YAASS in its entirety on YouTube HERE
Cliché: Growing up, were you always a storyteller or did you discover acting and creating later on?
Vasilios Filippakis: Growing up, I knew I loved being on stage and performing. I did my first play when I was eight. Being in theatre gave me a space to be free and explore my creative energy. When it came to creating FAK YAASS, I knew I had this idea but I didn’t know how to conceptualize it and  make it happen. I could not have done it without the help of the core team, the talented writer, Anthony Filangeri, the producer/director Matthew McLaughlin or my co-star Leanne Smith. 
Tell us about your show, FAK YAASS and your character, Nico. 
This is a gay friendly show that will take you on the journey of Nico, an early twenties gay Greek kid, who escaped his small town life to live it up in the big city. Thriving being away from his family and living out his truth, he is eventually forced back to his small town to care for his very homophobic grandpa. 
Why was it so important to you to create FAK YAASS
It’s funny you ask. I really didn’t comprehend the importance of the show until we got to filming. Up to that point I really didn’t think more than it was just something that reflected an aspect of my life in a comedic and cute way. To see the reaction of the cast, crew and family members on set, that was the moment I realized the impact this could have. Now, after seeing the show and receiving feedback, I realize that it’s important for these types of stories, that include members of the LGBTQIA community, to be shared with the world. I truly believe that his content can be very powerful in the ability to shine light on our differences as they are what make us the same. 
The show deals a lot with the clash between sexuality and culture. Did you ever feel pressure to choose between your identity and your family and community? 
It really does. What you see in the show is very similar to what I dealt with. Once I came out, I never really went back on it. I didn’t hide it from my family and the community. If anything, I did the opposite. I lived my most authentic life at all times. In a way I’m convinced that people of this community are given this gift, this light, to share and teach those around us to be the best versions of themselves. 
In the show, Nico’s grandfather is homophobic, which can be relatable for a lot of people trying to navigate family dynamics when coming out. How can we bridge the gap to help older generations learn to accept their LGBTQIA family members? 
Be yourself. Be you, always. RuPaul in a season of Drag Race (can’t remember which one) once said something along the lines of “by hiding who you truly are. you are robbing those around you from being themselves”. I believe that fully. At the end of the day, keep being you, show love, show kindness and compassion, and be patient. That’s how we bridge the gap. 
What advice would you have for LGBTQIA folks struggling to come out to their family or trying to encourage their family to embrace their identity? 
Show how brave you are. Take the step and know that, despite how cliche it is, things do get better. Take that step from fear to bravery and know regardless you have a whole community that supports you.  One day, when you’re least expecting it, you’ll be reminded of your bravery and how shining your light has changed your world. 
Nico’s friends are also very important to him. Would you say that a chosen family is just as important (and sometimes moreso) for LGBTQIA folks as their actual one? 
YASSS! Omgush, yaass. Mine has saved me. Little Vasilios would have never imagined the life I’ve had, and most importantly, the friends I’ve made along the way. They really are my other family. There is a bond that you can’t share with everyone. 
What’s next for you? 
I am getting ready to move to LA in September. I am also working with Bulldog Productions as a producer and we have a couple fun scripts and new shows in development!
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Vasilios Filippakis Navigates Sexuality and Culture in New Series “FAK YAASS.” Photo Credit: Denise Grant (headshots). Screenshot from FAK YAASS courtesy of Bulldog Productions.
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